Life and adventures from a high school perspective
An avid cyclist, rock climber, and all around adventurer, Francis Davis is taking to the internet to share his stories of cycling, climbing, and adventuring.
Oh man, what a weekend! The semester at Hawken ended last Friday, and the student body gratefully recieved a four day weekend. But don't worry, school's not out yet. Hawken has a somewhat special schedule, we have "intensives" twice a year. Basically just one class for three weeks, all day long - I have mixed feelings about it. But back to the weekend: adventure was calling. I started out on Saturday going "off-roading" with one of my Dad's childhool pals, Dave. He has spent the last several years modifying a Jeep Wrangler to fit his off-roading needs.
As a budding car enthusiast, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit our local trails. I am super excited to be getting my temporary driving permits in just a month and a half from now. Of course my mom is more than a little nervous - it's her nature and I can't fault her for it. Sometimes I like to stir the fire a little bit, just to keep her on her toes. She always says, "you definitely need to have a manual for your first car." To which I respond, "of course". She responds, "you have much better control of the car, and it is much better in the snow." I jest, "yah yah yah, but that's not the real reason. I'm just excited to be doing 'featuring the engine' every morning on my way to school and doing burn-outs in the driveway". Of course she ripostes with fire in her voice and malace in her eyes, "YOU'RE MISSING THE POINT!". I just grin as we continue on our way to school
Back to the off-roading: I was eager to take the first available opportunity I could to drive the Jeep. I'm trying to get as much car experience as I can before I get my temps. The only issue is that it was a manual. But fret not, I did not encounter too many issues. In fact, I would say that it was a relatively easy learning curve. Understanding the general concept certainly helped! Furthermore I think that a fairly empty space with not a lot to hit / not a lot that would damage the car is a good place to learn indeed! In fact, here's a video of me hill-climbing with the Jeep, not 1/2 bad!
On Sunday I went to work at the butcher shop, and in the evening my Dad and I departed for Fayetteville, WV, my longterm summer haunt for the past two years as well as this summer. I hadn't been climbing outside nor to Fayetteville for nearly a year, and I was practically jittery with excitement. As we approached the campground, a five minute drive from downtown Fayetteville, I suddenly felt the urge to see downtown Fayetteville. Yes, it was 10:00 and everything was dark, but by gosh, I wanted to see it. My Dad didn't understand, and I'm not sure that I do either. I felt complete in that moment. Fayetteville has treated me so well, and I've been so happy to have the distinct privilegeto call it my home for the past couple of summers. I am unbelievably excited to return this summer; but for now it's back to school! P.S. below are some climbing pics, enjoy!
As some of you know, I spend every Tuesday afternoon / Wednesday morning with my grandma in Hunting Valley. We have an arrangement: she picks me up from school, I help make dinner, she makes breakfast, and we hang out! I must say that I do thoroughly enjoy this time that I do spend with her. I consider myself to be so lucky to have her around. She is such a positive force in my life, sometimes it is overhwhelming. She has always been there for me; and I try to be there for her. I am so fortunate that I have the opportunity to spend time with her frequently. In fact as I'm writing this I'm sitting with her by the fire! Some people I know seldom see their relatives with such frequency, if at all. I am lucky indeed! Thought of the day: Deep relationships are undervalued.
I know it's been a long time coming, but here it is. Enjoy!
When I was in D.C. I had the distinct honor to dine at the Kinship Restaurant. This experience was certainly in the upper echelons of my many restaurant experiences, as well as my first experience at a Michelin rated restaurant. Usually I like to break my reviews into four categories: ambiance, service, food, and the big takeaway. Enjoy!
The décor in this restaurant is refreshingly modern and minimalistic. I particularly enjoyed the attention to detail with the lighting - it was just right! I could go on and on about this, but I absolutely detest eating in the dark. Now at my age, I have no problem reading the menu, but some more “advanced” folks I often see with flashlights and magnifying glasses, which completely compromises the vibe of the restaurant. Furthermore, you have to be able to see the food. At the same time, the lighting was not too bright, and contributed to the snug vibe of the establishment. The earthen flatware was reminiscent of a more classical period, but was incorporated nicely into the modern vibe and I feel only benefitted the experience. Overall, the ambiance was properly executed, but not overdone or over accentuated which is also a big no-no.
The service was undoubtably another smashing success. My server was very thoughtful and kind, furthermore, he had a complete mastery of the menu which is absolutely critical in any fine dining (or otherwise) situation. He was of course able to present and explain to me each element on the plate when each course came out. The service was overall prompt and courteous, and my water glass never went empty.
The menu at Kinship is very interesting. It is not organized like a normal menu going with appetizers, entrées, and desserts. Instead the food is categorized in five sections: Craft, History, Ingredient, Indulgence, and “For the Table”. Each different section encapsulate the appetizer through dessert range. The point of this menu style is to accentuate a certain feature of each plate - a decision I quite like! Craft honors the cooking style or preparation of the food, the History section circumscribes classic dishes that are worth repeating, Ingredient respects and grooms the plate to feature a single aspect / ingredient of the dish, Indulgence obviously represents richer and / or more expensive foods like caviar, foie gras, and lobster, and “For the Table” encapsulates larger plates that are designed to be shared like a whole roasted chicken.
My strategy for the food was to order three courses. I attempted to sample from a different menu section for each course. I was remarkably satisfied and very full at the end of the meal.
For my first course I ordered from the Craft section of the menu the cuttlefish confit. It was nothing short of exemplary in almost every distinction. The meat itself was creamy but maintained a firm texture making it an absolute pleasure in the mouth. The presentation on the fish was simple but well executed with uniformly spaced and deep scoring which also allowed a deeper penetration of the flavor from the sauce. The sauce itself consisted of a turmeric - garlic vinaigrette which added an excellent freshness to the dish. There was a small amount of couscous as well which served well as a break from the fish in conjunction with the grilled watermelon radish and the citrus.
Next I ordered an entrée from the Ingredient section. To start on a low-note, the wait time for the quail was slightly excessive, approaching nearly 30 minutes. Although I understand that the design of the service tempo is purposely slow, this was still unnecessary. The presentation of the quail was again simple yet profound, and the aroma that accompanied it was rich and sonorous. My first impression of the dish was the Espelette (French pepper) broth; it was speckled with color and of a rich brown color. The liver that accompanied the quail happened to be my first bite, one that consisted of a slight crunch on the outside followed by a cacophony of velvet on the inside due to the beautiful temperature that it was cooked to. As for the centerpiece of the dish, the quail was done masterfully. Remember, the ingredient section represents in this case the quail, and each other aspect of the dish is meant really to only feature the quail. The bird itself had a profound crispness on the outside and absolute tenderness on the inside - similar to the liver. For me however, the broth was perhaps the best part of the dish serving as a liaison, a communicator of sorts between the quail and the other aspects of the dish such as the Garganelli pasta. My one qualm with the dish was the overall richness. At the time, it was spring in D.C. and 80 degrees outside. I can’t justify having winter fare during the spring-time - it’s unnecessary.
The Big Takeaway:
is that I would definitely recommend Kinship DC! I really enjoyed how the menu was presented, and the service and the food were each commendable. A word on price: I was actually able to dine there for less then I was expecting. Quite a few of the menu options are very reasonable indeed, especially if you steer clear from the caviar!