You know how sometimes food is delicious not just because it tastes good, but because it symbolizes something special? For me, In-N-Out is like that. First of all, I don’t eat fast food very often, so to eat at a fast food chain is a rare and special occasion. Second, I only associate In-N-Out with road trips, since the closest one is about 8 miles north on the freeway, and who doesn’t love road trips? Third, there is the feeling of being “in the know” at In-N-Out. Their bare-bones menu belies the secret code to getting what you want. Sure, the menu might read “cheeseburger,” (boring!) but what you should order is a double-double-animal-style. What does that mean? It’s a double cheeseburger (double cheese, double burger) with grilled onions and their special “animal style” sauce. Which I think is something like thousand island dressing, much like McD’s Big Mac “special sauce.” I imagine that knowing the secret code was much cooler pre-internet, since In-N-Out actually posts a glossary of not-so-secret terms on their website.
The one thing that’s not stellar about In-N-Out? Their fries. You won’t hear me say this too often, but they’re not greasy enough, and they taste like cardboard. But maybe if you dip them into a thick shake, they’ll taste better?