Local Wally's Guide to San Diego

Local Wally's Guide to San Diego

BEST MEXICAN FOOD IN SAN DIEGO: LAS CUATRO MILPAS REVIEW

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Las Cuatro Milpas San Diego Best Mexican Food

LAS CUATRO MILPAS RESTAURANT REVIEW

857 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113 |  (619) 234-4460

THE LOWDOWN:  Sketchy location and run down setting doesn't keep the locals and those in the know from lining up from 630AM to 3PM everyday for San Diego's best tacos, tamales, burritos, rice and beans. 

PRICE:  Cheap Eats - You can't spend more than $10 per person here if you tried.


Forget about trendy "street tacos" with tiny morsels that's barely enough for a bite.  This is Las Cuatro Milpas, San Diego's best Mexican restaurant.  OK, sure, it's a bit sketchy.  There neighborhood has homeless people on the sidewalk and you're not quite sure what to do when you get to the front of the line but don't worry, I'm here to help you.

First, be prepared to wait.  Consider yourself lucky if there's no line but there's nearly always a line.  Las Cuatro Milpas opens at 630AM and closes at 3.  The line moves reasonably fast so just come, don't worry about it.

Menu at Las Cuatro Milpas, 2017

The menu is simple enough. Tacos.  Tamales. Burritos.  Rice and Beans.  Honestly, I'm not even sure you can pick what meat goes in the tacos or tamales.  When you get to the front of the line you just tell them what you want and they make it.  No questions, no options.  Their tacos are deep fried and topped simply with Mexican cheese and some lettuce.  The rice and beans are huge portions and served in a bowl.  You can easily share one order with the table.  They do have a spicy version of the beans with chorizo, I believe, but the standard with some hot sauce is good enough for me.

Hot sauce at Las Cuatro Milpas

Here is the salsa bar.  LOL, while other Mexican restaurants have lots and lots of options Las Cuatro Milpas has one.  It's red, it's hot, and it's all they got so take a couple. 

lasCuatroMilpas.JPG

So order your food and watch them cook it in front of you.  Oh yeah, you need CASH.  Do not make the rookie mistake of coming here with your American Express and then getting all negative on Yelp when you have to leave without tacos after waiting so long in line. 

Once they had you the tray of food you can grab some hot sauce and add some onions and cilantro on top.  Drinks are all in the can, waters are a buck, no beer, no wine, and NO MARGARITAS.  This isn't a theme restaurant.  There are no pinatas or ironic black velvet portraits of Elvis.  It's ain't that sort of joint. 

Once you have your food I like to head to the back where they are making tortillas. There's another dining area around the corner but that's my favorite table right there.

Tamale, rice and beans

After all that here is what I got - one tamale floating in a bowl of rice and beans - $5!  The tamale is the best tamale I have ever tasted and I've tasted a lot of tamales.  I even make my own tamales but I'm giving up now and just buying these.  Filled with meat (pork?), nice and plump and the masa is the perfect texture.  The rice and beans are delicious but attack my stomach pretty much within an hour after I eat them so, well, don't come here before getting on an airplane.  Just saying....

Las Cuatro Milpas tortillas

Oh, and every order comes with homemade tortillas! You know those tortillas you get at the supermarket?  Not even close to how good these are. 

TIP:  Bring a cooler as if you are like me you will have leftovers. They have to-go boxes near the cash register you can grab.

SUMMARY:  If you love Mexican food you need to come here.  If you're a local and you haven't been here yet then do it this weekend.  And if you're a tourist do not make the mistake of only eating Americanized Mexican food in Old Town or upscale tacos in upscale restaurants - come here for a taste of the real deal at Las Cuatro Milpas.

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San Diego Hotels With Tennis Courts

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Traveling to San Diego isn't complete without experiencing its vibrant tennis scene. A haven for tennis players, the city features a bevy of state-of-the-art sports facilities accessible to both recreational and professional players. 
 

Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara

Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara

Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara

This luxurious resort tucked away in north San Diego county, known for its golf community, is also a great place for tennis as well. Its four hard and two clay lighted courts are always in tip-top shape, and players of all ages can take of lessons at the Four Seasons. Their lessons come with rackets and even tennis shoes, giving those who've always wanted to play tennis zero reasons not to try.

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

The La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is known for attracting high-profile members, and is quite easily the finest and most elite tennis facility in the area. This holds quite some weight if you consider that La Jolla beach has more tennis courts per capita than any other area in the United States.

