Out And About: The Cottage La Jolla
What you are at looking above is not just a picture of the Roasted Vegetable Omelet and Classic French Toast from The Cottage La Jolla; but instead it's a snapshot capturing one of life's magical moments.
I come from a long line of mothers and daughters. Mothers and daughters who are not only related by blood, but bonded by friendship, support, and respect. Although my grandmother and her mother lived in different states, they maintained a close relationship.
My own mom and her mother (my grandmother) were exceptionally close. They spoke on the phone each day, lived close enough that we all saw each other several times a week, and chose to be with one another for all of life's moments; those that were both momentous and those that were monotonous.
My mother and I are also close. We still speak on the phone almost daily, and I live within her five-mile driving radius of comfortability (seriously, the woman hates to drive). I feel lucky to have had a relationship where I could tell my mom anything, without judgement, and to this day, be able to talk to her about anything and everything under the sun.
In fact, although I had always wanted to have a house full of boys, one of the hardest things to come to terms with, when we made the decision to stop having children due to my high-risk pregnancies, was that I would not have that type of relationship with a daughter of my own. It was also one of the greatest sources of relief, when we found ourselves not only pregnant with surprise child number four, but also pregnant with our first (and only) girl. She's only six now, but so far, being grossly outnumbered by the males in our home, we've got a great sense of partnership.
But what does this have to do with the picture above? Well you see, The Cottage came to La Jolla when I was in high school. I first heard about it when my mom and her friend Vicki started meeting there for their weekly lunch (they always ordered the chicken salad which came scooped over a half of an avocado, and atop a bed of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber salad all dressed with a lemon vinaigrette-- yes, it was a favorite of mine, and I still can taste it to this day). Soon after, I began to join my own mother there for lunches, on the days when the high school quad was too much to handle. It was a neutral summit, where many, many conversations were had, tears were shed, and good news was celebrated. It is the place that I remember most as "ours."
I adore The Cottage. To me, it is the embodiment of a hometown local restaurant. Many members of the staff have been there for years, and will often recreate dishes that were once on the menu, but only hometown regulars remember (Mashed Potato Omelet, I'm looking at you). And considering that I have been going there with all branches of my family and friends for over 25 years, there are a lot of old favorites I can remember.
So what's so special about the picture above? Not only is it a picture perfect look at the Classic French Toast (topped with both strawberries and bananas) and Roasted Vegetable Omelet (you can actually see how scrumptious the melted Havarti and Pesto Hollandaise make it), but it's a memory captured for all time. It's a picture of the first time my daughter and I went to The Cottage alone, just the two of us, and had our first "summit meeting" on neutral ground. It may have been our first solo trip, where our conversation centered around upcoming Nutcracker rehearsals, but I can guarantee it will not be our last one.