HENDERSON, Nev. — I have a tendency to be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a glum person. I’m laid back for the most part. But I tend to set my expectations too high at times. And when reality diverges widely from expectations … well, that’s when disappointment happens.
What is this all leading to? Good question. I made my first ever trip to In-N-Out Burger tonight in Las Vegas.
What? You thought I was going to riff on Sin City at the top of this screed? Ha. Nope. This ain’t journalism. I can bury the lede. But not too deep. I wouldn’t want to, uh, disappoint you, fair reader.
I can’t say I’ve been on a pilgrimmage to eat at In-N-Out Burger, a burger chain big in California, but non-existent in my neck of the bayou, because well I’m not a pilgrim. I’m a man. A man with a fast food addiction. I diagnosed myself while on the road the past two days. 1,700 miles of mostly barren southwest desert peaks and valleys will make one own up to and confront their inner demons. And when these things happen with the next service area nowhere in sight things tend to get ugly.
I don’t recall when I first read about In-N-Out Burger or what I read. I remember the words seemed to have an extra-terrestrial glow. The review was essentially something like Zach Braff telling Natalie Portman in “Garden State” that the Shins’ song “New Slang” would change her life. If Braff or the author of the review I read about In-N-Out Burgers could tell me anything, they would say, “This burger will change your life.”
I’m here to tell you an In-N-Out burger won’t change your life. Neither will the Shins’ “New Slang.” While we’re at it, neither will eating an In-N-Out burger while listening to “New Slang.” Two non-life changing moments don’t make one life-changing moment. Understood?
I could spill cyber ink about the girl working the register entering my order as a single instead of a double cheeseburger. But it’s Las Vegas. Wrong orders that happen in Vegas stay in Vegas. (Oops. Scratch that first sentence. That was supposed to stay in Vegas.)
What I found more disappointing than the botched order — mistakes happen we can agree — was that the lone burger patty was rather skimpy. Not exactly a G-string burger, but close. The burger tasted fine. Not “I must update my Facebook status immediately” good, but not “I regret this immediately” bad, either. It was somewhere in between.
Its mediocrity might have been the most disappointing thing. Being from the bayou you’d expect that I’ve had the pleasure of eating at great seafood restaurants. That’s not really the case, though. Our seafood is great; our seafood restaurants, at least in Lafourche, are nothing to write home about, or in my case, update my Facebook status about.
Our list of burger joints, on the other hand, are more satisfying and cost efficient. (Not so quick aside: If you’re ever in Thibodaux, La., which I doubt you will be unless you’re retiring or a college student (yes, those two go hand in hand!), try Norm’s Daiquiri’s burgers. Fooled you. You thought I was going to say daiquiri’s. If you need a daiquiri, go to the Daiquiri Shop. If you need a great burger, go to Norm’s Daiquiri’s.)
I’d include Wendy’s at the top of the satisfying and cost efficient burger list in Thibodaux, aka Retirement City. I know Wendy’s is a national chain, but it’s hard to beat their baconator sandwich. I swear Dave Thomas stole God’s recipe for a hamburger and slipped it under a Wendy’s employee’s pillow one night, sort of like a dead, grandfatherly hamburger fairy. I love baconators. My coronary artery just sighed.
(Just for giggles: My favorite burger in these United States of Amerigo Vespucci Land is the grilled cheese/burger/grilled cheese at that food cart in Portland that I forget the name of. It’s kind of a big deal, as my old friend Jess B. would say. It’s what happens when awesome, fatty food items have a threesome together. Fireworks!)
In closing, I’m a carnivore, I’m an American, I’m a long distance truck driver (at least in mind) and I’m a man fighting his personal War on Fast Food Addiction. To quote my favorite show of all-time, HBO’s “The Wire”, “You can’t call it a war. Wars end.” The show is my life. My life is the show.
“An American Carnivore Long Distance Truck Driver Fighting His Own Personal War On Fast Food Addiction.” Coming to an idiot box in spring 2011.
Au Revoir Louisiana,
PS: I got so distracted writing about In-N-Out Burger that I forgot to write about how awesome driving into Vegas at night is. Shame on me. I will have to rectify that with another blog post. Oh, and I have some venom to spew New Mexico’s way. I like Old Mexico much better. Give me drug cartels or give me death. Give me more oxymorons, too.