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Southern California Cooking from the Cottage: Casual Cuisine from Old La Jolla's Favorite Beachside Bungalow

Southern California Cooking from the Cottage: Casual Cuisine from Old La Jolla's Favorite Beachside Bungalow

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Southern California Cooking from the Cottage: Casual Cuisine from Old La Jolla's Favorite Beachside Bungalow

312 pagine
3 ore
Sep 6, 2004


"The Cottage exudes the upmarket serenity of old LaJolla. Sunlight streaming in the windows makes pale yellows 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," says author Michael Stern.

Southern California Cooking from The Cottage captures the romance, the relaxation, and the good life of The Cottage itself. Included are the recipes that have made The Cottage one of Southern California's most beloved restaurants with breakfast items such as muffins, coffee cakes, Greek, Italian, and seafood omelets, Belgian waffles, and oatmeal pancakes. From the lunch and dinner menu there are light Southern California seafood and pasta dishes, signature soups and salads, as well as traditional American classics. The book includes an eight-page color insert.

The Cottage is the ninth restaurant to be chosen by Jane and Michael Stern for their Roadfood cookbook series, which celebrates the finest regional restaurants in the United States.

Sep 6, 2004

Informazioni sull'autore

JANE and MICHAEL STERN are the authors of the best-selling Roadfood and the acclaimed memoir Two for the Road. They are contributing editors to Gourmet, where they write the James Beard Award–winning column "Roadfood," and they appear weekly on NPR’s The Splendid Table. Winners of a James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award, the Sterns have also been inducted into the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.

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Southern California Cooking from the Cottage - Jane Stern

Southern California Cooking


the Cottage

Jane and Michael Stern

with recipes and headnotes by Laura Wolfe

For John, Spenser, and Merrin Kate,

my happily ever afters now and always.

And to my dad, who made it possible.

© 2004 by Jane & Michael Stern

Recipes and foreword copyright © 2004 by Cottage LJ, Inc.

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced,

stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—

electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—

except for brief quotations in printed reviews,

without the prior permission of the publisher.

The authors and publisher of this book assume no liability for, and are released by readers from, any injury or damage resulting from the strict adherence to, or deviation from, the directions and/or recipes herein.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc. titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Stern, Jane.

Southern California cooking from the Cottage / Jane & Michael Stern ; with recipes by Laura Wolfe.

p. cm.

Includes index.

ISBN-10: 1-4016-0147-2 (hardcover)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4016-0147-8 (hardcover)

1. Cookery, American—California Style. 2. Cottage (Restaurant) I. Stern, Michael, 1946- II. Title.

TX715.2.C34S76 2004



Printed in the United States of America

07 08 09 10 11 QWM 6 5 4 3 2

















Many people dream of having their own restaurant, including my husband. However, when opportunity came knocking, we both answered. Little did we know when we were making friendly conversation with a restaurant broker at a two-year-old’s birthday party that our destiny was beginning to take shape. We knew it was for us. Our first experience at the Cottage was a memorable one; we left without eating due to the long lines, but we knew it was for us. Since then, our restaurant has become a second home for us as well as for many of our customers.

Our adventures with the Cottage have allowed us to be touched by so many peoples’ lives, and we hope we have touched theirs. Having been in the restaurant business we knew some of what to expect in having our own restaurant, but nothing has prepared us for the incredible locals that frequent the restaurant—daily, weekly, monthly—and have become family. We wanted to create an inviting atmosphere that allows people to laugh out loud, sit, talk, reflect, enjoy the sunshine, make memories all the while having a great meal. Some of our best memories have been made and shared here. I am thrilled to have written this book. It has allowed us to have some of our favorite meals at home and now share them with even more people.

The Cottage started with John and me but has taken on a life of its own. It is no longer about us but about the customers and staff that keep it alive. Their commitment to it, their dedication and fondness have helped create this wonderful place that many call home.

Pam Elmore has dedicated herself to the customers and the restaurant, but we are mostly grateful for her helping us realize our dream. Jim Reed’s kind words and optimism have been invaluable. And we are very thankful to John Anderson, our current co-owner, for seeing the greatness in the business and wanting to be a part of it. Bill Goldblum has been a treasure with his quality, imagination, and food direction.

All restaurants are about food. The Cottage wouldn’t be what it is today without our chef and co-owner Teodoro Ortiz. While rarely seen, it is his influence, dedication and consistency in the kitchen that keep customers coming back for more.

And many thanks to the staff that has made it a better place to work and to dine: Lindsay, Billy, Adolfo, Mario, Abraham, Delyn, Beth, Pedro, Emily, Fernando, Dave, Adrian, Alex, Guillermo, Monica, Jenny and Mary Kay. While these mentioned are but a few, we want to thank them all for their hard work.

To our customers we are forever indebted. Without them we are nothing. Their loyalty throughout the years has always been valued, their encouraging words appreciated, and their honesty treasured. You make us want to come to work and see your smiling faces. Although we don’t see your smiling faces anymore you are not forgotten, James R., Howard L., Hiram and George.

John and I thank John, Ann, and Emily Vertel. Your hospitality has gone unmatched, and we thank you for never making us feel like rotten fish but always like family. My sister Lee and mother Lenore, thank you for your constant encouragement and support.

