A Day at Half Moon Bay

by | Aug 19, 2011 | Beer, Restaurant Overviews, Travel

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

Historic home

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.