The Great Debate: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

Food

I’m an Angeleno who has had In-N-Out all my life and Shake Shack only once. It’s true this review/comparison may not be 100 percent accurate and only like 99 percent biased, but here goes:

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the Madison Square Park Shake Shack was the line — SO LONG. Why. How. In-N-Out can be packed, but the line rarely ever gets too long. The service is quick no matter what time of day it is. At 6 p.m. on a Friday I spent at least half an hour trying to pick up food from Shake Shack.

In-N-Out: 1, Shake Shack: 0

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Shake Shack’s menu is definitely more diverse than In-N-Out’s. I expected that. Their shake flavor selection is pretty bomb. I had the black and white, which I thought was a cool way to rep the East Coast. Additionally, while I was waiting in line there was this really funny staff guy passing out menus and challenging customers to rock, paper, scissors — good laughs to pass the time.
In-N-Out: 1, Shake Shack: 1
The sauce is where it gets interesting. Both have their own special blend. In-N-Out has the thousand island-type stuff, while Shake Shack has a sort of spicy mayo. Both are equally good. Truly. Try ’em before you knock ’em.
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In-N-Out: 2, Shake Shack: 2
Burgers and fries are what we’re here for. I give a one-up to In-N-Out for having onions included. Yep, it’s that simple. Plus, In-N-Out uses more of their sauce, I think. Or maybe Shake Shack skimped.
In-N-Out: 3, Shake Shack: 2
Lastly, the price. You cannot beat In-N-Out’s price. The burger, fries, shake combo is definitely cheaper than that same combo at Shake Shack.
In-N-Out: 4, Shake Shack 2
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Such a cute little burger.

I could also score the branding. While In-N-Out has a classic, unmistakable logo, the Shake Shack little icon things are super cute. It’s very 21st Century. The fact that Shake Shack isn’t afraid of evolving with chicken sandwiches and limited-time items could earn them two points to tie out this score. But I won’t do that because LA TILL I DIE.
In-N-Out wins, duh.

Observations After 4 Weeks in NYC

Life

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I’m spending my longest stint ever in the Big Apple this summer as an intern for MLB.com — early June to early August. Born and raised as an Angeleno, naturally I’ve always wanted to live in New York. I’ve been fortunate enough to have that hope become a reality. If I have the opportunity to stay past this summer, I gladly will. These are three things I’ve noticed about this grand city so far:

1. The people aren’t as cold as everyone on the West Coast stereotypes them to be.
Sure the New York vibe is different than LA’s vibe. People are generally more dressed up when they go out, and their idea of walking is closer to running. And during one of my first weeks here I had a miscommunication with a nut vendor, and was told to “Fuck off.” But for the most part, everyone’s alright. I’ve had plenty of positive interactions with strangers. New Yorkers, you’re good with me.
2. Humidity will not kill you. 
Everyone told me of the horrors of the “East Coast humidity,” so I mentally prepared myself. Granted, it hasn’t been that hot since I’ve gotten here, but I honestly don’t think it’s that bad. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent countless insanely hot plus-100 degree summers with no AC in West Covina. Maybe I’ll be dying in a few weeks. What I’m trying to say here is don’t let weather woes deter you.
3. Cheap food exists.
Prices are high, as they are in any major city, but cheap eats are also a thing, as they are in any major city. There’s dollar pizza and $1.25 dumplings. I had a friend write this on one of my Facebook statuses:
“And the culture of drinks after work and sunday brunch is fun. If only they paid people 20K more so you don’t have to live in Brooklyn or Queens, and can actually afford to go out and do the artsy stuff, it’d be perfect..”
I say that’s a gross exaggeration, and it’s possible to make the city an affordable place if you really try hard enough. (I might just be saying this as a naive, not-yet-hired recent college grad)
I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list as the weeks roll on, like whether or not Shake Shack trumps In-N-Out (I doubt it will). Cheers to new places and new spaces and new faces and living life on the edge.

Postgame Talk: Hello Brooklyn, Chargers leap Broncos

Sports

Sitting in the doctor’s office, I briefed over tonight’s NBA and NFL match-ups on my iPhone apps to scope out the competition. Initially I had intended on watching the Chargers face the Broncos. Peyton Manning always has a target on his back, and with Denver on such a high pedestal in the rankings, I had a gut feeling the Chargers were set up to create an upset.

