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.
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?
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.