I have spent the past two summers away from home, and my June 9 birthdays have thus been celebrated without my family. In light of this, and in honor of her visit, my mom and I decided to have a meal at George’s at the Cove in La Jolla, a three-floor restaurant on the water. We sat on the top floor, George’s Ocean Terrace, and got to look at this while eating and drinking and being merry.
Not bad. To start, Mom ordered a blood orange margarita and I ordered a Ballast Point IPA, though I’m not sure whether it was the Big Eye or the Sculpin. I don’t think the menu even indicated which it was, and the beer list isn’t online. Ho-hum. All I know is that I had my mom try it and she was blown away with its strength. I have a funny little feeling that Mom’s palate is not as used to hops as mine is, especially considering my fairly recent affinity for the stuff. Also, sipping a hoppy beer after sipping a sweet margarita doesn’t sound that pleasant.
We followed up our drink order with an appetizer salad: watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, mint, and feta. For the price of this salad, I probably could have made enough of it to serve six people for dinner, but, as I kept reminding my mom and myself, we were paying for the view. The service was also excellent: relaxed but attentive.
My entree was the Garlic Roasted Shrimp, served with chorizo and piquillo pepper risotto, roasted fennel, lemon, almonds, and fried cilantro. I could have done without the risotto; the flavors were excellent, but it was not made properly. It was either made too fast or not stirred enough or something else that left the final product grainy, a word that should never come to mind when enjoying risotto. The shrimp, fennel, and fried cilantro worked together to make up for this error.
The shrimp tasted like it had marinated in garlic for three days before roasting – just how I like it. Even still, the garlic did not overwhelm the shrimp but instead created a nice garlicky crust.
Fennel is always welcome in my life. I once hated the stuff, when Mom used to serve it on Christmas in a tricolore salad and I’d gag at the idea of eating it. It tasted like black licorice! I hated black licorice! Now, I love the stuff (black licorice & fennel), especially when the fennel is grilled or sautéed or, in this case, roasted. My knife went through the veggie like it would room temperature butter, and it completely dissolved in my mouth. The fennel worked very well when eaten with some toasted almonds.
The fried cilantro was an Iron Chef-type jawn. It wasn’t battered, but you could tell that it had been dipped in boiling oil for just enough time to release some of the cilantro essence and add that deep-fried flavor.
Mom ordered Roasted Organic Chicken Breast which was served with fingerling potatoes, rapini, salsa verde, and a grilled lemon. It was the juiciest chicken either of us had ever had.
Dessert was Lemon Verbena Soup with blueberries, blueberry sorbet and pound cake croutons. Pound cake croutons are as good as they sound: a little crunchy on the outside with a soft, rich center. The blueberries were fresh as hell and the sorbet was essentially food-processed frozen blueberries. To quote Ina Garten, “How bad can that be?” A spoonful of the lemon custard “soup” with a bit of crouton, a blueberry, some sorbet, and a spearmint leaf was an ideal dessert creation, and one helluva birthday cake!
Oh yea, one more of this, just because: