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George’s at the Cove offers an indulgent dining experience

FEATURES

Best of San Diego

By The Editors

Photos courtesy of Creations, George’s at the Cove and O’Gara Coach San Diego

01.10.18

If living well is the best revenge, we suggest exacting yours in sunny San Diego, to whose inherent charms (winter? Never heard of it!) you can add our choices for most fabulous services, covetable items and dishes to die for.

LIFESTYLE

MOST IMPRESSIVE HIGH-TECH HOME STAGING
The right home staging can mean the difference between a house selling in a day or moldering on the market. Los Angeles-based Vesta Home (vestahome.com), the brainchild of brother-sister team Brett Baer and Jaime Morse, has elevated the staging game with innovative designs and a tech-forward model, and clients like Kanye West and Katharine McPhee are taking note. Considering they’ve staged $30 million homes and the average sales price for their clients’ homes is $7.6 million, expediting sales is just good business. Their vast database allowed them to plan the interior design of a recent home in La Jolla via an online catalog of their inventory to which they added bespoke pieces made in their new manufacturing facility. With stagers like this, your home might look and feel so fabulous by the time Vesta is done, you won’t want to move out.

BEST WAY TO JET-SET
Schubach Aviation (schubachaviation.‌com) operates San Diego’s largest fleet of corporate jets with style out of Palomar Airport and Lindbergh Field. They’ve built a 25-year reputation offering a diverse fleet of aircraft, from a four-passenger Phenom 100 to a Gulfstream IV, for you and a dozen friends. (Beyond charter? They’ll manage your own plane for you.) Their new Elevated Excursions are a collection of bespoke experiences tailored for short-distance air travel. This spring, they’re partnering with Scott Dunn Private Journeys to offer a “bucket list” trip to Baja California Sur complete with whale shark swimming. Also new for 2018: Napa getaways, a high-octane Thermal Club trip and an exclusive Pebble Beach Automotive Week excursion.

BEST LUXURY CAR DEALER
When you find yourself in need of a Bugatti, Maserati, Lamborghini—or, for that matter, a Bentley or Rolls-Royce or a handful of other autos for which the authorized dealer has become one of the most prestigious sources in the world—O’Gara Coach San Diego (ogaracoachlajolla.com) is where you’ll want to head. Recent sales include a rare Bugatti Chiron and Lamborghini Centenario (think price tags from $1.9 to $3 million). Plus, O’Gara hosts a series of world-class events, and through them, clients can get access to the exclusive, members-only Thermal Club racetrack in Palm Springs.

DESIGN & REALTY

ULTRA-REALTOR TO THE ULTRA-FABULOUS
When weight-loss guru and avowed equestrian Jenny Craig decided to sell her Rancho Paseana, a 228-acre thoroughbred farm 20 minutes north of San Diego, she turned to Jason Barry of Barry Estates (barryestates.com), which specializes in some of the most sought-after properties in San Diego. He engineered the deal that passed it from one mogul to another—Bill Gates—for a tidy $18 million. Along with his mother, Catherine, the Barrys are responsible for over $3 billion in sales over both their careers. In the market for an over-the-top reward for all your hard work? This Rancho Santa Fe estate, in which Barry is pictured, is on the market for a cool $25 million.

Salima Ruffin, founder of Creations offers clients the vacation experience of a lifetime.

STYLE

BEST STYLIST/BOUTIQUE FOR THE CITY'S WELL-HEELED WOMEN
When Laura Gambucci (lauragambucci.com) first opened her eponymous shop in 2004 in the heart of La Jolla, her goal was simply to bring more innovative fashion to a city known for its devotion to beachwear. Thirteen years later, in addition to owning the city’s most cutting-edge boutique (she was one of the first to carry clothes by the Australian design star Kym Ellery and jewelry by Yves Spinelli), she is also one of the most trusted stylists. Not only does she maintain meticulous files on what is in each of her clients’ closets, but she also keeps up with them professionally and personally. “It’s about understanding their lives—what they’re going through at the moment, where they see themselves,” she says. “Somebody said to me the other day, ‘How did you know that was going to fit me?’ And I said, ‘That’s my job!’” Gambucci, who calls herself “a woman’s woman,” strictly keeps the clothes (which include pieces you won’t find anywhere else in town by Prabal Gurung, No. 21, Nina Ricci and, new this February, the ready-to-wear collection by Vera Wang) just for the ladies: “The store is really intended to be sort of a break for women. It’s for them to come in and relax—and feel good.”