Since 1935, celebrities and professional tennis players alike have graced this beachfront hotel's 12 championship hard courts. It is also host to the annual Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championship, the second oldest tennis event in the United States, approaching its 130th year.

La Costa Resort & Spa

La Costa Resort & Spa:  Photo credit Omni Hotels La Costa

La Costa Resort & Spa:  Photo credit Omni Hotels La Costa

The 17 clay and hard courts at La Costa have been host to professional tournaments for many years. According to tennis website Play Your Court San Diego, World Team Tennis league team The Aviators, which features some of the top young players in the world, even call the courts here their home. But you don't have to be a pro to enjoy tennis at La Costa. Their many tennis amenities, which include group and private lessons, lighted courts, ball machines available for rent, are also available for amateur players. They also offer the Extreme Tennis Makeover program, where you can record your sessions on video for viewing later on to help improve your game.

Rancho Valencia

Rancho Valencia, San Diego:  Photo Credit Tennis Resorts Online

Rancho Valencia, San Diego:  Photo Credit Tennis Resorts Online

Complex.com includes Rancho Valencia in its listof "Breathtaking Places to Play Tennis Before You Die”. The 45-acre state of the art facility features 18 pro-level plexi-plave courts spread throughout the property, and breathtaking views of the San Dieguito valley are part of the package.

Ball machines are available for use when you stay at the resort. They offer tennis matching for solo travelers, which means you can always find a good match against a player of similar ability. Families, on the other hand, can enjoy private lessons and sessions, and tennis clinics are regularly held by local pros.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Paradise Point Resort & Spa:  Photo Credit booking.com

Paradise Point Resort & Spa:  Photo Credit booking.com

Tennis is just one of the many sports offered by this family-friendly resort, built on a private island close to SeaWorld. Ball machines and pro lessons are readily available by appointment, and courts are available for reservations.

Guest Post by Judith J. Prince, 2017.

Green Flash Concert Series | Birch Aquarium at Scripps | Things to Do in San Diego 2017

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Green Flash Concerts at Scripps Aquarium 2017

Green Flash Concerts at Scripps Aquarium 2017

Each summer Birch Aquarium transforms its Tide Pool Plaza into an outdoor music venue unlike any other for the Green Flash Concert Series. These lively monthly concerts, presented in partnership with 101.5 KGB, STAR 94.1, and Belly Up Entertainment, provide the ultimate Southern California music experience while supporting a good cause. 

The concert series, which is for ages 21 and up, combines live music with panoramic ocean views. Keep an eye out for a real “green flash,” a rare optical phenomenon caused by refraction of light as the sun sets on the horizon.

The view, the setting, the music, this is what San Diego summers are all about!

The view, the setting, the music, this is what San Diego summers are all about!

The 2017 Green Flash Lineup:

Wednesday, May 17

Johnnyswim

Johnnyswim is an American folk, soul, blues, and pop music duo consisting of singer-songwriters Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez.

Wednesday, June 21

Cracker

Cracker has been described as a lot of things: alternative rock, Americana, insurgent country, —even punk and classic rock. Led by vocalist David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman, the band has brought us genre bending songs such as "Low,” “Euro-Trash Girl" and “Get Off This."

Wednesday, July 19

Steve Poltz

Playful singer-songwriter and San Diego legend Steve Poltz returns for a clever, creative, and fun-filled evening. Always quirky and unpredictable.

Wednesday, Aug. 16

Milo Greene

Milo Greene is an L.A.-based Cinematic Indie-pop band with four members doing double-duty as singers and songwriters.

Wednesday, Sept. 20

Pine Mountain Logs and Venice

The Pine Mountain Logs' repertoire of high energy classic hits range from Led Zeppelin to the Jackson Five, Tom Petty, TLC, Aerosmith, Outkast and more, with surprise bridges and choruses around every corner.

Venice’s sound is at once familiar and fresh, their classic rock and folk influences — such as Crosby Stills & Nash, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder — apparent in their pop sensibilities.

All concerts are held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and are general admission and standing room only. Savory bites, craft beers, and wines are available for purchase. Tickets are available for pre-purchase for $30.95 for members, $35.95 for the general public (convenience fees may apply). Walk up tickets are $41.95. Season passes are also available for $140 for members and $154.95 for general public.

Admission includes the concert, entrance to all aquarium exhibits, and parking. Green Flash Concerts are made possible by Subaru, Rock Bottom, French Gourmet, Bank of America, Korbel, Jackson Design and Remodeling, Sobieski Vodka, and EventAvision. Proceeds support exhibits and educational programming at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. 

