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Saturday, July 20, 2019


Cortado served at The Grill at the Lodge in Torrey Pines (La Jolla, California) is simply the best.
Finding a barista, who can make a decent Cortado is an iffy situation in Greater San Diego.  Some of the trendiest coffee houses turn a deaf ear when ordering a smooth Cortado.  Those offenders will remain anonymous and unpatronized by the coffee aficionado club.

How simple can it be?  A Cortado hails from Spanish and Portuguese origins.  It is two ounces of espresso and two ounces of steamed (not foamed) milk.  Even Starbuck’s knows how to create a Cortado.

The best cortado in the world, however, is served at the block long cafeteria coffee bar at the Hotel Europa in Madrid. 

For a decent Cortado in San Diego, forget dilettante baristas and go straight to the real deal, which is served at The Grill Restaurant, next door to the first tee at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course in La Jolla.  The only thing better than the baristas working there are the views of the golf course and the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Torrey Pines North and South host the Farmer’s Golf Tourney every February.

From my patio seat, I savored my Cortado (served in a large mug) while viewing the golfers tee off on the North side’s 18 holes.

There are some pretty bad golfers playing this magnificent course.

But, the Cortado at The Grill arrives at every table a masterpiece, a sign of sophisticated management and well trained baristas. 

It was eight in the morning when I sipped my Corado.  “AH HA!” I shouted and toasted the room, “This is the best bloody Cortado west of Madrid!”

A Japanese speaking foursome held up their pints of Sapporo Nama Black Label in agreement.  The Brits nearby echoed: “but only with a Bass Ale back!”

Camaraderie is best inside those inns that speak Cortado.

The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 11480 North Torrey Pines Rd. 858.777.6641.


Rare photo of an uncrowded café bar at Hotel Europa late afternoon.  Earlier in the morning I shared a barstool at the counter to drink my Cortado.  Why go fight the bulls in Pamplona with American fraternity boys, when there’s plenty of Cortado’s served at Madrid’s Hotel Europa Cafeteria sin Americanos.”
CORTADO CON MIO.  Here at the coffee terrace at Hotel Nacional, Havana you make your own Cortado.  Black, black espresso: black as an IRS auditor’s heart and a pitcher of steamed milk.  “Seven inches of rain, thunder and lighting in one afternoon, how do you people live here?” Then came the voice of God: “have another Cortado, senor y sientate.”

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