Thursday, October 18, 2001
If you're not familiar with In-N-Out Burger, here's a little context.
In-N-Out is pretty much a California thing and enjoys a cult following not unlike Krispy Kreme (in fact, my "great" business idea is to put the two side by side like KFC/Taco Bell - breakfast-lunch-dinner ka-boo-ya) Update - this has been done!). People travel from far-and-wide for the best fast food burger around. Yeah, I've had much better non-fast-food burgers (Corner Bistro wins by KO in the first round), but In-N-Out blows McDonald's or even Wendy's out of the water.
Adding to the cult appeal of In-N-Out is the presence of the 'Secret Menu' - - an unposted medley of items based on variations of the standard cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake. A 'Double-Double' is one of the most popular non-secret items on the menu, so named for 2 burger patties and 2 slices of cheese. On the secret menu you've got the 4x4 (4 patties and four slices of cheese), and you can expand this indefinitely to an n x n.
At lunch about two weeks ago, I finished a 6x6 (with fries). I only had a yogurt for dinner that night.
I went to In & Out for lunch today. Going in, I stepped up to the counter and the girl asked me what I wanted. I hesitated for a moment, and then went for it: "12 x 12, please."
She laughed (albeit nervously) and a more senior coworker stepped in over her shoulder and she asked, "Are you going to eat all that?"
"I hope to," I said, and the more senior girl started training the other girl how to program it in to the cash register.
"Okay, start with a 4x4, and then press patty-patty-patty-patty-patty-patty-patty-patty. Then it's cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese. Do you want fries with that?"
"Yeah, uhh, why not?"
As I waited for the $11.15 burger to be prepared I started to get nervous. It must be kind of like the feeling a new father has when he's sitting in the hospital lobby waiting to see his baby for the first time. Except in this case, after seeing the "baby", the father was expected to eat it.
So it was huge. HUUUGGGE! Workers in the kitchen stole glances to the counter to see what kind of demented psycho had ordered such a monstrosity.
Eating this beast was, well... challenging. In the beginning I had to pick out cheese-covered patties and eat them by hand. I started really slowing down around the half way point. But then a second wind hit and before long the cow-sized burger was gone (and the fries of course).
A worker came out of the kitchen and up to our table outside, "So who ate the 12x12?"
I admitted as much, and she said, "Good job! Do you want a triple-triple?"
"No thanks. Maybe next time," I said.
Then the food coma came flooding in and it was time to head back to the office.