Walking to In-N-Out on an LAX Layover
Due to competition from low-cost carriers Norwegian and LEVEL, fares from Barcelona to Los Angeles were particularly low, hence I ended up on an itinerary which deposited me at LAX. I researched ways to get to San Diego from LAX, and decided on a new service called Tesloop. They use Tesla cars kind of like a cross between a bus and a taxi, where there are defined pickup and drop off points and a fixed schedule, but only with 3 passengers.
There were about 3 and a half hours between my arrival and the departure of the Tesloop to San Diego, so I decided to check out the famous In-N-Out next to LAX. It's famous, at least among a segment of the frequent flyer and plane spotting community, because it's basically right next to the runway directly under a flight path!
So I checked up the route from the airport to the In-N-Out, and found excellent instructions on Flyertalk (it's in the Wiki here).
Immediately upon leaving the terminal building, I got a very Southern Californian feeling with the scents in the air.
Walking from United's Terminals 7/8 to Southwest's Terminal 1, the start of the walking route to In-N-Out, I passed by the landmark Theme Building. It's an iconic building often representing LAX and LA as a whole, designed in the Space Age "Googie" style of the Mid-century.
From Terminal 1, it's a walk along the arrivals road heading away from Terminal 2 and the rest of LAX until you hit South Sepulveda Blvd. Then turn left and head north.
The sidewalks were surprisingly wide, suitable for dragging along a big suitcase like the one I had! There was only one slightly dodgy place, where you have to cross the ramp that leads up to the departures level of LAX with no stoplight. Cars really do zoom by, and I doubt they really expect a pedestrian to cross the road there, due to so few pedestrians around LA in general and LAX in particular, and also due to poor lighting and signage.
But the views of the airplanes coming in to land so close made for quite the experience.
You can spot the In-N-Out from far away, and the route is basically just a right angle, so it's not easy to get lost.
Inside, the restaurant was absolutely bustling! I took this photo while standing in line, and you can see the cashiers with the white hats to see how long the line was.
The hamburger I ordered was the double double animal style. It was good, and I must admit it was the first time I actually enjoyed an In-N-Out burger. The char on the burger was good, and even the bun was nicely toasted. The animal style part of the order was technically on their "secret menu," and that really improved things from their normal burger. The caramelized onions had great flavor, and the extra Thousand Island dressing gave moisture and a pleasant creaminess and tang... kind of like a Big Mac. It's kind of sad, though, when I realized that you really have to order off the menu to get a good result with an In-N-Out burger, and the result is like an upscale Big Mac minus the middle bun.
The french fries I also customized off the menu "well done," i.e. extra crisp. So unlike the regular soggy and bland fries, these were crisp, but dry and still bland.
Another "secret menu" item is the "Neapolitan shake," with strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla flavors together. I was surprised to still discern each individual flavor, but the texture was more slimy than I expected. I did enjoy this, as sweet as it was.
Then it was time to walk back to the airport to catch the Tesloop service. I'd allow about 30 minutes to get to and from the airport. One can probably do the walk faster with no luggage, but with things like catching flights or shuttles, better to be safe than sorry.