They also won’t sell you a giant tub of pickles even though they totally have them.

When I was on book tour I had my first In-N-Out Burger.  The burger tasted like a burger and the fries tasted like the ghost of french fries, so I’m not sure why people love it so much, but the real story here is that I’d always heard that there was a “secret menu” you can order from if you’re in the know, but I don’t actually know anything so I just randomly guess-ordered stuff.  Things I asked for them to give me that apparently aren’t on the secret menu:

  • cobbler
  • stew
  • breast milk
  • a wheelbarrow full of human hair
  • Snakes.  Lots and lots of snakes.
  • Wine
  • Everything in the cash register
  • A cashier with infinite patience  (I didn’t ask for that one out loud but it was obvious that wasn’t in the cards.)

I’m not allowed to go back there, I think.


And now, after a 3 month absence while I was on book tour, the weekly wrap-up is back!  (Graphic by @chickenpants)


Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):


This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Melt: massage for couples. It’s basically an instructional massage video that teaches how to give bad-ass massages with a simple, step-by-step video guide. It costs less than one professional massage and you have it forever with unlimited access.  It makes a great holiday gift so you can learn how to sqwoosh people seductively.  It’s a very good skill to learn when it comes to love, calming angry dogs, and being a bad-ass mofo.  Check it out here.

83 thoughts on “They also won’t sell you a giant tub of pickles even though they totally have them.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I think the burger and fries from In and Out grows on you. I didn’t care for it when I first moved to California. Now I love them. 😄

  2. Well I work at In-N-Out Burger so if you ever need help ordering just ask. The secret menu isn’t really exciting as it sounds, but I give out cups full of pickles. I would have gave you a whole tub, but I can’t even carry that thing and it is a bitch to get it open. Plus, that would have been all of our pickles and I probably would have got fired.

  3. Yeah, In and Out Burger (or “In and Out urge”) is “meh” on the burger scale. I guess it’s what you’re used to…

  4. Is it “In and Out” because it gives you the runs or something? Is this the place that made you sick??? No wonder you didn’t like it.

  5. Listening to Furiously Happy while piecing together cat silhouettes for a friend’s baby quilt. I cut up fabric and sew it back together in 1.5″ squares for a hobby and for gift giving because I already spent all my money on fabric. Plus it’s a beautiful day outside in December but my crazy ass hairdresser cut my hair scarily too short so I’m not going to the holiday cookie baking party at my Mom’s. I am going to be wearing hats for a few months (thank goodness it’s winter even though it’s unseasonably warm). I have more fabric on my holiday wish list. Would you like a quilt? Thank you for your book. I feel like I can voice my daily life now and it’s not so crazily unusual after all. Best, N.

  6. I live in Wilmington! I need to track the Craigslist lady down and make her my bff – whether she likes it or not.

  7. Totally with you on In and Out. And the “secret” menu…smh.

    Come to Orange County next book tour and I’ll take you to Tommy’s.

  8. You can also just ask the cashier what the secret menu is and they will explain it to you no problem. That is if you ever go back.

  9. Agree with atticcrazy – In N Out is not good at all. Whataburger is way, way better. PS – you can buy Whataburger barbecue sauce at HEB. Just sayin’.

  10. I actually think Mooyah is the best fast food burger (although a fast food burger will always be a fast food burger, and never something to write home about). Plus, you can’t top their name.

  11. that secret menu shit always bothers me. It’s like everybody yearns for the trappings of espionage in the cold war without actually wanting a cold war anymore.

  12. zomg, let the HOLY WARS begin. My husband is from LA (In-n-Out is the One True Burger) and I am from NorCal (Nations is the place for a “fancy” fast food burger). He’s taught me the proper prayers (“double-double animal style” <= his usual), but, I’m with you. Don’t REALLY see it. It’s good, but honestly? between you and me? TELL NO-ONE, BUT…almost every time I’m the one picking up the order? I pull through the McDonald’s next door for my own personal order of Actually Good fries.

  13. In and Out Burger–like a digestive system analogy or something? I always thought our local “Twice Around Diner” had a crappy name, but this one’s even less subtle. I can’t imagine why they would need a secret menu–it all looks the same eventually!

  14. Cheeseburger, animal style, extra pickles, extra toast (they double-toast the bun so it is oh so lacey-crispy on the cut sides) with animal fries (fries with cheese, grilled onions and spread). That’s my usual order and I can only eat about half of it before I’m totally full. I love IN-N-OUT, although I agree with you on the fries. The good (or bad) news is that they do become addicting after a while.

    By the way, I may or may not have asked for and received two french fry trays packed with pickles on more than one occasion.

    Here are a couple of links:

  15. Channeling my inner Victor for a moment, I don’t suppose you tried googling the secret menu? Because I totally did that for the secret menu for Torchy’s Tacos.

  16. @Carolyn Stephens #5, there used to be (and for all I know still is) an Austin band named Titty Bingo that would put their free bumper stickers in the Chronicle. The only time I ever saw them on cars was when they’d been cut up to say “Titty go Boing Boing.” The struggle is real.

