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Tobey’s 19th Hole Restaurant (& Balboa Park visit) – San Diego, CA

TOBEY’S 19TH HOLE CAFE

Do you ever just wake up in the morning WANTING to eat something for breakfast SO BAD. Granted, my last meal was at 11a the previous day so I woke up starving. BUT, you know what I’m sayin’ about that breakfast craving.

I woke last Sunday with the biggest hankering for anything smothered with country gravy. Keith’s in Miramar used to be my favorite place to go for a chicken fried steak with country gravy. I’m not sure if they even made that country gravy in house and I honestly didn’t care because the gravy just tasted good.

It just HIT THE SPOT. You know that feeling when it comes to food right. Like you’re craving something and when you finally get it, you close your eyes and float away to your special foodnarnia place.

I was going to visit Original Pancake House again as they have a country gravy over biscuits on their menu. But it hit me that I’ve visited OPH a few times recently so why not try something new. I remembered reading Cathy’s post about Tobey’s some time ago. It was a beautiful weekend morning so why not try something new for a change.

CDJ agreed to go after lecturing about my eating habits. He’s never been there before either so he wanted directions which I told him that’s what Siri is for and it sucks to be him because he has an outdated BlackBerry because he’s an old fart. I can be so mean in the morning.

Tobey’s is actually located at the Balboa Park Golf Course. They even have parking which surprised me. CDJ asked why the restaurant was called 19th hole and I said ‘oh, um, because it’s behind the 19th hole or something’.

His response. ‘Oh yeah? There’s a 19th hole Faye. Really.’

Oh.

The restaurant is located right next to the clubhouse. Look for this sign when you’re driving up the hill to the clubhouse. There was ample parking that morning.

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TOBEY’S CAFE SIGNAGE

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SPECIAL OF THE DAY

Chorizo and eggs was sounding good that morning too. But no. I’m here for country gravy ya’ll.

The front entrance is strange. The door behind this special’s board takes you to some strange bar area of the restaurant. No one was there so I walked to the back of the restaurant. I couldn’t tell who was working so I finally asked a kind busboy if it’s a seat yourself kinda deal. He nodded yes and followed me with menus to my table of choice.

There  are only a few tables with a prime view of the golf course. The small laid back restaurant has two flat screen mounted tvs as well (I was sad there wasn’t any World Cup soccer that day).

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TOBEY’S MENU

Left side: Breakfast; Right side: Lunch

Ok so maybe they didn’t have all the fancy waffles/omelettes/hashes that other places have. But sometimes a smaller menu makes for better prepared food in my opinion.

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COFFEE $2.00 (FREE REFILLS)

I didn’t see anything other than 1/2 & 1/2 plus regular sugar offered on the table. The coffee was nice and constantly refilled during breakfast.

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CONDIMENTS

homemade salsa, maple syrup, and ketchup

CDJ thought the ketchup was bbq sauce. Why.

Beware – their homemade salsa is SPICY.

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CHICKEN FRIED STEAK TOPPED WITH COUNTRY GRAVY, EGGS, POTATOES & TOAST $9.50

Now *THAT’S* what I’m talking about. I asked for extra gravy, over easy eggs, hash browns, and wheat toast.

The gravy came out piping burn-the-roof-of-your-mouth hot. I was too busy digging into this meal before I realized I had forgotten to take pics.

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The breaded fried steak was great. The breading was perfectly fried and seasoned. The ‘steak’ portion was surprisingly tender and moist. Sometimes I like my eggs prepared over easy as I like the way the whites taste this way (I avoid the yolk though). The hash browns were crispy and the wheat toast was nicely toasted and buttered.

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TWO FRENCH TOAST. TWO EGGS, TWO BACON $7.00

I liked the presentation – no fuss and everything wasn’t crowded and touching on one plate. Of course CDJ had to do the following:

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Could he have used any more maple syrup ALL OVER the food. He enjoyed this french toast combo. The eggs were cooked nicely and the bacon was crispy. I thought the french toast was a bit too egg-y and dense.

The total for this meal was only $18 (before tax and tip). Service was great and the busboy (also coffee server) always made sure we had a hot cup of coffee. He even poured coffee into CDJ’s Starbucks cup and didn’t charge him.

Here’s a view from their outdoor patio:

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Tobey’s is a bit of a drive for me but I’d come back in a heartbeat if I was in the area (I’m hoping to do a run/jog at the Harbor soon).

Tobey’s 19th Hole Cafe
2600 Golf Course Drive
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 234-5921

NOTE: I forgot to post that it’s CASH ONLY. There’s an ATM in house but remember to bring cash if possible.

I can’t remember the last time I visited Balboa Park. I’m not really into museums, parks, or walking. Plus, it was SUPER hot this weekend. CDJ convinced me to take an hour or two to explore this part of town. He agreed to drive, so alright – let’s go explore.

