[ Currently Eating: Senseo Coffee ]
Ok, here’s the truth (which I think you can easily handle, unlike a certain Scientologist). I looked up at the calendar and realized I’d breezed right through my usual Tuesday Cheap Eats posting schedule. I guess I was too busy watching a PBS special on Kit Carson. Anyhow, seeing as other random duties call I’m going to do the cop-out and post up old pics to make a quick and dirty post.
So – hey look, a picture of a hamburger in my archives. I guess this would be from In-N-Out. I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been a post about them yet on Cheap Eats. I eat there quite a bit – I actually would eat there more often if there was one closer to me. Perhaps that’s a good thing the nearest one is a good drive.
I don’t think I need to go into all the details about In-N-Out. They’ve been hashed over by so many sites and blogs already. The basics for those who’ve never heard of them: They’re only located in California, Nevada, Arizona – some are drive-thru only, others have seated areas inside. It was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948 in Baldwin Park – it was California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand. I actually visit the new location in Baldwin Park, across the freeway from the old one. There is an “In-N-Out University” there if you can believe it.
They’re a private company – they only open stores in certain areas. Because they have a limited number of stores they can really make a committment to providing freshly made food and quality service. They don’t buy patties – they buy the meat, butcher it, and make the patties all within the company. Fries are cut fresh. Nothing frozen. When you get the burger, the meat is hot and the lettuce, tomato and pickle are cold. God, I sound like a commercial. But it’s true – unlike most other “fast food” hamburger joints, In-N-Out has never made me sick yet. (Regarding the recent beef recall – they ended their relationship with Hallmark/Westland in January)
One of the most interesting things about them is the In-N-Out Secret Menu. It’s not such a secret, just google it and you’ll find all the different ways you can order food. They only serve hamburgers, fries, shakes, drinks – the basic menu is so small that perhaps it’s good there’s a secret menu just for variety. The truth is – they will basically fix your hamburger or fries any way you like as long as you tell them what you want.
Me, I usually get a Double Double (two hambuger patties, two slices cheese) Animal Style (grilled onions plus mustard cooked into the patties) with Fries Well Done. I’ve gotten a 3×3 once (3 patties, 3 cheese) and it was too much. Some people say the hamburgers are a little on the small size – I think the patties are definitely smaller (I forget the weight). I think they only make up to a 4×4 now. They used to not limit it, which meant bunches of bored college kids coming in and ordering 30x30s just for fun. There’s a few other different ways you can get your food (just the burger without buns, just cheese, animal style fries) – again just google it.
I have heard a lot of people (mostly from the East Coast) say that the burger is just “OK”. One couple I know complained that “the burger and bun do not become one”. Some people also think the fries don’t taste very good. I think it’s partly a personal thing – I happen to really like them, especially when you compare them both in quality and price (I’m sorry, I forgot to write down all the prices) side by side with McDs, CJs, Jack in the Balpha, Burger King. For fast-food chain hamburgers, I don’t think there is much of a comparison. If you’re going to compare them with some other small local chain or a non-fast food place, well maybe they aren’t such a big deal. I just know if we have to eat fast food and it has to be hamburgers, then I’m going to In-N-Out.
I’ve never had a bad meal there. The only cons – locations are spotty, and they ONLY sell hamburgers.
Cheap Eats Score: 8/10