Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

You want fast food? This is fast food

At Big Kahuna's, ask for the slow-cooked pork

Ron (with teriyaki steak sandwich) and Melanie (with Tiki Tenders)
Ron (with teriyaki steak sandwich) and Melanie (with Tiki Tenders)
Place

Big Kahuna's

600 Palm Avenue, Suite 117, Imperial Beach

This time I really was in a hurry. Had a limousine departing Imperial Beach in ten minutes, and a three-minute run up to the bus stop.

So I'm on Rainbow Drive, heading up from Palm Avenue, looking desperately across to the shopping center for some eatery that's open. Promised the lovely Carla I'd bring something back.

Oh yes! Looming large in the rear lot, Big Kahuna, the Hawaiian place.

Looks open. This is around 5:15 p.m. See people inside, heads down, attacking burgers.

I fwop through the doors, past some pictures that show Samuel L. Jackson devouring a Big Kahuna Burger in the movie "Pulp Fiction," and up to a bar with a bamboo reed wall and hanging wooden signs like "Luau," and "Tiki Bar."

And alongside, draft beer pump handles. "Longboard," "Big Wave," "Fire Rock." These are all Hawaiian brewskis from Kona Brewing. Hmm. That Fire Rock looks interesting. Pale ale.

"You should stop and have one," says this guy Ron. He's sitting up to the bar with Melanie, his daughter.

Lauren

"I would, except got a bus due in ten minutes."

This is when Lauren, the manager, comes out from the kitchen.

She's bringing dishes for Melanie (chicken tenders) and Ron (teriyaki steak). Hers is kid size. I see the full size is $8.99, so maybe $5. His is a sandwich with a slab of steak in the middle, $7.85). Those Big Kahuna burgers the guys are demolishing over in the nearest booth really do look big. "Biggest and best burger in town," says the menu. "Featured in Pulp Fiction."

Cost $7.85.

It's what I want. But one problem: time.

"It'll take ten minutes at least," says Lauren.

"What's the quickest dish you've got?"

She points straight at the top sandwich. "Killer Kalua Pork, the menu reads, "a generous portion of succulent roasted pork piled high on our jumbo roll and smothered in BBQ sauce." Costs $7.85

My kalua pork sandwich

Huh. I always like Kalua anything. Traditionally means it's cooked in an imu oven in the ground.

"We can make this sandwich quick because we cook the pork slow, ahead of time," says Lauren. "We steam it for 21 hours. So we can put it straight, hot, into the sandwich. Two minutes."

"Two minutes? For sure?"

"For sure. So yes?"

I nod.

"Fries?"

I nod. She disappears.

Alright, I know, breaking all my salad vows. But sometimes you gotta bust out. Besides, no time to second-guess now.

Melanie, Lauren, and the Big Kahuna surfboard

"You should try this," says Ron, pointing to his teriyaki steak sandwich. "Tender isn't the word. I have it every time I come, and we come a lot, right?"

"Practically lives here," says Lauren.

Wow. She's back from the kitchen with my stuff all packed and ready to go.

Can't believe the speed. I pay up and I'm outta here and back on Rainbow before you can say Haleakala.

Three minutes' speed-jogging like a Tarahumara scout, and I'm up at the bus stop, one block ahead of da bus.

Bottom line: Carla and I split the Kalua pork sandwich.

The meat's hidden in a big bun. But once you get to it, ooh. Beautiful. That porky taste overlaid with a sweet BBQ flavoring. And you can tell by the tenderness how long they have been cooking it.

One complaint: it's not the cheapest. Fries are separate. I ended up paying $10.63.

But I ain't complaining. Hey, world record here. Two minutes for a hot meal? Even Mickey D's would be hard pressed to beat that. Besides, if it's good enough for Samuel L. Jackson...

