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Talking about food

February 28, 2012

So as I was driving home around midnight after watching some movie, I realized that I would have to pass In-N-Out. So then I debated having In-N-Out, penultimately deciding no, I can wait for free food at home. Then I merged five lanes in two seconds once I ultimately decided fuck it, I am hungry now and young and loose with money because I have no concept of real, back-breaking work.

I have nothing more interesting from the last two days to write about so I will do something that I thought of when I was back at school: a comparison between In-N-Out and Five Guys.

For the unfamiliar, these two restaurants are generally deemed the best fast-food burger places on their respective coasts. The similarities don’t end there: both have the same red-and-white color scheme, both have limited menus compared to other fast-food joints (focused mainly on single and double burgers), both allow customers an unobstructed view of the kitchen and both have an almost cult-like following.

When I started writing this, I didn’t realize that the Los Angeles Times sort of beat me to it. That link is an article published last year in response to the opening of a few Five Guys franchises in the LA area. A quick Google maps search shows that there are now two Five Guys within 40 minutes of my home. My home! The stakes have just been raised.

Let’s get to the comparing. The thing that matters most is taste, and that’s honestly a wash to me, though admittedly I was never very scientific about comparing the two. Maybe one day I will drive for about 50 minutes, buy both burgers, and write about it immediately. So stay tuned, for an update might be on the way.

I was surprised to find that Five Guys burgers were smaller; I would have guessed beforehand that they were the other thing. People (okay, person) call me a good man, and thorough, so to live up to that I looked at each company’s nutritional information webpage (here and here). A Five Guys single cheeseburger is 190 grams, a double 303; at In-N-Out a single cheese—with onion, only because they don’t give the value for any burger without it—is 268 grams, a double-double is 330. Now let’s do some ad-hoc math with our old friend Microsoft Calculator. Assuming that the difference between a single and a double is the value of one patty, we find that…never mind, this is stupid.

Staying on the nutrition pages because my internet is slow right now, we find that In-N-Out is healthier. Let me hit you with some cold, hard burger calorie stats (total, from fat): 480, 240 for an In-N-Out single; 670, 370 for a double-double; 550, 290 for a Five Guys single; 840, 500 for one of their doubles. Those differences aren’t all that great, but let’s peep at the fry numbers.

Five Guys is renowned for their obscenely generous fry portions. Ordering a regular size gets you a filled paper cup like the ones you would get at an amusement park, plus they pour a lot more into your paper bag. Why do they do that? Well, this is going much longer than I expected and the Yardbirds can answer that question, so let’s go to the land of musical interludes.

Seriously, those fries are delicious and worthy of my love. They are large and salty and I don’t care if they are 620 calories. (1474 for a large! Oh mercy me!)

At In-N-Out there is only one size. You get one of those lame, flimsy boats, and it’s much smaller than the Five Guys regular (395 calories). The fries are smaller, too. Most of the time, I find that one or two salt packets are necessary for enjoyment. They are good but nowhere in the league of Five Guys fries.

Okay, I have been writing for the entirety of this now-finished hockey game. I am going to speed up and get sloppy. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Miscellaneous: Both restaurants have pretty self-absorbed decorations…In-N-Out has pictures of old-timey In-N-Outs with old timey cars outside…That’s better than Five Guys, which bombards the customer with dozens of posters and reviews about how good Five Guys is…I get it, Five Guys…Case in point: I’m already in your restaurant…Five Guys also allows you to eat peanuts in line…I guess that’s cool, that’s not really my scene though…In-N-Out puts fake plants in their restaurant…I don’t even like lettuce on my burger…I resent how many times I have had to use hyphens and the shift key just to type In-N-Out correctly.

So, you may think I would cast my vote for Five Guys, because I don’t care about nutrition, I said their fries are superior and the burgers are equal in taste. But a meal at In-N-Out is no more than $7 (for a two-patty burger), whereas you should bring more than $10 if you expect the same thing from Five Guys. That’s some bullshit.

Well, bye.

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