American is not just burgers: every CISL student knows this (although every CISL student knows where to get the best burger, too)! But aside from burgers, what should you eat when you’re studying English at CISL in San Diego? We have a list of student favorites. How many of these have you tried? And how many of the corresponding idioms do you know?


Fish tacos

“Fish what?” The first time most people hear about fish tacos, they sound confused. But one bite, and you’ll know why this is a staple of San Diegan cuisine. The soft tacos are wrapped around grilled or fried fish and then topped with cabbage, onions, tomatoes/salsa, spicy sauce, and “white sauce.” Garnish with some lime or lemon and enjoy. And trust us: you WILL enjoy! Click here for our lesson on fish tacos.

Related idiom: “Let’s blow this taco stand”

Meaning: Let’s leave.


Breakfast burritos

Eggs, sausage or bacon, cheese, and potatoes come together to make the most delicious breakfast. In fact, it’s so good that Californians often have “breakfast for dinner.” Click here to learn more about the burrito culture in SD and SF.

Related idiom: “Breakfast of champions”

Meaning: An ironic expression, and a way of joking when eating something unhealthy (especially when the unhealthy food is eaten early in the day). The expression is from an advertisement for Wheaties, a healthy cereal that features famous athletes.


REAL pancakes

Americans know how to do pancakes right. Fluffy, warm, covered in butter, topped with syrup . . . it’s a weekend tradition you will fall in love with! Try some of the seasonal recipes, like pancakes with raspberries, or pancakes with pumpkin and walnuts. Click here for more on American brunch.

Related idiom: “Flat as a pancake”

Meaning: very flat.

In N Out double double

In ‘N Out

The only fast food you’ll ever need is In ‘N Out: the classic burger joint that everyone loves. The In N’Out corporation is worth billions of dollars, but it’s still family owned and has slowly expanded over the last few decades. Why such slow expansion? Nothing at In ‘N Out is ever frozen, so transportation of ingredients from the processing area to the restaurants must be quick! The result is deliciously fresh, classic burgers with crispy lettuce, melted cheese, and ripe tomatoes. Make sure to order a milkshake as well! The menu has never changed, and neither has the public’s love for In ‘N Out. Click here to read more about this restaurant and learn some California slang.

Related Idiom: Flipping burgers

Meaning: To do work that does not pay well.



It’s all about Phil’s! San Diegans love Phil’s, which is a BBQ staple of the area. The ribs, the steaks, the fries . . . dish delish! Click here to read about Southern food and Southern slang.

Related idiom: To grill someone about something

Meaning: To ask someone difficult questions repeatedly; to interrogate with intensity.