The Cult of In-N-Out
For omnivores, In-N-Out is arguably one of the most beloved Los Angeles food institutions. There is no shortage of requests -- national and international -- for the homegrown chain to expand outside of its immediate distribution hubs here in Southern California and, in 2011 Texas. A woman even cried at the grand opening of one in the surburbs of Dallas.
But is it all that it's lauded to be? Or is it as Matt Duckor of Bon Appétit believes just a product of "a cult that happens to serve burgers and fries"? Having moved away from Southern California, the assistant editor revisited In-N-Out on a recent trip back and found his burger to be a paler shade of his favorable memory:
That special sauce? It's just thousand island dressing. The meat may not be frozen, but that doesn't mean the beef has much flavor. The lettuce should have been crisp and chilled, not limp and room temperature. The tomato should have tasted like a tomato.
Not every element of his combo meal was disappointing. He enjoyed the consistency of his milkshake; the fries hit a balance of starchiness and "potato-ness." Still the ex-Angeleno thinks that Shake Shack in New York City is "better than In-N-Out in every way, except for the fries."
Does Duckor have a point? Is it really one of the better burgers in the Southland or are we just too engrossed to recognize otherwise?
And in related news:
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Follow the author on Twitter at @chrstnchiao.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.