I have fat and salt caked to my lips. The only thing I can find in the car to wash it off with is soda.

In N Out Burger was my second hamburger in the past four years. At home, I don’t eat them. It’s sushi and home made Mexican, barbecues and salads. If I I’m going to indulge at lunch it’s most likely a toasted sandwich with chicken, avocado and a little bit of cheese. Woah. Look out.

But here, on eight lane freeways, where buses advertise gastric banding surgery (with payment plans) it seems wowserish not to try one or two.

So- In N Out burger; here we come-It’s a phenomenon only known on the West Coast- blamed by some for making Thorpe curvy when he was out here making pearls and hanging with his celebrity friends.

It’s a limited menu; hamburger; cheeseburger or ‘double double’- double cheese, double beef. You can choose to have grilled onions, or fries to go with. There’s a buffet of bottomless soda, but the plug for tap water runs dry. There’s chocolate, vanilla or strawberry shakes, and that’s about it.

You order, are given a number and have time to contemplate the crowd- a slice of life; cheerleaders on double dates, breastfeeding moms, men in their mid twenties on blackberries with slight acne and old men discussing investment strategies.

When it arrives the burger goes down too easily. The bun’s lightly toasted, you have to slightly disengage your jaw to wrap your mouth around both slabs of protein. The onion adds sweetness, the iceberg lettuce a little crunch. All in all it’s a good burger. The fries are perfunctory but I can’t help picking at them, long after I’ve had enough.

Then there’s an ‘off menu’- there’s the ‘protein style’- a burger without the bun, wrapped san choi bow style in lettuce leaves. Or if you really want to embrace the land of the free, saddle up; undo the top button on your jeans and go completely off menu; double double double double- four slices of cheese and four slices of beef.

Now that sounds like a burger you should only have once every four years.

Tonight I think I’m having salad.