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What your Late Night order says about you

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I have a problem. The first step in overcoming one’s vices is to admit them out loud, so here goes nothing: I have a Late Night obsession. I don’t think that statement truly displays the extent of my fixation, so allow me to try to put it in other words. Some of the workers recognize me and ask if I want my usual order. I have a tradition with one of my friends wherein she shoots me a text saying “LNDN?” – our own cryptic way of saying “Late Night Date Night” without any shame. After some quick algebra, I’d be able to make an educated guess on what you bought if you gave me the price of your order.

Needless to say, I’m hooked. More often than not, I run out of Meal Plan Dollars by around week six, which might get a scoff or two from some readers. “Week six? I’ve run out of Meal Plan Dollars by the end of week four,” some of you may boast (although why you should, I have no idea). My retort lies in the fact that I exclusively use Late Night in lieu of other options such as Olive’s, Munger or Forbes, and I am on the 10 meal plan, so I have all the more money for indulging.

By living in West Lag my freshman year and Crothers for sophomore year, I have had the fortune of living right next to both Late Night locations, and having such a convenient source of food has only given me more opportunities to see the types of characters behind every order. Let’s just say that there are some commonalities between everyone, at least from my own experience.

Chicken Tenders – This seems to be the most common choice when it comes to appeasing nightly cravings. Serial procrastinators, proactive students, hardcore Silicon Valley bros and student athletes alike can appreciate the glorious chicken tender. Think of it as a baseline, the r = 0 of meals due to its attraction of the entire gamut of Stanford. No one group holds claim to The Chicken, but it shares its gifts with everyone nevertheless.

Breakfast Burrito – Whether it’s heap allocator or a Philosophy essay, you’re in for the long haul tonight, and you need something hearty to keep you going. This is the meal I usually associate with all-nighters (guilty as charged), so whenever I see someone get this, I know they have a long night ahead of them. They’re ambitious, yet dedicated. Fun fact: should you get this delicious concoction at Lakeside, your trek to the West Campus location is awarded by free guac, chips and salsa, but honestly, this choice is usually more than enough by itself.

Waffle fries – You know what they say: sharing is caring. There are only two routes this can go. Either you eat them all yourself like a traditional Late Night meal, or you pass them around a group of friends while arguing about pointlessly amusing what-if’s or discussing how terrible that one all campus was. I see the latter more often, and it usually makes for some interesting comments worthy of “Overheard at Stanford.”

Milkshake – You’re rewarding yourself for the day. You made some solid progress on your problem set, you aced the midterm or you’re just happy you got through your jam-packed day of four classes and two meetings. People often use this to cool down (yes, pun intended) and to reset for the next day.  

Pizookie – This usually attracts a certain type of person. Imagine this: you’re invited by a friend as their Late Night escort – “I didn’t want to eat alone,” your friend explains – but you aren’t too hungry. You figure that it’s as good a time as any to take risks, so you scroll down the page of each category. “Pizookie” catches your eye as simple of a concoction as it is: a cookie in the shape of a pizza, usually topped off with ice cream. Next thing you know, you always mention how much of a steal it is the next time you’re invited. It is the nocturnal, edible equivalent of telling people about a band and saying that you “discovered them.”  

Root Beer Float – This recent addition at Late Night screams chaotic energy and takes being adventurous to a whole ‘nother level. Other than the initial try, steer clear of people who continuously buy this. They seem to be wild cards. Proceed at your own risk.

Needless to say, these are just my observations during my countless hours spent waiting for food at Arrillaga or Lakeside. I, like many others, are eternally grateful for how readily accessible these locations are, especially after the turmoil of the day. In contrast to one of my fellow writer’s opinions on dining halls, if there’s anything you can count on for Late Night, it’s consistency.

Contact Justin Cortez at jcortez1 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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