Friday, October 11, 2013

The One Where We Eat California (Part 1 of 3)

I've been remiss again, but this time, I have a good reason -- Dennis and I took a 9-day trip to California over the last couple of weeks!  He's from there, but I'd never been, so it was an awesome, awesome trip.

Rather than go into detail about the whole trip, I'm going to just focus on the most important part:  the food.  Obviously.

Since we live in North Carolina, in a region that is sadly lacking in restaurants featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, I decided that my goal for our California trip was going to be to go to as many DDD restaurants as we could manage between San Diego and San Francisco.  The final count was 6.  Not bad.

I'm going to break this up into three parts:  Part 1 will be the first three restaurants, Part 2 will be the second three, and Part 3 will be other non-DDD-related food I came across.  And then, yes.  Yes.  I promise I will finish off my recipes from What Katie Ate and continue down the road of cooking all my books.

On to the restaurants!

Restaurant 1

El Indio
3695 India St.
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 299-0333  

I'm not sure if you guys know how I feel about Mexican food.  I love Mexican food.  Love it.  Dennis makes the best Mexican food, having lived in Mexico for a stint, but I also love restaurant Mexican food.

One of the most vast differences I noticed between East and West Coasts was the Mexican.  People out there take their Mexican food very seriously, it seems, and this place was so good.

Dennis, having never had fish tacos before, got those and some nachos.  (I shared some of the nachos.)  He pretty much wolfed the tacos down, and I didn't try them, but I think it's a fair assumption to say they were muy bueno.

I had, as is my custom, cheese enchiladas.  (Here's their menu.)  They were excellent.  Enchilada sauce is always hit or miss, but they hit it with this stuff.  I was full to bursting with food, but I couldn't stop eating them.  The rice was also killer.

Olives are, of course, the devil, but in this case, I just picked them off, rather than complaining about how olives are, in fact. . .well, you know.  El Indio also had a salsa bar, which was great, because I'm always a fan of variety.

Restaurant 2

(There are 3 locations, but we went to:)
5010 Newport Ave. 
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
(619) 224-4623

This place was so weird.  Also rad.  Hodad's was probably the best atmosphere of all the restaurants we went to.  It was a tiny place, and we sat in a VW bus.

You heard me.

The menu, which I linked to above, is a basic burger joint menu, but the burgers are excellent.  Also, they're huge, so I was, yet again, pretty stuffed by the time we left.  Dennis and I both had the single bacon cheeseburger, although I got mine with fries (which were more like potato wedges) and he got the onion rings.

And, to carry on the tradition of pictures taken of me at these places with my mouth open:

Restaurant 3

524 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 623-8301

I'm not fully sure why I don't have a good picture of the exterior of this place.  I got the interior, though!

We stopped in L.A. for lunch and to see my friend, Nick, who moved out there a couple years ago.  This restaurant had a completely different vibe than the other two we'd been to.  I don't know if that was an L.A. thing or the staff or the diner itself. . .I'm not sure.  But we continued our trend of the food being amazing.

I had the BLTA, which was an arugula, bacon, tomato, and avocado sandwich.  Delicious.  It also had a side salad, which I'm exaggerating in saying was the best side salad I'd ever had, ever.  I'm not sure what was in it, but it was fantastic.

I don't have a third mouth-agape picture, but I do have an unflattering, awkward one where I'm striking a pose.  Does that count?

Actually, upon second viewing, my mouth does seem to be open.  I'm 3 for 3!

That's it for Part 1 of our DDD eating tour of California.  Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3!