My Life List


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.

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It’s been a little while since I’ve written about my 100 goals list and my progress on it. So here’s where I’m at on it.

-Visiting all 7 continents– I’ll be on a plane to South America at the end of the month, so I’ll be one continent closer to meeting this goal. After that, I’ll only have Australia and Antarctica left. Of the two, Antarctica will be the most difficult of the two since getting there pretty much requires flying to the southernmost point of Chile, getting on a boat, braving the rough waters around Antarctica for a week and if all goes well, step on the continent for a few frozen hours. I’m not sure yet how I’ll get to Australia, but it’ll probably involve similar tactics that I used to arrange the South America trip.

-Have a steak dinner in Argentina– This item landed on the list because I’ve heard from many sources that the steak in Argentina is among the best in the world due to the cattle being grass-fed. Since I’m a foodie at heart, I want to see for myself if this is true. And since my trip will involve a stop in Buenos Aires, there’s no question about what I’m having for dinner.

-Visit Easter Island– I can’t believe I’ll get to mark this one off the list so soon. But next month, I’ll be there for three days. The plan is to stay in a guest house there, rent a car and roam the island to see as many of the Moai as I can. I was nervous last week when the tsunami triggered by the 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan swept through the Pacific. Fortunately, the island was spared, the residents were unharmed and the trip is still on.

-Learning a foreign language– I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish for the trip and while I certainly won’t be mistaken for a native speaker, I’m hoping to at least carry on a few basic conversations while I’m there. This will be the first time I’ll be in a country where I know more then just “hello” and “thank you” in the local language, so I’m excited about the opportunities to interact a little more with the locals then on other trips.

-Running– After running I admit that I slacked off a bit in this area over the holidays and it took a while to get back into it. I had picked out a half-marathon to run in April, but then the South America trip fell on the same date. So I need to find another half-marathon to run, but most have already happened in my area (due to the Florida summer heat, most races happen in the fall and spring). So the goal running a half may get postponed to fall.

-Getting a pilot’s license– I’ve started a fund for this, since learning how to fly is a rather expensive proposition. And unlike with my travels, I haven’t found any clever ways of reducing the costs. One option I’m considering is starting off as a sports pilot, which takes about half the cost and time to do over a regular pilot license, but also has fewer priviledges. In any case, I’ve got a savings plan in place and the fund’s in the four digits already. I’m also finding other ways to explore the subject more like reading through the Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge that’s put out by the FAA.

Whew! I didn’t make much progress on the list over the last few months, but I’m certainly making up for it next month.