If I were to make a list of things people must do while in California, eating at In-N-Out would definitely be towards the top. In-N-Out is a place held high in the hearts of southern California natives. Growing up, if you were lucky enough to pass by an In-N-Out in your travels through Socal, you pulled over, took your spot in the drive through line and started salivating. The menu was as simple then as it is now. Hamburger, cheeseburger, double double, fries, soda, and shake.
Of course, there was always the "secret menu". You can get a 3x3 (3 meat, three cheese), 2x4 (two meat, four cheese), or any other ridiculous combo of meat and cheese you can come up with.
You can get your burger animal style which is a mustard-cooked beef patty, extra pickles, extra secret sauce, and grilled onions. You can go protein style and get extra lettuce to hold your burger together instead of that carb laden bun. Vegetarian? Go with the grilled cheese which is a cheese burger hold the burger. My usual stand by? Double meat with grilled onions. Who needs american cheese to drown out the beefy, saucy, oniony goodness? And then there are the fries. You can order them well done which means they are cooked for a bit longer. We always do this because I like a little crisp to my fry. You can also order your fries animal style which is a tasty, messy, treat. Finally there are the shakes. The menu says chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. You can combine them in any way you feel. I normally like to go chocolate vanilla swirl myself. Lightens up the chocolate without taking away the chocolate flavor. Basically you want something done, they will probably do it for you because the kids that work at In-N-Out are actually helpful, friendly, and worth the extra couple dollars an hour they pay them.
I remember when In-N-Out finally made its way into Simi Valley. I was in high school and we were all in a frenzy about it. It was cool to wear In-N-Out shirts to school. It meant you were in the know. When it finally opened the lines were ridiculous for months. It wasn't uncommon to have to wait an hour to get your order and people were happy to do it. It was the place to be. Finally things died down but no matter what time you went, there was always a line. I bet there still is. And then there was the time In-N-Out made it to Davis when I was in college. In-N-Out was still fairly uncommon in Northern California. We used to make 20 minute drives to Vacaville when we had cravings. The excitement of In-N-Out coming to town was so much for some of my friends that they decided to camp out a couple days before it opened so they could be among the first to get their hands on one of those burgers. In-N-Out is the stuff of legends.
Last year on our road trip to Southern California, Chrissy and I decided it was time for the kids to have their first taste of In-N-Out fries. Of course it was love at first bite and they were happy to wear the paper hat with pride.
This month the kids started splitting a burger. Ben is all over that sucka. He usually eats all of his portion and then finishes the meat out of Mari's portion. Mari is not so much into the meat yet but eats everything else with no trace left for the dogs to scavenge. A couple weeks ago the kids got hold of Paul and I's shakes when we weren't looking. They were very into the shakes. I think the concept of ice cream coming out of a straw must have been amazing for them
In-N-Out can be found in Nevada and Arizona now but its still a California classic. It is still family run and it still has the same principles that it started with. How many other large fast food chains can you say that about? Finally- another fun thing about eating at In-N-Out is searching for the bible verses hidden on the cups, burger wrappers, straw wrappers, and fry holders. I am not going to tell you were they are. Now what would the fun in that?
Next time you are in Cali, look up the local In-N-Out. I have yet to meet someone who was disappointed.