Shake Shack's Secret Menu and Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Eating and Reading

Every week, we'll let you know what the Washingtonian food staff is reading in the blogosphere and off the bookshelves.

By: Sophie Gilbert, Anna Spiegel, Ann Limpert

What secrets lie behind Shake Shack's official menu? Photograph by Scott Suchman

Sophie Gilbert, assistant editor:

• This is interesting reading from Alton Brown: a polite—but firm—letter to his fans on things he will do (pose for pictures, sign autographs) and steadfastly refuses to (talk to fans while in the restroom, sign living things).: My Fanifesto.

• This week's chillier weather has me super stoked for fall, so here, in preparation, is a photo slideshow of ridiculously oversized vegetables (including, of course, gourds).: Giant Vegetables—in Pictures.

• More on Sam Sifton stepping down as the New York Times' restaurant critic. What, exactly, does it mean to be a professional restaurant critic in this day and age?: How the New York Times Can Reform Restaurant Criticism.

Anna Spiegel, assistant food and wine editor:

• The New York Times takes a look at the future of food-focused television programming, and it isn't necessarily based in the kitchen: Throwing Out the Recipe for Daytime TV.

A Q&A on hunting, killing, and consuming your spirit animal: Eating Your Spirit Animal: An FAQ.

• Despite this year's pumpkin shortage, it's that time again for pumpkin-flavored treats. Gawker asks the serious question: Are Pumpkin Spice Lattes Destroying Our Nation's Manhood?.

• And it's always good to look back on this from McSweeney's: An Open Letter to Pumpkin-Flavored Seasonal Treats.

Ann Limpert, food and wine editor:

• One of the best, most vibrant meals I've had this year was at Philly restaurant Zahav. Joan Nathan explores its sad origins.: After a Killing, Michael Solomonov Turns to Israeli food.

Shake Shack channels In-N-Out, but I'm sticking with my beloved Shackburger (with pickles).: Shake Shack's Secret Menu, Revealed!

• Cute overload alert! Although nothing tops this for a kiddy halloween costume, this comes close.: 15 Food Themed Halloween Costumes.