June 2011

In-N-OutSo one of the goals on my bucket list is to visit an In-N-Out. The In-N-Out is a burger chain located mostly in California and the southwestern states of the US. The chain focuses on fresh ingredients and friendly service. But what really intrigued me about the chain is that they have a secret menu.

The regular menu is quite simple. It has just four food items- a hamburger, cheeseburger, double-double and fries. Plus it has shakes and sodas. But the secret menu is where all the fun is. None of the secret options are listed anywhere in the restaurant- you have to know about them beforehand. Those items include things like a 3×3 or 4×4- a burger made 3 or 4 patties and slices of cheese (at one point, customers could go all the way up to a 100×100). Protein-style eliminates the bun and replaces it with lettuce, presumably for all the Atkins dieters out there. The Flying Dutchman doesn’t bother with a bun either- it’s just two meat patties and two slices of cheese. But my favorite is Animal Style, which comes with extra pickles, extra onions, mustard fried into each patty and their special sauce that’s similar to thousand island. It’s ridiculousness packed between a bun. The fries can be done animal style as well. Or you can get the fries with just cheese or well-done (very crispy) or lite (slightly undercooked).

So between their secret menu and the fact that no locations are anywhere near my home in Florida, a visit to the In-N-Out went on the bucket list.

I got my chance to visit one earlier this month when I went to visit a friend in San Francisco. After he picked me up at the airport, we headed off to the In-N-Out located just around the corner from San Fransisco International Airport. We arrived in the middle of the lunch rush, but even with the crowd the line moved quickly. I went for a cheeseburger and fries, animal style. Even though it’s not an official option on the menu, the reciept prints out as “animal” so the option is programmed into the register.

Trying to eat the burger was a little bit of a messy affair with all the animal goodness crammed into a bun. But it was tasty, especially with their secret sauce. As for the fries, I’m sure they were in there somewhere buried under all the fried onions, cheese and secret sauce. It was so much animal tastiness that I couldn’t eat it all.

Overall, I’d put the chain just above similar chains like Five Guys. Their fun culture and all the secret options makes for a good place to stop in and get a burger. It was certainly worth putting on the bucket list. It wouldn’t have happened without help from a friend and I really appreciate it. It’s fun marking stuff off the list. It’s even more fun doing it with others.


Elephant crossingSeeing these elephants cross the road in northern Kenya was sheer serendipity. The volunteer group I was with was returning back from the school we were working on back to our camp. We had been joking around with our driver that he should help us find various forms of African wildlife, including elephants. He must have been an elephant whisperer for he spotted these elephants out in the distance as we drove down the road. He stopped and warned us that we should stay in the truck as to not startle them. But as they made their way across, we all got out to get better pictures of them. They crossed quietly but steadily, perhaps in search of food.

It was a wonderful moment that I won’t forget anytime soon.

I’ve decided to spice up this blog a little bit by running a picture from some of my previous adventures. I hope they’ll inspire you to chase adventure too.

Samuri horseback rider

This is a statue of a samurai horseback rider in Tokyo, Japan. I admit that when I first saw it, I wondered why the statue had a samurai instead of a soldier. And then I realized I was in Japan. Duh.