Happy In-N-Out Day, Dallas. Decades from now, when you're stuffing your face with a Triple-Triple (we get fatter in the future) and wondering if anyone called while you were out (cell phones, the internet -- it's all going to stop working soon, I swear), we'll remember the days leading up to this day fondly -- the days when fast-food burgers were just something you ate when you were feeling bad for yourself, or your wife was out of town, or it was Tuesday.
Today, at 10 a.m. in something called Frisco -- I've never been, but I assume there are beautiful vistas and lots of hookers and my favorite baseball team -- all that changes. We'll have photos and a dispatch or two later today, but as a California native and frequent In-N-Out visitor, here are some quick thoughts on navigating the experience.
1. Don't be alarmed by the line. It's going to be crazy long, especially at peak dining hours, especially in the early months of the chain's existence in the 'plex.
2. With regards to the line, you might have been expecting me to say, "It goes fast." It doesn't. Well, the line itself moves pretty quickly, but the ensuing wait for your food can be miserable -- lurking near the counter, listening to those sprightly hatted bastards call numbers that don't even have the same digit count as your numbers, watching others' food float by. It's not fun. Your stomach wrestles itself and your mind plays tricks, telling you to knee-cap that bitch with the strawberry shake and make a run for it, or, if that's ruled out as too drastic, maybe jump across the street to Jack in the Box for some quick curly fries?
3. The raw onions are intense. I'm not an animal-style guy -- to me, the fresh-veggieness of the burger is what makes it such a good fast-foot sandwich. But they do load up those suckers. Take a tip from my mom -- order it with onions, take most of them off. Even all of them. A little onion flavor sticks around, but you don't end up sogging up your bun with tears.
4. Get the Double-Double. It's less burger than it sounds like -- and damn it is it delicious. The construction is perfect. There's just enough cheese, perfectly melted. The veggies have some crunch. The meat tastes like actual meat. It's so good, there will be times when you drive by one at two in the afternoon and think, "I had a light lunch, what the hell," and you'll consider getting the single cheeseburger. Don't. Anything less than the Double-Double will leave you feeling really sad. (Anything more will leave you feeling really happy, but then really sad.)
5. Don't be alarmed by the fries. If you've never had them, you'll likely think they suck, mostly because they're not drenched in oil and salt. They grow on you, and will eventually become just good enough to stuff in your face eight at a time without thinking about it.
However: Get going on them before your burger. Like at most fast-food chains, the burger holds up better than the fries. And once In-N-Out's fries get cold, you might as well throw them at the beggar at the nearest stoplight. (I'd say hand them to him, but he'd have one cold fry and throw them back at you. The best defense is a good offense, friends.)
That's all for now. Have fun, eat safe, and remember -- it's still fast food. When we ask you to vote for your favorite burger later this year, think twice about voting for In-N-Out. That may be true in Tracy, California, where I had my first In-N-Out, but not around here.
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