Tag: Food

Bangers and Monster Mash

Welcome to another blog post focused on aesthetic things.

Don’t know why I’ve been doing so many of these recently, but I’ll hedge my bets and blame the new Instagram account and my Visual Comm class for both making me focus on the appearance of things in the world around me.

Today that happened to come into play when I went out for pseudo-lunch/dinner with some members of the Boom crew as a mini-gathering before we host something larger later on in the semester.

Dr. Sexton brought us to a place down by Fullerton College called The Olde Ship.

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If this picture alone doesn’t suggest it, The Olde Ship is essentially a British pub smack dab in the middle of Old West Yankee country. It’s apparently a small chain in Orange County, if you can count two locations as a chain restaurant, but I probably wouldn’t.

Because the place definitely feels like a pub you’d find in some small village in England somewhere.

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Not that I’d know what that feels like to be fair, as I’ve never been to England before. But it seems like exactly what I’d expect based on popular media. Like the Kingsman movies.

We all know that popular media is a good barometer of what things are like in real life, right?

I suppose that’s as much of an interesting observation as any, the fact that I implicitly gauged a location’s authenticity by the aesthetic I’ve noticed in pop culture. But to be frank that’s not what I wanted to touch on with this place.

Nor did I want to touch on the corned beef sandwich I had. Except I will briefly just to say that they made a pretty darn good corned beef sandwich. Not quite as good as my parent’s corned beef and cabbage, but I didn’t want to go down this route in the first place because I’m not fully prepared to tackle the ‘home cooked meal vs. restaurant quality’ debate at 8:45 p.m. on a Monday night. School has me too wiped for that.

Instead I wanted to talk about how bizarre it was seeing that traditionally British-style aesthetic intermingling with, of course, Halloween decorations.

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Yeah the whole place was covered in fake skulls and cobwebs and fancy little pipe cleaner spiders. All of those kitchy Halloween decorations that suburbanites love to coat their houses with as October 31st approaches.

I can’t say it wasn’t cute to see that kind of decor in such an unexpected place. But I do feel like I have to say that it was unexpected to see those two aesthetics clashing together.

Now granted that may, once again, be a problem of my own sheltered sense of scale. Maybe there are tons of pubs over in ye olde England that love to decorate their things with cliché, kitchy Halloween stuff. It’s just not the kind of thing I’ve ever personally heard of in my limited, media-driven understanding of the world.

In a way it’s kind of cool that I got to take that interesting observation out of lunch/dinner. On top of the wonderful company, of course.

But maybe there is some bigger, underlying point about media representation and worldview. I’m just frankly too tired to know whether I should dive into it any further or if I’m just crazy and rambling about nothing.

Which, to be fair, is a very strong possibility.


Before I signed this one-off, I did want to mention that my focus on aesthetics in these last two post was actually for a more substantial purpose than just corruption by my liberal college education or whatever.

While taking pictures for my Visual Comm aesthetics assignment, it really got hammered into my head that iPhone photos are way huger than I thought they were. Which, in turn, led me to realize that the reason why I’m filling up all of my media space here on the blog so quickly is because I almost exclusively use iPhone photos.

So taking pictures of buildings at Pasadena City College yesterday and of this pub today were somewhat underhanded attempts to practice a new form of throwing pictures up on my posts without having them be humongous messes I have to deal with down the line.

If all the pictures I’ve taken seem smaller than usual, that’s why. It’s probably going to be the norm from now on.

Strange restaurant names?

Originally I was going to skip writing a post tonight because I’ve been busy with chores, homework and cleaning for the imminent arrival of my Grandma this week — plus the gym as an added bonus, but I just couldn’t get this out of my head.

I had to share it.

My family was over at the Century City Mall for a solid chunk of the day to hit up a couple stores (which, fun fact, is the same place I was when I wrote my Summer 2018 Initiative post), and at one end was this place:

The Crack Shack. A fried chicken and egg-themed restaurant as I found out through rudimentary research.

We didn’t actually eat at this place so I can’t pass any sort of judgement regarding how good the food is. I’m purely here to pick on the name.

Because let’s be honest here, Crack Shack sounds like a junkie’s favorite dining experience.

Honestly just thinking about that alone made me laugh enough that I felt it was worth going back to take a picture as we were moving on. But then I thought about it more…

And I came to the realization that Crack Shack isn’t even the weirdest egg-themed restaurant name. Because eggslut is a thing.