Tomorrow, of course, back on the salad wagon.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Angry Pete's Pizza brings Detroit to Kensington

Thick crust and caramelized cheese will make you forget about round pies
Ron (with teriyaki steak sandwich) and Melanie (with Tiki Tenders)
Ron (with teriyaki steak sandwich) and Melanie (with Tiki Tenders)
Place

Big Kahuna's

600 Palm Avenue, Suite 117, Imperial Beach

This time I really was in a hurry. Had a limousine departing Imperial Beach in ten minutes, and a three-minute run up to the bus stop.

So I'm on Rainbow Drive, heading up from Palm Avenue, looking desperately across to the shopping center for some eatery that's open. Promised the lovely Carla I'd bring something back.

Oh yes! Looming large in the rear lot, Big Kahuna, the Hawaiian place.

Looks open. This is around 5:15 p.m. See people inside, heads down, attacking burgers.

I fwop through the doors, past some pictures that show Samuel L. Jackson devouring a Big Kahuna Burger in the movie "Pulp Fiction," and up to a bar with a bamboo reed wall and hanging wooden signs like "Luau," and "Tiki Bar."

And alongside, draft beer pump handles. "Longboard," "Big Wave," "Fire Rock." These are all Hawaiian brewskis from Kona Brewing. Hmm. That Fire Rock looks interesting. Pale ale.

"You should stop and have one," says this guy Ron. He's sitting up to the bar with Melanie, his daughter.

Lauren

"I would, except got a bus due in ten minutes."

This is when Lauren, the manager, comes out from the kitchen.

She's bringing dishes for Melanie (chicken tenders) and Ron (teriyaki steak). Hers is kid size. I see the full size is $8.99, so maybe $5. His is a sandwich with a slab of steak in the middle, $7.85). Those Big Kahuna burgers the guys are demolishing over in the nearest booth really do look big. "Biggest and best burger in town," says the menu. "Featured in Pulp Fiction."

Cost $7.85.

It's what I want. But one problem: time.

"It'll take ten minutes at least," says Lauren.

"What's the quickest dish you've got?"

She points straight at the top sandwich. "Killer Kalua Pork, the menu reads, "a generous portion of succulent roasted pork piled high on our jumbo roll and smothered in BBQ sauce." Costs $7.85

My kalua pork sandwich

Huh. I always like Kalua anything. Traditionally means it's cooked in an imu oven in the ground.

"We can make this sandwich quick because we cook the pork slow, ahead of time," says Lauren. "We steam it for 21 hours. So we can put it straight, hot, into the sandwich. Two minutes."

"Two minutes? For sure?"

"For sure. So yes?"

I nod.

"Fries?"

I nod. She disappears.

Alright, I know, breaking all my salad vows. But sometimes you gotta bust out. Besides, no time to second-guess now.

Melanie, Lauren, and the Big Kahuna surfboard

"You should try this," says Ron, pointing to his teriyaki steak sandwich. "Tender isn't the word. I have it every time I come, and we come a lot, right?"

"Practically lives here," says Lauren.

Wow. She's back from the kitchen with my stuff all packed and ready to go.

Can't believe the speed. I pay up and I'm outta here and back on Rainbow before you can say Haleakala.

Three minutes' speed-jogging like a Tarahumara scout, and I'm up at the bus stop, one block ahead of da bus.

Bottom line: Carla and I split the Kalua pork sandwich.

The meat's hidden in a big bun. But once you get to it, ooh. Beautiful. That porky taste overlaid with a sweet BBQ flavoring. And you can tell by the tenderness how long they have been cooking it.

One complaint: it's not the cheapest. Fries are separate. I ended up paying $10.63.

But I ain't complaining. Hey, world record here. Two minutes for a hot meal? Even Mickey D's would be hard pressed to beat that. Besides, if it's good enough for Samuel L. Jackson...

Tomorrow, of course, back on the salad wagon.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Tennis with François Truffaut and Donal Logue

The film is helped immensely by casting four leads to play their own tennis
Next Article

Dex Romweber Livestream from the Cave, Author Livestream: Clare Mackintosh

Events August 16-August 18, 2020
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close