Monday, September 20, 2010

In-N-Out a pleasant surprise

Okay, I'm back from Las Vegas and really, really tired. It's tough to get any decent sleep on such a short trip, largely because of the time adjustment (I guess it's the reverse of jet lag?), and a weekend full of hi-jinks certainly didn't help. Oh, and cap it all off with an overnight flight... you can probably see why my posting today is so late.

In any event, one of the things I really wanted to do while in Vegas was eat at In-N-Out Burger. I knew very little about this chain until recently - I'd seen one of the restaurants across the interstate from the main Vegas strip a number of times, but I'd always written it off as some cheap, greasy spoon burger joint.

However, as I learned a month ago, In-N-Out tends to score very well on ratings from Zagat. The influential restaurant survey, which is more known for fine dining, also ranks fast-food joints, and In-N-Out had the second-best burger and third-best fries in the most recent results. That got me intrigued.

So my friends and I took the unusual step of taking a cab to a burger joint (if you've been to Vegas, you know it's just too far to walk anywhere). I ordered the straight up cheeseburger combo:

Overall, I can't disagree with the Zagat results. The burger, although somewhat small, was surprisingly good. The secret, I think, is in the bun, which was lovingly toasted to just the right crispness. The lettuce and tomato were also fresh and the sauce gave it a special zing. The fries were okay too, although I'm finding that I'm becoming a fry snob as I get older. I also had a pink lemonade and the entire meal was under $5. All in all, In-N-Out was a nifty little surprise to my Canadian taste buds - where have you Americans been hiding these guys?

In that vein, I found it hilarious that the restaurant also sells a burger with two patties and two slices of cheese and calls it the "Double Double." That is, of course, something very different here in Canada.


Rimas said...


Quite pleased to see you mention In N Out, but slightly disappointed that you missed, or were oblivious to some of the key factors that distinguish it above the rest.

The fries were "OK"? One cool thing I noticed one time when I was ordering is that they make their fries fresh from whole potatoes, which is pretty cool. I'm assuming you did not order them animal style then!? One of the cooler things about the place is the secret menu:

Did you notice the biblical passages?

Naturally, you must be amused by the 20X20

All sorts of other cool things too. For example, the ownership situation, which also results in better treatment of employees.

Have you ever watched "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"? The founder of In n Out was a very big fan, and because of this, almost every franchise has palm trees that cross each other.

I guess I was lucky that I have always gone with local friends from LA, who let me in on the secret menu from the start. Researching on the net wielded so many fun things...

Peter Nowak said...

All I can say is, Holy Crap! Honestly, I had no idea about any of this. I did notice that some people at the restaurant had all sorts of stuff on their fries that I didn't see on the menu, but it didn't cross my mind that there was a "secret menu." Thanks for the eyeopener Rimas - I'll be sure to follow this up with another blog post, as I'm guessing most visitors here don't read the comments.

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