Table 3

Every once in a while we decide to splurge on a dining experience.  When we do go crazy, we want incredible options sourced from places that are responsible, prepared impeccably, served with passion and, of course, we want food that tastes really amazing.  I’d like to have you sit down for a recap of our experience at Table 3, the name Trey Foshee has given to an experience at George’s at the Cove.This post will be shy on words, as the food photos will do most of the talking.  Chef Trey, April, Pastry Chef Lori and their team put together an incredible experience.  And unlike many tasting menus, there was a handy little card to give us a preview of what we were about to eat before it came out.  Honestly, the anticipation was a bit like, well, Christmas (or Hanukkah, maybe even Eid, depending on how you celebrate).  Anyway, to stay with that theme, I’ll just put the card then the course  that followed.  I might sprinkle in a little commentary.  Here goes, first course

1a - Local Lobster 1b - Local Lobster Photo

This was just a warm up, but really set the tone.  Lobster is often either kind of rubbery or masked with things like butter or pasta.  This was a nice, simple preparation that highlighted the meat.  Good start.

2012-12-19 18.01.33 2012-12-19 18.09.07Having recently seen a Buddha’s Hand in the entry to Statebird Provisions in San Francisco (wrote about that ridiculously good experience here), I was surprised to realize it could be made into something edible.  Well, more than edible.  While this wasn’t the best dish to come out, it was still very good.

2012-12-19 18.19.22 2012-12-19 18.22.20I have become quite the fan of beef tongue since I first had it as a Korean place in Falls Church off Route 50 a little over ten years ago.  Actually, as I type this I realized that I might’ve had lengua tacos many times as a kid and not realized what the translation was.  Nevertheless, thinly sliced tongue–though it may sound a little strange–is something every non-vegetarian should give a run at least once.

2012-12-19 18.30.23 2012-12-19 18.42.46If you read the card above and thought “ugh, minestrone” welcome to the club.  When they put the card down all I could remember was the canned variety I was served as a kid that was mushy with flavorless vegetables and really kind of the worst thing (after lima beans or liver) that I was forced to eat.  I love my mom, and she has many very wonderful qualities.  But let’s just say she was an efficiency-driven preparer of food.  This “minestrone” was actually a delightfully tasty collection of fresh, somewhat crisp vegetables, housemade raviolini and broth.  Who knew?!?  Thanks for disabusing me of my minestrone prejudice, I’m a better person for it.

2012-12-19 18.54.08 2012-12-19 18.54.33I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say about this course.  I do find, though, that I am fond of the effort put into presentation.  I don’t know when that started to matter to me, but it apparently does.  As some Chopped contestant said the other night, people eat with their eyes first.  Yeah, agreed.

2012-12-19 19.05.01

One of the rather cool things about good tasting menus is that the chefs will come out and chat a bit.  Chef Trey was no exception.  I like to hear from the people who create the course.  And in this case, hearing about Chef Trey’s previous involvement in helping the kids at the San Pasqual Academy and his compassion for kids who get a rough start in life will encourage me to go back.  These little things combine to create an evening experience and help shape how I feel about where and what I’m eating. This picture below is Chef Trey shaving a bit of truffle onto my friend’s plate.2012-12-19 19.09.46 2012-12-19 19.10.51I don’t have much to say about this.  It was my first time speaking with Trey since meeting briefly at Celebrate the Craft (a food and wine lover’s delight, held every year at The Lodge at Torrey Pines)

2012-12-19 19.16.10Yes, that IS a brain above a palm tree.  No, I was not on any psychoactive drug.  Though I wonder what the artist was thinking about.  Maybe it’s as simple as he or she had their mind on vacation and this is what resulted.  Maybe it’s something deeper.  I dunno.  It was right outside our window and caught my attention.  Back to the food

2012-12-19 19.19.01 2012-12-19 19.29.23Fall flavors is a good description here.  I’m not a big mushroom person, but it’s rather surprising what an impact having good mushrooms, well prepared will have on one’s likes and dislikes.

2012-12-19 19.41.03Yes, we managed to find a craft beer–albeit a Japanese one–to go along with one of the courses. I didn’t actually try the beer, but my friend said it was a better than average offering from Kiuchi Brewery.

2012-12-19 19.42.39 2012-12-19 19.47.05

2012-12-19 19.59.09 2012-12-19 20.06.12I included this because it was part of the experience, but it’s hard to make out what we were actually eating, I know.

