Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Night At Kuleto's

I came home from school in a rush. The second I stepped through the door, I began getting ready for an Ivy League Connection dinner located in San Francisco. Kuleto's is the name of the restaurant, and it is situated on Powell Street, in between a few popular shops, and right up the street of the Westfield Mall. I quickly ran upstairs to take a shower. When I got out, I went to my closet to put together my outfit for the evening. We were told to dress formally. I was extremely anxious, my mind was running wild, wondering which shirt, pants, and blazer I should wear. After all, it was my first time eating at a high class restaurant. By the time I finished all the ironing of my clothes and the nagging at my dad, it was about 4:15 PM. My dad drove to the El Cerrito Plaza Bart Station with the help of my trusty iPhone. We arrived at approximately 4:45 PM, and on our way to the station we ran into Don. While others arrived one at a time, the group engaged in idle chat; mainly about AP tests and grades -- the usual high school conversations. I met new people such as Madeline Kronenberg, Charles Ramsey, and Genevieve Simmons. 

We were all given our BART tickets and hopped on the BART to the Powell Station. During the ride, I sat next to Yura, the mother of a Yale student and Ivy League Connection Grand Strategy alum. I talked to her about my interests and inquired about how her daughter felt about Yale and the Grand Strategy program (now called the Young Global Scholars Program.) The train finally stopped and we headed out to Kuleto's as a group. The interior of Kuleto's was amazing. Keep in mind that this is all new to me. The atmosphere was filled with the smell of wine, champagne, and Italian cuisine, giving it an elite air that I have never experienced. I walked down the stairs to the Machiavelli Room and was surprised at the number of people. The first two people I met were named Sophia and Andrew, two Yale alumni. Before the conversation could truly start, we were instructed to find our seats. My name card was put in between two Yale alumni, Tiffany Ng and Mo Lau. To the right of Mo Lau was my cohort, Eric Wilson, to the right of Eric was a Yale alum named Tyler He, to the right of Tyler He was Eric's mom, and to the right of Eric's mom, or left of Tiffany Ng, was my dad -- creating a large circle. 
The restaurant of the evening, Kuleto's.

Before the dinner started, we all greeted each other. Most of the time I spoke to Tiffany, I learned that she majored in Music and English at Yale. I asked her about Yale and college life and in turn, she asked about my hobbies and future aspirations. Later in the dinner, I learned that Mo Lau owned a tech company and Tyler was aiming to find the new Facebook. One thing that almost everyone in the table had in common was an involvement with their high school Speech and Debate team. We spoke of different types of debates and resolutions. 

The food was one of the exquisite parts of the night. The salad was delicious. The vegetables were a bit sweet and crunchy, yet just slightly bitter and topped off with garlic croutons, ranch, and parmesan cheese. For the main course there were two choices, salmon and steak, I ordered the steak. It was delicious! The steak was a filet mignon topped with butter. My father and I described the steak as soft and juicy. But the highlight of the meal was definitely the dessert. A warm, moist chocolate cake with a semi-liquid center topped with a small scoop of rich vanilla bean ice cream. This was one of the best desserts I've had. The cake wasn't too sweet nor bitter and the vanilla was tasted nice and rich.

During the three course meal, everyone (except the parents that were brought along) introduced themselves. We listened to a few people give speeches, including Charles Ramsey, Don Gosney, and our very own Eric Wilson, who was the featured speaker of the evening. After our dinner was finished, Don had us take group pictures. First it was a picture of the Yale graduates, then, Eric, Joshua, Liam, and I had to squeeze in the center of the picture. The picture-taking signaled the end of our dinner. My cohorts and I introduced ourselves to James Lu, a Yale graduate who has a daughter attending the same program as us. He gave us his contact information and we proceeded to chat a bit. A few minutes later I said my goodbyes to Ashley and Tyler (I couldn't find Mo Lau) and they gave me their contact information. As a group we walked back up to Kuleto's main floor. I got to re-experience the elite air that was caused by the bright lighting, white walls, large pictures, candle-lit table, spacious dining area, and the intimate aura of the people of each table.

Stepping out of the brightness of the restaurant into the darkness of Powell Street, I felt the cool air of night time San Francisco caressing my face. As we walked back down to Powell Station, as a group, I marveled at the bright colorful lights of the city. I have always been fascinated by the bright lights and the hustle and bustle of urban areas. I was told by the Yale alumni that New Haven, although not like San Francisco, was an area filled with many activities. I doubt that I will be exploring much of New Haven with the rumored twelve to thirteen hours, but nevertheless I am excited to explore the East Coast and meet new people, while indulging in my passion of government and politics.

As a group we walked back to the Powell Bart Station in the Westfield Mall. Some of the alumni and adults decided went home on their own, while the kids, parents, ILC heads, and a few adults and alumni took BART. During the ride home I spoke with Austin Long, a current student at Yale. He is from a neighboring town and explained to me about the application process, what makes you stand out in school, and what colleges are looking for in a student. He told me his personal story of being accepted into Yale, and overall his story encouraged me to apply to Ivy League schools such as Columbia and Yale.

This night was a lot of fun. I learned so much about Yale and college life. Tonight was a rare experience and I am glad that through the Ivy League Connection I could experience it. I just can't wait to go study at Yale this summer and study government and politics, while meeting new people. The glutton in me also wants to taste the pizza of New Haven, which is rumored to be extra exceptional.
My outfit of the night.

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