The House That In-N-Out Burgers Built

iStock.com/slobo
iStock.com/slobo

At age 30, owner and president of West Coast burger chain In-N-Out Lynsi Torres is the youngest female billionaire in the country, according to Bloomberg News. After an unfortunate sequence of family deaths felled Torres’s uncle, father, and grandmother, the heiress was the sole remaining candidate to take over the billion-dollar family business. Since assuming leadership and her half-share (a controlling interest that will increase to full ownership upon her 35th birthday) in the company in 2012, she has carefully maintained a veil of privacy between herself and an intrigued public. But no matter how many interviews Torres refuses, there’s no way to conceal the sprawling Southern California estate the heiress purchased for $17.4 million last year.

Real estate firm Deasy/Penner & Partners still hosts a listing for the sold property, providing a quick rundown of the amenities—a swimming pool, seven bedrooms, 16 baths, eight-car garage, and 16,600 square feet of living space on 4.16 acres of land—as well as photographic evidence of the estate’s verdant private golf course and double staircase beneath a classically opulent crystal chandelier. The photo set hints at even more gratuitously lavish facilities: tennis courts, an indoor batting cage, and a private movie theater. Not pictured are the inlaid marble floors and custom-painted ceiling, presumably made “custom” by the property’s previous owner, Texas Rangers third baseman Adrián Beltré. The change of hands landed Torres on Curbed LA’s list of Top 20 Los Angeles House Sales of 2012, beating Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s purchase price by a measly $11,000.

The listing abounds with the requisite hyperbole: The house is a “masterpiece” situated on “exquisitely landscaped” grounds, offering “all the fine amenities and unsurpassed quality and craftsmanship desired by the most discriminating buyer.” There’s no mention of a 20-foot wall to hide the secretive new resident from prying eyes, but Torres can rest assured that any Animal-Style fries fanatics wanting to pay homage will have to pass through the 24-hour guarded gate first.

According to In-N-Out’s website, the restaurant’s philosophy is that “quality is the most important ingredient of all.” The owner’s new digs seem a fitting tribute.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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The Tallest Cemetery Monument in New Orleans Was Built Out of Spite

baldeaglebluff, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
baldeaglebluff, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Spite has motivated many construction projects, from a 40-foot-tall fence in California to an 8-foot-wide home in Massachusetts. But when it comes to pettiness, few structures can beat Moriarty Monument in New Orleans's Metairie Cemetery. Reaching 80 feet high, the memorial to Mary Moriarty was an excuse for her widower to show off his wealth to everyone who rejected him.

New Orleans is famous for its cemeteries, which feature above-ground mausoleums. The soil in the region is too wet and swampy to dig traditional 6-foot graves, so instead, bodies are interred at the same level as the living. The most impressive of these graveyards may be Metairie Cemetery on Metairie Road and Pontchartrain Boulevard. Built in 1872, it lays claim to the most above-ground monuments and mausoleums in the city, the tallest of which is the Moriarty Monument.

The granite tomb was commissioned by Daniel A. Moriarty, an Irish immigrant who moved to New Orleans with little money in the mid-1800s. It was there he met his wife, Mary Farrell, and together they started a successful business and invested their new income into real estate. The couple was able to build a significant fortune this way, but Moriarty struggled to shake off his reputation as a poor foreigner. The city's upper class refused to accept him into their ranks—something Moriarty never got over. After his wife died in 1887, he came up with an idea that would honor her memory and hopefully tick off the pretentious aristocrats at the same time.

By 1905, he had constructed her the grandest memorial he could afford. In addition to the towering steeple, which is a topped with a cross, the site is adorned with four statues at the base. These figures represent faith, hope, charity, and memory, while the monument itself is meant to be a not-so-virtuous middle finger to all those who insulted its builder.

Gerard Schoen, community outreach director for Metairie Cemetery, told WGNO ABC, “The reason Daniel wanted his property to be the tallest was so his wife could look down and snub every 'blue blood' in the cemetery for all eternity." More than a century later, it still holds that distinction.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]