2012-12-19 20.14.11 2012-12-19 20.18.09This is a course I wish I’d written about sooner.  One of the more interesting things I’ve had in awhile.  That is a pot with some carrots, buried in coffee, salt and a few other things.  I got the sense the carrots were baked directly in that pot.  I did not know what to expect, I mean there’s only so much one can actually do to a carrot, right?  Uh, no.

2012-12-19 20.19.14This turned out to be one of those items that combined spice, textures, and sweet/salty flavors to yield a surprisingly enjoyable vegetable.  A friend of mine says cooked carrots taste like poison.  I wish she could have tasted this one.  During this course I looked over and noticed my friend chewing through the blackened, ashy top of the carrot.  Seemed odd, but he was in full enjoyment.  I wondered briefly if this was like the time I first experienced “dining” more sophisticated than Bob’s Big Boy and ate some garnish. Eh, it was worth a shot, so I popped it in my mouth. Delicious.  Odd but delicious.

2012-12-19 20.30.26 2012-12-19 20.42.45If you like lamb prepared the way meat was intended to be prepared, you’d like this.  If you are someone who desecrates your meat by cooking it into gray oblivion, this isn’t for you.

2012-12-19 20.54.33 2012-12-19 21.00.54

2012-12-19 21.09.42 2012-12-19 21.10.31You may have noticed by the blurry food card above that my hand had gotten remarkably unsteady by this point.  I’d like to blame it on my camera phone, though I suspect the wine pairings may have played a role.  This tart comes at a time when I’ve run out of useful adjectives or synonyms for ‘real good.’  Like the salted caramel pots-de-creme at Urban Solace or sea salt nib at Eclipse Chocolat, it’s a dessert I’d go out of my way for.  Hope that helps.

I’d like to take this moment to sneak in my own review of Uber.  I’m not going to get all sanctimonious about the dangers of drinking and driving (click here for data), though of course it is dangerous.  But even if I can’t convince you that it’s a dumb idea because you might hurt someone, it is a dumb idea because it is hugely expensive if you get caught.  At least $5,000, no driving except to work for six months, increased insurance premiums and fines (actual costs here) Way, WAY more than a cab Uber. Before taking Uber all the way from North Park up to La Jolla I did some price comparisons between Uber and Yellow cab.  There are easily google-able sites to estimate both.  I’ll spare you the math, but Uber was cheaper.  Yes, you read that right, Uber was cheaper.  Sadly, Uber was initially a little less reliable than I’d hoped.  He apparently decided to take Washington Street from the Airport to come get us instead of going 5 south to Pershing.  Not good.  Once he did get there everything else went smoothly.  The towncar was nice and unlike the Black Market cab I unintentionally got scammed by in San Francisco, this was legit and I knew in advance what it would cost.

I’d recommend Uber with one major caveat.  Make your reservation at least 30 minutes before you want to leave.  Thank me later for that one.  By the way, if your issue is dealing with a DUI, just realize that you don’t need to be actually impaired to get a DUI, just over the legal limit.  I love several very strong craft beers (e.g. Alesmith Speedway Stout, Ballast Point Sculpin, Societe’s The Butcher, Hess’ Ex Umbris, to name a few).  All from San Diego, all delicious.  All over 8% alcohol by volume.  If you are reading this, chances are you can afford either a cell phone or an Internet connection.  Which means a bus pass or hired driver fare isn’t out of the question.  Inconvenient? Yep. More inconvenient than hurting somebody or explaining to your boss/employees why you were in jail? Not so much.  *My new soapbox is only two weeks old and already starting to creak, yikes. Climbing down now.*

2012-12-19 21.22.53 2012-12-19 21.25.12

2012-12-19 21.33.19This was our server.  I put his picture because he was a nice guy, because he was passionate about his work and because people who earn a living serving others are, in my book, honorable.  He, Chef Trey, the GM April and the Pastry Chef Lori allowed me, Wife and our two very dear friends to go on a five hour vacation.  I am grateful we are fortunate enough to have enjoyed this evening and the amazing service we got.  Did we all work hard and sacrifice along the way to get to the point that made this night possible? Sure.  But we didn’t get that opportunity without some good luck along the way and somehow acknowledging the team of professionals that made our night possible helps me pay respect to that.  Thank you George, Trey, April and team.  And thanks for reading.


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