New York and I didn’t split up—we’re just on a break. I needed space and time apart, that’s all. And while some people think it might turn into something serious and I keep saying it’s just casual, I’ve been seeing someone new: San Francisco.
I actually miss New York and many of its eccentricities but San Francisco knew exactly how to take my mind off things: food.
Anywhere else and I might be worried about missing out on all the great food options that a city like New York has to offer, but lucky for me, I landed in an equally great foodie haven: San Francisco.
When I bought my Lonely Planet San Francisco City Guide the first thing I did was flip to the section on eating. Tacos, pho, burgers, dim sum, ice cream, burritos! With so much to chose from I wasn’t sure where to start.
Then on my second day here, I saw it: In-N-Out Burger. That was it. Over the past year, almost every time I’ve gotten into a burger conversation with people, someone mentions In-N-Out Burger, and every time I’ve felt like I was being left out of some big secret just because I’d never been to California.
Well now I’m here and in the name of being well versed in burger matters, I had to check it out.
The first thing that caught my attention was the simplicity of the menu.** Burgers, fries, shakes and sodas. No crazy burger toppings and variations, only one size of fries and shakes in three classic flavors (strawberry, chocolate and vanilla). Easy, no nonsense.
I ordered a cheeseburger and fries at the fast-food style counter and wondered if I was just getting some hyped up version of McDonald’s. $2.40 for a cheeseburger and $1.45 for fries—how good could this really be?
For under five bucks, pretty damn good I have to admit. While the beef patty was a little thin, it made up in flavor and juiciness was it lacked in thickness. And unlike other fast food joints, the bun on my In-N-Out burger was full and round, not some sad-looking squished bread. Inside, the tomato was thick and juicy red with bright, shredded lettuce and crisp raw onions adding color and fresh taste. And because it was a cheeseburger, hot, gooey melted cheese oozed out in every direction. Finally, In-N-Out spread (probably some mayo-mustard mix) added a nice saucy touch.
The fries, I have to say, I wasn’t as impressed with. They weren’t much different than unsalted McDonald’s fries and were just a little bit dry. But for a $1.45 I got a pretty big heap of them. Some ketchup and a sprinkle of pepper and they were good to go.
New York and I will get back together in the fall but until then I think I’m really going to enjoy my little fling with San Francisco.
** UPDATE: Since I first wrote this, I found out there’s actually a whole secret menu at In-N-Out! How sneaky! I’m kinda pissed I didn’t know about this beforehand. In my own defense, the place I’m staying at doesn’t have internet, thus greatly crippling my research abilities. Oh well, guess this means I need to make another trip there, doesn’t it?