When you are driving in Southern California, Arizona, or Nevada and you see the sign, you stop everything. You know that there will be a line of cars a mile long, snaking out into the street and hindering traffic, but you don’t care. You join the parade.

You wait for the courteous server to come to your car and take your order. You inch slowly up to the first window, where you pay.

You peer in the window, seeing thick shakes being mixed,  enjoying the scent of potatoes frying in the air.

As you receive your paper placemat, you start to drool if you know what is ahead of you. If this is your first time the anticipation in the car is palpable.

Animal Style Fries, unsalted, extra crispy (via)

Freshly cut spuds, fried until they are almost tan on the outside. They have to be incredibly crispy to hold onto the onslaught of toppings. Sweet caramelized onions, tangy thousand island dressing, and that wonderful, gooey substance known as fake nacho cheese.  They are simply the best way to eat French fries. The fries are unsalted so they don’t become a sodium bomb with the cheese and dressing, and they manage to retain their shape under the deliciously gooey mess.

Animal Style Cheeseburger

Proof that good things are all around us if you know where to look for them. A fresh beef patty, thin and charred but still succulent. Griddled with mustard right into the patty, it is pungent and savory with more of those caramelized onions and tangy dressing. . Served with incredibly fresh tomatoes, sour pickles, crisp lettuce, and wonderfully melty cheese, it is almost perfect. Oh wait, the fresh and spongy bun actually does make it perfect – it absorbs all the juices and toppings without disintegrating.

You can get fancier hamburgers and fries. But you really can’t get better ones.

In-N-Out. My favorite reason to visit the West Coast.


  1. I haven’t been to In-N-Out in years. I need to take a trip to LA just for that burger!


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