These kind of viral or gag-based named websites became a very interesting subject to me this afternoon after thinking about these places.

I personally would not want to eat at a restaurant called Crack Shack, for instance. Mostly due to that drug association that I can no longer delink in my head. I also don’t know that I want to eat at eggslut for essentially the same principle, even though I’ve heard the food is really good.

So I can’t help but wonder whether or not trying to make a viral name is actually helpful for business.

On the one hand, there’s something to be said for the old idiom that any publicity is good publicity.

But on the other hand, you risk hitting a threshold where your name is so off-putting that nobody wants to visit after that initial media splurge.

I can’t say what that threshold would be, as some place like eggslut is a very popular place for a combination of its quirky, provocative name and (reportedly) good food, and if there are any restaurants that have been shut down for their overtly edgy name, I certainly haven’t heard of them.

That said, I suppose I’ll leave it here: If you know of any really bizarrely named restaurants (that have either survived or crashed and burned), I’d be very interested to hear about them.

I’d also like to know what you think the absolute threshold might be between a quirky, provocative name for a restaurant and something over-the-top.

So yeah, let me know somewhere on the Internet!



As an extra added bonus, while visiting a Blick art store on the way home, Aly and I came across this miniature T-Rex.

It was adorable and we got this great picture of it, so I wanted to share.

Hopefully it can help usher you all into a better night.

Sleeping, working and dying.

If I had to characterize my day today in just a few words, it would be easy. Sleeping, dying and working.

Basically a perfect microcosm of life I suppose.

Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’ve been sick lately. Today happened to feature a nasty flare-up, which led to sleeping in until at least 1:00 p.m. followed by an afternoon of sequestering myself away in my room to avoid disrupting the world with my somewhat intense cough and Advil-riddled outlook.

On the one hand that seclusion was a positive because, as I mentioned, it gave me the chance to focus on work. I managed to work through my entire transcript for the interview I conducted with Magic the other day, giving me an easy head start for the profile and Spotlight I’m writing.

On the other hand I basically spent the whole day sitting around in my own sick misery. That’s never exactly a positive, all things considered.

Because of that rather uneventful course of events, I don’t have a bunch to talk about in this blog post.

So I just wanted to give a shout out to the one thing today that gave me a series relief outside of drugs: Chinese food.

Yeah that sounds silly I know. But really, what’s better on a day when you’re sick than some hot, tasty soup.

Now I don’t have a lot to say about Chinese food specifically, don’t get me wrong. I’m not promising a particularly meaty discussion here. I just figured it was worth reflecting on something or another to avoid a day where I haven’t written anything.

Even if, to be fair, I did write about 6,000 words or so just transcribing my interview. But that’s a different story.

Though writing it out seems silly from how ubiquitous the act is in American life, My family has ordered in a lot of food over the years. Chinese and Pizza are the chief culprits, naturally, though with more recent advents like Grubhub that spectrum of potential has expanded widely.

One thing I’ve given almost no thought to over all those years is the middle man in the equation, that person who delivers the food. Don’t ask me why, it seems like they would be the first thing that comes to mind from how ever-present the idea of being a food delivery person is in popular culture, but I guess I’ve always been more focused on the destination than the journey in that regard.

Today I’m feeling a bit more fond toward the delivery people of the world. Perhaps it’s some outlandish association between the comfort that came from hot soup against my sore throat and the fact that it wouldn’t have been possible without the guy from Emerald Garden at the door.

Even if it is a very specific association, it’s something to extrapolate much further. It’s easy to say that those delivery people, like many others who hold jobs we may take for granted, are what help keep modern day society rolling along as smoothly as it does. For the most part.

So take this as a plea from a sad, strange little man dying from a cold. Treat your delivery people well and tip them well. Because they deserve it.

Thanks for the soup you wonderful man. I hope your July brings many great things!

Nothing to see here

I’ll be completely honest, I’m not feeling very inspired to write about anything in particular tonight.

There’s no topic coming to mind that I think I could write anything substantial about just off-the-cuff, and the only things I did of note throughout the day were apply for a position on the Honors Program’s Student Advisory Council for next year and go out for ramen with Mom and Aly.

Granted it was good ramen, but I’m not honestly in the mood to wax poetic about my food or go into some childhood backstory about Naruto like my sister suggested.

So I think I’m just going to cut things short for the night, take this L and come back to write more tomorrow. Probably about the classes I’m going to register for in the morning or something.

