To say that we live for Burgers is an understatement; this country has fueled its citizens, young and old, on the deliciousness of this All American Sandwich. And whether you're having it in iterations of Turkey, Chicken, Ahi Tuna or Chickpea Vegan, you've still bought into the ideal of the great Americana and its favorite past time-eating till you drop.
Our goal for the San Diego trip was to diversify the dining venue and its levels, some realivitely trendy, others low key, but all of them tasty and sapid.
Hodads was recommended as one of the best Burger joints on the West Coast and rather than visit the one downtown, we were aching to try it's original(ish) location that made it famous-a trip to the beach was in the cards for us!
Look up the HIstory of Hodad's, it's pretty interesting In a nutshell: Founded in 1969 by Byron and Virginia Hardin, opening up their first Hamburger Joint called, 'Hardin's Barrel' on Main Street in El Cajon, moving around along the street until its present location and name, 'Hodad's' - referring to the slang of a wannabe surfer poser on the beach. In any case, it's recognized as one of the Top Five Burgers by CNN and the only one on the West Coast...
Click below to read more...
As you can tell by the interior, (and exterior shots) the places oozes of beach SoCal Beach culture: Surfboards hung from the ceilings like flying fish in mid air, a hollowed out front of an old 60's wagon, the vanity license plates covered walls spelling out quirky acronyms and plumes of aromatic scents of fried foods wafting throughout the restaurant and a open counter facing the street to let all the wonderful sun and noise from the outside permeate inside as is the lifestyle in SoCal...
No order of Burgers and Fries is complete without a Milkshake and so we ordered a Chocolate Malt. What came out can only be described is a gigantic dessert big enough for four...Chocolate Icebergs wedged in a metal milkshake container so thick you really can't even use the straw, (except of maybe an oar!) but all that chocolate goodness, with the syrup and malt, it was a decadence at it's most gluttonous level.
Portion control really isn't in Hodad's vocabulary...everything here is beyond excessive in size. Be sure not to eat, let's say 72 hours beforehand, it's almost impossible to finish everything you're served otherwise, (I feel like Adam Richman in Man vs. Food...except there's no eating challenge)....
Their Burgers are enormous-it's a thick patty with a huge amount of condiments that amazingly, do not detract from the delicious taste of beef-the Bacon is crispy and delicious, the cheese has the right among of tang and the lettuce, tomato and onion provide the right about of watery crunch that cuts the heaviness of the beef that sometime can feel too oily in your mouth.
So the trick in making their Bacon Cheeseburger is in how they prep the Bacon: basically it's cut up into pieces, boiled and then made into a patty on the griddle and topped with cheese, that's then melted for bit and placed on top of the double patty. The buns have condiments squirted right on them while they're toasted on the griddle, so it gets thoroughly saturated as it cooks.
So that's some insight as to how scrumptious the Bacon Double Cheeseburger was....It was IMPOSSIBLE to get into your mouth!!! Even the biggest of fellas where nibbling the edges of perfectly charred beef patty and trying their hardest to get a big enough bite to taste all the condiments on this beast! One thing, I don't think I've ever had a better raw onion in my life! I mean, it had the crunch but none of the acrid, sharp flavor that almost instantly comes after that first bite... It was, the perfect Burger.
The other recommendation in Burgers is the Blue Jay: it's like the Bacon Cheeseburger, but instead it's made with Blue Cheese and Grilled Onions. As it turns out, this was equally as good; I was trepidatious at first with Blue Cheese- it has a tendency to overpower everything and can ruin a dish. But they used a creamy, mellow Blue Cheese which had a subtle undertone of tang, which with the sweet ambrosia of Grilled Onions, made for a unique flavor that was sophisticated than your average Burger. Still just as big and the Bacon ever so present, it could have fed two easily!
And to accompany these ginormous Burgers, we had to order a plate of tantalizing Fries and Onion Rings and as is the current attraction of branding their product, Hodad's has what is known as, "Frings" an order of Fries and Onion Rings...Sweet MOTHER of God these are awesome! The serving alone is too much,(half order shown below...) Sweet Onion Rings and Potato Wedges batter dipped and fried until turned to a decadent golden crunch...The beauty in its simplicity: Fries and Onion Rings sitting harmonious on top of yellow wax paper in the red plastic basket, by itself is a big enough for a full meal.
In all, it's a really fun kinda place to hang out, the service was super friendly and if you go with the flow, you see all types of people enjoying themselves at Hodad's. It's no longer just a San Diego surfer's secret-expecially when Guy Fieri showcased it on his show...
Needless to say, coming out of Hodads, we felt like overstuffed whales- I can't remember a time where I ate so much and felt so uncomfortable. But it was well worth every gut stretching bite, and it wasn't long afterwards that we were trying to conjure up a scheme to come back and stress our arteries some more with Hodad's fare!
Ratings (out of FIve Stars)