My Dad’s Wardrobe consists of three distinct T-Shirts: Wisconsin, USC and In ‘N Out Burger. This Cali based burger joint has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, becoming a regular pit stop and place to buy additions to my Dad’s clothing rotation.
For those of you that have never had the privilege of traveling to California, you’ve probably heard the legends. The secret menu, crazy waits, killer shakes. They’re all true. And it’s even better then the legends.
Let’s get one thing out of the way; no, it’s not the same thing as McDonald’s and how dare you even think that.
The geniuses behind In ‘N Out conveniently snagged a location right off the ramp from LAX, so anyone going In and Out (see what I did there?) of LA have zero excuse for not stopping in. In fact, when I checked in on FourSquare, my boyfriend and multiple other friends had been to the same location. Everyone needs their burger fix.
After my Dad had appropriately been here a week before, he warned us that even at 10:30pm, the drive through line can take over 45 minutes. We factored the pit stop into our travel time and decided to head inside because it’s totally healthier to walk inside from your car and then back out, right?
We stood on the surprisingly short line and realized it was a time saving move to come inside. Both my sister Leigh and I can recite the secret menu like our ABCs, ordering our ideal burgers. I went for a Cheeseburger, Animal Style, while Gluten-Free Leigh ordered a Cheeseburger, Protein Style. We then ordered side of fries and two small sodas, plus a little gift for my Dad (re-read the first sentence to know what it was). With cups in hand, we filled them up with Vintage RootBeer and sat in one of the white and red booths listening for our number to be called.
Finally, the number 70 was shouted through the microphone up front and I leapt from my seat to grab our tray of burgers and fries.
These beautiful pieces of meat are displayed in a way that’s meant to be photographed. The right side, Leigh’s protein style, wraps the moist beef patty inside pieces of crisp lettuce. It’s a slightly healthier version, while also the perfect option for someone like my sister who’s gluten-free. A delicate slice of tomato tops the melted slice of American cheese rounding out the simple version that just focuses on the integrity of the meat.
Now, let’s talk about mine. The animal style. The ultimate image of burger perfection.
The golden brown bun absorbs the special “sauce,” which is a variety of Thousand Island making Animal Style not like the rest. Next a bright red slice of tomato sits on top of the sauce with a few crisp pieces of lettuce. Grilled Onions round out the flavor, adding a sweet element to the fresh and creaminess. A simple pickle gives a bit of acidity, making you wonder why pickles aren’t always on burgers. But really, the star of In ‘N Out is the beautiful ground beef patty. The Animal Style burgers have mustard fried into each patty, making the beef even more moist while maintaining a crisp crust.
The first bite taste like heaven, especially when you haven’t been back in a while. It’s like seeing an old friend and wondering how you were without them for so long.
Each bite is better then the last, with the melted cheese and crumbling beef patty combining with all of the fresh vegetables. The sweet and toasted bun is the ideal vehicle for the burger, and the special sauce adds a moistness and sweet component. Don’t even think about going for the ketchup. It’s perfect as is.
On the side, it’s totally necessary to order fries. They’re really salty and crisp and can be ordered to your exact liking off of a secret fry menu. We decided to stick to the classic variety, with a delicate crunch and moist interior. Mustard and Mayonnaise are not readily available like ketchup, but that’s okay since the fries are perfect as is.
Point blank, if you find yourself in LA and have not been to In ‘N Out Burger, you need to really question your judgment. As I’m sitting in New York writing this, I’m dreaming of my Animal Style burger wishing there was some magical way to have this burger delivered straight to my door. Food Network claims to have the “almost” Animal Style burger recipe available, but I know it won’t be the same. You need to experience the ordering, the environment, the sound of the loudspeaker when your number is called and your heart skips a little beat. Even vegetarians can order a ridiculous grilled cheese here and a big milkshake. It’s on the way to LAX, you have zero excuse. And I’m already plotting my return.
In ‘N Out Burger – 9149 South Sepulveda Boulevard – Los Angeles, CA
In ‘N Out Burger
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Type: American (Traditional)
Perfect For: Neighborhood Hang, Late Night, Cheap Eats, Take Out
Reservations: Not Accepted
Favorite Dishes: Animal Style Burger, Classic Fries