Just about an hour drive from my house is Half Moon Bay, which is a small farming community next to the Pacific Ocean. On Thursday, my sister Nancy and I took my girls there for the day. Shortly after arriving in Half Moon Bay, my youngest daughter let us know she needed to be home early because she was going to an event that night and her friends were all meeting at our house at 4:30 pm to get ready. So, what had started out as a leisurely day in Half Moon Bay, now became the “let’s see and do everything we can in a few hours day.”
Our first stop in Half Moon Bay was at Jeff Clark Maverick’s Surf Shop. Jeff Clark was one of the founders of the world famous Maverick’s surf contest and is a world class surfboard shaper. Nancy ended up buying a surfboard. OK, so it wasn’t a full sized surf board– it was a wooden postcard shaped like a surfboard.
Jeff Clark Maverick’s Surf Shop
Our next stop was the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company for lunch. Although it was cold and foggy, we opted to sit outside to eat. Nancy and I shared one of the Maverick’s beer samplers. We really liked the Devil’s Slide Summer Ale, which was served with lemon. As for the food, we started off with the artichoke hearts that are battered with an amber ale batter. A couple of us had cups of the clam chowder, which was outstanding. The consistency was just right and the flavor was great. The soups are made daily from scratch. Nancy had Avô’s Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew, which was also outstanding. The fisherman’s stew is a mix of fresh fish, shellfish, fennel and linguica in a garlic broth with cilantro. If you click here, you can get the recipe. My daughters both had the pear salad, which is made with radicchio, spring mix, endive, candied walnuts and pecans, roasted pear, dried cranberries and bleu cheese with raspberry vinaigrette. I had the crab louie. Reminder to myself: If it’s not crab season, don’t order the crab louie.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Maverick’s Beer sampler
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s clam chowder
Avô’s Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew – Click here for the recipe
Right across the street from the Monterey Bay Brewing Company is Barbara’s Fish Trap, which is our parent’s favorite restaurant in Half Moon Bay. We ran into to some other people that day that also said Barbara’s Fish Trap is their favorite restaurant in the area. Barbara’s is a four star restaurant on Yelp and Half Moon Bay Brewing is only 3.5 stars. Might be worth checking out.
Barbara’s Fish Trap in Half Moon Bay
Our next stop was Main Street in the historic downtown Half Moon Bay. Cuhna’s Country Grocery was one of the places we really wanted to visit on Main Street. At Cuhna’s we were pleased to find a selection of Portuguese foods, which included a few types of linguica and pies from a Portuguese bakery. The Portuguese offerings in our hometown are pretty minimal.
Cuhna’s Country Grocery
There are quite a few interesting stores and sights in the Historic Downtown area. At the southern end of Main Street is the Toque Blanche cooking store and next to it is the Moonside Bakery and Cafe. Had we not been on stringent schedule, we probably could have spent half of the day in the cooking store, which “sells professional quality cookware and tools to the serious home chef.” It appears they do cooking demonstrations in the store and the staff is very knowledgeable about the tools and cookware that they sell. The bakery and cafe next door had quite a variety of sweets and an indoor dining area that was decorated in such a way that you would feel you were dining outside.
Toque Blance cooking store
Moonside Bakery and Cafe bakery goods
Moonside Bakery and Cafe dining area
There are a few boutique hotels in the historic downtown area. Each one looks very inviting. I would sure like to get back there to stay in one of them for a weekend.
Hotels in historic Half Moon Bay: San Benito House (left) and HMB Hotel (right)
Cottage Industries handcrafted furniture store
It’s Italia restaurant front (left) and a window display a few doors down (left)
One of the murals in historic downtown Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay’s historic jail–I expected a Barney Fife character to step outside any minute
Not sure, but we think this is an art gallery
Part of a mosaic in the town square
While on Main Street we also visited the Half Moon Bay Feed and Fuel store, which is actually still a feed store that in addition to livestock feed sells farm and ranch supplies, horse tack supplies, pets and pet supplies. They also sell chickens. They had an impressive variety of chicks available. One of the employees spent a few minutes with us showing us the color of eggs that each breed lays. The chicks they were selling would produce brown, pink, and blue eggs.
Chicks for sale at the Half Moon Bay Feed and Fuel
Just blocks away from the historic downtown are public beaches. As I mentioned earlier, it was cold and foggy in Half Moon Bay on Thursday; however, since we were so close to the ocean, we really needed to at least take a walk on the beach.
Auntie Nancy on the beach with my daughters
The cliffs along the beach
When we drive to Half Moon Bay from the East Bay Area, we take Highway 92, which winds it’s way down a mountain into Half Moon Bay and we pass several farms selling food, flowers, and plants. During the fall the farms sell pumpkins and during the winter you can cut your own Christmas tree. Naturally, we had to stop at a few of the farms on the way out of town.
Flowers, pumpkins, beans, sunflowers and other crops along Highway 92
Beets and Swiss chard
Cabbage and freshly cut zinnias
Honeycombs and pumpkins
Honey, pumpkin blossoms, and green onions
All-in-one gift store, flower stand, and veggie stand
As you can see, we were able to see a lot in a very short amount of time in Half Moon Bay. Some of the things we did not get to enjoy were the bike trails, watching surfers, cocktails at the pretentious Ritz-Carlton, and playing in the water. So, I guess I’m just going to have to go back for the weekend real soon.