  17. I saw on Twitter that you deleted the original calendar with the typo and I just wonder if there are any people out there who were able to order a “defective” one and someday it will be super-rare and valuable like the upside-down airplane stamp. And in the future your great-grandkids will spend a shit-ton of money at an auction to get an original copy of the calendar with the typo. It could happen…

  18. Living somewhere with In-n-out nearby, I never understood why people like it. Sure you can get the bun extra toasted or slathered in grilled onions, but the base burger is just not that good. I don’t know how they ended up with such a reputation for being amazing, but I’m not buying it.

  19. Next time Get a 3 x 3 burger (3 patties, 3 cheese slices) with animal style fries (fries with melted cheese, grilled onions, and thousand island sauce) or cheese fries (I get cheese fries). Also, if you add raw onions on the burger, it becomes that much better! Along with some yellow chili peppers on the side and you’re an official in-n-out customer!

    -An In-N-Out eater from California

  20. “In & Out Urge” bumper sticker is pretty funny on a trombone case though.

    He he he…bone.

  21. I’m a fan of In & Out Burger, but only because their employees are so un-disgruntled (or is that “gruntled”??) that it seems like you’re not eating at a fast food place. I’m too shy to order off the secret menu because I figure I’d get it wrong and everyone would point and laugh.

  22. I don’t get the appeal of In-N-Out either. Shake Shack is much better. And 5 Napkin. And Schnipper’s. I eat way too many burgers.

  23. I am excellent at keeping secrets. Like, in 4th grade? Jennifer W. told me she had a crush on Randy T., and I’ve held onto that since 1979.



  24. Completely freaked out by the idea of ordering a fast food hamburger. No idea why. Nothing bad ever happened except with a chicken sandwich, but now I won’t order those either.

  25. I have never been all that thrilled with In’N Out, either. Years ago, before they came to Arizona, we went to California and some friends who worshiped there dragged us, and it was… meh. Not even a shadow of meh. I don’t remember the fries and the burger was… eh.

    Next time you happen to come through Phoenix, come up to Delux Burger, on Camelback. Best burgers (and fries!!!) in the whole state. (Even Yelp thinks so.)

  26. Slightly disappointed you didn’t like In’N Out. I loved it. But it’s been a while. Nothing super spectacular, but as far as fast food burgers go… Slightly above average.

    Also, glad you’re home safe and not in utter despair from the crazy schedule you had to endure during your tour. It’s kinda that time of year for things to bottom out. Loved the Instagram Husband, as did my Instagram Husband. Obvs! And I know people who need that bag. Thanks for the gift ideas.

  27. I have never been to In and Out because I live on the west coast, but I love Red Robin!

  28. When I visited Ca, one of my friends said that I absolutely MUST to try In-n-Out, when I asked what (and why) is so good about… hmmmm… a burger fast food, she said that their burgers are “the best” and they have a “secret sauce”…. One bite of the burger and you know that “The Secret” is in great marketing.

  29. Forget In-And-Out and their scam of a not-so-secret secret menu. Come to Northeast Ohio next time (dangit!) and I will take you to a place that kicks burger ass. It’s called “Bob’s Hamburg” and it’s the oldest restaurant in Akron. Small, weird, delicious, gluttonous, perfection. And they’re even a little grouchy, so I feel right at home.

  30. In & Out is only good if you get it animal style. Animal style burger & fries is tasty, but that’s because covering anything in their “spread” (sort of thousand island-y), cheese, and grilled onions would be delicious. Their fries are single-fried and thus taste bland as hell but with the spread, cheese, and onions? delicious.

  31. In and out is uneven. First time I had it in San
    Diego, it was awesome. The union city one was dissapointing every time. The new Alameda location is good, plus it’s the only place that knows how to serve a burger without a bun and it’s got a drive through. Not as good as 5 guys. I
    Always thought until know that the secret menu was just young males who wanted to be cool making up slang to order the same things the rest of us could.

  32. Holy crap- I thought I was the only one here who didn’t “get” In-N-Out!!! It’s almost a heresy, the way some people react when I say that.

  33. MotherChaos is totally right about Nation’s. Their burgers kick I&O’s in the face (although I&O are OK). Also, the Bloggess’s describing the fries at I&O as the ghost of fries is accurate for why I don’t like them, but I could NEVER put it into words nearly so well. Thanks!

  34. Porn! My husband and I moved to LA in 1999 for him to go to grad school. We had an orientation day where the spouses/significant others got together and did a scavenger hunt, and many prizes were gift certificates to “In and Out.” No burger was mentioned. I thought it was for a porn shop, and I was shocked how many people screamed that they LOVED In and Out!

  35. You’re supposed to ask for your burger and fries “animal style.” Which means “smothered in Thousand Island dressing and cheese” and is so awesome that it’s indescribable.

  36. I live in LA and have to hear about In and Out Burgers all the time. They suck. I don’t get the appeal. I’m a Fatburger fan. Cooked fresh and all the grease you can handle.

