Yeah. Twenty years in Texas. Twenty years ago (now twenty years and six months, but who’s counting?), I guarantee you Texas was the last place I thought I would be living out the rest of my life. Back then, India, the Philippines, or New York City would have been better money.
But here we landed. And as much as Southern California is in my blood and will forever be my personal Mothership, Texas is my home. I don’t have a love-affair with the state, as many of my home-brewed friends have, but it has grown on me. All of you not from here should visit. In late October or mid-March. Barring a tornado. Or a freak 100 degree stretch. Or rain that washes half the state away. Other than those things, it should be good. Maybe.
I started thinking about how I’ve changed in my twenty years. I’ve been compiling a list. Periodically, you will get a glimpse into my Lone Star soul. Like today.
Prior to May 11, 2011, we had to make a trip back to the left coast to get a taste of the beloved In and Out burger. A few times we got them in Arizona, but it was always a highlight of our journeys back to the homeland. Number One…double double, fries, and drink. Always fresh. Always awesome.
My friends from Texas didn’t get it. And when the first In and Out opened in Frisco, Texas (about 20 minutes from our house) in 2011, my friends still didn’t get it. Some have joked. Others have heckled. Most have just shrugged their shoulders and wondered out loud, “What’s the big deal?”.
But I have defended the honor of the Double-Double. I have lobbied for the freshness, the quality, the dependability, the unique ambiance, the value. And definitely it’s superiority.
And then it happened.
Just recently, I have come to realize in the world of fast food burgers, for me, the Whataburger with cheese is superior.
It didn’t happen all of a sudden. Maybe it was because I was no longer waiting a year in between trips to In and Out. Or maybe it’s because my taste buds have been sharpened by the prolonged exposure to Texas cuisine. Or maybe, as my Texas bruthas will tell you…I just finally came to my senses. Whatever it is, I am not ashamed to tell you that I prefer a Whataburger over an In and Out burger.
Wanda and I will still frequent In and Out. We actually have one closer now…only ten minutes away. And every time I bite into a burger there, my heart will be flooded with memories of 70 degree temps, salty air off-shore breezes, palm trees, and half a lifetime of greatness. No joke. It happens every time. Even when its over a 100 degrees or if there are snow flurries whipping the storied palm trees out in front. It will always be worth the trip.
And just in case you want to lobby for burgers that are better than Whataburger, feel free. But it won’t persuade me. I’m too cheap to fully enjoy a $10 burger, no matter how good it is…especially if it doesn’t include fries and unlimited trips to the fountain.
Some things will never change.