Thursday, August 6, 2015

Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks

Hello and happy almost-end-of-the-week to ya! Hope you've had a great week so far. Today Terry didn't have to go in to jury duty until late again, so we ventured to the Santa Monica Pier for a little walk!

And then we stopped for a donut. I get weird cravings for donuts all the time, but I usually just ignore them and eat other delicious things. Plus, most of the time when I eat a donut it's not as good as I was hoping, and then I'm let down and the craving just comes back. So anyway, I don't remember the last time I went to Dunkin' Donuts, so we stopped on the way home in an effort to find the best donut.

I chose chocolate sprinkles because Tina from Carrots N' Cake always posts photos like these and makes me drool. 

And actually, it really was delicious. Worth the stop, for sure. :-)

I mentioned yesterday that this week has felt strange, and yesterday we went ahead and completely shook up our routine, just to keep the strange train going. For dinner, we went to Islands!

Islands contacted me recently to see if I'd be interested in trying their summertime specials and "Paradise's Bikini Beach" menu items. I've been to Islands a few times but always think of it as a burger place, so I agreed to give these non-burger items a try!

Terry, Marshall, and I arrived at Islands Manhattan Beach at 5 pm on Wednesday. We don't brave restaurants very often nowadays because it's easier to eat at home with a 14-month-old, so we figured an early time would be best for all of us. The restaurant wasn't crowded, but it was busier than I expected for a mid-week early evening. We were seated right away and offered drinks and water, including a cup with a lid and straw for Marshall.

The manager greeted us and offered to start us out with a few appetizers. He admitted they really don't have much in the way of healthy appetizer options, and I appreciated that honesty, but if you're really aiming to eat healthfully it would be best to start with a small salad or wait for the hearty entrees! We were there to get the full experience, so we got set up with spinach-artichoke dip (pretty good, more than enough for four people to share, nothing too out of the ordinary here) and house-made onion rings. Oh man, those onion rings were KILLER. Extra-crunchy and pure delicious. One of our favorites of the night and the best onion rings I've ever had!

The manager also brought us over a "sampler" of some drinks, which turned out to be five full-sized (and full-strength!) mixed drinks: Big Island Iced Tea, Margaveza, Mai Tai, Mixed-Berry Cooler, and a classic margarita.

Ha! We couldn't finish all of them, but my favorite was the Big Island Iced Tea and Terry's favorite was the Margaveza. It sounds like drinks vary based on location, but you'll certainly find something you like because they're known for awesome drinks!

On to the main event! We each ordered an entree from the Paradise's Bikini Beach menu, but the staff insisted on bringing several other options for us to taste. 

I went with the veggie tacos, which were awesome. Packed full of vegetables, plenty of avocado topping, and a crunchy vinegar slaw on the side. The corn tortilla was soft and tasty, too.

Terry chose the Turkey Burger Lite, and we agreed that the turkey was seasoned perfectly (we both hate when turkey is over-seasoned, so it was a nice surprise), and the wheat bun was soft and delicious. The veggies on it were crisp and fresh. It's a simple burger, but a great choice.

The other lighter option they brought out was the Sleek Greek Salad, which is full of chicken and tons of toppings. It's one of those salads that has a lot of stuff in it, so if you're like me and love hearty salads you would be a big fan.

Next we tried the Sandpiper chicken sandwich with a lettuce "bun." I've never seen so many mushrooms on a plate! (My mom, who LOVES sauteed mushrooms, would have been in heaven.) The chicken was cooked well, and the Swiss cheese melted with the flavors of the mushrooms. Another awesome healthier choice.

Look at all those mushrooms! (This was after Marshall had eaten half of them, too. :-)

Our final entree was a special, Hanahou, a spicy burger with delicious fries on the side. We both liked it, but it's definitely more indulgent than the other items we sampled. Hey, enjoy some balance.

 Marshall had a feast! We obviously couldn't eat everything, but this kid went to town. He loved it all!

Our embarrassing spread:

Naturally, we made room for dessert when they brought out the Kona Pie. Are you kidding with this thing? It was SO good. Definitely a treat. :-)

I can't say enough about how wonderful the staff and food were at Islands. I'd go back to order those veggie tacos and onion rings again, and I'd certainly go with that Greek salad if I was in a salad mood (which I almost never am). I have always liked their burgers, so of course I recommend those. Islands is fun, relaxed, awesome for families (kid-friendly for sure!) and groups. It'd be a good spot for happy hour, especially with their huge portions for appetizers! Terry and I went there once on a lunch date, so I suppose it can be a fun date spot, too!

But I'll admit this was my first time really enjoying Islands from a healthier perspective, and I was surprised to find plenty of options (and not just salads!). As always, if you're really looking to be healthy while eating out, focus on vegetables (veggie tacos, salads, lettuce wrap burgers), go easy on drinks and appetizers, and maybe save that Kona Pie for a special occasion. :-) Oh! And all their burgers can be substituted with a turkey patty or veggie patty free of charge, which was a nice change of pace from the usual extra fees I see at most restaurants.

Thanks SO much to Islands Manhattan Beach for hosting our little family and for the incredible service and delicious food! We had a blast and will certainly be back!


Have you been to Islands? What looks good to you?

Do you prefer appetizers or dessert? If you know me at all, you know my answer. Dessert all the way.

What's your favorite kind of donut? I'm a chocolate old-fashioned girl!


  1. Yum!! This post made me hungry!! Looks like a great getaway :)