IN-N-OUT URGE….Ken Layne is thrilled because In-N-Out, a Southern California burger chain, is finally opening a stand in his new hometown of Reno, Nevada.

This just goes to show how unfair the universe is. I have three or four In-N-Out stands within a few miles of my house, while Ken has none, but I’ve never really been able to figure out the cultish devotion that In-N-Out inspires. (Well, aside from the venerable SoCal tradition of taking “In-N-Out Burger” bumper stickers and removing the “B” and the “r” from “Burger,” which is pretty easy to understand.) Basically, they’re fine burgers, but that’s all.

Now that I have comments on the blog, though, it makes sense to ask my fellow Southern Californians about this: exactly what is it that raises In-N-Out from the merely tasty to culinary nirvana?

(And while I’m on the subject of cult burgers, I finally tried a White Castle slider a few years ago on a trip to Chicago, and I’m still in the dark about their appeal. But if you’re ever visiting Southern California and want a real burger, try Tommy’s instead. That’s nirvana.)

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