So, from my experience at least, when you get a burger somewhere, you’re often stuck with two choices: moist or substantial. Moist can be very luscious, and it’s that greasy moistness that causes most of the cheap fast food places to thrive. A McDonalds burger is not a burger so much as a pod o’ grease, but it’s satisfying and slides down well. At the other end of the spectrum is substantial. There’s more substance to the bread, the meat is thicker and there’s actually vegetables involved. I’ve had too many of these where they didn’t seem to mesh, however. A good burger is better than the sum of it’s parts, and too many giant burgers just seem to be a giant pile of parts without the cohesive whole. Part of that problem might be that you’ll never experience the burger as a cohesive whole if you can’t fit it into your mouth. Maybe it’s a reaction to the undersized fast food burgers. Maybe some people genuinely like eight inch tall burgers. They just frustrate me, and I usually try mashing them down with my hand. Oh, but substantial burgers often confuse “a quality bun” with “an overtoasted bun”, so even after squashed to mouth-height, you bite into that burger and half the sandwich squirts out the other end.
Which brings me to In-N-Out. I’d never eaten at one before, but have had them aggressively recommended to me. So, finding myself in Southern Cali not too long ago, I took it upon myself to seek one out, and got a double double.
Freaking magical. Moist, succulent and cohesive, yet having plenty of substance (and decent vegetation). And, I could successfully squish it to fit in my mouth! Score. Not too much on the menu, meaning they’re focused on this one thing that they do extremely well. I do know about the “secret menu”, but a straight burger was good enough for me!
There seems to be a trend towards burgers that are actually awesome. I wonder if maybe places like McDonalds used to be better than they are now, and then they started lowering the quality of things to be cheaper, meaning other restaurants could jump in. I dunno, my education in burger history is pretty lacking. But, the In-N-Out burger is reminiscent of a Five Guys burger, which is reminiscent of a Shake n Steak burger. Is there a town that contains all three of these restaurants? I totally want to get a double whatever from all of these places and have the Best Taste Test Ever. And then go lock myself in a gym for like 3 hours (one for each burger). Hah!