Kolache Republic

IMG_5973Well, on the day before we celebrate the founding of the American Republic, Kish and I discovered Kolache Republic.  It was a pleasant discovery, indeed.

Kolache Republic is one of those restaurants that you hear about through word of mouth.  It’s located in an unassuming brick building on South High Street, on the western edge of German Village.  It’s legendary among German Villagers for serving the best inexpensive breakfast in town.  We’ve been meaning to give it a try, and today we finally got there.

IMG_5976Unfortunately, we did not get there in time for breakfast.  Kolache Republic is one of those places that makes its fare and sells it, and when it’s gone — it’s gone.  By the time we arrived around noon, the breakfast kolaches were gone.

Fortunately, however, the KR was still serving lunch, and that meant that one of the two stalwarts running the shop told me about the Cuban sandwich kolache, made with shredded pulled pork and sausage.  The meat is baked inside the bread, and the result is incredibly moist and flavorful.  Served with some spicy, bright-tasting mustard sauce on the side, it was ridiculously good — in fact, it was one of the best meat and bread concoctions I’ve had in years.  It was so good I can’t wait to spring it on Dr. Science, who usually is the person who is in-the-know on great restaurants that are off the beaten path.  And, the Cuban sandwich kolache was a downright bargain at only $6.95.

The whole meal, which also included a blueberry and sweet cheese kolache, a pecan kolache, and two excellent cups of coffee, was a steal at about $15.00.  It made me more than happy to contribute to the “college fund” tip jar next to the register.

As I said, Kolache Republic is one of those hidden gems that you hear about only through word of mouth.  Consider yourself clued in.

Botany On The Wing

IMG_5962Back in school we all learned about how plants are pollinated and how the bees became part of, well, “the birds and the bees.”  So it was with some delight that I walked out my front door last night, heard some thrumming in the air, and turned to see his industrious bee tumbling and bumbling in the flowering bushes of our front beds. With his keister coated in pollen, he was a living testament to the wonders of botany.

Final Thoughts On Same-Sex Marriage, And America

The Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling has America talking.  It’s one of those events that can’t help but cause people of all persuasions and perspectives to stop and reflect — not so much on the relative merit of the Supreme Court’s opinion as a matter of constitutional jurisprudence, but rather on the fascinating, shifting, never-set-in-stone course of public opinion in our country.

In many recent conversations with friends, people have shaken their heads in wonderment at the speed with which people in the country have accepted the concept of same-sex relationships and, ultimately, same-sex marriage.  It’s hard to think of any other issue, during my lifetime, where prevailing public opinion seems to have shifted more rapidly.  Millennials have had a lot to do with this change.  At a recent dinner party, one of our friends was relating a conversation she had with her Millennial son about sexual orientation, and he said:  “Mom, to us it’s like being left-handed.”  I thought that was a really interesting — and encouraging — perspective.

On another level, the issue of same-sex marriage shows that, in America, if you wait long enough and pay attention, you’ll notice that things often come full circle.

Those of us who lived through the ’60s and ’70s remember that the avant garde, liberal position in those days was that marriage was passe.  Some people advocated free love and “open relationships” and argued that true commitment couldn’t really be based on a mere piece of paper, others derided marriage as a quaint throwback to the outdated notions of prior generations that could only stifle personal expression, still others pointed to the increasing divorce statistics and argued that the realities of the modern world meant that old-fashioned marriage simply could not work in the fast-paced modern world.  Of course, those arguments didn’t stop most of us from getting married, anyway.

During the ’60s and ’70s who would have predicted that, decades later, the issue of the right to engage in a legal marriage, in all of its get a license from a public agency, say your vows in front of the world, traditional glory, would be at the very forefront of the social change agenda?

Now THAT’S A Wine List!

1d9HJ9uyifyiyQekFi81qQ7lQ0n12fEoS610pTCxrW_kDOmp32CEnq25ObypiSN5OSR5IjWT-oaOhv-9N2BxJqzuuPL0VGNAoGcAOlym3CqABB_SWZsQ0lIKQ9b5ZmrgNKaGgtFyNSnUe0177gVjD4vTDZGLZ4JepVEBVTKKn40Vz8uZlsCoE7s84NuaG6hZnV3ltiEYrijN3hxcdQCScW1Kd878w_Our good friends the Bahamians are on an extended holiday in Europe.  At one of their stops, at La Tour d’Argent, when they asked for the wine list they were given this Manhattan phone book-sized inventory of the restaurant’s wine cellar.

