‘Captain’ Aziz Ansari Debuts an Online Show About Food

04/16/2014 at 03:31 PM ET

Aziz Ansari Food Club

Clubbing in L.A. has taken on a whole new meaning, thanks to comedian and food enthusiast Aziz Ansari.

The first episode of the Parks and Recreation actor’s wacky new web series, Food Club, includes him and two fellow funnymen eating out at an invitation-only Los Angeles eatery and also trying a bánh mì, a Vietnamese sandwich made with pork and vegetables.

Ansari and his cohorts, comedian Eric Wareheim (of Tim and Eric), and writer Jason Woliner, pretend they’re captains whose mission is to “sail the world seeking the ultimate bite,” according to the show’s erudite voiceover, though so far they haven’t ventured further than Los Angeles. Fittingly, the trio travel by yacht and sport navy blazers and caps for their dining adventures.

If they like the food at a restaurant, like Michael Voltaggio’s ink., it gets “plaqued” with a tacky bronze-and-wood award. The plaques for “losers” (fortunately, none so far) will be burned in a dramatic show of shame at the restaurant’s doorstep.

Despite the series’ wink-wink tone — Top Chef alum Voltaggio calls the award “a huge honor” — the food is real, and the guys indulge in every bite. At Wolvesmouth, an underground eatery in downtown L.A., the group dined on chef Craig Thornton’s elegant nine-course meal that included rabbit meatballs, pork belly with shrimp and chocolate tofu mousse. Despite a few mock-tense moments — will Woliner staining Wareheim’s shirt with chocolate dessert kill Wolvesmouth’s chance of earning an award? — the restaurant got “plaqued.”

Food-centered antics are nothing new for Ansari, who went on a pasta pilgrimage through Pacific Northwest eateries earlier this month. Maybe we’ll see a Portland-themed Food Club soon?

Watch the first episode of the series below:

—Nancy Mattia

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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