Hope everyone out there who reads this space filler to end all space fillers has a good night all the same!

The Big Band Banquet, 2018

The Big Band Banquet, 2018

For the second year in a row I have made the pilgrimage out to the Double Tree hotel in Torrance for the end-of-year Redondo Union High School band banquet.

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As Dad aptly put it, the event marks the end of our family’s sixth year of high school. Two for Aly after I finished my four. The whole band portion is obviously newer to me personally, but we’ve spent more than enough time discussing the fact that my sister is a great musician (whose performances you can see in my blog posts here and here).

One thing that stood out about this year compared to last year is the fact that my friend Tiana was not in attendance. Her brother graduated from RUHS last year, so she had no reason to go back.

As silly as it sounds, I actually missed seeing her for what had become a regular game of phone picture tag at most of the high school band events.

But oh well, I suppose that’s life. Just made things a bit more boring than before.

Even if she wasn’t there, however, the room was certainly packed:

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RUHS has a huge band program, but it wasn’t just the band kids and parents, the school’s dance guard was also represented at the event.

Essentially the banquet was a celebration of a year’s worth of hard work. Graduating seniors were given a sendoff, the booster club that fundraises for the program passed the torch off to next year’s leaders and awards were given out.

Unfortunately, the microphone didn’t work. All night. So because I was in the back of the room, I couldn’t hear anything that was happening in any detail.

So instead of doing that, I figure I’ll make this post something a bit different.

I’m going to review the banquet food. Consider it a tribute to the great Anthony Bourdain on the day of his passing.

Let’s do my man proud.

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Course One — Salad

First impressions are important. Often one can judge how a meal is going to be based on the salad course.

At least, that’s what my brain is making up as something that sounds intelligent.

This salad course was decent, I’d say. It was mostly just leafy greens with shredded carrots, a single cherry tomato and a single slice of cucumber. While I ate the whole meal happily, some of the greens left a rather bitter aftertaste that made everything feel a little less great than it began.

The rolls that were also laid out alongside the salad tasted quite good. They were perhaps a little dry and grainy, but with just a bit of butter it made up for that small flaw.

Really the worst aspect of this part of the meal, I’d say, was the lemonade. Maybe I’m too accustomed to a sweet, sugary lemonade, but this one tasted somewhat blandly sour. I quickly replaced it with water as soon as I could finish the glass.

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Course Two — Chicken

For a fancy dinner banquet that fed probably close to 500+ people, the dinner course was better than I might have expected. For the most part.

The chicken was good, though it did have dry patches and a few bones that messed with the experience. What helped it shine was the sauce, which tasted something like teriyaki to me.

That was not only delicious with the chicken, but mixed in with the vegetables and mashed potatoes too.

On those two subjects, the vegetables were hit-or-miss. Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots were all tasty. All the squash wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m not a huge fan of squash in the first place so perhaps that bias colored my opinion coming in.

The mashed potatoes, however, were easily the star of the entire meal. They were fluffy and honestly delicious, especially when run through the sauce like I mentioned. I could’ve eaten a few plates of the stuff by itself, and my Dad readily agreed on the ride home.

Double Tree, your mashed potatoes won my heart. 10/10.

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Course Three — Ice Cream

It’s hard to go wrong with dessert. Especially when that dessert is vanilla bean ice cream with a little whipped cream, some chocolate sauce and a vanilla wafer cookie.

It was about as good as it sounds really, I don’t have a hell of a lot to say about it.

Perhaps my only complaint with this latter portion of the meal was the fact that the ice cream tasted a little grainy at times, perhaps too heavily stuffed with the ground vanilla bean.

To be completely honest, the ice cream almost took a back seat to the secondary dessert that was laid out at each table — not as a part of the hotel’s meal plan:

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Some genius in the band program decided to put out chocolate and taffy at each table.

While most of my personal consumption came after the official dessert course, I happily gnawed on chocolate coins, Hershey’s Kisses and licorice-flavored sea salt taffy throughout the night.

Thank you whoever made that decision.

With that food review out-of-the-way, I’ll be sure to make this post a part of my resume whenever I wind up at some Lifestyle magazine somewhere.

Because I couldn’t really hear much of what happened, like I said, I suppose that’s also all I have to say about the banquet. The night ended on a high note, with the speaker for the music that was going to play not working.

Up until it did work and blasted music from right above our table specifically out of nowhere, scaring everyone. That was about the point where Dad and I decided to skip out early, as Aly stuck back to dance with her friends.

In the end I suppose that’s what it’s all about. Aly got to have a great time with her friends. She is pretty much the social one, after all.

I do appreciate that she wanted me to come along though, if I can be real for a second. It may not have been the most fun event in the world for me, but I was still glad to come along and support her.


P.S. — I also wanted to say that I remembered the fact that last year at this time exactly I was still playing Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Even more specifically, I remember playing the mission where Alm’s army was approaching Nuibaba’s Mansion under the table at Aly’s freshman banquet.

I say that, again, because I know Aly hates it when I bring up video game stuff in the middle of posts about her music stuff.

You’re welcome, gurl.

Take your Child to Work Day

Take your Child to Work Day

Okay so it’s not actually Take your Child to Work Day…  As far as I’m aware… But for my dad it was.

Since I’m off on summer break, he decided to take me along to the office today so I could get a change of scenery and tour the office — something that my sister has been able to do, but I haven’t considering I’m off in Fullerton 99 percent of the time right now.

Obviously I can’t bury the lede too deep considering the big reveal is spoiled in the featured image.

If it even is a spoiler? I’ve probably talked about this before.

My dad is a Senior Director at Fandango, the movie ticket and streaming media site owned by NBC Universal. It’s a pretty perfect place for him in the way it blends movie stuff and technology stuff.

But to be fair, it’s also a pretty awesome place in general.

Just in the last week he got moved into a different office, so I got to be an early observer.

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Fun fact, apparently the desks are all mechanized to allow people to adjust them into standing desks if desired. That’s neat, in my opinion.

Not just my dad’s office is cool, though. This place is chock full of movie posters, memorabilia and all sorts of other neat modern spaces.

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The more casual parts of the office extend to the outdoors as well.

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But of course there were other benefits to coming in on a Tuesday than just a nice couple of spaces to work in.

Fandango apparently does catering for its employees a couple days a week, and someone had enough foresight to bring me in on one of them. On the menu was a pretty good Mediterranean spread:

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We had lunch with one of dad’s co-workers from the NBC side, which actually was one of the nice things of coming to work with him. Getting to watch him in his element, talking with friends and colleagues.

Even if I felt like I was kind of just off to the side doing my own thing, possibly even in the way during such exchanges, it was still a good time.

Oh, but let’s not forget. The other cool perks of the job.

We were able to watch The Last Jedi on the big, fancy curved TV that was apparently a Korean prototype left over from the previous inhabitant of the office.

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That was pretty sweet. Especially when some of his co-workers came in and sat around for a while to shoot the shit about movie stuff.

While I make it sounds like the whole day was just fun-and-games, there was plenty of downtime for me where I sat around doing some work as dad went off for meetings. Plus, many of the visitors to his office were there for official work business before getting distracted by fun movie stuff.

So if anyone else from Fandango winds up reading this, don’t take it as me saying my dad just did nothing all day. I assure you that isn’t so.

However, it still was a fun day overall. A full day with my dad, going all the way back to our early morning stop at the voting booth for the California primary election today.

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Gotta do your civic duty, folks. Especially since this midterm for us means a Gubernatorial and Congressional seats race alongside a whole bunch else.

But hey, this isn’t a political post or anything. So I won’t dwell on that for too long.

It all just plays into the overall message, that I went out, had a fun day with my dad and got to see him in his natural element. Plus I got some work done in the process, so I can’t say I have too many complaints.

My shift break at the Autry Museum

My shift break at the Autry Museum

With the panic over President Trump DACA in full swing, it has been a rather crazy day for us Daily Titan reporters. However, the fruits of that labor are quite sweet if I do say so myself, and I’ll undoubtedly be talking more about it tomorrow.

But for now that’s neither here nor there. It deserves its own spotlight and this isn’t the place for it.

Instead, tonight I wanted to highlight a cool little event I got to attend in the midst of all the craziness. One of the benefits of working with Dr. Jason Sexton on Boom has been the opportunity to attend neat things he pulls together.

In this case I got to go to the Autry Museum of the American West for a late night talk discussion between Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold and California State University, Long Beach Sociologist Oliver Wang.

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(Left to right) Jonathan Gold and Oliver Wang talk at the Autry Museum in a discussion moderated by Jason Sexton and overseen by an Autry representative.

The two discussed a range of issues regarding food culture and gentrification in Chinatown with a degree of depth and sociological intrigue that I rarely consider when thinking about food. It was frankly fascinating to listen to, and having the break from the newsroom was nice amid the stress. Though I do feel like I spent more time on the road going to and from Fullerton since the Museum was about an hour away…

I was also a little bit distracted the whole time I was at the event, as I was on call with the DT to help my co-editor Brandon work on the big DACA article. Not only did I read the piece he was assembling from the elements we put together to edit it, I also helped with some last minute elements, including a rather serendipitous interview.

On that note, I do mean it when I say I had arguably the biggest moment of serendipity I’ve ever experienced as a reporter.

While staking out the center for DACA students on campus, I was also trying to get a hold of the Dean of the Library to get a statement about the center’s position in the library and whether that has been endangered.

I missed him a number of times at his office while he ran back and forth between meetings, and by the time I had to leave to make it out to the Autry Museum he was already out of the office for the day. So, I left him a message to call me and brought along a recording device for the (almost an hour and a half) drive to the Autry from CSUF hoping he would get in touch.

He did, but as it turned out the recorder I borrowed was out of battery life.

It turned out that the Dean left CSUF early because he was going to the exact same event I was. After all, the event was being moderated by Boom, which is operated out of the Pollak Library. We both found it rather funny that the meeting I was hoping to avoid interrupting on his schedule happened to be the same one I was also attending.

Once I had that interview together I was able to show off the true benefits of being a reporter in the 21st century. I used my iPhone as a personal hotspot to upload the audio recording to gmail so I could send it back to the newsroom for transcription and implementation into the story. It even wound up being a big chunk of it too, so it was a worthwhile grab.

After all was said and done, I also had time to come back to the newsroom to help finish our shift. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this very post from there. I don’t know, something about the whole exchange just stands out in my head as being really cool.

While that story I’ll be able to tell about going to the event was certainly one thing I’ll always remember, it also held a rather important distinction as being something I was able to share with my Dad. When I first RSVP’d to go, Mom had told me that he was a fan of Jonathan Gold’s work. So, I snagged two spots and managed to slip the time off onto his work schedule.

Even though it was short-term and I went straight into a 40-minute drive back to work right after, the fact that I was able to spend some time with my Dad at an interesting and cool event at a place neither of us had been to was awesome. I feel like I so rarely get the chance to thank him for everything he has done for me growing up taking him to a new experience like this was great, even if I was half-working the whole time.

Plus, it gave him the chance to meet Dr. Sexton, who has probably become my mentor for a solid 1/3 of my education experience at least. I liked being able to see that happen.



Editor’s Note: Because of how busy we’ve been putting our pages together, this post is actually being finished much later than I anticipated it would be. Thus, my issues with typing up temporal moments regarding ‘tonight’ or ‘tomorrow’ or whatnot are likely more than apparent. Hopefully it all makes sense.

I also feel like I started to sound very repetitive… But that could be attributed to just being tired and criticizing my work too heavily. So I think I’ll leave it as is and come back to things later if I need to. In the meantime, I need to go get some sleep because there’s a lot of stuff going on tomorrow.

Or today technically. You know what I mean.

Visiting the L.A. Weekly

Visiting the L.A. Weekly

Today I had the chance to visit the office of the L.A. Weekly in Culver City.  I know the publisher, Mathew Cooperstein, because he’s the father of one of my younger sister’s good friends, so we’ve been talking about the possibility of my coming over to tour their office for some time.  With Spring Break this week, everything just so happened to line up perfectly for me to check the place out, and I’m really glad I finally got to do it.

Not only did I get to tour the office, which is housed in a pretty awesome looking building as I’m sure you can see in the featured image I have above, I also had the chance to sit down and chat with both Coop and the L.A. Weekly’s Managing Editor Drew Tewksbury. Both of them were really receptive and nice, and it was great to be able to swap stories and get some advice from people who have been entrenched in the news industry longer than I have.

Drew and I talked more about the writing side of things, both for short-form daily (or in their case, weekly and heavily online-based) reporting and for deeper investigative stories. Meanwhile, Coop talked with me more about the advertorial side and about things like community outreach, audience demographics and search engine optimization.

While I was at the office, I also picked up a couple copies of their two most recent publications: A regular issue with the cover story about deportees sent to Tijuana and their special 99 Essential Restaurants issue.

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Jason McGahan‘s story on the deportees is really stellar, and I’d recommend reading it here if you have the chance.

All-in-all I had a great time going to the L.A. Weekly, and I’d love to get the opportunity to go again one day.