The Cottage exudes the upmarket serenity of old LaJolla. Sunlight streaming in the windows makes pale yellow walls glow; jazz recordings waft through the dining room and into the palm-shaded patio; pretty waitresses in 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 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.