The Journey Continues with Isla Vista Food Tourists Molzon and Swedelson

Nora Xue/Staff Photographer

Joanne Rhee
Staff Writer

When we interviewed fourth-years Adrian Molzon and Joshua Swedelson last fall, they spoke about their journey to eat at every restaurant in Isla Vista. Now that it’s almost the end of the school year, it’s only natural to catch up with the purposeful pair and find out how the experience has been.

During the interview, the two wore their unmistakable pink shirts. The front have pictures of Molzon and Swedelson with “Isla Vista Food Tour.” On the back are a list of restaurants in Isla Vista and on campus.

“The response has been overwhelmingly and surprisingly positive,” said Molzon, a physics major at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since launching i.v.foodtour on Instagram in February to document their adventures, Molzon and Swedelson have gained over 450 followers and counting.

I think in terms of the experience, it’s everything we wanted it to be,” Swedelson, a UCSB economics and accounting major, said. “Eating at the places is fun. We get to see our friends all the time when we’re eating. It’s been getting kind of hard now. Eating out is a lot.”

There is a lot more to the tour that people don’t see. The duo coordinate with those who wish to try different places with them, as well as with owners of restaurants.

“It’s become logistically challenging,” Molzon said. “Organizing with your friends that want to come with you to specific restaurants. Now we’ve been contacting owners to meet with the owners, which is really cool because they have a lot to say.”

Deciding what to eat can be an important part in the stop. “If it’s at a place that we’ve eaten [at] before, we try to get something that we haven’t gotten before,” Swedelson said. “We recently rated Dejavu, and we got the Gaucho Burger and the Western Double … In the review, we mentioned a chicken caesar wrap, which we didn’t get at the time, but I’ve had there before. It’s a combination of historical knowledge of what we’ve eaten in the past, what the owners recommend [and] what our friends who’ve been there recommend.”

Each “tour stop” doesn’t end with just trying the place. Molzon and Swedelson take a picture on location and upload it to Instagram. In the caption, they rate the experience on a moon-rating system using emojis and write a review of the food they try. The moon-rating system adds a unique element that matches the charisma of the pair. It also allows more precision with options for quarter and half moons.

Being a part of the tour has had a few unexpected consequences. “We spend exorbitant amount[s] of money on this tour,” Swedelson said. “I haven’t bought groceries in a couple of months. I eat out and I save my leftovers and we eat out again. I honestly think I’m losing weight because we only eat like two meals a day.”

“It’s not worth it for me to try to buy groceries for a week and half of them go bad,” Molzon said. “It’s not worth it, so then at that point I might as well just starve myself.”

Additionally, Molzon and Swedelson have gained quite some recognition being out and about Isla Vista.

“We were walking outside of Woodstock’s and some girl was looking at us and pulled out her phone, and showed us our Instagram and asked, ‘Is this you?’ We weren’t wearing our shirts and we were like, ‘Yeah, that’s us,’” Swedelson said.

“We went to Coachella weekend one and we thought, ‘We have to wear the shirts, we have to wear the shirts’,” Molzon said. “I swear to God ten people, random, totally random. A couple people recognized us. People I went to high school with recognized us and were like, ‘Yo, I heard about the tour. This is awesome.’”

But the tour hasn’t been all fun and games. The effervescent eaters have faced a few challenges, including times when they simply do not want to eat out. “But there’s so many restaurants to do, and we’re going to finish before we graduate,” said Swedelson. “So sometimes I’ll be like, ‘Adrian, I’m kind of hungry, we have to go out. Where do you want to eat?’”

Molzon added, “We’ve exhausted a lot of the real meals. We’ve been left with places like Starbucks and Dublin’s.”

Because of the time crunch, the two can’t spread out their meals across a longer time span. To those who want to follow in their footsteps, they recommend starting earlier. Shirts that the pair wear are available to purchase, for any I.V. residents who want to complete their own food tour.

Swedelson and Molzon warn that they don’t follow people back on this Instagram. They only follow the seven “crème de la crème” and unless you’re Chef Boyardee or Guy Fieri, the chances of being followed back are slim to none.

You can catch the two eating around Isla Vista while wearing in their signature pink shirts. If you would like to contact them, or if you are a freshman with extra swipes for the dining commons, feel free to direct message the two through their Instagram account.