 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit aquarium.ucsd.edu.

Ben & Jerry's FREE Cone Day at Seaport Village, April 4, 2017

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Free ice cream cone at Ben and Jerry's, Seaport Village, April 4, 2017

Free ice cream cone at Ben and Jerry's, Seaport Village, April 4, 2017

YEA! FREE ICE CREAM CONE AT BEN AND JERRY'S AT SEAPORT VILLAGE, APRIL 4, 2017!

Ice cream lovers can head to Ben & Jerry’s at Seaport Village (the only store location in San Diego) for the 38th annual Free Cone Day happening next Tuesday, April 4. From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., guests can get a free scoop of their favorite flavor. In the spirit of giving back, Ben & Jerry’s will also partner with The San Diego Youth Services to collect donations that day and raise awareness about their local programs.


WHERE:  SEAPORT VILLAGE, SAN DIEGO (859-A West Harbor Drive San Diego, 92101)

WHEN:  APRIL 4, 2017, FROM 10 AM TO 9 PM

WHAT AGAIN?  FREE ICE CREAM CONE!  


For the past 38 years, Ben & Jerry’s has opened Scoop Shops to dish out free ice cream to fans, thanking them for being so uniquely awesome. The tradition has continued to grow, beginning in the small state of Vermont, and now spanning across the globe. Come join in on the company’s long-time tradition of thanking fans for their commitment and ongoing support.

The company was founded on the idea that business has not just the opportunity, but also the responsibility to give back to the community. Free Cone Day is a long standing tradition when it comes to benevolent acts, and as Jerry said, "If it’s not fun, why do it?" The annual anniversary merges the two founding principles and demonstrates that giving back to the community is just as sweet as free ice cream.

Don't miss it!  Free Ice Cream Cone at Ben & Jerry's, Seaport Village, San Diego

Don't miss it!  Free Ice Cream Cone at Ben & Jerry's, Seaport Village, San Diego

"We love getting involved with and giving back to our communities.  It’s amazing what we can do together over shared values and several scoops of ice cream," said Michelle Alcantar, Owner/Operator, Ben & Jerry’s of Seaport Village. Ben & Jerry’s has been a longtime advocate of social causes like marriage equality and climate justice, and ensuring that their ice cream is made in the best way possible which includes sourcing Fairtrade and non-GMO ingredients.

Ben & Jerry’s continues to deliver on the chunky and funky flavors fans have grown to love and expect. In addition to dishing out the chunks and swirls, Ben & Jerry’s of Seaport Village will partner with local organization San Diego Youth Services to spread the word about their mission to improve the lives of homeless, runaway, abused, and at-risk youth.

So the biggest question is, what flavor will you have on Free Cone Day? 

Old Mission Beach Athletic Club to Host First-Ever Craft Beer Festival & Over the Line Tournament at Mariner’s Point on May 20th and 21st, 2017

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OVER THE LINE RETURNS WITH CRAFT BEER, MAY 20TH, 2017

Put your toes in the sand with a drink in your hand at the only local beer festival on the beach!

The Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) is taking its renowned Over the Line (OTL) Tournament to the next level this year. The organization will host its first-ever Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, May 20 in conjunction with the first rounds of Over the Line at Mariner’s Point on May 20-21—because nothing gets you warmed up for bat like a cold one. Players are invited to bring their bats, balls and most creative team names to the tournament, while spectators watch the games and enjoy local craft brews, cocktails, and bites for a cause.
 
On Saturday, May 20 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., sip craft beer from many of San Diego’s top breweries and enjoy fare from local food trucks. Breweries will include Aztec Brewing, Belching Beaver, Benchmark Brewing, Bolt Brewery, Dos Desperados, Fall Brewing, Helms Brewing, Indian Joe Brewing, Iron First Brewing San Diego, Ironfire Brewing, Left Coast Brewing, Resident Brewing, Second Chance Brewing, and more to come. Cutwater Spirits, from the band of liquid pioneers behind Ballast Point, will also be selling craft cocktails onsite.
 
General admission, including the four hour beer tasting, for guests ages 21+ is $30 with advance online purchase via Eventbrite, or $40 at the gate on the day of event.
 
The OTL Tournament will host 125 teams in a double elimination format. The first rounds will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 20 with winning teams returning from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 21. Tournament divisions include: Men's Pro; Men's Open; Men's Masters; and Women's Open. The entry fee is $120 per team and will increase as the tournament fills up.
 