  37. Smothered in thousand island and cheese is a little something McDonald’s calls a BIG MAC. Must I explain fast food culture to EVERYONE?

  38. My stepdaughter from Michigan compared “In n Out” to their “Hot n Now.” Apparently burger places are named by 12 year old boys.

  39. I’m in Vancouver Canada and apparently “Five Guys” is one of my daughter’s faves (that just sounds so wrong…she’s a lovely girl with a boyfriend). It’s really sterile-looking, kind of a like a big white tile bathroom, but she swears the burgers are great. Not sure her boyfriend agrees. Could just be the name…

  40. I had to try In-N-Out when I was in LA because of the Big Lebowski, and was thoroughly disappointed. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought those fries looked like they were about to cry and recite me Smashing Pumpkins lyrics.

  41. Yum. I miss In-n-Out burgers. The fries aren’t in my yumminess memory, so maybe they weren’t good. I don’t know.

  42. duuuuude. I <3 In & Out burger, but the fries are def an acquired taste… it’s the freshness that throws you off instead of the frozen full of preservatives that we’re accustomed to.

  43. The ones who mentioned the ‘ungruntled’ workers and the fresh fries have part of the explanation for my love of In-n-Out (name: was a place where you ordered and got In & Out quickly….or am I missing the sarcasm in the ‘confusion’ about the name? And funnily enough, every time I go to one, it’s so packed that it’s definitely no longer a quick In-n-Out…get your minds out of the gutter!) The employees are treated very well (if I remember correctly, they were basically the only chain mentioned in Fast Food Nation where nothing bad could be said about them), their fries are made out of… GASP.. actual fresh potatoes that you can watch being made into fries and their milkshakes with actual ice cream, etc. Plus, their grilled cheese animal style kept not only me more than satisfied through my past years of vegetarianism (I still order it regularly even though I eat meat again), but also kept lots of carnivore friends happy. I’ll be honest. I’ve had better fries and there are definitely better burgers at non-chains, but I love In-n-Out anyway. 🙂

  44. Cracked up reading the Craigslist ad. Not at all surprised at the accolades for your book. All well deserved! Love the Instagram Husband video as well. Thank God I don’t take pictures of my feet. Effing hell.

  45. That’s the perfect description of In N Out fries. The ghost of french fries. I got some a while ago just to see if they were still as disappointing as ever. They were. Burgers are fine. In N Out is 99% hype.

    I can’t believe this is my first comment here.

  46. I’m in the same boat as Brooke (commenter #2) – at first I HATED In N Out but now I like it. I order a cheeseburger animal style with mustard instead of spread, add chopped chilies, medium rare. It’s good but I also bring my own packets of mayonnaise to put on there b/c I hate thousand island dressing. How do you have nasty spread but no mayo at your restaurant??? Also, why isn’t chili an option? I drove through Tracy, CA the other day and spotted a Sonic sign and turned around so I could go get a chili cheeseburger. Also, they don’t serve queso in any of the Mexican restaurants here. I almost died when I discovered that.

  47. Ooooh, White Castles! Yes, I’m on that train. Every time I visit family, White Castle is a required stop. Mom thinks I’m weird but she humors me. With cheese, but no pickle. And fries. And onion chips.

  48. I grew up in California and I totally don’t get In and Out either. I mean, it’s okay in a pinch, but the only thing even remotely worth eating is an Animal Style burger which I think would fit this blog perfectly. And order the fries well done (or at least half well) or they’re a total waste of a potato. Gross. Even well doesn’t really make them good, just edible.

    On the other hand, if you’re ever in Vegas you have to stop at Gordon Ramsey’s Burgr. It’s the best hamburger I’ve ever had (and I think I’ve been there 5 or 6 times now). They’re so good I rarely eat hamburgers any more because they all just pale in comparison.

  49. D’oh!! Hit a button and didn’t realize if gone to an entirely different post. Stupid small screen. Stupid me. Sorry y’all.

  50. oooh that new graphic captures your eyes the most sincerely of those i’ve seen thus far AND makes you all willowy :O encore, graphic designer!

  51. It’s insanity. I mean, no cobbler. It’s like a crime against every little granny that ever lived:). You’re a best-selling author. If they won’t listen to you, I’m not sure who they will listen to . . .

  52. The ghost of French fries??? My heart aches a little bit. I will stand against the masses here and say proudly that I love my In and Out fries – and I don’t care who knows it! What’s not to love about fresh cut REAL fried potatoes (not those frozen wannabes that other burger places have!)? You must have gone to an In and Out that made them wrong – because as good as real fries are, if they come out of the fryer all limp and oily, THAT is disgusting.

  53. Craig’s list is a favorite of mine, the Missed Connections is my favorite….it’s like really folks….? There is probably a reason the connection didn’t happen the first time, but whatever, there is someone out there…My teenage son 17, finds it strange that I would read these, he is quite befuddled by my online people watching.

  54. I’ve just found your book on Amazon and I’m really enjoying your sense of humor and wonder in a world that I feel has turned their backs on the especially significant 😉

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: