If I had to choose, I would choose watching a TV series over a movie.
I’m a big TV person. Ironically, I don’t own a TV (I watch everything on Hulu or Netflix). But yeah, I never like a TV series—I get infatuated with it. Thankfully, like all infatuations, I can hop from one object of affection to another pretty easily, so long as the new series provides plenty of human stories.
I think I prefer TV to movies because the stories in TV go on and on for a whole season. I find myself getting more invested in the characters of a TV series, unlike a movie in which you are barely introduced to the characters and then a couple hours later, just as you start to really know them better, it’s “The End.”
I sometimes wonder what the big appeal of TV is. I mean, basically you are sitting at home in your nighties and a bucket of Orville’s popcorn, staring at some other people’s lives displayed on a flat screen. Wouldn’t you rather live your own life and experience your own dramas?
Hm, actually, I guess I answered my own question. We all have plenty of drama in our own life. It’s a wonderfully relaxing relief to be watching somebody else’s drama. The screen becomes a portal to a world in which you enjoy all the thrills of romance, drama and adventures without risking anything of yourself (except maybe your sleep schedule).
It’s amazing stuff, this TV. How did people survive before TV? Oh yeah—trashy novels and magazines. And lots of scandalous gossip.
Speaking of gossip and scandal, it seems the popularity of reality shows is still unabated. In a way, I suppose it’s even more thrilling than fictional TV series simply because those are real people with real dramas, bringing surrealism even closer at reach. And you can’t exactly gossip about fictional characters, but you can certainly gossip about these reality show “actors” who most likely will continue to make news months after the series ended.
The first person to think up of a reality TV show is a scary and brilliant genius, really. Regular people + drama + amazing price + gossip = Lots and lots of CA$$$H.
I’m not actually much into reality TV shoes because it makes me lose faith in the intelligence and goodness of humankind, except for food-related ones like Top Chef and MasterChef.
Did anybody watch Top Chef: Season Six? I think it was the first season in Top Chef where brother pitted against brother to win the Top Chef title. I’m talking about the Voltaggio brothers, Bryan and Michael, who both made it to the final three. Ooh la la. They’re both immensely talented, but I had been rooting for Bryan simply because he’s the older brother and as an older sibling myself, I know how irritating it is when you lose to the younger kid.
Reality show being the reality drama it is, the producers heightened up the rivalry between the Voltaggio brothers and kind of made Michael seem like an ass. But Michael was eventually crowned Top Chef, and guess what? He’s opened shop in Los Angeles. That’s the second Top Chef winner who situated his first opening in L.A. Take that, NYC and SF!
Michael Voltaggio’s new restaurant is called ink., and apparently the reservation waitlist is several scrolls long. But weeks before that grand opening, Michael V. opened a premiere to his grand premiere, a small take-out sandwich shop called ink.sack.
Of course I had to visit. I wouldn’t have visited so soon after its first opening, but the Daily Trojan assigned me to review the place so I trucked myself out to Melrose Avenue. It was also the last day of Kim and John’s visit to Los Angeles, and it was where we hugged our goodbyes.
I visited two weeks after ink.sack opened doors, and the line was still freaking crazy.
If it wasn’t for the Daily Trojan assignment, I would have just given up and lunched at Sweet Lady Jane bakery next door. Thankfully I had Mimi next to me keeping me company.
It turned out to be worth the wait, because Michael Voltaggio himself was there!!!
See the well-built guy with the tattoos on his arm? That’s him! How cool was that!
The picture is unfortunately blurry though because my lens has no zoom in capacity and I’m not one to march up screaming for an autograph. It would have been cool if he was the one to serve lunch to me, but he later disappeared into the kitchen. A fortunate thing because talking to him might have made it harder to give an unbiased review.
Now, the whole place is just pretty casual and rocker-style. The entire menu is scribbled on a giant blackboard with colored chalk, and the kitchen is divided from the counter with a slinky chain wall.
It’s kind of dark inside because the color theme is black; every worker is wearing black and everything is either black or warm wood. It’s kind of like the back alley of a sketchy town, but owned by a famous chef— a stereotypical Los Angeles hole-in-the-wall if you will.
There isn’t actually a place to sit down; there are just ledges by the side wall for you to stand, munch, gulp and go. Cool thing is that the wall is covered with a blackboard and decorated with colored chalk like tamer version of graffiti.
Like its name, ink.sack, all your orders are served to you in a paper sack, just like your mom used to during middle school. Continuing with the black theme, the paper bag is black instead of brown, and the marker ink is silver. Pretty cool!
Each sandwich costs $4 to $6, except they are teeny so you have to order at least two to fill you up. The “ahjumma” in me is not very happy about the small portion, but the foodie in me just wants to get fed.
Spicy tuna miso-cured albacore dressed in sriracha mayo with cucumbers and nori strips.
My second sandwich was the pork sandwich:
Banh Mi pork butt, pork belly, chicharrones and pickled, slivered vegetables.
Three kinds of pork stuffed into a roll. Oh yeah. There’s slices of pork butt and pork belly, and then that crunchy wonderful fried pork rind with sweet and sour carrots, radish and jalapeno.
It was lovely, though I felt that all my sandwiches were a bit on the bready side. I could have used a less hefty and crusty french roll to balance out the filling and the exterior bread.
Because the filling already had many layers of textures, I think the choice for the bread should have been something softer to let the different vegetable-meat textures shine through.
Mimi also got two sandwiches. Her sandwich #1 was the turkey sandwich:
Maple-pepper turkey, camembert, mustarda, arugula.
I had a good bite and it was okay. Kind of boring. Mostarda is supposed to be some kind of sweet compote, but I think they call theirs mustarda because there’s mustard in it. I didn’t think they slathered enough of it. Could have also used a thicker slice of cheese.
In case you haven’t noticed, these aren’t your average turkey, pork, tuna and beef sandwiches. It’s all a gourmet spin on classic sandwiches, and this one…was made with beef tongue.
Urgh. Just looking at this picture, with the striped texture of the beef tongue all showing, makes me want to gag. And I totally gagged eating this sandwich; I just couldn’t get past that tender, bumpy texture! I felt like I was chewing on my own tongue!
How do people eat offal like this? It’s awful! The ink.sack assembly line also somehow forgot the saurkraut in this, but it was a busy line so I guess the mistake is expected.
For our “chips,” we also had an order of chicharrones:
Nice and crunchy and deliciously spiced, though I thought $3 for a little bag of precooked pork rinds to be kind of pricey, considering that you can get a larger bag of similar-tasting rinds for 99 cents at the Latino store.
It was good but nothing like the amazing, fresh and hot chicharrones I had at the Foodbuzz Festival.
It’s basically fresh-cut fruit with chili powder and lemon juice, the way Mexican fruit carts in Los Angeles do it. They pre-made it and then vacuum-packed it for convenience. One day, I’m going to try it from the street carts.
I didn’t give this place the best review, but it really wasn’t bad at all. It was just not mind-blowing. It was good, but not great.
I guess that’s the bad side of having a celebrity name like Michael Voltaggio’s. Fools like me come expecting something close to a mouth orgasm, and get disappointed for getting a nice-tasting sandwich from a pop-up sandwich take-out shop.
Question of the Day: TV or movies—which do you prefer? What TV show are you into right now?