MOST LAVISH JEWELS
In the market for a rare Burmese ruby or a 54-carat, flawless diamond necklace to drape around your neck? Perhaps a Patek Philippe belongs on your wrist? When it comes to haute horlogerie, inimitable gems, the highest grade and exceptional estate pieces, Vahid Moradi and his team at CJ Charles Jewelers (cjcharles.com) have ruled this realm for more than 30 years in La Jolla. Self-proclaimed “purveyor of fantasy” Moradi has an uncanny ability to track down the rarest of the rare. Take for example the Panerai Minute Repeater Tourbillon GMT Skeleton in 18-karat red gold presently residing in CJ Charles. This exquisite watch, the most complicated in the world, comes with its own speaker to amplify the three tiny hammers that work in concert to chime out the hours and minutes. Only avid Panerai collectors are even considered when it comes to purchasing this beauty, whose price tag comes in at a stunning $366,000. “It’s the only one in North America,” Moradi smiles. And as you might imagine, it’s not the only ace up his sleeve.

 

O’Gara Coach San Diego is the city's source of luxe automobiles.

CULTURE & SOCIETY

IT-LIST ART ADVISOR
There are few people in San Diego who have as many art-world connections as Lynda Forsha (lyndaforsha.com), whose résumé includes serving as head curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, director of Gagosian Gallery’s La Jolla outpost and, currently, curator of the Murals of La Jolla. She’s the first person many private collectors and heads of corporations, including Qualcomm, call for advice. Forsha offers an encyclopedic knowledge of art history, impeccable eye and impressive list of contacts (Robert Irwin, Jonathan Borofsky and Jenny Holzer are just a few artists she has commissioned). While she acquires existing works for clients (for ResMed, which makes products for sleep disorders, she ingeniously scored Ed Ruscha’s 1989 painting that reads “Industrial Strength Sleep”), it’s the site-specific commissions she enjoys the most. “It’s exciting,” she says. “I don’t want to say it’s risky, but it can be. You do know what you’re going to get, but you have something very tailored to the space you’re working in, which clients like—and it’s fun to do!”

BEST PERSONAL CONCIERGE
Need tickets to Hamilton? Still on hold for that 8pm reservation at Born & Raised on Saturday night? Trying to charter a private jet for a weekend getaway to La Paz? Michelle St. Clair and her team of concierges at Elite Lifestyle Management (clubelm.com) are available 24/7 to manage your life. Their services range from the mundane—yes, they’ll pick up your dry cleaning—to flashy, like coordinating the delivery of rare whiskeys by seaplane to clients in a remote Alaskan fishing camp. “A lot of wealth management firms have gifted our service to their top clients,” explains St. Clair. ELM, which offers private, corporate and guest memberships, can also arrange experiences like a private chef dinner aboard a yacht and a behind-the-scenes tasting in Napa with a famous wine expert, or act as your personal shopper or on-the-go assistant. Who doesn’t need a little lifestyle management?

WINE & FOOD

BEST HOTEL BAR
A good hotel bar should reflect its location while being so warm and inviting that you never actually want to leave the building. Fifth & Rose (pendryhotels.com) at Pendry Hotel San Diego in the Gaslamp hits the bullseye in that regard. Sleek decor and a California casual vibe make locals feel like they’re on vacation and travelers feel at home. Wrought iron fixtures harken back to the Craftsman era while brimming with modern flair. It’s amazing that the bar is barely a year old, since it has the stately presence of a bar that has been there decades. The mixologists tip their hats to Mexico with some spicy tequila and mezcal cocktails, which go perfectly with the charcuterie plate of Spanish meats and cheeses. Meanwhile, the Gangs of New York, a variation on the Manhattan, transports guests from Fifth Avenue in San Diego to the one in the Big Apple in just a few sips. Insider tip: Sit at the bar and ask for Dealer’s Choice. Bartenders craft a one-of-a-kind cocktail after conferring with you on the spirits and flavors you’re craving and the mood you want to evoke.

BEST CHEF-DRIVEN, MULTICOURSE DINING EXPERIENCE
Diners looking for a true taste of San Diego need look no further than George’s at the Cove (georgesatthecove.com), specifically the TBL3 dinner. Named for the ocean-view “table three” where this meal is served, it’s a 12- to 14-course experience using impeccably fresh and local ingredients, such as salad foraged from places around La Jolla, sorbet from local beach plums or simply prepared spiny lobsters. Typically, the menu includes a haute tribute to that local favorite, the fish taco. TBL3 is a meal that requires trust: Executive chef Trey Foshee and chef de cuisine Jonathan Bautista control the entire experience so that every element can be executed at the highest level. Served once per night at a single table, it’s the reservation to secure far in advance ($300 per person, with a minimum of seven-day advance booking). Insider tip: Experience TBL3 during shoulder seasons to enjoy dishes prepared with the widest variety
of produce possible.