Adjusting to college living definitely brings about a newfound appreciation of the simpler luxuries. From home-cooked meals to easy access to a laundry machine, there’s a whole array of tiny deprivations to deal with at UC Berkeley. Of course we miss our parents, family pet and maybe even our annoying sibling in a particularly nostalgic moment. While all of these are held near and dear in our hearts, nothing can really compare to the cravings that come from missing In-N-Out. While there’s no shortage of great food places around, the lack of animal fries nearby in Berkeley is pretty much a crime. There’s nothing like the sour and savory spread, the rich shakes and the salty fries from our favorite fast food place. To combat the serious withdrawals, we at the Clog decided to make the trek to the nearest addictive burger joint you can access via public transportation. The religious pilgrimage was a three-hour round trip, called for four buses in total, tested our tolerance of a plethora of pubescent Oakland Tech High School students and ended in Alameda. While all of this may seem a bit extreme for one meal, it was undoubtedly worth every minute. To quote one of the dedicated foodies that undertook the journey,“We were on a quest for enlightenment … and animal fries.”
Our journey began at 3:10 p.m. on a rainy Friday afternoon. Well, at least it was supposed to. The 51B bus was MIA until 3:25 p.m., so our pilgrimage was off to a bit of a rough start. At this point, we were all quite hungry from having saved our appetite all afternoon in anticipation of the finest cuisine that this side of the Mississippi has to offer. After hopping onto the tardy and crowded bus we waited through 12 stops to arrive at the Rockridge BART station. From there, we transferred to the 51A and hung on for a casual 19 stops of fun and excitement. Somewhere along the way, we were inundated with a bunch of young and squirrelly high schoolers after they got out of class, which provided a little entertainment during our travel. A particularly special moment was when a child turned to his friend and asked, “Hey David, do you know the art of balance?” right before assuming the position of a deep squat on a moving AC Transit bus.
At exactly 4:25 p.m., we arrived to the holy land in Alameda. To emphasize the emotional, mental and spiritual significance of this pilgrimage, it’s important to mention that excitement would be an understatement for what was about to take place at an unsuspecting In-N-Out two cities over. Nothing compares to eating a good meal when you’re really hungry, but eating In-N-Out for the first time in months is similar to seeing clearly for the first time with a new pair of glasses. It’s similar to that feeling when you’re finally finished with your last final before break. Upon seeing the beautiful bright arrow above the establishment — which can only be described as gold, like the words on the sign, shining like a beacon to draw us home — a sense of giddiness overtook us. When we finally entered the beloved fast food joint one of the weary travelers in our entourage baptized us into the holy land with rain water.
The smell alone was enough to make a good dog break its leash, and the beautiful red trays carrying all that we have ever wanted in life made our knees buckle. Despite the strong urge to order four of everything on the menu, we kept it together and stuck to the classic burger, fries and vanilla milkshake. As we eagerly waited for our numbers to be called, we sat in a trance-like state of silence to mentally prepare our bodies for what was about to come. When our food was finally ready, we inhaled every last fry in three minutes flat. The french fries were cooked to a perfect crisp and the burger bun was golden perfection. The vanilla shake made every other frozen dairy product look like lime Jell-O, and it was all gone so quickly that we were left wondering if it ever really happened. In the midst of making our dreams come true, we definitely frightened a few unsuspecting civilians with our strange screeches of joy. One of us explained the meal with the remark, “Upon beholding the face of God, no sunshine, moonlight or love can ever compare.” While another responded, “I just really like milkshakes.” Turns out that we had spent more time waiting for our first bus than we did enjoying our actual meal, but that’s to be expected when consuming the dishes of deities.
Contact Amanda Chung at [email protected].