HIDDEN GEMS It’s strange to think that thousands of years ago, food was a necessity and not something that can be gussied up and served with crème fraise. The cavemen did not know how to supreme a citrus. They did not marinate their fine cuts of meat. The cavemen had furry, bloody clumps of dead animal on the ground. Humanity has advanced. Today, it takes a rocket scientist to make some of the dishes that exist today. Dining is an adventure. Going to a new restaurant and eating a new food is beyond survival nowadays—it’s an experience.
Maybe we’ve advanced too far. Chain restaurants provide average food that is consistent at any location across the globe. There’s no adventure in having the same kung pao chicken in Santa Fe and St. Louis. In a world where people have settled for microwaved pasta dishes commercially produced by faux-Italian franchises, there exist diamonds in the rough. They are quaint places you’ve noticed but never considered entering. They are the places you’ve heard whispers of but have never made plans to visit. They are hidden gems.
Who is Kinley, and more importanlty, what are his secrets?
Well, I went to his house to find out. When I entered his humble abode, my gluteals melted on the soft cushions and my cold cheeks were warmed with the smell of coffee. I was starving, and so Kinley offered me ramen. Not the dehydrated kind you microwave, the kind that punches you in the taste buds and punctures your icy heart. I indulged in every slurp of my noodles and teared at the thought that I was almost done. Dessert anyone? How about strawberry nutella crepes complimented with a medium vanilla soy chai latte (notice how I didn’t say tall or grande). Before you judge me for being a gross fatty, understand this: The crepes had nutella AND whipped cream. It’s as if Kinley was trying to fatten me up and roast me like a Thanksgiving turkey. Kinley’s occassionally has live music and always has studious college hipsters. It’s the kind of environment for any college student, where you make conversation with a stranger while you wait for your zebra mocha latte, then sit down to write your English paper without worying about the loud surroundings. Ironically, Kinley’s house is located across one of the biggest franchises in the entire universe: Starbucks, and that takes guts. So if you ever have to make that difficult decision of choosing between Starbucks and Kinleys, let me make your decision easier. Kinley’s has food. Whether its a PB&J bagel for breakfast, a BLT with avocado, or a Crys Salad with balsamic vinaigratte and almonds, if you are going to be spending a couple hours studying,
it is better to have the option of eating. If you don’t plan on staying five hours to procrastinate your studies, stop by for mango frozen yogurt or a strawberry banana smoothie. What makes the experience so much better is that Kinley himself asked how I was. Did you know “How is your coffee? Can I get something else for you? Kinley owns a pug? It’s all on the house.” Okay, he didn’t say that, but the He looks like a friendly business owner, and his employees really wrinkly coffee do care about their custombean. ers, and that counts for something. Just as home is where the heart is, Kinley’s house can be found on every coffee cup- 2231 N. Mesa, warming your soul. Unless you decide to go drive through, where you freeze in your car, and save ten percent. = Montse Muñoz