We would like to thank our publisher, Larry Stone, and editor, Geoff Stone. We thank Jane and Michael Stern who have been so eloquent in their descriptions of La Jolla and have done justice to what old La Jolla is all about. We thank them for their notice and confidence in us. Please take the time to read the stories they have written about the area. You will get a flavor for La Jolla and hopefully make a trip out here and visit this lovely area and perhaps have a meal with us. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts for recognizing the Cottage and us and for making us feel like superstars.

—Laura Wolfe


La Jolla is a sunny paradise, so it would have been a pleasure spending time there regardless of the project. But the days we spent with John and Laura Wolfe, at the Cottage and touring their favorite local beaches, were sheer delight. John and Laura are enthusiastic not only about their restaurant but about their climate and their community; and the positive feelings they exude are contagious. The wonderful restaurant that expresses their culinary values is part of what continues to make La Jolla one of the nicest places on earth.

We thank Rutledge Hill Press for having made a reality of our dream of commemorating favorite restaurants around the country in a series of Roadfood cookbooks. In particular, we are grateful to Roger Waynick and Larry Stone, who share our passion for great meals around the country, and whose support and belief in this series make it happen. We also thank Geoff Stone for his scrupulous editing and Bryan Curtis for his good ideas to spread the word.

The friendship and guidance of our comrades at Gourmet magazine are a constant inspiration as we travel around the country researching our Roadfood column. Like many writers, we tend to write with particular readers in mind—readers who motivate us to do our best. In this case, Ruth Reichl, James Rodewald, and Doc Willoughby are muses who are always at our side.

We never hit the road without our virtual companions at—Steve Rushmore Sr., Stephen Rushmore and Kristin Little, Cindy Keuchle, and Marc Bruno—who constantly fan the flames of appetite and discovery along America’s highways and byways. As the Web site has grown, we have found ourselves part of a great national community of people who love to travel and explore local foodways as much as we do. For the support and encouragement of all those who take part in the ongoing adventure of, we are deeply obliged.

Thanks also to agent Doe Coover for her tireless work on our behalf, and to Jean Wagner, Jackie Willing, Mary Ann Rudolph, and Ned Schankman for making it possible for us to travel in confidence that all’s well at home.


From a quiet corner in the seaside village of La Jolla, California, through a flower-tangled trellised archway, step into the bright patio of a restaurant called the Cottage. If it’s morning, there will be customers reading newspapers under the shade of the tables’ umbrellas. Others will be planning where to paddle into the surf off Black’s Beach to catch a wave when the big breakers start rolling in. Some will have come to the Cottage at the end of a brisk walk along the Cove on the sand among the tide pools; some will be visitors from out of town, making a pilgrimage to this café for what connoisseurs know as the world’s best granola; some will be five-times-a-week regulars for whom the Cottage is like home and family.

You’ll see all walks of life at the Cottage, starting early in the day and through the lunch hour and into dinner during summer months. It is a favorite haunt of local residents, for whom it is a touchstone of old La Jolla when it felt like a small town where everybody knew everybody else. It is also a destination for travelers in search of a true California meal. The Cottage is supremely casual in its attitude and yet meticulous about the way its customers are treated.

There seems never to be a time when a member of the staff isn’t strolling through the dining room or around the outdoor patio asking people how they like what they’re eating. The question is no perfunctory waiter’s recitation. They really want to know. Comment cards are regularly circulated among the clientele so the kitchen can fill people’s wants and needs.

The Cottage could be in no place but La Jolla. There probably are some gloomy moments in this oceanside community north of San Diego, but we have never seen one. Year-round, flowers bloom, and a golden sun shines a minimum of three hundred days a year. Having been regular visitors to La Jolla and the Cottage for well over a decade, our vision of the little street-corner restaurant is of a place drenched in sunlight, both outside and inside under the skylights of the dining room. Perhaps that is why for so many years we thought of it as a breakfast spot (that, and the fabulous coffee cake, muffins, pancakes, stuffed French toast, and eggs Benedict).

It came as a revelation when we discovered how good lunch and dinner are at the Cottage. It was a happy accident. We were hunting up and down the San Diego shores in search of the best fish taco. Fish tacos have been the city’s signature dish since 1983 when Ralph Rubio discovered them down in Baja and brought the idea north to open his first (of many) Rubio’s Fish Tacos restaurants. We really like fish tacos, but a steady diet of them can be—how shall we say?—extremely filling. The standard configuration is a cloddish slab of cod that has been immersed in a thick coat of spiced batter and deep-fried then piled into a shell with cream sauce, cabbage, and a spritz of lime. After a few days of fried cod tacos, we decided we needed culinary relief, an antidote to the fry-kettle, if you will. So we tried to think of the freshest, healthiest, brightest, cleanest restaurant we knew. The choice was obvious. We went to La Jolla and found the Cottage for lunch.

There on the lunch menu we saw . . . yes, fish tacos. Duty demanded we sample them. What a shock! Here were fish tacos that were not lumbering. Neither were they fancy or overwrought; they actually were elegant. Chunks of mahi-mahi were grilled, not deep-fried, but there was a crunch to their fire-seared crust that was ever so much more satisfying than the mire of dense batter on a common fried fish filet. And instead of thick white sauce, the tacos came with a cilantro-avocado condiment,

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