Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In & out Burger in California

I have already explained (here) how California's longest lasting contribution to the world's cuisine is big Fast Food. In my recent trip to SoCal (Southern California), I finally got to experience two of perhaps the most iconic Californian fast food creations: In-N-Out Burgers and Roscoe's fried chicken and waffles.

Both seem to have cult status, with people raving about them. I wanted to see why myself, since I hadn't heard of either before moving to the US. Today I will talk about the burgers. Next post is about the chicken and waffles.

In-N-Out out Burger 
Friends had told me epic stories of In-N-out drive-ins packed with cars standing in long lines, even at night. I had dismissed them all as a figure of speech. Until I saw a traffic clog for a burger myself. But let's go in order.

In-N-Out is a burger fast food chain founded - and primarily located in - California, but with outposts in various Western States. The menu is very simple, and hasn't changed much since the first drive in was open, back in 1948 in Irvine: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, shakes. Not as many options as at a Mcdonald's. But there is a catch: the secret menu (which is not so secret, actually).

Friends had told me that you could order your burgers or fries with "special features", by saying secret words. For instance, you could have your burgers animal style, or even order a grilled cheese sandwich, which is not on the original menu (we will talk another time about the obsessions of Americans for grilled cheese sandwiches...)







I followed my friend's advice, and got a cheeseburger animal style (with, among other things, grilled onions, extra spread and a mustard cooked beef patty). The burger didn't seem anything special, as you can see from the photo: the patty is very thin. BUT, they do pack a punch in terms of flavor...This was probably the best fast food burgers I have had in a long while. It crashes Chicago's Epic burgers, which I thought were good.

The sauce, the cheese, the grilled onions, they all work together very well. The bread - which seems very normal - is the perfect vehicle for the punch of flavors that come from the combination of what's inside. Juicy, greasy, yet not in a bad way.

Is it the best fast food burger I have ever had? Possibly. If not, it is certainly on par with Kopp's cheeseburger, which I had elected my best burger ever. So good that I had a second one a couple of days later. Way to celebrate the reaching of my ideal Weight Watcher's weight, actually...

The fries were also good, but they were just fries: nothing to write home about. The chocolate shake was also good, but I still think that the peanut butter shake at Epic burgers is superior.

And then there was the largest chicken breast I have ever eaten in my life, both succulent and disturbing. But we will talk about it next time.


9 comments:

Trobairitz said...

It sounds as though you enjoyed your in and out experience.

I am glad you enjoyed it, but I still don't see the attraction.

Hope your ideal weight didn't take too big of a hit after the excursion. I am sure if it did, it came right back off again.

illmakeitmyself said...

My friend who lives in San Francisco raves about In & Out Burger. I think I will finally get to try one on my trip to the West Coast (of the US) this spring!

A Tuscan foodie in America said...

I most definitely did enjoy in-n-out. I am still not sure I see the reason for the long lines, unless the alternatives are super nasty.

Illmakeitmyself, you'll love it...there is nothing not to love, if you like burgers!

from uk said...

In the photo it really looks average with a very think meat, but I trust you.
can we know the price?

A Tuscan foodie in America said...

From UK, I agree, they don't look much, but trust me: in terms of fast food burgers they are very good.

You ask a very good question, and I should have mentioned this in my post: they are VERY cheap. The first time I spent 11$ for three burgers, a milkshake, two sodas. The second time I spent 6 dollars for three burgers and two sodas (the shake is the most expensive thing).

You can't eat cheaper than this. I know health talebans like to say that it is cheaper to eat at home and cook your own meal, but I have to disagree...if price is an issue, you can't beat this.

from uk said...

they're the cheapest burgers ever. No normal burgers can compete with the in uk except for the 99p burgers with some meat probaly nothing else, I don't remember.

A Tuscan foodie in America said...

yeah, they are pretty cheap indeed. I don't even thing it is necessarily a question of having bad quality meat, more of not having meat in it almost.

thehomefoodcook said...

anyone tried the in-n-out recipe from serious eats?

I had a go at it...
http://www.thehomefoodcook.com/2012/04/in-n-out-double-double-burger-animal.html

have a look, let me know what you think! wish there was in-n-out over here...

A Tuscan foodie in America said...

Hi homeroodcook, welcome! No, I haven't tried the serious eats' recreation, but judging from your photos it looks pretty good...

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