Our First Bernie Volunteer

It was about 12:30 this afternoon.  I had just walked back from work, and Kish and I were getting ready to go out for some lunch and a trip to the Short North when we heard a knock at the door.

Kasey ran to the door and started barking like crazy.  I scooped her up and opened the door, and a pleasant college-type kid who looked like he was about 20 was on our doorstep, wearing a “Bernie for President” t-shirt and carrying a clipboard.

IMG_0735“Hi, I’m here for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, encouraging you to get out and vote on Tuesday,” he said.  He consulted his clipboard and asked for Kish by name, revealing that the campaign had given him information from the voter rolls and he knew she was a registered D.  When she came to the door, he asked her who she was voting for, and she said she was feeling the Bern.

He smiled and had a look of real relief on his face, like he was afraid we were going to yell at him or slam the door in his face.  “So, can I put you down as a strong likely vote for Bernie?” he asked.  “I know that sounds silly, but this is the first time I’ve done this, and I’m kind of nervous.  This is the first house I’ve stopped at,” he added.  Kish said sure, and as he made a check mark on his sheet she asked him for one of those “Bernie for President” pieces you can hang on the doorknobs of people who aren’t home.  He gladly gave us one, said goodbye and left, consulting his clipboard for the next registered D on the list.

That’s the first door knock and canvassing effort we’ve had at our German Village place.  If people are wondering whether the Sanders campaign has a “ground game” in Ohio, we’d just seen our first tangible evidence that the answer is “yes.”  It made me glad, too, that we’d been the first house the nervous kid had visited, and he came away with a “yes” vote for his candidate.

Democracy is pretty cool.

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Jazz Dinner Club At The Refectory

Last night we joined our friends the Bahamians for a Jazz Dinner Club event at the Refectory, which is one of Columbus’ finest restaurants.  Although the concept has been around for four years, last night was the first I’ve heard of it — and it was great.  I’m grateful to the Bahamians, who are always on the cutting edge, for suggesting it.

The Jazz Dinner Club is held upstairs, in the “choir loft” at the Refectory, in a room that is normally used for small banquets or private parties.  (In fact, the last time I was there was for a big birthday celebration for Mom many years ago.)  It’s an intimate venue for a musical performance, seating about 45 people.  For $69 you get your ticket and a set four-course meal, with a different menu for every performance.  We then added a four-glass wine flight the Refectory selects from its terrific wine cellar to complement every course for $30.95, to bring the per-person tab to an even $100 for a special evening.

IMG_0696Letting somebody else pick the food and the wine sounds a bit adventurous — and it is.  However, the Refectory food is always exceptional and their wine cellar is among the best in Columbus, and the spirit of experimentation puts you in the right frame of mind for listening to the music of a newly discovered artist.  Last night the Refectory started us off with a very tasty (and complimentary) Kir Royale champagne cocktail, and the food and wines were uniformly excellent.  I was proud that I ate every bit of the green bean and Corsican feta cheese terrine that was the first course (Look, Mom!  I’ve actually consumed green beans!), and I particularly liked the Leoncini ham and mushroom vol au vent (paired with a very fine Solena Grande Cuvee Pinot Noir, 2013) and the caramelized pineapple clafoutis (paired with a delicate Andrew Quady Electra Orange) for dessert.  I’m not a dessert wine fan, but I’d definitely buy a bottle of the Electra Orange, which was light and not overly sweet, for home dinner party purposes.

As fine as the food was, the music was even better.  Last night’s artist was Diego Figueiredo, a solo Brazilian guitarist, who played a wide array of bossas and sambas and traditional Brazilians songs, selections from the American Songbook, and original pieces, with a few classical allusions thrown in.  He was incredibly gifted, and being seated only 20 feet away we were able to appreciate his lightning-like fret fingering, his impeccable timing, his fingernail-focused strumming technique — he doesn’t use a pick, so the fingernails on his right hand are grown out and carefully sculpted to approximate picks — and his exurberant personality.  Mr. Figueroa not only was a brilliant musician, he also was having a lot of fun playing the songs, and the audience had a lot of fun right there with him.  After evening ended, I bought a few of his CDs, which really is the ultimate acid test.

The event ran from 6 to 9, so it fits with the schedules of even the early bird senior citizens among us, and it was top-notch from beginning to end.  I’m sure we’ll be doing the Jazz Dinner Club again, and I’m glad we found another great option that Columbus nightlife has to offer.