Thursday, August 5, 2010

Left Coast Vacation 2010: Day 5 - In-N-Out Burger

Growing up in New York, I've heard the praises of In-N-Out Burger my whole life. Far and away considered to be the pinnacle of fast food, I've longed for the day I could finally sink my teeth into a Double-Double "Animal Style." Fast forward to April 1, 2010 when multiple New York blogs initially reported breaking news that In-N-Out Burger would be coming to Manhattan later that summer. Near hysteria threatened to erupt as it was later revealed to be a clever, albeit cruel, April fool's prank. But as fate would have it, I would have the last laugh and enjoyed my first In-N-Out Burger two months later.

My opportunity came during an afternoon of sightseeing along Fisherman's Wharf. To be honest, MW and I had researched this well ahead of time and were enthusiastic to finally try the crème de la crème of all burger joints. Located on Jefferson Street, we arrived to a packed restaurant where I stood in line while MW fought tooth and nail for an empty table. In hindsight, we should have just taken an empty table outside, as the air conditioning was non-existent that day. At first glance, In-N-Out's menu is pretty sparse but provides the perfect segway to some "off-the-menu" items beloved by the franchise's ravenous disciples, some of which can be found here. The grease-saturated air was the perfect amuse whetting my appetite as I grew anxious for my food, which finally arrived without a second to spare.

Not wanting to blow her proverbial "load," MW stuck with the modest, Double-Double "Animal Style." Two Mustard-Cooked Beef Patties with two slices of American Cheese, Pickles, Lettuce, Tomato, Secret Sauce and Grilled Onions. If there was ever such a thing as burger nirvana, then this may have been the key to enlightenment. Every component contributed to the burger's synergy between the beefy patties, melted cheese, salty pickles, sweet sauce and grilled onions. Simply amazing...

Though I initially wanted the 4 x 4 Burger, I reluctantly backed out at the last second and settled for the 2 x 4 Burger "Animal Style." Two-Mustard Cooked Beef Patties with four slices of American Cheese, Pickles, Lettuce, Tomato, Secret Sauce and Grilled Onions made for a mammoth burger experience. But as good as the ingredients were, highlighted by good beefy flavor and fresh ingredients, the four slices American cheese ultimately was its demise as the glut of cheese overwhelmed the rest of the burger that desperately needed the two additional patties to restore balance.

MW and I decided to share a large order of French Fries "Animal Style." Like the BP oil spill (too soon?) the French Fries were drenched in a thick layer of Cheese, Secret Sauce and topped with Grilled Onions. Delicious for the initial three bites, these fries suffered from the same fatal flaw that plagues all cheese fries. Once cold, the cheese congeals into an amorphous salty-yellowish blob, capturing anything in its way.

To wash this calorie-bomb of a meal down, I also ordered a Neopolitan Milkshake, which even the most unimaginative could guess would be some combination of Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate swirled together, but not mixed. The shake was very solid, thick but not solid, you could taste each flavor separately or mix-and-match as you please.

"Quality You Can Taste" is the slogan of the In-N-Out franchise. From their impeccably fresh ingredients, to their not so secret off-menu items, in a time when advertisers make all sorts of outrageous claims, one can't help but see the validity to theirs after eating here. So after all the hype, was this the best burger ever? No, but it was easily the best fast food burger I've ever had and one that I, along with thousands of others, would gladly welcome with open arms should In-N-Out ever come to New York for real...until then, one can always wish.

In-N-Out Burger
333 Jefferson Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(800) 786-1000

To see all our pics click the flickr link.

In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Why would your first review be of an off-the-menu item? The Double-Double is the yardstick, especially if you want to taste the unadulterated patty. In the same vein, why would your first experience with their classic fries be of the smothered variety? Always go for what a restaurant is known for.