Friday, February 22, 2008

#3 In-N-Out Burger - Southern California

I had wanted to try an In-N-Out Burger for quite some time. I first read about them in the very first Top Secret Recipes book several years ago. The very talented author, Todd Wilbur, calls it the "best hamburger in the world."

On a recent family vacation to Southern California, I finally got my chance.

The first impression I had upon entering the In-N-Out Burger at 500 Mile of Cars Way, National City (just south of San Diego) was, "is this it?" It is nothing but a modern version of a "burger joint." The menu, such as it is, consists of about 5 items. If I remember correctly they are: Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Fries, Sodas and Shakes. That's it. Having become accustomed to the "everything under one roof" approach taken by most restaurants today (including formerly good burger joints) I was quite surprised. How can this be restaurant command so much devotion with just 5 items.

But it turns out, that is exactly why. They are a throwback to an era when restaurants did just a few things but did them exceptionally well. This is the burger joint that McDonald’s was when the McDonald Brothers invented the idea of a burger joint and the way it was when Ray Kroc began to franchise it … six years after In-N-Out opened in 1948

I ordered a couple of burgers, some fries and a shake.

Everything is fresh made when you order it. The burgers are made from fresh, never frozen beef. The shakes are made from real ice cream, not a mix. And the fries are hand cut in the store. Read that again. Hand cut! I watched them.

Was it good? OH YEAH!! The burgers are not huge but they are nice and juicy with lettuce, tomato, and 1000 Island dressing.

It is one of the few chains that Jane and Micheal bother to detail on Roadfood and one of the few that are worth it. I will eat at In-N-Out as often as I can.

In-N-Out appears on the Roadfood Website

In-N-Out website

A very comprehensive and interesting piece about In-N-Out appears on Wikipedia


Oh, one more thing that makes In-N-Out Rule! It is probably the only restaurant with a "stealth menu". The stealth menu is only for those in the know (which is you, now!)

Here's the deal -- there are several dozen variations on the traditional menu that you can order if you know the name. They do not appear anywhere in the restaurant, you just have to know them.

Here is a site with a few examples with photos -- In-N-Out Secret Menu

There are others scattered around that I will let you have the fun of finding.
But there is one other "secret" I have to tell you about. You can order a "Blank by Blank" Burger. The first blank is the number of patties and the second is the slices of cheese. So a "4x4" burger would have 4 patties and 4 slices of cheese. So you can theoretically order as big a burger as you want, right? Actually it's not a theory. You can!
You just KNOW I've got an example for you. don't you? Well even if you think you are ready for it, this is gonna knock your socks off.

Get ready for the now-famous -- 100x100 Burger -- Yes, with Photos.

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