This two-day event is a precursor to the 64th Annual World Championship Over the Line Tournament set for July 8/9 and July 15/16 at Fiesta Island, Mission Bay Park, San Diego.
 
For more information on OMBAC charities, please www.ombac.org/omcharities/ and for general inquiries, contact us at info@ombac.org. Get social with OMBAC on Facebook at @ombac and on Instagram at @ombacsd.
 
About Old Mission Beach Athletic Club
OMBAC is a 501(c) 4 non-profit organization that focuses on amateur sports, youth athletics, and local charities. OTL is the main fundraising event. Past recipients of OMBAC’s fundraising and donations included UCSD Cancer Research, Jr. OTL Scholarships, Wounded Warrior Foundation, Huntington’s disease, Bikes for Kids, Jr. Lifeguard Foundation, Cancer Walk, Marine Family Christmas Fund, Alpha Project, Meals on Wheels, Hospice, Pacific Beach Youth Group, San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade, San Diego Blood Bank, OMBAC Rugby, OMBAC Lacrosse and OMBAC Water Polo. For more information, visit www.ombac.org, Facebook or Instagram.

Visit San Diego on a Budget with a GO SAN DIEGO CARD

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Get close to the animals at San Diego Safari Park

Get close to the animals at San Diego Safari Park

Unlike a lot of vacation towns, San Diego lives up to its hype of having a ton of world class attractions and things to do.  The problem is a family could go broke trying to squeeze everything in.  Just getting into the San Diego Zoo will set you back $58 per adult and Legoland is a whopping $95!  But thankfully there is a way to visit San Diego on a budget and still see it all - just get a Go San Diego Card and get access to 40 top attractions for one low price.

Here's the deal:

  • 1 day pass to 40 attractions:  $84 adult, $89 child
  • 2 day pass:  $125, $110
  • 3 day pass:  $189, $169
  • 5 day pass:  $235, $199
  • 7 day pass:  $265, $229

With the pass you can roam San Diego like a rock star, stopping in at any number of attractions from the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, Legoland, or USS Midway.  Hop on a Harbor Cruise, pop into the museums at Balboa Park, visit the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, even go whale watching or ride the roller coaster at Mission Beach.  Feeling adventurous?  Take a day trip to Knott's Berry Farm.  Why not, it's included!  Want the complete list?  It's right here in pdf format.

And if you get the 3, 5 or 7 day ticket you'll get FREE admission to SeaWorld, normally $93 per person. 

To get a Go San Diego Card just click here to order and then show it on your phone or print it.  And you might want to add on the 2 day Hop On, Hop Off Trolley tour for only $39/$25, normally $78/$38. It's a great way to get around San Diego and to see the sights.

So get yourself and your family a Go San Diego Card.  It's Local Wally approved!

Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine - San Diego's BEST Seafood Restaurant at the Pendry Hotels & Resorts

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Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine

Address: 435 Fifth Ave #2, San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: (619) 738-7200

At a Glance:  Hip, trendy, noisy, lively seafood restaurant that will make you think you were transported to a Las Vegas hotspot.  Food quality top notch, one of San Diego's best new restaurants.


The lively bar at Lionfish in San Diego inside the Pendry Hotel

I'll admit it - San Diego's Gaslamp has never been my first choice for a dining destination, mainly because so many of the restaurants are geared towards tourists and conventioneers.  But that's changed now that Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine has opened, smack in the heart of the Gaslamp.

The menu is creative, thanks to Executive Chef Jose “JoJo” Ruiz, notably thechef de cuisine at San Diego’s Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar, one of my favorites in Little Italy.  He focuses on creating modern and creative dishes, some "sharable" and others full size entrees. 

Lionfish San Diego

The seafood is ultra fresh and sustainable, like this fabulous bite of salmon.  A lot of times sushi is disappointing outside of actual sushi restaurants but no worries here.  Grab a seat at the bar, order up off the raw menu, happy happens in San Diego.

Sharable plates at Lionfish, San Diego

Equally impressive was the New York Steak Tataki, lovely bites of thinly sliced ultra premium beef served in a garlic Ponzu sauce.  Delightful!

Insanely delicious steak at Lionfish, San Diego

As for entree's, the NY steak was insane, 20 oz. of deliciousness that, dare I say, beats Ruths' Chris and Flemings.  Tender, perfectly cooked, and spiced and sauced to make this one of the most satisfying and decadent steaks you will ever eat.  I love steak so trust me on this - this is one hellava good steak!  They also have duck, chicken, pork chops, scallops, and fresh catch seafood options.  No one goes home hungry.

