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Cottage continues to score high for breakfast

Gourmet Magazine is one of several national publications that have singled out this casual restaurant for its excellent cuisine. The magazine listed The Cottage as one of the 10 best breakfast spots in the country. That’s quite an impressive feat.

The magazine also put its seal of approval on one of the restaurant’s most popular lunch dishes: the fish tacos ($10). These beauties made with broiled mahi mahi, papaya salsa, cabbage and cilantro and avocado sauce were described as “an exceptional, upper-crust fish taco.” Try this dish served with a helping of black beans and you’ll see why diners go ga-ga over this version of the Mexican specialty.

The Cottage has been pleasing palates in its quaint setting for more than two decades. For the past 15 years, the restaurant has been owned by John Wolfe, who has made it his mission to keep The Cottage on top of the heap. His attention to the smallest detail in food preparation and service has paid off.

The Cottage is always crowded, and people are willing to wait on line for a table, especially on weekends.

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The outdoor patio is the place to eat any time of day. Umbrellas shade each cozy table, and a canopy of trees and greenery surrounds the white picket fence out front. There are also several tables and booths inside.

Breakfast at The Cottage is a special treat, with an assortment of spectacular omelets, pancakes, waffles and cereals that make it almost impossible to decide on a dish.

The most popular breakfast item is the stuffed French toast ($10). This country-style French toast is made with thick slices of brioche bread that is stuffed with strawberry compote and marscapone cheese.

The dish is enough to feed two hungry eaters. It’s very special, even on a menu of heavyweights.

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But, don’t miss the pancakes. You can get a stack of light and fluffy cakes plain ($8) or stuffed with blueberries or fresh bananas (add $1.50).

The Cottage also makes a marvelous oatmeal pancake with whole-wheat flour and rolled oats ($8). Either way, these griddle cakes are fantastic.

There are several exciting egg dishes, including Laura’s meatloaf hash with potatoes, topped with two over-easy eggs and served with an English muffin ($9.75), a California Benedict ($10.50) made with smoked turkey and served with homemade hollandaise sauce and fresh avocado and potatoes, and an omelet made with chicken, mushrooms, brie and sundried tomatoes ($10).

Another specialty of the house at The Cottage is the granola ($7.50). It is served with fresh fruit and milk or nonfat yogurt. This signature item is so popular around the country, it is now available online.

Soups, salads, sandwiches and a selection of entrees make the lunch menu a good match for the breakfast specials.

Try the grilled chicken and goat cheese salad ($10), cold poached salmon salad with roasted pepper corn relish ($12) and Southern California chopped cobb salad ($10.50).

The all-American burger is a great lunch selection. You get a half-pound of Angus beef, melted cheddar, grilled onions and other fixins on a pretzel roll for $10.

The Waldorf chicken salad on croissant ($9) is another winner, and the crab melt, made with rock crab and red and yellow peppers, is a crab lover’s dream ($10).

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The entrees run the gamut from chicken pot pie ($10.50) to macadamia-crusted mahi mahi with jasmine rice ($13).

All the pastries are baked by the restaurant’s pastry chef, and they are exceptional, so don’t pass on the muffins or pastry tray.

The Cottage is at 7702 Fay Ave. Call (858) 454-8409.