Thursday, February 2, 2012

Iconic L.A: Seeing Double-Double

LAST WEEK  I found myself dining double-double.

Our student government brought In-N-Out to campus to encourage students to vote for Homecoming court, and as our President I was sure to get my hands on some free In-N-Out. However, I also found myself driving back to In-N-out for dinner. As I arrived at the In-N-Out on Sepulveda Boulevard, adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), I sympathized with anyone who might be unfamiliar with its parking. If you pull in to any of the two entrances you’ll soon learn that it’s your only option. This particular In-N-Out forces you to either get your food through their drive-thru or dine in depending on which entrance you enter. It screams, “Duh” to anyone who angrily is unaware of the parking lot’s diva division.

In addition to parking confusion this In-N-Out attracts an eclectic audience. It attracts the perennial travelers who fly into LA with In-N-Out in mind. These travelers will rent cars, and even walk through frigid fifty degree weather, to taste In-N-Out’s fresh version of fast-food. There are also the travelers from out of state that come into In-N-Out ready to test its tastes against their hometown burger joints. With the wait at In-N-Out it is always a pleasure to listen while you wait to eat. I commonly listen to the patrons around me as they discuss where they came from and where they are going. In addition, I listen to the LMU drama that unfolds within the booths as if they are somehow private spaces. I myself am guilty of this. I have ended casual relationships, consulted friends during hardship, and much more at this very In-N-Out. While the food is great, In-N-Out provides many with a casual place to celebrate and confide in others, because odds are that those around you are just one flight away from taking any secrets you have with them.

Speaking of secrets, we are all familiar with the traditional Double-Double, fries, and a milkshake combination defining In-N-Out’s success. It offers us the option of eating fast-food without fasting afterward. It’s “protein style” option allows us to substitute the bun for a large amount of lettuce to wrap your burger within. While this should really be called a “low carb style,” we never seem to question its healthiness. However, beneath their traditional menu lies a Secret Menu. A menu that allows you to order 4x4s, animal styles fries, a “Flying Dutchman”, well-done fries, cheese fries, and more. These secret items reveal that even In-N-Out is not as healthy as it has made itself out to be. However, In-N-Out now acknowledges their secret menu to a certain extend without physically advertising it. Whether it be L.A.’s obsession with simplicity or secrecy, it is evident that even In-N-Out has something to hide.

Last semester during finals week my roommate and I dashed to In-N-Out just before 1AM hoping to grab a midnight feast. Unfortunately, as we arrived at the door the clock struck 1AM and the location’s perennial security guard locked us out. Many times before this I made it right on time to be greeted by their overtly friendly and over-worked employees, but not tonight. As I stood outside I realized just how lonely the airport was without a Double-Double, fries, and a milkshake.

-- Art Flores

(photo credit: Dave77459 via flickr creative commons)

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