Thursday, 5 September 2013

In-N-Out Burger: Is it worth the hype?

In-N-Out Burger in Anaheim

After I told my friends my summer destination lie in California, multiple people told me "You must go to In-N-Out!" or "Can you bring me back an In-N-Out burger?" I know how famous this fast food chain is and all the rave reviews it has gotten from both tourists and locals alike. A few years ago, my youth pastor took a group of high school students on a road trip just to get a burger at the closest In-N-Out; yes, crazy I know. But do these burgers deserve their endless praise? It was my mission to taste one of these burgers and find out!

In-N-Out Menu

If you step foot into an In-N-Out restaurant without knowing their 'secret menu', there will not be many choices to choose from. To be exact, there are only 3 choices: hamburger, cheeseburger, and the double-double. Other items available are classic milkshakes in chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla, french fries, soda, and other berverages. The secret menu is where the real fun begins. Of course there is the famed 'animal style' burger but there is many more ways to mix and match than that. This website was very informative and I highly recommend reading all the possibilities before personalizing your ultimate burger. In short here are the burger options:
  • Onions: chopped or whole rings, raw or grilled
  • Mustard fried patty (comes with pickles)
  • Chopped chilis
  • No salt
  • Extra/lightly/untoasted bun
  • Extra everything (tomatoes, lettuce, onion, spread, pickles, chilis)
  • Medium rare/well done patty
I personally chose to add whole grilled onions, mustard fried patty, no salt, and extra everything. The grilled onions add so much flavour, pan-frying the patty with mustard creates this crunchy exterior, and the mountain of fresh vegetables make the burger less guilty. The salt won't be missed with all this flavour going on with the onions and creamy spread. I believe only extra patties and buns have additional costs. 

First In-N-Out meal in Anaheim

Fries, not a complete fast food meal without them. I ordered regular animal style fries with no salt the first time, and found that the fries were too soft and soggy for my family's liking. On our second trip, I ordered well done fries and my mom loved them. It was crispy to the core, making the fries taste like chips. She was going to skip dinner that day but ended up clearing half of the french fries. So I recommend ordering fries at least light-well done, tastes much better with a crispier exterior.

My first encounter with In-N-Out was at the Anaheim location. We had just driven down from Fresno and by 8pm, were very hungry. A burger each and an order of animal fries to share (as mentioned above). I asked for my burger to be cut in half, thinking it was easier to eat. However more juice and fillings had the chances to squirt out. My family also shared a large 'black and white' milkshake; chocolate plus vanilla. The texture was extremely thick, to the point where a lot of effort had to be used to suck the drink (or more like ice cream...) through the straw. I couldn't tell the difference between the chocolate and vanilla in the drink, but overall, it made for a great dessert. Smooth, creamy, cold, and satisfied my sweet tooth at the end of the meal. The Anaheim location has limited indoor seating and a very busy parking lot as it is shared with the plaza that also has a supermarket. Many, many, many customers too since it is close to Disneyland.

Burgers from second visit in Fullerton

For our second meal at In-N-Out, my family decided to drive to the Fullerton location. It's a bit larger and there is more parking. According to Google maps, the Fullerton location should take less driving time to get to compared to the Anaheim one. So I see no reason why tourists don't visit the Fullerton location instead. Since the southern Californian evening has the perfect temperature, we snagged a table outdoors. I enjoyed my burger as a whole, not cut, and it was so much easier to eat. 

The wait for food at In-N-Out is longer than usual for a fast food restaurant. But that is expected since burgers are customized and have to be made to-order. At both visits, all four of the burgers on my order were very complicated so a few numbers after us were served before we were. Funny story about my experience ordering: at the Anaheim location, the cashier taking our order must have been rather new. I'm estimating it took at least 5 to 10 minutes for him to punch in (somewhat) correctly what burgers my family wanted. Then the girl at the Fullerton location had absolutely no problem taking the same orders. Didn't even have to blink an eye or reconfirm what I had asked for. Anywho, point being, be prepared to wait a while, especially at meal hours and if each burger has like 6 personalization. 

A practice I really appreciate at In-N-Out is the minimal use of plastic and production of garbage. Compared to other fast food restaurants, or even Costco, my family made less garbage than usual. Only a few paper wrappings from the burgers, a shallow paper basket from the fries, and a single paper cup. 

Another little tip is if you can bring back a burger as souvenirs for friends, ask for one of the paper hats the employees wear. I brought two home to give friends and both of them were elated to get them. Easy to carry, unique, truly Californian, and free gift.

If at anytime there is an In-N-Out Burger nearby, GO! At least once in a lifetime, it lives up to the hype and rave reviews. I usually don't find burgers that appealing but the simplicity and freshness of In-N-Out's burgers make it a very enjoyable exception. It is a burger I would not mind getting again and again. Get the grilled onions, mustard fried patty, and extra everything! Super cheap and extremely delicious, In-N-Out Burger is a must try in California or the other states where it is available.

Anaheim Location on Yelp
In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon

Fullerton Location on Yelp
In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

1 comment:

  1. Thanks dear for this interesting article! I love to in N out burgers and even items in in n out secret menu!! My favorite one is extra toast and large shakes. It’s so good. You can feel different flavors of shakes and all are awesome.