No wonder Mr. Bahamian, so nattily and continentally attired in basic black, looks a bit perplexed in this picture!  If I had to wade through a thousand-page wine list, I’d be ready to order, say, about next weekend.

Warding Off The Evil Eye

The Wrestling Fan and his lovely wife recently spent a few weeks hiking around Turkey.  He returned from his travels with a gift for us — a blue pendant with an eye-like set of concentric circles on the front.

IMG_5958Called a nazar (in Turkish, the Nazar Boncugu) the little pendant is supposed to serve as a kind of good luck charm that can protect you from the ravages of the “Evil Eye.”  The notion that people can give you the “Evil Eye” — whether through witchcraft, or sorcery, or deviltry, or simply through the sheer force of outright, pulsating human envy and hatred, that certain people can hurt you with a glance — is one of the oldest superstitions known to homo sapiens.  And that superstition still has legs.  According to the WF, this little blue pendant is the most popular souvenir in Turkey, sold and seen everywhere.

It was nice of the Wrestling Fan to get us some protection from the Evil Eye.  But now we are faced with a true quandary:  where do we most need this important personal shield?  It would be great to have it at the office, where I probably could use every bit of help, from any source, in resisting the depredations of opposing parties and counsel.  However, I don’t want to hog the protection.  You never know when Kish might need the nazar on the homefront, to fend off the evil antics of slow-moving service providers.  And for that matter, maybe it’s greedy to keep the nazar to ourselves.  Let’s face it — the entire city of Cleveland could use a Nazar Boncugu to help one of its sports teams finally win a championship one of these years.

Now that I think about it, I wish the WF had packed a few more nazars into his suitcase.

The Fireworks Perspective

I love fireworks.  Who doesn’t?  They’re magical.  On the other hand, Red, White & Boom, Columbus’ titanic Fourth of July fireworks show, is an absolute zoo.  Hundreds of thousands of people cram into downtown to watch the blasts and hear the booms, and then the city is gridlocked forever by a colossal, once-a-year traffic jam.

IMG_5957I hate massive, milling crowds of sweaty, messily drunken people, and I despise unending, exhaust-laden traffic jams.  So, as much as I like fireworks, I have let my disdain for getting caught in a crush of humanity keep me from ever watching a Red, White & Boom show.

Until this year — potentially.  The accompanying photo is taken from one of the chairs at the table in our backyard.  It shows the tops of two of the buildings in the southern part of downtown Columbus.  On Friday night, when Red, White & Boom begins, I’ll be out in my backyard, drinking an ice-cold adult beverage and waiting to see whether the fireworks are visible from my backyard perch.  If so, I’ll quaff my frosty tonic and enjoy the show.  If the fireworks unfortunately don’t show above the rooftops, I guess I’ve just have to guzzle my brew nevertheless.

The Call Home

 When I’m on the road for business, there is one unvarying element of my travel routine:  the call home.  I’m like ET that way.  In fact, it’s usually two calls home — one when I get to my hotel room and drop my bags off,  and then another when I’m back in the room for good and ready to turn in for the night.
Why two calls?  The first one is easy to explain.  When I’m traveling, I just want Kish to know where I am.  So, I’ll call and remind her of the name of my hotel and give her my assigned room number.  In the age of cell phones, this is probably pointless — who wants to hassle with a hotel switchboard when you can call somebody directly? — but it still makes me feel good that she knows where I am.

The second call has a deeper, less rational purpose.  Business travel is weird.  You’re alone in an unknown hotel room, with all of its alien sights and sounds.  Hearing the familiar voice of a loved one just makes the strange room feel less strange. 

Curiously, too, the more mundane the conversation, the greater the degree of emotional comfort that is imparted.  I don’t need to be entertained by some abstract discussion about a recent Supreme Court decision or the latest episode of a hot TV show.  Fill my ear with talk about the HVAC systems guy’s comments about what we need to do to our ducts, however, and I’ll be a happy camper.  Those are the conversations that make me feel like we’re at home, talking on the sofa about the events of the day.  It’s exactly the kind of comforting mental image that helps me to slip into slumberland.