Archive for April, 2011

April 2, 2011

In-N-Out is Over-N-Rated

This spring break I road-tripped all over the Southwestern United States, and through the course of the trip one of the stops included the famous (or infamous) In-N-Out Burger. This notoriously famous burger joint was at one point the talk of the town at my local church because of its supposed stellar fries, and burgers. Given that at the time 85% of my entire church was Californian (thankfully the times of the gentiles are over) I never heard the end of In N Out. So, at one point while trekking through the Grand Canyon with my friends (who were road tripping with me) I exclaimed, randomly;  “We have to go to In-N-Out in Cali!”. They too were mystified at the cultic obsession people from California and the western states had with In N Out. So, the day we arrived in Hollywood, we found the closest restaurant and sat to down to sup. I will be honest, I really approached In-N-Out with hope, the kinda hope that it contained within it the remnants of the fine fast food culture that thrived in California but boy was I in for a disappointment.

Now, mind you I’m a Texan, born and raised. Yes, my dad wears cowboy boots, he owns horses and drives a big truck. In fact at one point all of us drove trucks. I say y’all, and fixin’ to. Technically, if one were to be historical, my mexican ancestry is deeper than that of the Anglo-Americans, but meh. So, when I encountered the proud, and arrogant Californians (I say that very lightly) I reacted violently (also lightly) and asserted the primacy of Texas as the only true state. There is no state but Texas, the rest are non-Texas. California I began to refer to as the ‘third world’. But, I digress.

As we arrived, I must say that the Texan response to In-N-Out appropriately is What-A-Burger, but the decor, and the general aura of In-N-Out is definitely a great supplement to get a Texan like me excited about finally taking a bite out of a tasty burger. I ordered a ‘normal’ burger, a ‘double double’ with mustard not the sauce. With that I ordered jalapeños,and to my dismay they didn’t have any!? But my server was very helpful and asked if I wanted banana peppers? In the south this is a crime. Everyone has jalapeños in the south. You get jalapeños with Ice Cream here…so, I was very surprised. I guess the pacific just doesn’t get it.

Now before I topple the idols, and destroy the idolaters like a good ‘ol iconoclast, I want to clear the air, I did approach In-N-Out with expectations that were above average. I’m not hard to please, I’m not a picky eater, heck I eat pretty much anything. I did, however; have high, oh so high expectations for In-N-Out, why? Well, you see from lay person to elder they all hailed In-N-Out as the big daddy of burgers joints.

Now, the particular restaurant we visited was busy, so maybe I can grant some mercy to the establishment but as far as taste goes the burger simply tasted – well that was the problem, the burger was simply a burger. There was nothing extremely delightful about having it, I enjoyed it but I enjoyed it as much as I enjoy any other burger. Everything was good, I love the aesthetics of In-N-Out, the service was great but the burger was supposed to be the high to end all highs and I just didn’t see it. I liked it, but I expected more. In the end, I walked away giving In-N-Out an average, at least for the burger.

I enjoy my meals together, so when I take a bite of a burger I throw in a few fries, dip my fries into some ketchup (loaded with pepper) and rinse and repeat. I did hear that the fries at In-N-Out also were to be just incredible, but mine were cold, stale and just over all…cafeteria fries? I’m not joking, I’m being very honest, the fries I received must have at least from what others have said not been the true fries that they always sell. Again, the sense of average-ness remained.

Ultimately, I enjoyed my meal at In-N-Out, but did I ENJOY my meal at In-N-Out? No. For that reason as soon as we drove back into Texas, Ian and I stopped at What-A-Burger for a good burger – an above average burger.