I’ve been to Islands a couple of times over the years for Lick the Plate stories and noticed there were a lot of families and the kids always seemed to really be enjoying themselves.
Fast forward to a recent Facebook post I noticed by JP St. Pierre, owner of Surfy Surfy surf shop in Leucadia, that had him finally embracing Islands after seeing other surfer dads there with kids in tow. It makes sense as the menu caters to both groms and their parents, who can also enjoy a full bar and tropical drinks.
Since JP has two sons — JM, 10, and Dax, 8 — who are in the prime age range for kids appreciating a place like Islands, I thought I’d interview them for this week’s column to find out what appeals to them.
I joined the St. Pierre clan for dinner on a recent Saturday night and besides getting the kids’ feedback, was entertained by old-school Leucadia stories from JP and his wife Yvonne, an architect who owns Design Path Studio in Encinitas. It’s so cool hearing stories from locals who go way back and have been immersed in the surf culture.
Lick the Plate:
So JM, what is it about Islands food that keeps you going back?
I like going to Islands restaurant because the food is really good. I always order the Jr. Noodles with a side of sliced apples and a side of French fries. I like my noodles plain with no sauce or anything. I like simple food, not fancy or complicated. The noodles are like spaghetti but different.
For my drink I usually go with lemonade, sometimes in a normal glass and other times in the plastic kid’s cup with a lid. We have a bunch of Islands cups at our house. I also like our server Paige, who we see on a regular basis and is really nice and brings food to us super fast.
My favorites are the chicken tenders with a side of fries. I always do the puzzles on the menu with mommy. I don’t like watching the TVs so I look away and do the puzzles.
Mom eats a crazy-looking salad and daddy gets tacos because he is obsessed with tacos although sometimes he gets a burger.
I think about getting a burger sometimes but decided to go with chicken. They let you eat as many fries as you can and that’s a bonus! My favorite food is pizza but Islands does not have pizza but that’s cool because they have a lot of other good stuff on their menu. If my dad’s belly is fat from eating tacos I like to punch his belly and yell, “TACO BELLY!”
We usually skip dessert from Islands but last time we got dessert. It was a brownie dessert with ice cream covered in whipped cream. I don’t like whipped cream so our server Paige brought me a scoop of ice cream by itself, which was really nice of her.
So what else about Islands keeps you going back?
I like watching the surf movies on the TVs. Last time I was not facing the TV with surfing, it only showed other sports, which are boring to me. Sometimes I see friends from school at Islands. It’s easy to get there because it is close to our house. It can be noisy inside if there are a lot of people going to dinner. Sometimes it is crowded and we have to wait a bit but never too long.
When we go to Islands we talk about our life as a family. We talk about places we want to visit someday and places we have been too. My dad likes to talk about surfing and has great stories about old Leucadia when he was a kid. We are lucky that we live in Leucadia. Our favorite beach is Beacon’s Beach. We like to talk about Marvel movies but my brother doesn’t like superhero movies except for the “Incredibles.”
He only likes doing breakdancing and hip-hop and popping and is very good at it. We are not allowed to bring our iPads to Islands, as it’s a place we have to talk as a family. One time I got to build a Lego set at the table so my mom and dad could talk about their jobs. My dad owns a surf shop and my mom is an architect. One time I borrowed my dad’s phone and connected to the wi-fi from REI. That was funny.
My dad likes watching the surf movies; he knows a lot of the surfers in the movies. I hate surf movies but I like boogie boarding and surfing at Beacon’s with my friends from school if there is not too much seaweed floating in the water. Our grandpa gave us a surf mat and that is better than a boogie board. We go to Islands when we are out of food at our house. Sometimes after Islands we go to Stater Brothers or Target. I like dancing on the rocks outside of Islands after dinner but sometimes there are too many little kids climbing on the rocks.
Well there you have it. Some straight talk about Islands from JM and Dax St. Pierre. If you have not been to their dad’s surf shop, Surfy Surfy, I highly suggest checking it out. It’s right next door to Coffee Coffee in Leucadia.
Islands are located all over San Diego but our go-to is at 1588 Leucadia Blvd. Encinitas. Call (760) 943-0271 or www.islandsrestaurants.com
Lick the Plate has interviewed over 700 chefs, restaurateurs, growers, brewers and culinary personalities over the past 10 years as a column in The Coast News and in Edible San Diego. He can be heard on KSON, FM94/9 and Sunny98.1. More at www.lick-the-plate.com