Friday, December 6, 2013

Discovery Weekend: Coastal Gourmet Adventures at Half Moon Bay


My husband and I usually spend our Thanksgiving weekend exploring - either locally, a long drive, or somewhere in between. After enjoying cooking on our Thanksgiving Day, we still had three full days off. We took advantage of this to get away. We’ve been working hard and deserved a few days off.

We decided to go to Half Moon Bay this time around. It’s one of my husband’s favorite destinations. He loves being close to the ocean, the antique stores, and of course, the dining.

The dining opportunities are excellent in Half Moon Bay. Through the years, we’ve enjoyed our favorites and tried new places. Here’s a sampling from our weekend adventure. 

crab cakes from Moss Beach Distillery
Crab cakes from The Distillery
Moss Beach Distillery. This is our favorite spot for brunch and usually our first stop in our trips to HMB. Brunch is at the formal dining room, but the patio is great for munchies like calamari and wine while sitting by the fire and enjoying the great views since the Distillery sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Do watch out for the ghost of the Blue Lady. Every time I go to the ladies room, I freak out at every unusual sound.

Meyer Lemon Parfait with Meringue
Meyer Lemon Parfait from Pasta Moon
Pasta Moon. This Italian restaurant is a downtown staple, and has been there for a long time. I started with the Florentine bread soup, my husband had the mussels, and we  shared a huge, tasty pork chop. My husband said is the pork chop is the best he has ever had. I ended my meal with a beautiful Meyer Lemon Parfait: delicious. Ironically, on our visit, we did not get pasta. It must be a sign to return.

Half Moon Bay Coffee Company and Café. Come for the coffee, stay for the desserts. They have a gorgeous selection of desserts. My husband was tempted by the Key Lime Pie. I just had a Gingerbread biscotti with my fabulous soy latte (word of warning: the latte kept me going until dinner time). HMB Coffee also serves breakfast and lunch if you want to stay downtown.

Cafe Mezzaluna's Pastry Selection
Café Mezzaluna at Princeton-By-The-Sea. The casual sister to the more formal restaurant a few blocks away. This is a great spot for breakfast, especially before a kayak adventure, or lunch after one. For breakfast, you can have your choice of omelets, frittatas, quiches, savory crepes, and pastries. For lunch, you can enjoy paninis and most importantly, gelatos.

New Leaf Community Market.  Although this is not truly dining, I think this market is awesome. It has locally sourced fruits and veggies and the highest quality of natural products. Their stores are mostly here in Northern California, and I cannot wait to visit my closest one.

Brussel sprout stalk
Brussel Sprouts grew this way?
Our other staples are The Half Moon Bay Brewery and Duarte’s Tavern. We did not visit the Brewery this time, but did trek to Pescadero to visit Duarte’s to have cioppino. Duarte’s was so good it deserves its own post. Watch out for it in the next few weeks.

Half Moon Bay also has some awesome farmer’s stalls and markets. We often take advantage of these and get fresh fruit, veggies, and even honey. This weekend, we even got a medieval weapon… err, a huge Brussel sprout stalk. It was almost 3 feet long, really.

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