Homemade In-n-Out Animal Fries

We haven’t been to Southern California in a little over 3 months now. That means that the In-n-Out withdrawal, the so-called “out-n-out,” has finally set in. Luckily for us, with AK‘s creativity and SP‘s methodicalness, we have a temporary solution until our next visit West. Or South. Wherever there’s burgers.


We’ve tried a few different ways of making what we miss most: animal style fries. People like the burgers and all, but for us, it’s all about that extremely saucy, super oniony fry mixture that gets our motors running. There are some serious bummer recipes out there that basically say that Thousand Island dressing is the same thing. They’re wrong. Here’s the closest we’ve come:


  • 1 cup Hellmann’s Light Mayo
  • 1/2 cup (or a little extra) Ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Basically you mix all of it and set it in the fridge for a couple hours for maximum impact. But making it looks a little funny.


Heinz for the appropriate taste.


Maaaayo. Maaaaaaaaaaaayo. Daylight come and me wanna make fries.




We relish making this sauce.


You can also add a bit of garlic powder if you want.


If you went to Kindergarten, you may remember that you get different colors when you mix stuff together.

Ok, so the sauce is made. The next important part is the umyum. This part is even more tricky than mixing the sauce because it requires patience, varying temperatures, and a keen eye. We’ll leave the eyeball part to AK.


White onion outperforms yellow onion in this mixture.


Dice. (Yes there’s yellow onion back there that we were going to use for our Sloppy Joes.)


A tbsp and a half of vegetable oil, and throw in the onions.


Leave it on super low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. For serious. Just leave it alone. SP STOP OPENING IT TO CHECK ON THEM!


After that 30 minutes, bring the heat up and stir for about 6-8 minutes. Then throw in 1/4-1/2 cup of water, leaving it on hot, and let the water cook out. This will help loosen any stubborn bits of umyum and help the flavor get a bit smoky.

Ok. Now it’s time to build our animal fries. We may be a bit sacrilegious because we aren’t using cheese, but then again, we can’t source In-n-Out fries either. So this can only be a temporary fix.


We used some Ore Ida “zesties.” They’re great seasoned fries to make in the oven and really good quality fries no matter the style you get. 


Get some of the umyums on there.




Served tonight alongside some homemade Untidy Josephs.

Please feel free to try the recipe and give us your feedback!

Man it feels good to type up some stuff again. Catch you on the flip-flop?


[FHCx306] National Calzone Day/National Deep Fried Clams Day/National Vinegar Day


Riffing on this Ben Wyatt from Parks n Rec thing… if we were to make a restaurant to celebrate folded pizza, it would be specifically diet-friendly and located in areas nearby Los Angeles or San Diego. It would be called the Local LoCal Low-Cal Calzone Zone.

But for reals. Calzone Day was just established recently. Specifically, it was petitioned by Minsky’s Pizza on their 40th anniversary. So hooray for them!

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Today also celebrates something we were worried about finding. There are always days like that. Sea Salt, which we visited for fried scallops, closed for the season at the end of October. Our next best bet was a place called Mucci’s, which is known for their deep fried – wait for it – pizza. Yeah. We were excited to see they also had clam fritti. But when we called at 4:45 to ensure they had our item, we were aghast to find they didn’t have any! As of November 1st, today was a menu change, and they don’t have ’em anymore.

We were in luck that a local joint by SP‘s old apartment had the goods for us. Here’s Mac’s Fish and Chips.



The menu on a white board. Too quaint not to share.


“We don’t have soda. We have POP!” Thanks, Minnesota. SP approves.


SP got half clams and half cod. Mmmmm those clam strips were AMAZING.


AK went full-blown Minnesotan and got Walleye. Probably was from Lake Wobegon.


And what’s this? Malt vinegar to have with our fish n chips? Such that we can enjoy National Vinegar Day? Perfect!

Despite the troubles, today was a success. We could’ve clammed up, but we got out of our shell and had an adventure.

Tomorrow is National Deviled Egg Day.


[FHCx225] National Julienne Fries Day

Julie who?


French Fry lesson time. There’s a lot of different forms of our favorite deep fried potato treat. Thanks to The Nibble, we have this beautiful article. In it, we find some serious wisdom.

The general shape of the french fry is called the “batonnet.” It’s about 0.25″ by 0.25″ by 2-2.5″ while its big brother, the “baton,” is 0.5″ by 0.5″ on the end. Our buddy for today, the Julienne style, which admittedly is used in cutting all sorts of things that aren’t french fries, uses 1/8″ or 3mm – one half each edge length of the batonnet. Nobody knows how the term originates but perhaps after a person with a name like Julienne.

So to honor the french fry, we went French: Barbette in Minneapolis.

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SP‘s “Royale with Cheese” – burger with caramelized onions and brie (yes, brie) with some hollandaise for the fries.

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AK‘s Croque Madame, with that beautiful egg on top.

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J is for Julienne!

