Thursday, May 30, 2013

The One With Apple, Disappointment and Its Antidote in California

If you're thinking Apple, the multi billion dollar consumer electronics company that's missing Steve Jobs' magical touch, it is not. Apple is one of the many new friends I made on this trip. Obviously that's not her real name. Met her accidentally while I was attending a workshop in Sunnyvale. A fellow Indonesian who's living the life we would all envy from afar.

If it wasn't for her, I would probably end up cashing out unnecessary taxi money or went home with a pair of sore feet. Sunnyvale is not exactly a city equipped with public transport and truthfully, Google Maps can be very misleading. True story. I walked 30 minutes from the Caltrain station to my Airbnb's apartment at 10 PM and I did not meet one single person along the way, let alone a bus.

I don't believe in coincidence, I know that the universe connect us for a reason, and that is ... to let her show the beautiful food around the city.

The Famous Burger Joint

In-N-Out Burger was the obvious choice. Everyone who's ever been to this part of West Coast always raved about it. I went with utter curiosity only to be disappointed afterwards. Not only that the patty lacks beefy flavor, it also not particularly exciting in taste and texture too. Some kind of bland if I might go to the extreme. And let's not mention the juice. There's none. The special sauce? It's just thousand island. The equation was just not right.

Burger = patty + bun + everything else (sauce, other toppings, vegs)

In my simplest formula this is what makes a burger. When the patty is ruined, even a good well toasted soft bun couldn't help much. In-N-Out did well on the latter but not on the former.

And why am I being this critical to a piece of burger? After spending two weeks in the northern hemisphere, you'll see that burger is as close to a signature food as nasi goreng is to us Indonesian. One is free to make their own rendition of nasi goreng, but screwing up is simply unacceptable.

Then again, for that kind of price tag (less than $5), you shouldn't expect much and let's not be too hard on In-N-Out. Because as the name suggested, you go there for a quick fix, you get in, you dig in, and the off you go with your life. It is not meant to be life changing. Frankly speaking, it is at the bottom rank compared to the other 7 burgers I tasted on the trip. I personally think people go there for the nostalgic reason, the comfort of having something you grew up with.

The Not So Famous Gelato

Now this one right here is the underdog. Classico Gelato, hidden in the long walk of shophouses in downtown Mountain View, is one of the most voted gelato for a few years in a row. It hasn't got the cult following like In-N-Out but damn they have the good stuff here.

For $6.50 I have myself a scoop of Spumoni (pistachio, chocolate, vanilla gelato with dried fruits and nuts) and Creme Brulee. My suggestion: always have it with the original cone. It is the best way to enjoy ice cream with added texture.

After a let down with In-N-Out, this gelato eaten in the sunny blue sky of California was the perfect antidote to put me back in good mood.  It is one of the reasons why I love exploring a city with locals, you get to discover the hidden gem. This post is a thank you not for Apple and a few hours of food adventure.

Meet Leia

Oh, to close with, allow me to introduce Leia, my travel companion on this trip that took most of the beautiful pictures. Yes, she's the new member of the family. A mirrorless Samsung NX300. Proven to be quite portable and dependable. All the shot taken here are hers. You'll see more of her super power in the post to come.

So long, I'll see you in the next episode of #WanderUS Stories.

Fellexandro Ruby
The Wanderlust


  1. 7 burgers! I need to hear all of them, Ruby. Yes, even Johnny Rockets' burger is way better than In-N-Out.

    I wish you'd create slideshow gallery for the majority of 40GB photos ;)

  2. In-N-Out has that hype factor, I'm surprised that you didn't drink the In-N-Out hype KoolAid.

  3. I love your in-n-out burger picture. :) It made the burger looked like a $10 burger. Love your blog and the way you tell the story.


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