Monday, June 13, 2016

Doing the Hula at Islands

27741 Crown Valley Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

There's a lot of things going on at Islands, and specifically the one that's right by our house. Not only are they going to be moving to the former Farrell's location across the street at the Shops at Mission Viejo, but they also have partnered with the great folks over at Left Coast Brewing Company to collaborate on a beer that's only available at Islands. We were recently invited to give this, and their latest burger a try. at the Left Coast Brewing Company Tap Room in San Clemente.

First things first, I could not pin anyone down on when their new location at the Shops at Mission Viejo is going to open, but I've been hearing whispers of an August or September opening. I was at the new spot a month or two ago, and was astounded to see that they basically tore down the old Farrell's down to the studs, and rebuilt it. I have a feeling this is going to be one heck of an Islands location, and one that's going to have way more foot traffic than the one at the Kaleidoscope across the street.

This was my first visit to Left Coast Brewing Company, but it won't be my last. Located right off Pico, I was pretty impressed that this large tap room was filled with patrons on a Thursday evening, so I had high hopes for their beer. My assumption was not even close to being wrong. We met up with Shawn Hadjis, Director of Sales and Marketing for Left Coast, and learned that this is a family owned and operated craft beer company, founded in 2004, which is ancient compared to most of their competitors. You can find their beers in 25 states and 7 countries, and they have won over 25 awards at various festivals for their beers.

We were here on this evening to try their latest addition to their lineup, the Hula Bay IPA ($6.50 for a regular or $8.50 for a large). This is a classic west coast IPA, which they said possessed aroma hints of pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine, and pine. To be honest, when I heard this I expected a sweeter beer, but the abundance of Amarillo hops balanced this out, and the result was a lighter beer, which did not sacrifice flavor. No watered down beer here. This becomes available at all Island Restaurants, with the exception of their Hawaiian locations, on Monday June 13th, until it runs out, which they expect will be in early September. Also on this Monday, their much loved Heat Wave Burger makes its return to their burger lineup, and coincidentally, they say the Hula Bay IPA pairs nicely with this burger. I'll have to be the judge of that.

To no ones surprise, I'm usually a Big Wave with Cheese and Bacon kind of guy at Island's, but that burger goes on hiatus when this Heat Wave Burger ($12,19) come out of hibernation. This burger really packs a punch with grilled Serrano and green chilies, pepper jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, red onion, and it's finished off with a very tasty spicy mayo. I'm not ashamed to admit that I ate two of these full sized burgers at this event, they were that good. As advertised this did pair well with the Hula Bay IPA. The spice of the burger was extinguished a bit by the beer, which was definitely needed every few minutes when consuming this. The bun is also worth noting here. It was soft and pliable, but held everything together well. I'm really looking forward to heading back to Islands for this great burger soon.

One of the most underrated items on the Islands menu is the Jungle Caesar Salad. I'm a pretty big Caesar fan, and I love their dressing here. This salad also includes romaine lettuce, plenty of Parmesan cheese, and croutons. My usual routine when eating at Islands is to have the cheese fries for an appetizer, and then substitute a small Caesar for the fries that comes with my burger. That way it almost seems like I am eating healthy, or at least I try to tell myself that.

The great folks at Islands had an alternative burger for people that did not want the spice of the Heat Wave Burger. They also featured these Hawaiian Sliders, which featured teriyaki sauce, grilled pineapple, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. I'm not really big on pineapple on pizza or in burgers, but these sliders were pretty good, and  helped numb the pleasing burn of the Heat Wave Burger.

I'd say that this collaboration between Islands and Left Coast Brewing Company is a perfect match. I enjoy that Islands is always trying new things, and pairing craft beer with their great burgers is right on target. I will definitely be headed into Islands a bunch of times this summer to partake in their Heat Wave Burger, and pair it with a Hula Bay IPA. I'm also looking forward to the opening of their new location at the Shops at Mission Viejo soon. I'll keep you posted on opening dates, as soon as they become available.

For more information on all the latest things happening at Islands, click here to visit their website:

I also strongly advise you to try the full lineup of Left Coast Brewing Company's beers, maybe at their tap room or your favorite retailer. Get all their info here:

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