Lionfish San Diego

Sides are a la carte and prepared with the same sort of care and quality as the rest of the dinner.  In other words, really good stuff and bit enough to share. 

Lionfish in San Diego is the real deal, a hip and upscale dining experience that should delight both locals and visitors.  It's fun, it's happening, it's the new hotspot in the Gaslamp that deserves your attention and appetite.

Local Wally

Old Town Mexican Cafe Review: Where to Find Good Mexican Food in San Diego

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Old Town Mexican Cafe in San Diego

Old Town Mexican Cafe in San Diego

OLD TOWN MEXICAN CAFE - 2489 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110 - (619) 297-4330

Quick Overview:  Probably the best Mexican food in Old Town San Diego, their specialty is their carnitas (tender pork) and handmade tortillas.

Tip:  For the most authentic experience sit on the right side of the restaurant, the original seating with booths and colorful decorations. The left side was originally their patio seating, now converted into more dining area. It's sunnier but has less ambiance.

Old Town Mexican Cafe Bar

Old Town Mexican Cafe Bar

REVIEW:  OLD TOWN MEXICAN CAFE

Buses drop off tourists, lines out the door, Food TV hosts gushing, but is the food at Old Town Mexican Cafe really any good?  After all, it's located in San Diego Old Town, arguably one of the most touristy places in all of San Diego.

I used to dine here all the time back when I first moved to San Diego to go to SDSU. Back then I was not a Mexican food expert by any means. Heck, I ate canned tamales and Taco Bell (disclaimer: I still would eat canned tamales if you put them in front of me). When I first started coming here you could get a heaping plate of carnitas, slow cooked pork served up with a plate of onions, cilantro, cups of roaring hot salsa, and a plate of handmade tortillas, for $5.50. I was poor, the food was great, life was good.

Carnitas at Old Town Mexican Cafe

Carnitas at Old Town Mexican Cafe

Today that plate costs around $15. That's still a good price but was it as good as my memories? Well, perhaps. The beans were great and unlike some who knock off points for melted cheddar cheese instead of Mexican cheese I'm cool with that.  Tasty, good.  As for the carnitas you can order them cooked different ways, from deep fried chunks to pan fried crispy. I ordered crispy, a mistake as the meat was dry and no longer succulent but the crispy edges were tasty. I think the non-crispy version would be better, or the deep fried chunks. And yes, they have horrible plating by today's standards but this is how it has always looked and it's always been more about the food than the presentation here.

You wrap the whole thing up in a handmade tortilla. Wait, let me tell you about these things. If you've only eaten supermarket tortillas get ready because these extra thick tortillas are the bomb, really delicious. Stuff them with meat and all the fillings and top with salsa and you are good to go.

Salsa at Old Town Mexican Cafe

I forgot to tell you. When they bring you the chips (really great chips, by the way, and free with every meal which is cool) make sure you ask for the hotter hot sauce. The salsa on the left is the hot one and is really tasty. The salsa fresca on the right is good but not quite hot enough, so mix it up and go to town.

Margarita at Old Town Mexican Cafe

Margarita at Old Town Mexican Cafe

You should also get a Margarita.  House margaritas in most restaurants are not very good so upgrade to a Cadillac. I don't remember the price but it wasn't bad and the margarita surprisingly strong, I had two and regretted it later but enjoyed the ride nonetheless.

Mexican Ribs at Old Town Mexican Cafe

Mexican Ribs at Old Town Mexican Cafe

I also ordered the Mexican Ribs, about the same price as the carnitas. I used to love these ribs, cooked on a rotisserie and spiced up with a delicious salty blend. Well, I knew I was in a bit of trouble when they brought out a side of BBQ sauce. And the ribs, while tender, had none of the great spices I was expecting but rather tasted like baby backs tossed on a gas grill. Meh. Don't get these, but the rice, yeah, the rice was really good.

Making tortillas at Old Town Mexican Cafe

OLD TOWN MEXICAN CAFE REPORT CARD 2017

Tourist Recommendation:  A

Local Recommendation: B

Ambiance:  B+

Food Quality: B+

Margarita:  A

Wally Comments: I still like Old Town Mexican Cafe and would not hesitate to go back with friends from out of town. There's a nice ambiance here and the food authentic enough to please everyone. The portions are good, the tortillas and margaritas worth the wait. For locals I'm not sure I would wait in the long lines and instead just head up the hill to Ponce's or go to North County to Fidels or Tony's Jacal but overall Old Town Mexican Cafe is a solid pick for authentic Mexican food in San Diego.

