Wednesday, March 2, 2011

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Further Notes on In-n-Out's Not-So-Secret Menu

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has a piece on Serious Eats today called The Ultimate In-N-Out Secret Menu (and Super Secret Menu!) Survival Guide. It's no secret that bars and restaurants around the globe have offerings — sometimes just a few, sometimes myriad — that aren't, at a glance, on offer. Maybe it's a dish that rotated off the menu, but the cooks still make when asked. Could be a stash of house-made cordial that's not technically legal, but if you know the right bartender...

In-n-Out fries, animal style
The California burger chain In-n-Out is no exception. In fact, its "secret" menu is one of the worst-kept secrets on the West Coast. This is mostly because its fans — which are Legion — won't shut up about the off-menu orders if you let them get started. For those who aren't familiar with the chain, it's a privately-held fast food joint where the workers at least seem to be genuinely in good spirits. The menu posted above the registers is brief, but cashiers regularly (eagerly, even) accept orders for items that aren't on that board or agree to prepare them in ways a tyro would have no way of knowing.

One could, for instance, order a burger mustard-grilled. Lopez-Alt explains: "After cooking the first side, the cook will squirt some mustard onto the top of the patty before flipping it so that it sizzles into the meat on the grill."

Me? I don't go that often. The burgers are fine. I'm even ok with the creepy (but unobtrusive) references to Scripture on some of the packaging. It's the fries that keep me away. Even though they're cut fresh from raw potatoes before your very eyes, and you'd think, therefore, that they'd be fantastic, they're just some of the least compelling fast food fries I've ever had. That is, unless you get them animal style, topped with cheese, Thousand Island spread, and grilled onions...Like I do.

Praise the lord.

Goes well with:


Anne Brockhoff said...

Really? There are fries under all that?? Mmmm...

Matthew Rowley said...

Nice to hear from you, Anne. You know, I thought there was a fry sticking out right between 1 and 2 o'clock on the photo. But no. That's cheese.

Good thing I get these only about once a year. Same as carne asada fries.

Michael Lazar said...

The fries are a real problem for me. I am convinced it's because they are using Kennebec potatoes, what we normally find in a bag of po-tay-to chips. An Idaho russet would make more sense.