We can’t turn down french fries. These were really great. If you’re ever in the Lake Calhoun area, make sure to stop by Barbette!

Tomorrow is National Filet Mignon Day!


[FHCx195] National French Fry Day/National Beans ‘n Franks Day

An important holiday for sure.


Beanie Weenie, whatever. You take a frank of some sort, mix it in with some baked beans. Our guess is that someone needed to make a dinner out of two convenient, long-lasting foods. Chop up some hot dog and throw it in beans. Boom. There’s even fiber in it, so it’s good for you, right?

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SP‘s favorite baked beans.

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Very good hot dogs. Easy to prepare.

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Franks. Beans.

But there’s a more important thing to talk about today: French Fries.

French Fries are the epitome of the beige food. Ultimately tasty, uniquely made in so many different places, undeniably addictive, and most definitely not good for you in large quantities. In no particular order, we want to salute the following places for their excellent French Fries. Please keep doing what you’re doing:

And many, MANY others. Those are just the first that come to mind. Today we celebrated by picking up a snack at Five Guys. We’ve found among our friends that Five Guys’ fries are polarizing. Some friends say that the reason they give you so many in the bag is because they have to get rid of them, since they’re so bad. Those are people you shouldn’t spend too much time around. Five Guys’ fries are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, fresh and hot, and best covered in cajun spices.

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Thanks for the fries!

Tomorrow is National Grand Marnier Day and National Mac and Cheese Day.


[FHCx14] Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day

According to arithmetic, it’s been 2 whole weeks since we started this food challenge! Only 50 more to go. It’ll be fun, though. At least for us.



We can’t have that, now, can we?

We probably saved the lives of several 69-year-old Jewish celebrities tonight, because we took it upon ourselves to chow down on some pastrammy sammies (on rye) at Cecil’s Deli in St. Paul/Highland Park.

Like many a deli restaurant, Cecil’s has quite the menu with many many many things on it. Following the food holidays comes as a blessing, in a way, since the broad decision-making is done for us! There were a few different pastrami sandwiches to choose from, though, so we had to narrow it down at least a little bit. It was tough… but we did it.

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The Sasha — pastrami, a fried egg, swiss cheese, and whatever “bird sauce” is.

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Pastrami and Schmere — pastrami, cream cheese, and onions.

On the menu there seems to be a distinction between brisket pastrami (on the Sasha) and Chicago pastrami (on the Pastrami and Schmere). Whether this was just 1) a way to vary up the wording on a giant menu or 2) perhaps an actual difference in meat, we do not know! Either way, they were both magnificent. We traded sandwich halves to experience the full pastramiganza, and it was the right choice to have made. Also, if you enjoy potato salads that are more mustardish than mayoesque, or at least a healthy balance of both, you’ll love it at Cecil’s.

‘Twas a happy Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day indeed. Tomorrow is Strawberry Ice Cream Day!

While you’re still here — a note regarding future foodings:

One of the sentiment/questions we’ve gotten the most these last two weeks is “How in the world can you eat all those delicious things and lose any weight??!!!!?!!!?!!!!1!!” Touching on that: one of the most important reasons for us to do this blog at all is to show people that it’s possible to eat good food and become (or stay) healthier. As much as we can respect the results people get on super extreme exclusionary meal plans, there is something to be said for doing what makes you feel good rather than relying on shame and fear for motivation. That said, we’d like to note that we do in fact understand the difference between “doing what makes you feel good” and “doing whatever the hell you want.” It’s not discipline that we’re edging out by indulging in all these awesome foods every day. As much as it can seem like a free-for-all, there is a lot of planning and strategizing and setting ourselves up for success that is really very doable. For those who just read this for the food, this is probably super boring… but, it’s important to us. This isn’t “LOOK AT US, WE’RE PROFESSIONAL WEIGHT-LOSERS AND CURED OF ALL FATNESS!” AK still struggles every day with binge eating and very well might for a long time, maybe even forever. Even after losing quite a lot of weight, SP has hit some hard plateaus that can be very bad for morale. The point is, this is reality and those things are okay. The barriers and the pitfalls don’t mean there is no hope for success. And hey, pastrami tastes really freaking good.

Since the blog is still in its infancy, we are still working to strike a balance between basic food appreciation content and “this is completely possible” real-world logistical weight management stuff. I’m sure some of you have noticed the occasional mention of how we’ve done things like adjust recipes to lower calories, “saved up” by keeping it light the rest of the day, shared portions, boxed half a meal to take home, etc. Even so, based on some reactions, it doesn’t seem like quite enough. SOOOO… we’re gonna kick it up a notch, in the spirit of keeping it real. From this point forward, every Saturday blog will also include our -/+ weight amounts for the week. This will serve a few purposes: 1) To show you, our dear readers, that it really can be done! 2) To show that sometimes you gain a little back and it isn’t the end of the world 3) To hold ourselves accountable and stay motivated to keep getting results.

Here goes nothin’.