La Jolla Seals: The first seal pup of 2017 has been born!

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Baby seals on the beach in San Diego / La Jolla.

The Seal Conservancy is happy to report that the first pup of the season was born at Casa Beach on February 4, 2017!  But, wait - there's more! Mara and Jenny, two more pups, were born on February 5! Soon, these pups will be popping up all over the beach. If you missed the first few births, there is still plenty of time to witness the beauty of a live birth or watch pups and moms nursing, swimming, or being playful. Under the safe and peaceful conditions of a closed beach, we can reasonably expect there to be 40 - 50 successful seal pup births at the rookery this year, with the majority of births between February and late March.

Harbor seals are pregnant for 9 - 11 months? If pregnant seals have a safe place to rest before birth, then it is very likely that the average newborn pup will be born full term and weighing 20 - 24 pounds. It is very important that once this pup is born, the mother is undisturbed for 24 hours and is able to bond with the pup. Once the mom and pup have bonded, the newborn will nurse from its mother for one month before it is weaned and ready to swim and hunt on its own.

02-03-2017-Lil-Roxy-nursing.jpg

The chain is up and the beach is closed for the 2017 harbor seal pupping season, but this almost did not happen because of on-going litigation. Please visit our Latest News webpage to stay informed of the news at Casa Beach.

Follow the pup births at Casa Beach by checking in our Pup News 2017 page. We try to keep track of each birth as it occurs - sometimes 3 or 4 in one day - and update our page with details and photos of the newborn pups.

Islands Restaurant: Now Serving Paradise Bikini Beach Menu (and great burgers)!

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Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 10.42.09 AM.png

I watch what I eat.  But I'm very weak when it comes to choosing between deliciousness and low calorie options.  I know, restaurants claim their healthy options are muy bueno, but I've been tricked before. I've ordered salads thinking they were topped with cheddar cheese only to find out its carrots.  And don't get me started on cauliflower mashed "potatoes" or noodles made out of squash.

So I must admit when I saw that Island's Restaurant, San Diego's own burger joint chain, was now offering a lower calorie menu they dubbed Paradise Bikini Beach, I was highly skeptical.  I mean, in my world paradise is not low cal, it's deep fried. But there I was, staring at the healthy menu and trying, really trying, to make a good decision.

Island's Paradise Bikini Beach Tacos

The options are slim (no pun intended).  A veggie taco, a Greek salad, a Turkey Burger, and chicken tacos.  I eliminated the veggie taco immediately as it seemed exactly what I did not want in a taco.  Turkey Burger sounded good but I think it's wrong to get a burger with a salad instead of fries so that was out.  I like salads but not as an entree so that was out.  That left the chicken tacos.  Hmmm, what to do, what to do?

Malibu Burger at Island's Restaurant

And then I looked over at the standard menu.  Big fat juicy burgers with bacon, cheese, sauce, and fries!  Fries!!!  Buffalo wings, onion rings, fried fish tacos!  I mean, there in front of me was temptation.  Do I order the healthier dinner or do I go with something I know I will love?  I had to make a decision and it had to be a good one.  My wife ordered first - she went chicken tacos.  Good call.  Now my turn.  I. Am. Weak. 

I did what I had to do.  I ordered the Malibu burger - a juicy burger cooked medium (still pink) with Applewood Bacon, American Cheese, Onion, Lettuce, Tomato.  And I ordered it smothered with Thousand Island dressing.  Fries?  Of course, do you think I'm crazy not to get an order of delicious hand cut fries??? 

I was feeling a tad guilty when my burger arrived, a giant plate of wholesome deliciousness. But my wife seemed happy as well.  What?  She liked her low cal option?  Gimme that!  I took a bite and you know, it was a pretty darn tasty bite! In fact, if you did not tell me this was a low cal option I would never know.  The chicken was nicely seasoned, the salsa fresca was as good as you'll find in any San Diego taco shop (meaning quite good), there was even cheddar cheese on the tacos.  And the tacos were full sized, not the trendy "street tacos".  They came with a side of beans, not bad, not bad at all.  In fact, while I still think that Veggie Tacos are a crime I give Islands a lot of credit for making a low calorie taco dinner that tastes as good as the real deal.

So we were both happy, my wife with her tacos and me with my burger.  Of course, my wife ate a few of my fries and I let her. I did feel a little guilty, after all.