Today’s installment: Max Goes To In-N-Out Burger, Achieves Total Enlightenment
After a few days of riding the rails, I spent the better part of last week visiting Utah’s many lovely national parks. Utah is gorgeous; vast plains, almost impossibly tall mountains, beautiful painted cliff faces and some of the clearest skies I’ve ever seen. These are the things you miss when you live in New York City.
Utah, much to my surprise, is also home to a different kind of southwestern beauty; In-N-Out Burger. This relatively small chain of fast food restaurants is near and dear to my heart; the last time I’d had a chance to eat there was going on four years ago on an ill-fated trip to Los Angeles. I was able to grab lunch at this burger and fries Shangri-La on the last day of my Utah expedition and, to make things interesting, my meal consisted only of items from In-N-Out’s (not really) “secret menu” i.e a bunch of items not on their official menu that people still order anyway.
THE GASTRONOMIC ARTIFACT(S)
1x (one) In-N-Out Cheeseburger served “Animal Style”
1x (one) order of cheese fries
1x (one) Root beer float
Let me tell you something real: there are few things more beautiful to me than an In-N-Out burger.
Look at this thing. Man, woman…you tell me you don’t want to fuck that hamburger and I’ll call you a liar right now.
Cheese, lettuce, tomato, a beef patty cooked in mustard, In-N-Out’s signature “spread” (basically just thousand island dressing) on a soft bun. As I ordered it Animal Style, it comes with a little chili and onions on top.
It’s like the platonic ideal of a burger. This is the burger people are eating in your favorite movies and TV shows. This is what a Big Mac thinks about when it puts a gun to its head. That little dribble of orange sauce at the bottom there is the food equivalent of Liv Tyler biting her lip and winking at you.
The cheese fries, same deal. A little basket of golden glory.
The root beer float (just root beer and some vanilla milkshake), when you pop open the lid, you get a brown and white swirl not incomparable to scientific illustrations of the creation of the universe.
Oh man. Oh man oh man.
This is the best fast food cheeseburger you’ll ever have in your life. This isn’t up for debate. Better than or comparable to any high-quality restaurant burgers, if we’re being honest. The beef patty is so juicy, everything works together so perfectly. You can get as many as four beef patties on an In-N-Out burger but I’m usually set with a single or a double because it’s so flavorful. This is a burger that makes you want to be a better person.
The cheese fries, upon tasting, are slightly less impressive. The fries themselves? Awesome. Crispy and surprisingly healthy by fry standards (In-N-Out cooks them in trans-fat free, cholesterol-free vegetable oil). By virtue of being a secret menu item, though, the cheese on top is two slices of the American cheese that goes on their burgers. As a result, the cheese hardens pretty quick and isn’t especially hot. Still, pretty all around tasty.
The root beer float really shines; the ratio of Barq’s Root Beer to vanilla milk shake is just right and the two elements really compliment each other.
The big take away, for me, from this meal was that it felt like the perfect amount of food: I was full but not overstuffed. A rare feat for fast food.
The Animal Style cheeseburger is a fairly messy eat because of In-N-Out’s Special Spread but that just means it demands a little of your time. That’s good, this is a burger that deserves your attention. The fries and float you could probably eat mid-run with no issues.
I’d argue that other people’s reactions to this meal say more about them than you. Would you really want to work for someone who doesn’t appreciate In-N-Out? Would you want to share your bed, life and future with a partner who doesn’t admire the craftsmanship of this cheeseburger? A little sauce on your shirt is a small price to pay for a taste of the face of God. In the future robot wars, we will sniff out Skynet terminator units by offering them In-N-Out, it’s the only way to be sure.
If you don’t like In-N-Out Burger, I will fucking fight you.
Keep your eyes peeled for further updates from our Trash Boys both at home and on the road.