i spent the last week in los angeles, california. this was my first time visiting california, or even traveling west of texas, so i was pretty excited. NOT ABOUT THE SIGHTS, DUMMY. about the food! oh the food!
so the first place i went, of course, was the legendary IN-N-OUT burger.
i have heard much of the in-n-out burger over the years. i’ve read many claims that it is “the best burger” from different anonymous internet sources and users, and am always excited that it gets mention in the big lebowski (“those are good burgers”). and i was totally pumped up when i read this blog about a 100×100 burger (one hundred beef patties, one hundred slices of cheese) being consumed by a group of friends. needless to say, there was a lot of hype.
i went to a location near venice beach in culver city, where i was staying. it was part of a strip mall, and not the prettiest burger location i had ever seen, but it was pretty well packed. outside, there was a constant line of cars going through their drive through. inside, every table was occupied.
you ordered at the counter which opened up into the kitchen, and that was about it. there were tables and seats near the counter, and to the side, but there weren’t many, certainly not enough for the amount of people there. many ordered and left, but i was lucky enough to grab a seat in the back of the restaurant.
the ordering process is simple; you only have like three options. a double with cheese, a single with cheese, or a single without cheese. the menu is streamlined, which i think is extremely effective. what else do you need?
the legends of in-n-out burger do tell of a “secret menu”, which, in all actuality, is not secret at all. i mean it’s on their friggin’ website. but i suppose i’m thankful for that, because if i hadn’t known about it, i’d have never ordered everything i got “animal style”.
i got a double double, animal style (lettuce, tomato, mustard cooked patty, with pickle, grilled onions, and extra “spread”, which turned out to be 1000 island dressing), along with the fries animal style (coated in cheese, grilled onions, and spread), and a drink.
the burger was looking quite epic. this is exactly what i had expected to get when i ordered. slimy, greasy, delicious. and it really was. animal style was the way to go; the burger was rich with the flavor of grilled onions and every bite was dripping with the sauce, which was quite good. the cheese was gooey and delightful, and i found a big surprise in the quality of the veggies; the lettuce and tomato were some of the freshest i’ve ever had on a burger, definitely the best i’ve had at a fast food place, and the pickles were really great too. this burger had a lot going for it. the beef patties were good too, although i couldn’t really detect their “mustard cooking”. still, great fucking burger.
the french fries were a whole ‘nother beast. the fries themselves were pretty standard, nothing special, but their toppings were really unique and a good combination. they were super-cheesy, and the spread and onions worked really well with this. unfortunately, after eating the majority, i was starting to get sick of them. still, i would definitely order them animal style again.
so what’s my overall verdict? best hamburger in america? no. of course not. it’s still fast food. but it’s damn good fast food, and it’s got a unique spin on the formula. their ingredients are great (although i prefer jack in the box’s lightly spicy secret sauce on their “bonus jack” to in-n-out’s spread), and they put a good, solid product out there. if there were any near here, i would undoubtedly frequent the store, ignoring their blatant endorsement of christianity, and just going in to grab some of the best fast food i’ve ever eaten.