In-N-Out Burger

I was born and raised on the east coast, so I was unaware of the existence of In-N-Out Burger until I read about the California-based chain in Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Like Five Guys Burgers and Fries in the northeast, In-N-Out has a limited menu (and a not-so-secret “secret menu“) of a few burgers and fries. During last week’s California trip, I had only one eating destination scheduled: a trip to In-N-Out, which we managed to do in San Diego.

I ordered the Double-Double:

That’s two patties with cheese, sliced onion between the patties, lettuce and tomato at the bottom, and spread (Russian dressing or something very similar) — all on a toasted bun.

The beef was fresh but cooked almost well done – the spread and cheese added needed moisture to the sandwich. Still, it was, as Samuel Jackson said, a tasty burger.

She Who Must Be Obeyed and He Who Will Not Be Ignored had cheeseburgers, which were equally as good, although He Who insisted that they would be better with bacon. And who can argue with that?

The star of the meal, however, was the fries. They were hot and crispy, with just the right amount of salt, and they were freshly fried from hand-cut potatoes. While I waited for our order I observed the fry guy at work (he’s the stout fellow near the window):

That’s a five-station double-basket fryolator setup, and it kept fry guy hopping during a busy lunch service. When he wasn’t tossing fries, he was cutting new ones by inserting peeled potatoes one by one into the hand-operated cutter (the contraption hanging in front of the window). Newly cut fries went right into the oil; they never had a chance to sit around. The tray of finished fires was replenished every two minutes or so with nothing left under a heat lamp. In-N-Out is serious about their fries.

I finished off the meal with a chocolate shake made from ice cream, noticing as I finished that there were bible verses listed on the inside bottom edge of the cups:

My apologies for the out-of-focus iPhone photo, but the inscription reads “Proverbs 2:8” (look it up yourself); the soda cups had “John 3:16.” I don’t consider Jeebus and food to be a good mix, but the unavailability of In-N-Out at home will prevent me from having to deal with a moral dilemma: Jeebus, or fries? I think the fries will win out, so my next California trip may have a lunch break scheduled where I can do more research, filed under “know thy enemy.”

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2 Responses to In-N-Out Burger

  1. You didn’t proper compare and contrast the fries at the two places in California you reviewed.

    3:16 is an odd choice, because it is about spreading the word and writing in tiny letters on the BOTTOM of a soda cup does not feel like making much effort to spread the word.

    And, since he works in such mysterious ways, their God killed them in a small plane flying into John Wayne airport (you flew past it on the way from Santa Monica to San Diego).

    • David says:

      The Bouchon fries were crispier, and stayed crispy longer, due to a double-fry. The In-N-Out fries didn’t stay crispy as long (a moot point since we inhaled them on the spot), and were clearly not double-fried.

      If you want quick fries with your burger, it’s hard to beat In-N-Out, although I love the Five Guys fries. If you want to linger over your frites, Bouchon has the advantage.

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