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Cottage

7702 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA - (858) 454-8409
Posted By Michael Stern on 7/23/2009 2:02:00 PM
The Cottage exudes the upmarket serenity of old LaJolla. Sunlight streaming in the windows makes pale yellow walls glow; mellow jazz recordings waft through the dining room and into the palm-shaded patio; pretty waitresses in short-shorts carry fruit-garnished dinners of salubrious California food.

If you walk past around 7am, you’ll smell baked apple and oatmeal muffins, muffins packed with blueberries or laced with carrots, muffins of cornmeal or bran. The aromas might also include yeasty cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, and the hefty, gnarled "health muffins" which are surprisingly unsweet and genuinely healthy-tasting. The muffin we like best is a pale gold one made with peaches and poppy seeds. Behind the bakery case where the muffins are displayed are all the appurtenances for brewing espresso and steaming milk to make cappuccino and Cottage Cafe mocha -- a blend of espresso, steamed milk, chocolate, and cinnamon.

In addition to the bakery goodies, there are omelets of all kinds, from machaca (shredded beef) to a luxurious California combo of avocado, bacon, Monterey jack cheese, and sour cream. There are oatmeal pancakes, huevos rancheros, granola with steamed milk or yogurt, or eggs-and-cheese enchiladas. Best of all is the Irish oatmeal, served with brown sugar, raisins, bananas, milk, and something listed on the menu as caramelized walnuts -- a kind of crunchy, sticky, sweet, nutty condiment that semi-melts when you sprinkle it atop the hot oatmeal. Sheer heaven!

Beyond breakfast, we love The Cottage for its fabulous version of the San Diego favorite, fish tacos. Built around grilled mahi-mahi, these extraordinary tacos are dressed with cilantro-avocado sauce and accompanied by bowls of creamy black beans and chunky papaya relish.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
oatmeal pancakes
House-Baked Granola
Irish oatmeal
Chicken Pot Pie
muffins
Tangerine Juice
cinnamon rolls
Salmon Salad
fish tacos
Bread Pudding
Hamburger
Rocky Road Brownie
Buttermilk Coffee Cake
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Warm, moist sweetened oats, fresh from the oven, mixed with pecans and Craisins,  topped with fresh fruit, and served with milk.
"Warm, moist sweetened oats, fresh from the oven, mixed with pecans and Craisins, topped with fresh fruit, and served with milk."
Dale Fine





One of the things that distinguishes some of Southern California's very best hamburgers is the way they are dressed. While the beef here is superb, the fresh garnishes, grilled onions, homemade 1000 Island dressing and melted cheese take this hamburger to a higher plane.
"One of the things that distinguishes some of Southern California's very best hamburgers is the way they are dressed. While the beef here is superb, the fresh garnishes, grilled onions, homemade 1000 Island dressing and melted cheese take this hamburger to a higher plane."
Michael Stern


The Cottage's fish tacos are positively elegant. Chunks of mahi-mahi are grilled, not deep-fried, but have a brilliant crunch to their fire-seared crust. Instead of the thick white sauce that is customary on fish tacos, these come with a robust-flavored cilantro-avocado condiment, black beans and chunky papaya relish.
"The Cottage's fish tacos are positively elegant. Chunks of mahi-mahi are grilled, not deep-fried, but have a brilliant crunch to their fire-seared crust. Instead of the thick white sauce that is customary on fish tacos, these come with a robust-flavored cilantro-avocado condiment, black beans and chunky papaya relish. "
Michael Stern


Buttermilk coffee cake -- in the foreground -- is baked each morning, and if you arrive relatively early during breakfast, it will still be warm. Behind it are equally wonderful nut-topped cinnamon rolls.
"Buttermilk coffee cake -- in the foreground -- is baked each morning, and if you arrive relatively early during breakfast, it will still be warm. Behind it are equally wonderful nut-topped cinnamon rolls."
Michael Stern


Good morning! How about starting the day with a glass of freshly squeezed tangerine juice?
"Good morning! How about starting the day with a glass of freshly squeezed tangerine juice?"
Michael Stern


Homey but not homely, Cottage chicken pot pie is a comfort-food triumph.
"Homey but not homely, Cottage chicken pot pie is a comfort-food triumph."
Michael Stern


Is the salmon fresh? Does the sun shine in La Jolla?
"Is the salmon fresh? Does the sun shine in La Jolla?"
Michael Stern


Cottage bread pudding is choc-a-bloc with fresh fruit that in no way diminishes its luxury.
"Cottage bread pudding is choc-a-bloc with fresh fruit that in no way diminishes its luxury."
Michael Stern


Rocky Road Brownie. Sorry, there are no words to describe how good it is.
"Rocky Road Brownie. Sorry, there are no words to describe how good it is."
Michael Stern



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