Many of my Canadian friends find it difficult to understand why someone would want to move away from California. There were good reasons to stay and, in our case, better reasons to leave, but there are definitely things about California that I miss. Foremost among these are dear friends, the meyer lemon and fuyu persimmon trees in my yard, and the beautiful winter weather (summers I wasn't too crazy about -- blasted hot). And I miss my favorite fast meal there, at In 'n Out Burger.
(a simple menu and with excellent prices!)
Located in the Southwestern USA is a family run chain of 50s style hamburger joints that have a very limited menu. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, milkshakes and beverages. That's about it. There are no freezers, just refrigerators -- everything is fresh and cooked to order. The family builds new restaurants when there's enough money in profits, so expansion is relatively slow, although they've opened restaurant #300 recently. Fortunately they've resisted the many buy-out offers they must receive, so there are some things you still can count on to be consistently good. In 'n Out restaurants are really, really popular and very busy during lunch and dinner hours. You can drive thru, take out, or dine in.
(getting fresh potatoes ready to slice)
(Working the grill)
The staff at In 'n Out is young, energetic, paid a little better than the kids at McDonalds (and it shows in the quality of the employee). Their uniform, a red apron on white slacks and top, and cap or hat, is snappy. You'll get an inexpensive meal that's delicious! Vegetarians have limited options but can enjoy the fries made from fresh cut Idaho potatoes (you can watch the potatoes being cut) and a milkshake. Vegan options -- well, sorry, this is not a place that caters to you.
I know people who, when traveling through LAX, try to arrange a four hour layover so that they can walk over to the In 'n Out Burger nearby on Sepulveda, enjoy a great burger meal, then return in time to make their connecting flight. No kidding. The burgers are that good.
So when in California or Nevada or Arizona (or a few other states), check the location of the nearest In 'n Out. A better cheaper meal is hard to find. Those of you who've visited an In 'n Out know what I mean -- those who haven't will when you have your first bite.
(a bite of paradise....)