It’s 2017, so odds are you probably have an Instagram account. On Instagram, you can follow famous celebrities or your friends, look at memes, watch slime videos and a whole lot more. You can even keep tabs on UCSB and its many Instagram accounts featuring sports, Greek life or Olé, UCSB’s mascot.
Clearly, social media is very powerful in our day, and some of our fellow Gauchos have taken advantage of social media to create an Instagram account that we didn’t know we needed until now: @portolasfinest, featuring the “Best of Portola.”
Beware: If you have a faint heart or stomach or are still trying to make use of your swipes at Portola, I personally recommend going through this account with caution. When they say “best” of Portola, they really mean something else.
@Portolasfinest is a hilarious account run by anonymous Gauchos and is dedicated to taking photo submissions of students’ unsettling experiences at the infamous Portola Dining Commons. Such photos, accompanied with comedic and sarcastic captions, consist of questionable meals like Shark Fin, unwashed dishes and, worst of all, bugs in the food. Lots and lots of bugs! The account has garnered over 500 followers, and their most popular picture has gotten up to 210 likes. Other accounts dedicated to Portola Dining Commons include @portoladeath, an account with a similar but more vulgar concept, and @daddiesofportola, an account dedicated to — well, the name speaks for itself. @Portolasfinest, however, is definitely a favorite among many.
With over 500 followers, many are invested in the updates from this account. However, some have questioned the authenticity of @portolasfinest. In a nausea-inducing photo of larvae in cooked spinach, one Instagram user claimed that “someone brings bugs and puts them in the food” and someone replied with “they fasho do for attention lmaooo.” There is one photo of a fake bug in cereal that is clearly fake on purpose, but the other posts look pretty real to me. So, what is the truth?
Curious about everything this account has to offer, I was able to get ahold of the creators of @portolasfinest.
OTM: What was your inspiration in making this account?
@portolasfinest: We saw a banana peel on the conveyor belt in Portola one day and thought it was kind of ridiculous and took a picture. Then we started joking about those annoying food Instagrams and how it would be funny to parody it with Portola food.
OTM: Did you expect @portolasfinest to be as successful as it is now?
@portolasfinest: No, we originally only followed our friends but then expanded it to people we knew in FT. We definitely thought we’d cap at, like, 100 followers. And we definitely didn’t expect people from outside FT to follow, either.
OTM: Some have questioned the legitimacy of your content. What do you guys have to say about this? I know there was that one silly post with the huge, fake bug, which I thought was super funny, but are bugs actually brought into Portola?
@portolasfinest: Everything that we post ourselves is real and nothing has been made to look exaggerated. We post what people send us, but we sincerely doubt that people would sneak bugs and metal pieces into Portola to impress our 500-something followers. We would never risk a health code violation or people’s safety for a photo.
OTM: Being first years, what do you think will happen to this account next year? Will you still be taking submissions and expand this account to the new Portola?
@portolasfinest: We honestly aren’t sure about that yet. We’ve considered passing it down to incoming freshmen, but we’ve also talked about just stopping once we leave FT.
OTM: What are your thoughts on the new Portola?
@portolasfinest: We feel like the last authentic class of FT with our Portola in a way. It loses the homey quality of just taking the elevator down in your pajamas. Now you have to walk outside and really question if you should be wearing your giant sleep shirt to Portola.
OTM: All jokes about Portola aside, how do you guys really feel about Portola and its food?
@portolasfinest: We just want to acknowledge the hard work that everyone at Portola does. Even though the food is gross and has bugs, we still know they do hard work to feed us everyday. The food honestly isn’t terrible. Some nights are better than others for sure. But usually you’re able to find one good thing, and they definitely try to give us variety, which is appreciated.
OTM: Final question: What would Gordon Ramsay have to say about the meals served here at Portola?
@portolasfinest: Gordon Ramsay would probably advise all Portola patrons to wait by the Portoilet.
OTM: Anything else to add?
@portolasfinest: Special shoutout to Portola’s peanut butter pie.
Not only are the people behind @portolasfinest insanely funny, they also have good intentions. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, the bugs are very much real and they would not fake anything for an Instagram account. We owe it to the creators of @portolasfinest for providing quality content and entertainment for us Gauchos. Portola has a culture all its own, and they have captured its essence perfectly.