I was right. But I didn’t watch the game live. By habit I flipped on the NBA game first. Seeing the joke-of-the-league Brooklyn Nets winning against the “rising” Clippers was enough to capture my attention. Sadly. Sort of. I know the football game ended up playing out exactly as I had expected — I saw the recap.

Photo from sikids.com

Photo from sikids.com

I’ll start by running over the Lob City beat down. What the heck happened? Deron Williams returned. That’s all that really needs to be said. The Clippers faltered and sputtered and lost. DWill straight up embarrassed CP3 on a couple occasions, and then Blatche dropped 21. Play after play, KG and Paul Pierce were jumping out of their seats. I’m pretty sure I could literally see 50 pounds of bricks being lifted off Jason Kidd’s shoulders. They finally looked like a real team.

Meanwhile, the Clippers looked more like a disappointment. The new addition, Stephen Jackson, logged 22 minutes, yet he only knocked in three points (one for five on FGs and one of two from the line). CP3 led his team in scoring, yet only dished two assists. It wasn’t nearly enough to hang with the Nets tonight.

Going into the fourth, Brooklyn had a 21-point lead. Twenty. One. Points. And don’t think it was because Paul Pierce and KG blew up. Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche tied to lead the team’s scorers with 21 a piece.

The Nets improved to 8-14 and the Clips fell to 15-9. The West Coast teams haven’t been so hot lately, and this game served as another reminder of that. Maybe the Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett narrative had something to do with the inspired Brooklyn play, but the outcome seemed like it had more to do with the Clippers lagging than anything else.

On the other hand, in the NFL, the West Coast teams battled in a closely fought match. Ultimately, the Chargers stole the show. Peyton suffered his first sack in 124 drop backs, and his team couldn’t convert on the ground. San Diego took full advantage. They leaped the Broncos’ defense (literally), and held the Broncos offense to two touchdowns.

It’s a big hit for the Broncos who were tied with the Seattle Seahawks for first place. Both the NFL and NBA losses just go to show that any team can win on any given night. I liked what Tedy Bruschi said on SportsCenter: “There are no gimme’s left.”

As a side note, if you haven’t seen the interview that Ron Burgundy did with Peyton Magazine for ESPN, you definitely should:

Capture it or let it slip

Life

Venice Beach

Forget New York, Miami, Chicago. When you’re talking of the center of the basketball universe, you’re talking Los Angeles. The land of run-and-gun and fun-and-sun is hoops heaven. Beat LA? You’re just jealous.

The Red Bulletin, “Kobe. Clips. UCLA. Dynasty.” by Andy and Brian Kamenetzky

Above is the deck of an article in a November 2013 issue of the Red Bull magazine that I’ve been getting in the mail thanks to a random perk from Klout. After reading it, I felt compelled to offer my input on this great city that I’ve grown up around and almost taken for granted.

But I didn’t want to repeat what has already has been said — and a lot has already been said. The never-ending summertime weather, the laid back attitude, the movie stars, the almost-but-not-quite concrete jungle feel.

Like every other city, La La Land has its high points and downfalls. The somber notes of the tens of thousands of homeless magnificently clash with the multi-billion dollar projects, such as the LA Live addition in Downtown LA.

Living around the heart of the City of Angels can reduce a person to insignificance. LA might not have the bustle of New York City, but it does have the big shot attitudes and opportunity — capture it or let it slip.

Someday I’d like to live long term on the East Coast, or as far as across the pond. 10 months studying abroad in London was a tease. For whatever crazy reason, I believe at least five young adult years spent in a cut-throat, “you can sleep when you die,” party-all -night metropolis would be good for my soul.

Or that could just be me being psychotically insane.

Nevertheless, I do appreciate Los Angeles. Even though I’ve only been alive for two decades, I owe a lot to this place. I respect the storied sports franchises, I love the sheer amount of genuinely good people that I’ve met, I dig the palm tree-sunshine-beach bum vibe.

If I wasn’t raised in So Cal, I wouldn’t be me. Pay respects where they’re due. Appreciate the present. Live in the moment, own it, never let it go.