Burying The Gophers

Ohio State rolled on today, beating the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis 82-69.  Every member of Buckeye Nation of a certain age feels a great satisfaction when Ohio State beats the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis, on a floor that saw the worst incident in the history of college basketball.  In this case, the victory was a true team win, with every starter scoring in double figures and the Buckeyes defense throttling the Minnesota offense until the game was out of reach.

Ohio State remains the only undefeated team in college basketball and leads the Big Ten conference race by three games.  The Buckeyes now get a few days off until their next game, which is on Saturday at Wisconsin — a place where the Badgers seldom lose.

There will be a lot of analysis of the impending Ohio State-Wisconsin matchup in the days to come.  For now, every Buckeyes fan should take a moment to appreciate this tough and unselfish team.  Starters David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale, Williams Buford, and Jared Sullinger, and principal reserves Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas, play a very hard-nosed style that is a pleasure to watch.  They move the ball around on offense until they find the hot hand.  They rebound well.  Their fundamentals are sound, and they usually end up getting a good shot.  On defense, they stick to their opponents and don’t let up.  There is a reason why these guys are unbeaten and no. 1, and I’ve enjoyed being along for the ride.

Black Creek Bistro

Last night we went out to dinner with our good friends Chuck and Laura.  We wanted to try a new place, and after some research Kish picked the Black Creek Bistro.

The Bistro fries

The restaurant is located in the Olde Towne East neighborhood, on Parsons Avenue a few blocks south of Broad Street.  It has been around since 2007 and is a local leader in the local sourcing and green business movements.  In fact, the owner views the restaurant as an extension of his Canal Winchester farm.  Of course, all of the good intentions in the world don’t mean diddly if the food isn’t up to snuff.  I’m happy to report, therefore, that the food served by the Black Creek Bistro is very good, indeed.

You enter the restaurant through an intimate bar area where patrons can also have their meal.   The bar serves a wide selection of drinks and specializes in infused vodka martinis.  Kish and Laura enjoyed a few pear and pomegranate martinis and gave them an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

The beet salad

The main dining area is in an adjoining room with high ceilings, white-washed walls, and some interesting sculpture on the otherwise bare walls.  When we were there on Saturday the place was packed.  The noise level in the dining are was just about perfect:  enough of a hubbub to give a sense of excitement to the dining experience, but not so loud that you couldn’t converse with your dining companions.

We started our meal with two appetizers — the Bistro fries with a duet of sauces, which is something of a signature appetizer for the restaurant, and the firecracker shrimp.  Both were excellent.  The Bistro fries were crispy and light, and the white truffle dipping sauce and spicy ketchup were very nice complements to the potato flavor.  The firecracker shrimp were spicy, with a bit of a kick.  The two appetizers were more than enough for the four of us to share.  Kish and Laura then had the beet salad.  I tried the soup of the day, which was a fine duck and zucchini puree.  I scraped the bowl to enjoy every drop.

The stuffed pork tenderloin

Chuck, Laura, and Kish got the Black Creek Bistro’s signature entree, which is slow-roasted duck gnocchi, with gnocchi, hand-pulled duck meat, cranberries, and a garlic cream sauce.  I couldn’t resist the stuffed pork tenderloin, which is prepared with apple, bacon, and fruit stuffing and an apple-bacon demi-glace.  It was exceptionally good.  The combination of the moist pork, the fruit, and the bacon resulted in a dish that was bursting with flavor, and the mashed spuds were a perfect accompaniment. (I didn’t eat the other vegetables on the plate, of course, but Kish did and said they were good as well.)

For dessert, Chuck and Laura had the banana tiramasu and Kish had the apple pot pie.  I finished off my meal with a well-brewed cup of coffee.  As we left, the proprietor surprised us with some handmade praline caramels prepared by the pastry chef.  We polished them off with relish.

We’ll be back to the Black Creek Bistro.

Reagan At 100

Today is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth.  Lots of people are commemorating the occasion, and the celebration will include a tribute video aired before the Super Bowl.

I never met Reagan — although I did watch from the House gallery as he gave one of his State of the Union speeches — and I can’t relate any personal anecdotes about him.  I can say, however, that Reagan, more than any other recent political figure, has demonstrated how the judgments of history and hindsight can be radically different from the viewpoints of the moment.

Kish and I lived in Washington, D.C. during most of the Reagan presidency.  At that time, many of the people in the Nation’s Capital dismissed and despised Reagan.  A considerable portion of the political classes honestly thought he was an amiable but senile idiot, and they were appalled that he was President.  Indeed, many of Reagan’s qualities that are now being celebrated — his unflinching optimism and belief in American exceptionalism, his steadfastness in the face of the challenges posed by the Soviet Union, and his belief in the power of free enterprise and democracy, among others — at that time were cited by his detractors as examples of a feeble, inflexible mind that was incapable of grasping and adapting to the nuances and subtleties of an ever-changing world.

Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the Reagan legacy is that, only 30 years after he took office, there seems to be an overwhelming consensus that Reagan was a towering historical figure whose presidency was a kind of golden era.  The fact that President Obama, a liberal Democrat, views Reagan as a model of sorts probably says more about what Reagan accomplished than anything else.  For that reason alone, Ronald Reagan’s birthday is well worth celebrating, and his legacy is well worth remembering.