5 Reasons L.A. Should Be Excited For Shake Shack

“If Shake Shack doesn’t announce this year that they’re opening in California, that is a huge slap in the face to Los Angeles.”

- My friend Garrett, 2 weeks ago

Well, crisis averted.  My friend can put away his satisfaction demanding white handkerchief, because this morning New York burger chain Shake Shack announced that it will be opening its first Southern California location in West Hollywood at some point in 2016.  Having lived in L.A. and New York for a practically equal amount of time I have much love for both In N Out Burger and Shake Shack.  I’ve even argued that comparing the two is a silly exercise.  In N Out Burger is half the price and a west coast staple whose awesomeness will never be diminished. But Shake Shack is objectively better. It’s also twice as expensive. You don’t have to like it more than In N Out (there’s no arguing with personal taste), but take the price and nostalgia out of it and Shake Shack is kind of better.

Don’t believe me?  Here are 5 reasons even the most hard core In N Out fan should be excited for Shake Shack…

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The Best Things I Ate at Coachella: For those who care, I went to Coachella this past weekend and ate all the things for Food is the New Rock and Tumblr.  I also made a corn dog butterfly.  And then I picked the 5 best things I ate and wrote about them for Los Angeles Magazine.  And in case you're wondering, this is the thing I most regret not eating.

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800 Degrees Has a Secret Deal That’s Completely Insane


This pizza cost $5.36

I’m going to make this super short and sweet because what I’m about to tell you is pretty easy to understand.  IF YOU’RE NOT FOLLOWING 800 DEGREES ON INSTAGRAM YOU’RE MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE.  Every single morning they post a photo of their “Pizza of the Day” which, if you choose to order it on said day, will be given to you at 50% off.  11am until closing.  Any and all locations.  Half off.  The pizza of the day.  If you keep the toppings to a minimum, 800 Degrees is already a great deal.  Half off 800 Degrees is a stupid good deal. The day I went it was a margherita w/ caramelized onions, bacon and pine nuts. Today it’s salami and broccolini.  Of course it helps if you’re willing to eat anything and everything. To order just let the pizza maker know you want the “pizza of the day” and they take care of the rest.  You pay somewhere around $5, the end.

800 Degrees, multiple locations

Eat Along With Me at Coachella All Weekend Long

This morning I’m making the annual trek out to Indio for the craziness that is Coachella. Not for the music, the fashion, or the pool parties (lord knows I’m too fat and uncool for all of that) but for the eats.  The festival has really outdone itself food wise this year, supplementing the corn dogs, crab fries and spicy pie with restaurant pop ups from famous L.A. chefs, fancy Outstanding in the Field dinners, and more casual stands from some of the best restaurants in L.A. (think: Eggslut, Kazunori, & Beer Belly).

As part of Tumblr’s Creatrs project, you can follow my Coachella food diary all weekend long over on Food is the New Rock while listening to our recent episodes of the podcast with Jonathan Gold, David Chang, and Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio.

Kitchen Story Brings Korean Snack Food to Sawtelle

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Little Osaka is dead! Long live Sawtelle Japantown, the new City Council approved designation of the ramen and sushi filled strip of West L.A. between Olympic and Santa Monica.  But while the name Japantown is a great homage to the roots of the neighborhood, it doesn’t really do justice to the geographic variety of foodstuff that’s popped up in the past few years.  We’re talking soup dumplings (ROC), pho (Nong La), Korean flavored sausages and rice balls (Seoul Sausage), pizza (Slice Truck), burgers (Plan Check, Bachi Burger), and Korean tofu stew (Seoul House), all of which will make you think twice about waiting on that line for Tsujita.  Even prepared foods chain Lemonade has a branch opening on the street this week.

But the most exiting new arrival is Kitchen Story, a Korean street snack specialist that took over the old Hong Kong Cafe space.

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Watch Me Get Gross at Escondite, Donut Friend & More: Since Zagat put out that first "Gimmick Testing" video featuring Lesley Balla and I eating at Panda Express Innovation Kitchen, 4 more videos have been released.  Check us testing out the crazy burgers at The Escondite, the ridiculousness that is Barton G in Beverly Hills, the now closed Choco Chicken in DTLA, and the musician influenced donuts at Mark Trombino's Donut Friend.

How to Eat 9 of the Best SGV Dumplings in Under 4 Hours

If you stalk my lunching on Instagram you likely noticed an uptick in the dumpling consumption over the past month.  It’s true, I love me some dim sum, pan fried potstickers, and, of course, xiaolongbao.  But I was also putting together this Dumpling Crawl of the San Gabriel Valley for Lucky’s Peach’s dumpling month.  It’s a bit more intense than the 2 Hour Taco Crawl of L.A. I put together a few years back, requiring a bit more planning and discipline.  Plus eating this many dumplings in 4 hours is a lot more punishing on your body than you would think. Not to mention the pain in your heart you might feel as you drive by Lunasia, Chengdu Taste, 101 Noodle Express, Shanghai Dumpling House, and Mama Lu’s without stopping. Or skipping places entirely that didn’t fit on the route (I’m looking at you, Kang Kang Food Court.)  But with 4 people (3 will leave you with too many dumplings to eat, 5 will make it harder to get a table and divide the dumplings) and a pocketful of cash (a lot of places don’t take credit cards) you can have an epic afternoon of dumpling eating that you won’t soon forget.

Any places I left out?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments.  You know… for Version 2.0.