Posted By Chris & Amy Ayers
2/4/2008 4:24:00 PM
No trip to California is complete without at least one visit to In-N-Out, the state’s premier burger chain. We chose the Studio City location at 3640 Cahuenga Boulevard, since it was on our way home from Hollywood. We hit the restaurant around 11 p.m., and almost every table and booth were taken by late-night burger fanatics. We were particularly curious about two items from In-N-Out’s “secret menu”: the Grilled Cheese and Animal-Style fries. This menu is “secret” only in the sense that it’s not advertised on any marquee. Google that phrase and you’ll get a plethora of webpages devoted to the dozen or so menu items that comprise this alternative carte du jour. Each item has a respective key on the In-N-Out cash register, and it even prints out on your food receipt, so it’s not like the “2 x 4” (two patties, four slices of cheese), “Flying Dutchman” (two patties, two slices of cheese, no bun), or the “3-by-Meat” (three patties, no cheese) were simply conjured up by bored employees. Search the Badmouth.net site with “in-n-out” for a definitive list, an article on the chain’s use of Bible passages on their food wrappers and cups, and a side-splitting account of some Marc Bruno wannabe downing a 20 x 20 (yes, you read that right: 20 patties, 20 slices of cheese)!
As for our order, we had often heard about but never tried Animal-Style fries before. A quick scan of other customers’ meals told us that these fries were also preferred by most of tonight’s customers. Ergo, we were not at all surprised to discover that they were incredibly delicious. Medium-done fries are covered with a slice of cheese, fried onions, and In-N-Out’s special sauce (definitely a Thousand Island dressing relative). Greasy, messy, but oh so scrumptious! From this meal forward, plain fries will never, EVER be enough for us.
We also ordered a regular cheeseburger, which delivered the great taste as usual, but the focus tonight was on the Grilled Cheese. It’s basically a cheeseburger without the patty: cheese, lettuce, tomato, and bun. We one-upped that by ordering it Animal-Style (add fried onions and special sauce), which made it even tastier. The texture here was especially noteworthy: the grilled bun’s crunch, the cheese and fried onions’ softness, the crispiness of the lettuce and tomato, and the tartness of the pickles and sauce made for quite a sandwich. This is great for late-night eating when you don’t want to go to bed with a beef patty dissolving in your stomach while you sleep.