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California Yacht Club

January 29, 2013

A few weeks ago, I attended a business dinner at the California Yacht Club.  Prior to the dinner, I’d never heard of the California Yacht Club before, and had little clue of its long history.  Located in the Marina del Rey, the club has only been its current facility for the past almost 50 years.  However, the California Yacht Club, or CYC, as it’s known has been in existence since 1922 in Los Angeles Harbor by a group of yachtsmen.  Most of the yachtsmen were from the Los Angeles Athletic Club and other nearby yacht clubs.  The CYC raised enough money to build a large, grand clubhouse with enough slips to house hundreds of sails and power boats.  In 1941, when the country went into war, the club’s facilities were taken over by the Coast Guard.  After World War II, the facilities were never the same and the CYC never returned to its home facilities again.  In 1963, a group of original CYC members, in their search for a new home for the CYC, finally found it in Marina del Rey.  After having been housed in the Sheraton for a few years, the CYC moved to its current clubhouse in 1966.  Today, with more than 1,200 members, the CYC has sailors in every major regatta in the world.

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Along with the clubhouse being the home to novice and champion sailors, the clubhouse also has a gorgeous restaurant with a dining room that has floor to ceiling windows that look out right into the marina.  The dining room also features a nice bar and a nautical themed decor.  Featuring a great selection of seafood dishes, the restaurant at the California Yacht Club was a terrific find that I never expected.  Unfortunately, the clubhouse and restaurant are open to members only, unless you’re dining with someone who is a member.

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I started my meal with a terrific Caesar salad.  Served with organic romaine lettuce, and garlic anchovy dressing, this dressing had the perfect balance of saltiness and sweetness in the dressing.  I really loved the garlic anchovy dressing, it was a nice change from Caesar dressing you find at other restaurants.

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For my entrée, I ordered the pan seared sea bass with caramelized leeks served with a side of roasted root vegetables and mashed potatoes.  This sea bass was a thing of beauty when it was brough out to the table.  It instantly had my mouth-watering.  The sea bass was perfectly cooked, with a terrific sear on the outside, yet tender and flaky on the inside.  The lemony sauce poured over the sea bass was the perfect mix of citrus tang and sweet to counterbalance the char of the pan searing.  The sea bass was so tender and moist and absolutely perfect.  The mashed potatoes were a good side pairing and the roasted root vegetables provided a terrific mix sweetness and heartiness.  This had to have been one of the best sea bass dishes I’ve ever had.  I absolutely loved it and completely devoured it.

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By the time desserts came around, we were all stuffed.  But the waiter trudged on and presented our table with the evening’s dessert selection.  Our dessert options included a poached pear served with vanilla ice cream, a flourless chocolate cake served with berries, a German apple cake, bread pudding and creme brulee.

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I chose a dessert called a tulip.  Perhaps the name comes from the shape of the sliced almond brittle bowl that held 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream and fresh berries, all sitting atop at bed of white chocolate and chocolate sauce mixed with berry juices.  The dessert looked like  work of art and tasted fantastic.  The almond brittle was delicate and light and had just the perfect touch of sweetness to balance out the tang and tart of the fresh berries.  The ice cream was creamy and cold and delicious when combined with the chocolate sauces on the bottom of the bowl.

I’ve never been a big fan of these members-only type of clubs, and I figured that the restaurant would just be alright, but nothing amazing.  But I guess the California Yacht Club proved me wrong.  The quality of the food and the freshness in the seafood was tangible.  The sea bass was probably the best sea bass I’ve ever tasted and completely memorable.  All in all, the business dinner was enjoyable with good company and terrific food.  Can’t ask for much more when you have to attend a business dinner.

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