There are simple, irrefutable facts that are the backbone of my life.
- “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
- I will sweat profusely without regard to temperature, humidity or activity.
- I married up.
- I was wrong about having kids.
- I find great pleasure in eating good food.
- The meaning of life is maintaining the balance of giving as much to others as you give to yourself.
- Perfection is a Double-Double, extra pickles, from In-N-Out Burger.
Combine these seven points together and I can honestly tell you that I have led a fulfilling life. And if you’ve never achieved number seven, you cannot honestly say that you’ve been fulfilled. In-N-Out is to the American hamburger as Mecca is to the Islamic faith or the Lincoln Memorial is to Washington, D.C. If you have ever eaten a hamburger, then it is your duty an In-N-Out store and pay homage.
Sadly, they will never make it cross-country. If they do, it will take decades. They just made it to Dallas and only because the company opened a second meat processing plant. You see, In-N-Out only positions its stores within a one-day drive of a plant (where they also bake their own buns). Can you imagine trucks being waylaid on the New York State Thruway due to lake effect snow, unable to reach the In-N-Out in, oh, Syracuse? It will never happen.
So, instead I will pine away. I’ve offered people $100 bills for transporting a Double-Double with extra pickles cross-country to me. They laugh, thinking it’s a joke. I have two West Coast trips on the docket for 2012 (one for work to San Diego; one for play to the Bay Area) and I’m already trying to figure out how In-N-Out is going to play into each. If all works out, the second trip will see me staying at the Courtyard in Fisherman’s Wharf…215 feet from an In-N-Out.
I’m absofuckinglutely serious.
Listen, this is no slap at our local establishments. Zebb’s in Syracuse makes a nice burger, grinding their own meat in store. Hullar’s in Fayetteville may have the best burger. For chains, Five Guys is good, as is Cheeburger Cheeburger. Good. Serviceable. Not great.
The Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay is worth the price of admission, as is the Shake Shack (or so I’m told). If you ever make it to Southwestern New York, I suggest you call ahead to The Burton Hotel in Allegany and find out when the kitchen is open. Their eponymous burger is a colossal delight, though your first call when returning home should be to a cardiologist for a consult.
I don’t have a secret burger blend the way some home grillmasters do. If I’m tossing together burgers (beef or turkey) it is usually a blend of black pepper, worcestershire sauce and minced garlic. Often times, I’ll do a Greek burger where I use chopped kalamata olives and feta cheese when I pack the burgers.
This week is all about hamburgers. As we get close to Independence Day weekend, I’m going to share some burger recipes of the not-so-ordinary-yet-completely-attainable nature. Break out of the beef and explore different meats and toppings. Burgers should be fun.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to map out routes to In-N-Out locations in the San Diego area from the major hotels. Priorities people. Priorities.