California has many fast-food chains that we don't have back home. They're all on my list of things to try, but since I don't eat fast food very often, I hadn't gotten around to many yet. On the day I wrote my NCLEX exam, I lunched at a Del Taco, but it was nothing to write home about (you didn't see a blog post about it, did you?).
Yesterday however, I made it to the In-N-Out Burger. This is a California institution, with restaurants in Arizona, Nevada and Utah as well. People rave about In-N-Out, waxing poetic about both burger and fry quality.
The most notable thing about this place is the menu. For two reasons: One, there are only four food items on it. Hamburger, cheeseburger, double-double (a double cheeseburger) and fries. Shakes and pop too, but that's it. Simplicity! No fumbling over a wall of cluttered illuminated screens.
The second reason is, that's not actually the whole menu. There are variations you can get on these burgers, but part of the folklore around In-N-Out is that there is a "secret" menu. You need to be in the know, to ask for one of these variations.
My burger, pictured above, is "animal-style". It's got grilled onions, extra pickles and a special sauce, and possibly larger vegetables than standard, but since it was my first visit, who knows. Other variations include "3X3" and "4X4" (extra patties on a double-double), "protein-style" (no bun!), "grilled-cheese" (cheeseburger, no meat!). I think they have a veggie patty too, funny they don't advertise that one, but I guess vegetarians usually do their research anyway.
The other thing about this place, is the very subtle references to bible-verses that are hidden on the wrappers. My burger came with revelations 3:20, which is "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Pretty funny verse, and perfect for a burger, but they don't mean it as a joke. The family that owns the restaurant is a religious one and they have verses that are meaningful to them on the burger wrappers and cups (I looked it up on Snopes.com).
My review: Good burger, good fries, both fresh and very nice, not the best in the world but pretty good by fast-food standards. Extra entertainment in the form of secret menu and stealthy proselytizing provides added value. It was pretty cheap too.
In-N-Out Burger: Recommended.