I’ve lived in Southern California all my life, which means I’ve had the luxury of In-n-Out available all my life. Even though In-n-Out is a “normal” thing to me, it still never ceases to hit the spot. Any time. All the time. Most Californians I know are loyal to this establishment, even after trying the famed Shake Shack, Five Guys, or gourmet burger joints.
There is currently one In-n-Out in Oceanside and it happens to be 3 stoplights away from where I live. I have gotten food there at least once a week since I’ve moved here. I’ve seen a couple knockoffs in Downtown Oceanside, which are named Angelo’s Burgers, and this is extremely funny to me because I encountered these while my friend Angelo was in the car. Downtown Oceanside will be getting it’s very own In-n-Out soon, probably to the dismay of Angelo’s Burgers. Angelo’s serves a bunch of other stuff, but they might want to look into rebranding.
During a recent trip to my beloved, I opted to go inside instead of braving the drive-thru filled with 15+ cars. While in line, I learned that you can add pickles to your burger. WHAT. I never order the “Animal Style” burger (only Animal Style fries), so it never occurred to me to get pickle slices. This was mind-blowing. While tweeting this experience, I also learned that you can get chopped chilies and fried mustard on your burger as well. Thank Heavens for fellow In-n-Out lovers on my Twitter feed.
My high was quickly diminished by a conversation I overheard while waiting for my order.
If these beef patties were just a little bit bigger, I’d be all about this place.
Excuse me, sir… you mean, you’re not already all about this place?! Fine, I get it, nobody is perfect. But how dare this person not be all about In-n-Out! I gave him my meanest side-eye, hoping this would someone bestow my wrathful thoughts on him. If he wants bigger patties, he should go elsewhere. His negativity is not welcome is this haven of fresh ingredients, friendly service, and relatively cheap, delicious food. This place is what “a hamburger is all about.” I refused to stand by and let this man disgrace this institution… so I took my order, and proceeded to enjoy my burger (with pickles!) and Animal Style fries in the comfort of my home. Foodie high restored.
Oceanside is a beautiful, interesting place. I moved here less than two months ago and it’s already been quite a ride. Ez got stationed in California, which is GREAT. My work allowed me to switch regions and continue my regular duties, also GREAT. After more than 2 years of marriage, I finally live with my husband and that has been (and continues to be) a learning experience in itself.
When I graduated from college, Ez lived in North Carolina. I didn’t feel like moving there was right for me so we continued our long-distance relationship until he was assigned a new duty station. The stars aligned and we headed for Oceanside. I’m grateful to be close to my family and friends. Also, I found comfort in staying in California. How much different could it possibly be a couple hours south? It’s warm and sunny, there’s an In-N-Out, and we’re only a few minutes from the beach–but damn, it does feel like a military town sometimes! There are no people of color in our neighborhood and things can be quite conservative or unconscious at times.
I haven’t been out and about as much as I’ve wanted, but I have already witnessed some notable things in my short time here. I hope you’ll find as much amusement, life lessons, and/or challenges in these experiences as I do. Without further ado, I bring you “Inside Oside,” featuring some tales from my time in Oceanside and the greater San Diego area.
I’ll start you off with something simple. A few days ago, I was driving up the 15 freeway when I passed the following sign:
It’s been a while, folks! Is it still appropriate to say “Happy New Year” in February? Well, Happy New Year! So much has happened since December and I fully intend to reflect and recap it… but so much is happening now! Yes, I have moved into a house in Oceanside. But I have too much love for LA to stay away for long. I’ve been back every weekend since I’ve moved. Old habits are hard to break.
But these visits haven’t been without good reason! One of my good friends, Rob, is moving to another country! Rob is a wanderer deep in his soul so I can’t be too upset with him for leaving–plus, that means we’ve had an ongoing excuse to celebrate and go on adventures. Naturally, we navigated the vast offerings of Los Angeles, which I could explore every day for the rest of my life and still not fully experience. In college, I was raised on the the principles of “Food, Family, and Fun.” I’ve stuck with some awesome folks raised on this same mentality, so I know they are always with me when I get hyped for an outing like this.
Like my cheesy self does, I googled “Things to do in Los Angeles on a weekend.” I happened across this list, which I thought was silly at first, but we ended up doing 3 of the activities listed! Oh, they do know what they’re talking about. We started our day at Maze Room, which is a real-life version of those escape room video games. This one was castle-themed and we had an hour to escape. When we were first locked in, I had NO idea what to look for. The room looked barren with a couple props and a triple-locked door. Then we just delighted in what small children can’t help but do… TOUCH EVERYTHING. At first I was afraid that it would be scary, like those theme park Halloween mazes, but thank goodness it wasn’t like that. Our team of 6 escaped in 32 minutes–what a thrill! It’s no wonder these are growing in popularity. This particular venue just opened an FBI-themed room. Too down to go back.
Our efforts made us hungry so decided on some bomb Indonesian food at Simpang Asia in Culver City. As far as I know, this food is pretty authentic and many meals come wrapped in banana leaves. It’s so rich in flavor and reminds me of a mix of my favorite Southeast Asian cuisines. Suggestions for legit Indonesian food are welcome! We headed for Artists & Fleas, which originated in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and now has a market every 3rd Saturday of the month in LA. If it’s from New York, it’s obviously cool. I’m all about supporting the local artists and designers and just finding sweet stuff in general. This market definitely had some great finds from jewelry, to home goods, apparel, vintage pieces, and everything in between.
Kimi and I snagged some bracelets and I also picked up some succulents to decorate the house. The guys bought some health smoothies/juices to pass the time. They were good sports about it. I dragged them along on the promise there would be a beer garden, but there was no alcohol to be found. Seems I don’t read too well :/
Thirsty from the lack of libations, we stopped into the first bar we could find. Okay, the second bar, because the first bar only had beer and was way too cool. The better part of our evening/night was spent at Pour Haus, which was a wine bar that offered an awesome selection of wines, beers… and board games! Check two off the list.
Pour Haus had happy hour. On the weekend. WHAT? (Good) weekend happy hours are hard to come by, let alone at a place that has seats available. I was in love. We ordered up drinks and food and more drinks and more food, not knowing this was only the start to a fun-filled night.
For a third check off that list, we hit up EightyTwo, which is a bars that boasts a bunch of classic arcade games. They have an entire room dedicated to pinball machines. Yes, it’s awesome. You’ll see the greatest mix of people here from girls dressed up and only there for the drinks, to gamers not dressed up and only there for the games. And then there’s me and my friends, slightly liquored up and trying to keep the night going. We met up with even more people there and got some games in before the Saturday night crowd piled in. As it usually goes, I got hungry and we headed to our last stop of the night.
Belly and Snout has been on my bucket list since it opened. It’s a new Filipino Fusion spot in K-town, with limited, but BOMB offerings on the menu. You order at the front counter and grab a seat in the back–quite the interesting layout. They ran out of longanisa, which means it must be good and I must go back. Everything we ordered was delicious and it was a great end to the night.
I told Rob we’d take him to do some real LA shit and I must say that we were pretty successful. From West LA to the Arts District then to K-Town, it was the kind of day you see in movie montages with friends laughing endlessly and bright sunshine-y background music. It’s days like these I know I’m surrounded by the right people who are always down for food, family, and fun. I hope Rob found it to be a proper send-off and that everyone else enjoyed the day as much as I did. Here is to good vibes, good wishes, and a good 2015, y’all. Rob, we’re going to miss you!
BONUS MATERIAL//Peep below for behind-the-scenes photos of the lifestyle photographer hard at work.
//Thank you Rob, Kimi, and Kevin for sharing your photos with me <3