It was still early in the morning that there was ample street and lot parking for Balboa Park. He wanted to visit a few museums but I didn’t want to pay the $8 or so admission fee for each museum. So we agreed to do an IMAX movie at the Reuben H. Fleet center (the a/c kinda sold me). We had some time to kill before the movie so we walked around the park a bit.

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His father is an architect so columns and archways always fascinate him.

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I know this sounds ridiculous but I’ve been afraid of this pond for most of my life. I remember someone telling me, when I really little and visited this park, that the Loch Ness monster lived IN this pond. It made total sense when I was 7 years old. I remember the pond being covered with the lily pads and therefore hiding the big bad dinosaur water monster. I haven’t been up close to this pond since then. So I was surprised, walking slowly around the pond at that moment, to see this:

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Beautiful lily flowers

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Open exposed water with swimming fish

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Live and well ducks getting along with baby koi fish

What DA f*ck. Where the hell is the Loch Ness Monster.

CDJ insisted on visiting the botanical something room (it’s behind the pond). I was still in shock from not witnessing the Loch Ness so I wasn’t in the mood to look at no dumb plants.

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The ceiling of the ‘atrium’ was truly breath taking

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Doesn’t purple just make you smile

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Ballet slipper Orchid

Sis and best friend LOVE this orchid. They used to go to orchid shows together (they were total green thumb dorks) and would tell me about these prized ballet slipper orchids. I never noticed, until JUST NOW, that it DOES look like the front toe section of a ballerina slipper (like you can ALMOST just slip your pretty toes into the ballet slipper and start doing pirouettes).  Do you see it too? I always thought it looked like a gross body anatomy or something.

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Just seeing how the iphone pics up lighting and colors in the atrium

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Playing with the zoom feature

So I was getting bratty from the heat and the walking. It had literally only been 30 minutes since we left the Reuben H Fleet. It felt like 3 hours to me though.

I didn’t know the ticket price to watch a 45 min children’s IMAX movie (Journey to the Pacific) would cost a whopping $17.95. The mean sales lady said it includes the price of admission to their Illusion exhibit too.

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I remember coming here as a child and being blown away by the indoor dome theater. We watched something about stars and galaxies so it was magical back then. It’s almost like a 360 degree movie screen.

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I was able to take a picture of this, shown on the ceiling, when the opening credits were playing. Cool right?

I personally didn’t like the Journey to the Pacific movie but CDJ liked it so that was nice. I was looking forward to the illusion part of this museum though.

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TYPOGLYCEMIA

This was the most fascinating part of the Illusion museum to me (which is kinda sad).

Click on the photo and see if you can read what’s written.

I had heard about this “typoglycemia” phenomenon so I was happy to be able to read this board (with the exception of mses – I read that as moses for some reason).

Here’s what Wiki says about Typoglycemia:

” The legend, propagated by email and message boards, purportedly demonstrates that readers can understand the meaning of words in a sentence even when the interior letters of each word are scrambled. As long as all the necessary letters are present, and the first and last letters remain the same, readers appear to have little trouble reading the text. “

I was reading up on typoglycemia and laughed so hard when I stumbled across this example. It tripped me up at first. Hope it makes you take a second glance at the phenomenon and how we see things:

Tell me that didn’t make you smile. Just a lil’ bit…

Happy Wednesday all :)

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “Tobey’s 19th Hole Restaurant (& Balboa Park visit) – San Diego, CA”

  1. HAhaahahah. I laughed at your last example of typoglycemia. I love the museums in Balboa Park but they are pricey. It upsets me I can pay 1 dollar to go to the Met in NY (did you know the $20 fare or whatever it is, is just a suggested fare and you can pay as much as you want?! Now you do ;) ) but I have to spend 20 bucks to go to the Museum of Man or the Science Center and they are so small. Also the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla and DT, they are free if you are 25 and under so as of a week ago or so I can no longer go for free :(

    But Tobey’s Hole looks like such a nice spot. I have never had country gravy before (is it like bechamel sauc?) but it looks delicious.

    And the pond used to have a lot more lilypads and turtles but some assholes had a flash mob in Balboa Park and had a flash water fight and everyone was refilling from the pond and it killed a lot of the plants and fish / took forever for them to re-do it.

    1. Hi J.S.,

      That last example of the typoglycmia is seriously too funny. I agree the museum prices are high at Balboa too. Maybe it’s not pricey for ppl who really love museums though. I gasped about your comment about The Met in NY. I visited that museum years ago when I visited NY with friends and we ALMOST paid the $20 or whatever bucks until we read the small print! But we were THIS close to shelling out the bucks!

