Where to find the best fast food near Southern California's theme parks
Published: March 3, 2009 at 1:32 PM
I'm hear today to beg: Please. For the love of God and your taste buds. Don't.
Visitors to Southern California might not know this, but there is a much, much better place around here to get a fast-food hamburger. Its food is fresher, tastes better, is better for you... and just feels better in your stomach, not giving you that "food hangover" that fast food often delivers after the meal.
C'mon, Californians, you know where I'm talking about.
Here's the deal: This is a hamburger joint. They only do hamburgers. No chicken nuggets, fish sandwiches, tacos or breakfasts. All they have are one size of patty, one size of bun, fries, lettuce, American cheese, tomatoes, onions (grilled or raw), Thousand Island-style spread, ketchup, mustard, pickles. (I've heard that they have peppers, too, but I've not ordered them.) The meat in the patties is fresh, the buns toasted and the fries are cut from whole potatoes and fried in vegetable oil on the spot.
The menu includes hamburgers, cheeseburgers, the "Double Double" (two patties and two slices of cheese on one bun), fries and drinks. The burgers come with lettuce, tomato and the Thousand Island spread. But they will make you *anything* for which they have the ingredients.
Cheese fries? Sure. Grilled cheese? (Just cheese on the bun.) No problem. A "protein-style" three-patty burger, wrapped in lettuce and without a bun? Okay. You can substitute ketchup and mustard for the spread, if you want. Or add pickles. The king of the secret orders is to get a Double-Double "animal style," cooked in mustard with added pickles. Some folks swear by "animal style" cheese fries, too. For about a year, all my daughter would eat at In-N-Out was a tomato sandwich - tomatoes on a bun. They made 'em for us.
So, in an effort to improve your fast-food lunch experience, here are detailed driving directions to the nearest In-N-Out from each of Southern California's theme parks. You need never eat a lousy McDonald's hamburger again.
(In each case, if you will be coming back to the park, make sure you hold onto your parking pass, so that you can re-enter the park's parking lot without having to pay again.)
Drive two miles west on Ball Road, then turn right (north) on Brookhurst St. The In-N-Out is at 600 S Brookhurst St., in Anaheim.
Return by the same route.
Turn left (right if you are in the La Palma lot) and drive west on La Palma 1.5 miles to Valley View St., where you will turn right (north). The In-N-Out is a few feet ahead on your right, at 7926 Valley View St., in Buena Park.
Return on La Palma, staying on La Palma past Western and turning right on Beach Blvd., then bearing to the right on Grand Ave. to re-enter Knott's.
To return to Magic Mountain, turn right (south) out of the lot back onto Bouquet Canyon. Then turn right (west) on Magic Mountain Parkway and follow it all the way back to the park.
To return to USH, make a right (west) back on to Cahuenga and drive to Lankershim Blvd. Turn right (the only way you can go) on Lankershim and pass under the 101. The main entrance into Universal City will be a right turn at the first light.
From Armada, turn right (west) onto Palomar Airport Road and drive back toward Interstate 5. Go over I-5, making the first right after the highway, onto Avenida Encinas. The In-N-Out is about a quarter mile ahead, on the right, at 5950 Avenida Encinas, in Carlsbad.
To return to Legoland, go left on Avenida Encinas, heading back toward Palomar Airport Road. Turn left on Palomar, then stay in the left lane to enter the I-5. Head north on I-5, taking the very next exit, Cannon Rd. Drive north on Cannon back to Legoland Drive.
To return to SeaWorld, turn right out of the parking lot onto Sports Arena Blvd., heading west. Stay in the right lane, and when the road forks, bear right to continue north on Sports Arena Blvd. Continue north, under Interstate-8, as Sports Arena Blvd. becomes W Mission Bay Drive. Stay on Mission Bay north, over the canal and past SeaWorld Drive. Move to the left and follow the signs onto Ingraham Drive. At the first intersection, you'll turn right onto Perez Cove Way. Follow Perez Cove, past the employee entrances, around back to the SeaWorld entrance.
In the comments, talk about In-N-Out, or share tips about other favorite places to eat around SoCal theme parks.