Burger Reviewed:  Double-Double with cheese and fries

Prof. Beef

Dr. Meat

McDonalds, Burger King, Jack-in-the-Box, Carl’s Jr., and Wendy’s are all probably on their knees thanking the heavens that the majority of the burger eating public are either too lazy or too ignorant to discern the difference between quality cuisine and food that just meets one of Maslow’s basic needs.   The Burger Guys also understand that most of the readers of this column are unable to comprehend any message beyond the number total on the bottom of our critiques.  It is sad to think that you, bulbish eating machines, ghost from fast-food burger restaurant to fast-food burger restaurant without really tasting the meat, bun, cheese and fries. The American automaton need guidance and education, and The Burger Guys are here to lend a caring, comforting hand in a confusing time for many.

In-N-Out is an oasis in a sea of frozen burgers and fries.  They have perfected the art of providing a quickly prepared meal without sacrificing too much quality.  Let’s not confuse In-N-Out with the elite in the burger world, but for a fast-food burger restaurant, it finds itself on the top of the heap.

The Double-Double with cheese is comprised of two well-seasoned, fresh, ground beef patties.  They are fried deep brown with just a faint hint of pink on the inside permitting a few drops of juice to survive.  It was one of the few fast-food burgers that The Burger Guys could have eaten without the bun and condiments.  The quality of bun is not much different than most of the other fast-food burger restaurants; however, instead of a painted on toasting, In-N-Out has an actual crunch of  real toast.  It also seems to have a light but rich coating of butter. 

The condiments are the standard slice of white onion, whole leaf lettuce and tomato.  Their sauce is an evenhanded spread of Thousand Island dressing kicked up a bit with extra sweet relish.  Atop and between the fried burgers are two slices of American processed cheese.  

In-N-Out’s fries are without a doubt the best of the fast-food caravan.  They are made with fresh cut potatoes -- not frozen, and they taste like potatoes, not a greasy, stale potato chip.  These thin skinless sticks were very hot, salty, and many of them were eaten before we could cart our order off to the table. They were, however, a bit airy, as if cooked in oil a bit too hot.  While McDonald’s fries must be eaten with catsup, none was wanted or needed here.  Even after the fries had cooled, they still were eatable. 

Although In and Out had numerous requests from our reader mail, I was not looking forward to another west coast chain burger.  I was ready for the big time, but I thought what's a column without readers?  Therefore, we listened, we pursued, and we reviewed, for you dear reader.

As I drove over to the store in Rancho Cordova I went off on a day dream tangent about burger chain advertising.  I thought about Jack in the Box and their funny takes on what is trendy (I can hardly wait for the "Rave Jack and a Smart Drink Combo"..hold the Jack Sauce "Oxy-boy"), Carl's Jr. and their "slop is good campaign"; you know the catsup and white dress, the billboard guy, the highway litterbug, and my least favorite the guy that plops guac all over the yellow pages.   Anyway I was thinking In and Out is unique among Fast Food Giants when it comes to advertising, they have very little TV or radio commercials.  In fact as far as I can tell, the only advertising they have is their gear!  Somehow the they bamboozled us into thinking In and Out gear is cool, so we buy it, and we advertise for them!  The person that thought that up should be on every corporate CEO's wall as a shrine to American Marketing.

Walking into an In and Out store is what it must have been like for my colleague when he was a crazy teen: Fonzie, Ritchie, Ralph, Potsie, Prof. Burger (Sorry that's redundant; they were one and the same), all walking into Arnolds for the All American Classic Cheese Burger.  The place is bright, clean, artsy tile, and a smiling cashier waiting to take your order (if there's no line).  The counter-mensas at this place actually know how to read and the can ring up an order with their eyes closed, very impressive.  The wait on this day was about eight minutes, but I filled the void with a trip to their expansive soda fountain complete with all the Coke products (I can't do Pepsi), and I looked at the gear catalog to see what they had in a bowling shirt (they have a slick little rayon number).

Our number was called and I cannot rave enough about the presentation.  It is not falling apart loosely in some box.  It is wrapped tightly around half the burger in wax paper and them slipped into a little half-bag complete with logo therefore, there is no unwrapping and then disappointment.  Instead you can sink your mouth into what can best be described as a gift.  This is an engineered burger of the first order.  The meat is fresh, seasoned to micro-chemistry perfection, and cooked with precision.  The bun was toasted and not as spongy as I remembered it.  Also, the bun had hints of Land O Lakes butter (are they buttered and then toasted?  We'll never tell!!). The condiment to burger ratio is perfect, and somehow they found a white onion that compliments the burger, rather than over powers it.  For a fast food chain this is one outstanding burger.

The fries arrived in an old fashioned cardboard boat.  We immediately analyzed them for skins and salt content.  To our amazement they were not over salted and they did have a light skin on!  These fries taste like potatoes.  I mean they are fresh, hot, tasty, and need absolutely no catsup.  One small strike against these fries is they are a little billowy.  I felt I had to let down my air of sophistication and stuff about ten fries in my mouth to fully enjoy them.  As an expert in frietology I feel they should drop their current potato carrier and go for something in the Pocatello Region of the Idaho Valley (the Rothschild of potatoes for you neophytes), and I would drop the canola (linseed oil?) and go with a Peanut-Corn-Veggie cocktail of oils.  It may be a little more pricey but it may be worth it. 

Point Total  75

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