Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.


Jerry Stratton, January 25, 1997

Hodad’s is one of many little restaurants in the Newport area of Ocean Beach here in San Diego. They were originally right on the beach, in the spot now occupied by Dempsey’s. They’re still only a block from the beach, on Newport Avenue.

The walls are cleaner than they used to be. The velvet painting of Mr. T stuck by a score of arrows is gone. The jukebox, with its selection of classic and not-so-classic, has disappeared. But the front half of the VW microbus remains. Here, the neat and tidy look out of place. Surfing items adorn the ceiling and walls. “Hodad” is ancient surfing slang for one of them guys who owns a surfboard, who even brings it down to the beach, but never surfs.

Hodad’s is not upscale. Whereas The Big Kitchen has photos and drawings of Whoopi Goldberg all over, Hodad’s instead idolizes the “OB Spaceman”, a homeless person who lived in Ocean Beach and died in the eighties.

You know that Hodad’s is a classy burger joint because they serve malts as well as shakes, and they’re among the best malts I’ve had in any town, especially San Diego. The only other good malts I’ve had here were at a Johnny Rocket’s in La Jolla, and they skipped town without telling anyone, including their landlord. Hodad’s malts are tall and full of malty fat.

The burgers come in three sizes: mini, normal, and double. The mini is what most of my friends end up getting after the first visit. Hodad burgers are thick, greasy, and filling. And extremely satisfying. I’ve only known one person who had a big enough mouth to eat a double, and he regretted it for his short life thereafter. For true decadence, you can add bacon to your normal or double. You can’t add it to your mini: it creates a leaning tower of burger that just won’t stand up.

My standard is: a bacon cheeseburger basket, which includes fries, and a vanilla malted. Just in case you forgot you were in San Diego, every table has not only ketchup but also hot chili sauce, for your burgers or fries. Great time. I try to plan ahead of time that I’m coming: it gives me a chance not to eat anything else all day.

The double cheeseburger with bacon!
Be Wary Of
The grease. It will roll down your arms and onto your hairy chest.
Best burger place on the beach.
Last Visited
January, 2010
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