Behold a pair of burgers from In-n-Out, the mighty king of Southern California hamburger hamlets, the inspiration behind best-selling books, imitators, numerous Internet rumors, and people eating 26 of its patties in one sitting.
My local burger heaven? T.K. Burgers, and not just because their Costa Mesa location is close to Weekly world headquarters than In-n-Out.
Behold a T.K. cheeseburger (don't behold my inferior photo-taking skills), literally bursting at its bun. Behold the sturdy butcher paper that holds back the burger juices, a superior wrapping to In-n-Out's puny paper offering. Witness the sturdy bread, crisped better than In-n-Out for a beautiful, slight crunch. Lookee at that charred patty, the moist, large lettuce leaf, the nicely melted Cheddar cheese. You can't see the pickles, the tomato, the onions, but know they are all snappier than what In-n-Out offers.
And the secret sauces! In-n-Out offers something vaguely similar to Thousand Island dressing that overwhelms the tongue with a sickly-sweet taste after the third burger, a sticky flavor no amount of sugary pink lemonade can offset. The T.K. secret sauce is better–tart, like ranch dressing except much lighter, playing off the onions and pickles while allowing the patty and cheese its room to impress.
Call me a heretic–other Weeklings do, and they claim I only like T.K.'s because of the cute cashiers. That's an added bonus, sure, but the burgers don't lie: T.K.'s is better than In-n-Out, but that's like arguing Joe DiMaggio was better than Mickey Mantle. Eat both, eat often, but eat more T.K.'s, I say.