S and I had a great time at Islands before, and I was recently invited to visit again and check out some of their holiday offerings. We had just been talking about going for Monday Night Football, so we took the opportunity to try the new items and catch a football game.
We started out with some drinks. Islands is offering new spiked coffee drinks, and from my experience with their cocktails, they can be quite strong.
I decided to try the Irish coffee, and S went with the Islands Golden Ale, which is his “tried-and-true.”
The Irish coffee was, as I expected, pretty strong, but I also liked it a lot – probably because the sugar and cream helped tone down the taste of the alcohol. S liked it so much that he decided to try one of the coffee drinks, too.
He went with the Cocomo coffee, which is creamier than the Irish coffee. I actually liked this drink even more than the Irish coffee – probably because it’s more chocolate-y. You can also order the coffee drinks decaf, if you don’t want to mix caffeine and alcohol.
Not a holiday special, but I love cheese fries, so we wanted to try out Islands’ version. It was pretty good – crispy fries, gooey, melted cheese, scallions, ranch sauce… what more could you ask for?
For our main entrees, we both went with burgers. One of the restaurant’s new items is the turkey patty, made with a mix of ground turkey, applesauce, seasonings, bell pepper, celery, and scallions. I was pretty intrigued by this description – normally I find turkey burgers to be dry and pretty bland compared to juicy, meaty beef burgers. Would all the mix-ins make a difference?
I chose the Mavericks burger with the turkey patty. First thing I did was take a small bite of the patty itself and was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful it was! The applesauce and veggies made the burger less dense and “meaty”, but the patty was juicy and very well-seasoned. This must be the only turkey burger I have ever liked.
FYI, also on the Mavericks burger: BBQ sauce, Islands Reds (crispy fried red onions), American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles. I opted for no mayo and a whole wheat bun. You also have a choice of endless fries, onion rings, steamed veggies, sweet potato fries, and small garden or Caesar salad. I chose garden salad with sesame dressing.
S chose the Hula burger (beef patty), which has sauteed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and also Islands Reds. He really enjoyed this, too. For his side, he chose onion rings, which weren’t great – the breading wasn’t properly seasoned and was overall very bland. I wish we had tried the sweet potato fries instead.
After our very satisfying meal, our waitress brought over the restaurant’s “Secret” menu item, Pipeline Porter floats.
You’ve probably had a root beer float before – vanilla ice cream on root beer. Well, this is vanilla ice cream on top of Pipeline Porter beer (from Kona Brewing Co). The beer is brewed from Kona coffee and boasts a roasty aroma and earthiness, which theoretically pairs perfectly with the sweet vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately neither of us really enjoyed it – I think the bitterness of the porter didn’t really work as well with the ice cream as one would have thought. In the end, we scooped out the ice cream and then drank the beer separately. Haha.
Overall, though, it was a good dinner, and as I’ve already mentioned, I was very impressed with the turkey burger. When the manager came out to chat with us, she said that the patties are made everyday so that the mix-ins stay fresh. I have some friends who don’t eat beef, and I was excited to share with them the news of a good turkey patty. The atmosphere at Islands is great, and the waitstaff is very friendly. I’m sure we’ll be back for football and drinks again!
Disclaimer: As I’ve noted above, I was invited to Islands by a PR company. Our meal was complimentary, but all reviews and opinions are my own.
3351 Nobel Drive, La Jolla, CA
Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm