Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

September 15, 2008 12:52 AM

Restaurant: In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger

San Francisco, California
Simma, Ron, Rita, Jay and I decided to try, on Stan's recommendation, an In-N-Out Burger. To hear Stan tell it, it is "the burger." And, if you don't order it in a certain way, you make it very clear to everyone that you are not "In-N-Out Burger sophisticated."

In-N-Out Burger shops are found in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. We were in San Francisco, so we decided to try one in that area.

To experience the In-N-Out Burger you must follow Stanley's instructions.

1st - you hire a Lincoln Navigator with a driver

2nd - you explain to the Four Seasons hotel doorman and the driver why you have decided to go to the Daly City outlet in Mateo, which is 30 minutes from the hotel, rather than the Ferry Pier mall that is 9 blocks from the hotel or the shop that is on Jefferson Street that is about 10 minutes from the hotel and also close to Stanley's house.

The reason for the selection of this particular In-N-Out Burger is of course quite simple. It is because Stanley thinks that the In-N-Out Burger shop outside the city has the better burgers than the ones closer to us. This is not withstanding the fact that the meat, cheese, bread, potatos, and condiments in all of these stores come from the same suppliers, and the cooking instructions and training are identical. [If, at the this point, you have a question as to who is crazier, Stanley or the 5 of us, it may be a close call.]

Eating at In-N-Out burger is not complicated. There are 3 options.
  1. A double cheese, double burger on a bun
  2. A single cheese, single burger on a bun
  3. A single burger on a bun
The actual burger and bun are medium-sized, larger than a White Castle, but smaller than a McDonalds. Each burger comes with lettuce tomato, onions, and sauce, all optional.

Each also comes with French fries, unless you request otherwise. Much is made of the preparation of the French fries. Each store starts the day with a fresh batch of whole potatoes that are washed, peeled and hand-cut, one potato at a time. They are cooked in 100%, trans-fat free, cholesterol-free, vegetable oil.

I did not record what each person in our party ordered, but each of them ordered a single item. I decided to do a taste testing, and ordered a double/double and a single/single. It is my judgement that the single/single is better than the double/double. Because of the greater amount of cheese in the larger version, the whole thing becomes soggy more quickly than the single/single. I did manage to finish both and a few fries to boot.

The general conclusion of everyone in the party was that we have eaten better, if different burgers. However, there was some feeling that they were not as good as McDonalds.

The restroom was clean, but nothing to write about.

On the way back to the hotel I asked our driver whether he had a view about the In-N-Out burgers. In his view, the burgers at Taylors, another hamburger haven, are superior. and it is also located only 9 blocks from our hotel.

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