      Happy belated bday BTW! I wonder why the Contemporary Art museum ends the free admin at 25yrs of age.

      Tobey’s is a cool little spot. How have you NEVER had country gravy?!!!! What country are you from. Oh, that’s right. Brazzzzilllll….(so sorry about their loss yesterday – it totally gutted me watching it :( ) I think country gravy can be like bechemel because it requires roux and milk. It’s just incredibly hearty and yummy (over ANYTHING breakfast related in my opinion).

      I HEARD about that pond disaster. Wasn’t it from an unapproved yelp gathering or something? Gosh that was awful. I guess that would explain why there were less lily pads (thanks for re assuring me that my memory of abundant lily pads, not necessarily to hide the Loch Ness, did exist because I thought I was going senile or something).

      1. Thanks for the birthday wishes!! I think Qualcomm sponsors your Museum of Contemporary Art entry until you are $25 so apparently Qualcomm doesn’t like older people.

        Urghhhh watching that Brazil game was so horrible. I wanted to die. And then obviously after it ended came all the memes on my wall and Facebook comments haha. I guess its better to laugh about it than cry haha.

        Bechamel makes everything better so I think I would quite like country gravy, and now I know a good spot for it!!

        1. Qualcomm sucks so bad then…j/k!

          It was incredibly sad to see photos of everyone crying in Brazil. I couldn’t even make fun of it. I’m glad you didn’t croak when they lost though:)

          You MUST try country gravy. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper date meal than your bust at Roy’s :( Maybe you can take the bf to Tobey’s for a ‘fancy brunch’ and then go to the Harbor or Headquarters for a stroll or something :)

  2. Good thing I only see you in the evening! Thanks for the heads up about avoiding you in the mornings. ;-)

    Impressive CDJ kinda got you into a museum… Don’t forget you can get into more museums for free on Tuesdays as you are a San Diego resident. Next time you go to the park check out the rose garden. It’s really nice there and the price is right! :-)

    1. Hi Soo

      Yeah thank goodness those yelp doesn’t do alot of breakfast events huh. Thank you for the tip on the free day to get into the museums! Is it every Tuesday? Maybe I’d enjoy the Park towards the evening when it’s not so hot. I think most of the museums close around 6p though. I don’t remember seeing the rose garden so will try to check that out.

        1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a breakfast event actually. Thank you for the helpful links to the Park. That $43 for 5 museums seems a bit pricey though. That’s about $8.6 per museum which doesn’t seem to be that great of a deal. I’d rather wait for a Tues when certain museums are free (as you mentioned). I just clicked on the Free Tues link and the offerings are kinda rad :)

          Have a great weekend Soo -

  3. I also feel that museums cost a bit too much sometimes – I guess it’s understandable since a lot of them are non-profit (I think?) and they need the money to pay their overhead costs and bring in new exhibits. If you use Bank of America, you can get a free admission to a few museums for free, just for being a cardholder (I use my debit) – I haven’t done it this year and I just looked at the list available, and there’s not much for San Diego (Birch Aquarium is on the list though!)

    I like the orchid below the Ballet Slipper one – it looks like a tempura shrimp (the middle one does, but the others look like flying tail-less shrimp).

    So how was the gravy? I noticed you mentioned there was a lot of it and that it was hot, but nothing about how it tasted!

    Also gross, who uses that much maple syrup? And it’s on the eggs too! That place sure is cheap though.

    Do you prefer brunch/breakfast at those newer, modern places like say, Snooze or Great Maple, or do you prefer old fashioned breakfasts like here at Tobey’s?

    1. Hi Ben,

      I wish Balboa Park offered a ‘Pay for One Pass’ for all their museums. Or maybe they do and I just don’t know it. I NEVER knew of that BofA perk ! Where do you see that list? I’d so be all up that. Thanks for sharing that tip. I LOVE Birch Aquarium and always struggle to find the Buy 1 Get 1 coupon. So the free admin tip is incredibly useful.

      I laughed so hard about your tempura comment for the flower. I’m looking at the pic now and don’t see a tempura. I see MAYBE a whacked out carambola (starfish) with a weird white geese trying to fly it. I think you’re craving Japanese food for lunch today.

      Ok, so been thinking about how Tobey’s country gravy tasted. I don’t even know if it’s made in house. It just had the right amount of pepperiness to it and was wonderfully creamy. I just called to confirm and they said there is sausage in the gravy which explains why I liked it even more. You know how some country gravy tastes clumpy and almost like ‘augh you added too much flour’. The one here didn’t. I almost want to say it was a *super* thick ‘cream of gravy’ soup (imagine cream of ‘whatever vegetable’ soup). I would seriously slap myself if all that description just justified a ‘pre packaged’ gravy they use (versus home made). Whatever. I love country gravy. Oh, I went to Original Pancake House the other day and they have a sausage gravy over biscuits. I sampled the sausage gravy and it was quite good.

