I’ve been missing for a few days and it’s because Mike and I have been on the road, driving down to LA. We have a California music mix we’ve been listening to and for the last two days, I’ve been falling asleep with to the refrain of “to live and die in LA, it’s the place to be” over and over again in my head.
We haven’t been stopping to eat much real food, but we did manage to hit up an In-and-Out Burger, which I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I’m a huge fan of Shake Shack and In-and-Out is Cali’s burger of choice. The meat is fresh, never frozen, the lettuce is hand-leafed and the fries are fresh cut.
It’s a classic East Coast vs. West Coast battle, burger style. Of course, I didn’t have a Shake Shack burger sitting in front of me, but vivid memories of the five burgers I ate on my last trip to NYC still haunt my dreams.
I had cheeseburgers at both In-and-Out and Shake Shack.
Meat: Seasoning-wise, I found both the meats quite good. Shake Shack’s patty was a touch juicier and larger, so I’m going to have to hand it to them. I thought the patty at In-and-Out was a little on the small size, so I’m going to be having a double the next time I give them a try.
Bun: There’s no contest for the bun, hands down, Shake Shack’s Martin’s potato buns win the day. They’re lightly grilled, soft, yet not soggy and just slightly sweet. In-and-Out’s buns were good too, but they were just regular buns. I also found them a touch too toasted.
Cheese: Both burgers come with ooey gooey American cheese. Nothing to argue about there.
Toppings: In-and-Out burgers come with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, spread and optional onions. While I appreciated the crispness of the iceberg lettuce, I thought there was too much of it. I did like the crunch of the barely cooked onion cross-section, which surprisingly didn’t come off as too oniony.
Shake Shack burgers come standard with green leaf lettuce, plum tomatoes, and shack sauce. While I though the lettuce was too much on the In-and-Out, I loved the green leaf lettuce on Shake Shack’s burger. It was fresh, crisp and didn’t over power the meat.
I couldn’t taste much difference between the spread and the shack sauce, but that was because I was too busy stuffing my face.
Fries: In-and-Out’s fries are hand cut at each location. I saw a guy who’s sole purpose was peeling potatoes and pumping them through the french fry cutter. The fries were crisp and hot, but a tad undercooked. I like my fries super crunchy and double-fried, Belgium style.
Shake Shack’s fries are made from Yukon Gold’s and their crunch is undeniable. Most people don’t talk about Shake Shack’s fries, but I really, really love them.
Wait: There’s no question, the wait at Shake Shack is insane. In-and-Out cooks their burgers to order, just like the Shack, but their multiple locations means there is practically no wait. If there was a Shake Shack in Vancouver, with In-and-Out wait times, I wouldn’t be blogging, I’d just be eating Shack burgers.
So, all in all, I guess I’m an East Coast girl, if only for the burgers. But don’t worry California, you still have a week to change my mind. I know the food’s good out here, so do any of you have LA eating suggestions? I’m down for anything as long as it makes my tummy happy.