      Funny you ask but I have yet to visit Snooze OR Great Maple. I would prefer Tobey’s or the now defunct Keith’s to those places. I’m not really into fancy pancakes, waffles, etc. Like Hash House. I’d be curious to hear what you think of Hash House or Tractor Room. I would try Great Maple though as I’ve heard great things about them.

      Hope your week is going well Ben -

      1. http://imgur.com/B7vViwd

        Kind of? Not really? Maybe it’s just me – I haven’t had really good tempura in a while now.

        The list for the museums is here: http://museums.bankofamerica.com/
        They’re available every first weekend of the month, but the selection this year has shrank a bit. I could’ve sworn there were 5 or 6 museums last year, but now it’s only 3. But hey, the Birch Aquarium is on there!

        I haven’t been to Great Maple (I haven’t been hearing too many great things about them), but I’ve gone to Hash House twice (dinner and brunch), and I wouldn’t go again. Think Cheesecake Factory portions, with about the same quality of food. The breakfasts are better than the dinners/lunches though.

        Tractor Room on the other hand is much better – the portion sizes are again, ridiculous, but the food is prepared better (only went for brunch). It’s not incredibly memorable though, and don’t get suckered into the Wild Boar Hash like I did, because it doesn’t taste that much different from regular pork!

        1. I laughed so hard at your drawing Ben. It looked like a whale.

          Thanks for the link to the BofA museums. I never liked BofA but this will help me hate them a little less.

          I think I want to go to Great Maple because of their homemade bacon donuts I think. I’ve been to Hash House several times and never liked the food. But it’s a fun place to take out-of-town guests as the portion sizes elicit the best shock factor IMO. I have wanted to try out HH’s dinners though. But you’re saying the food isn’t that great huh.

          I’ve been to Tractor Room once and I just remember being disappointed with their monstrous corn bread (with the hunk of butter). I always found it odd that TR and HH are located within like a block of each other (and serve about the same breakfast menu no?).

  4. I totally have a draft of a blog post I never did about Tobey’s when I realized that dumb Travelin’ Local site was shut down and the article I wrote for them was lost and gone forever (for the record, the editor was super mean to me and I’m glad it shut down!!)

    Anyway. Tobey’s has been around for a long time – I think since the 30s or 40s? The people who run it now are the grandsons of the original owner. Everything here is made from scratch and they make it everyday. I’ve been here many times and it’s all the same waitresses – it totally has that homey feel that I love about a place. Jake and I like taking guests here for breakfast/lunch because it’s such a pretty view and the food is good AND cheap. Their hash browns (and the Huddle’s in Mission Hills) are my substitute hash browns for the sadly long gone Keith’s (sniff sniff). They make a mean chicken fried steak here, I 150% agree with you on that part :)

    1. I totally tried to find that Local site article but nothing was to be found. I’ve never heard of that magazine/site. Why was the editor mean to you. How awful :(

      Thanks so much for the history of Tobey’s. I am RELIEVED to hear their gravy is made from scratch because I honestly loved it so. I noticed they also had a steak and eggs combo so I might try that one out next time (with a big ol’ side of country gravy of course).

      I forgot to post that it’s CASH ONLY folks. There’s an ATM in house though but remember to bring cash if possible.

      Happy Thursday Mary!

      1. The editor was a shady dude and after I worked with him for awhile I just … I don’t know, got a bad vibe off of him. He kept promising to send me freelance work but would not sign my contract and kept trying to pressure me into doing more work and other stuff so I didn’t want to write for him anymore. It was for free, mind you. When I told him I didn’t want to write for him anymore he got really pissed and said some mean things about me and how he saw it coming because I’m woman. He was a total ass and totally mean to me. And that’s the story, haha. Drama :P

        1. Oh wow. That sounds awful. The industry must be tough but it’s sad to hear that there are people out there that still downgrade the gender. I’m glad you were able to get out of that situation and become a successful blogger you are today :)

          And have Jake beat the dude up…j/k!

  5. Country gravy usually has some (breakfast) sausage and black pepper in it; you can see both in your photo…it just goes with the country fried steak as well as with biscuits. We do enjoy ‘diner’ type spots more than the fancy ‘hipster’ breakfast places…it’s more real to us (plus we are both old..er..). I’ve posted on a few golf course restaurants and plan on a few more; people have to eat and there is always a place close by work or home…or just after a game of golf which is convenient and good.

    1. Hi Cathy,

      I wanted to re visit Tobey’s last weekend because of that country gravy. Thanks for confirming there’s sausage in there. Have you ever visited Richard Walker’s? If so, what’s your take on that place?

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