Eating Our Way Through Pescadero and Half Moon Bay

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My best friend Dee and I like to say we have been friends “since the womb.” Our older brother and sister were in grade school together so our Moms knew each other when they were pregnant with us and we’ve known each other since kindergarten. So it’s a bit of an understatement to say we’ve been friends for a while. It’s a rarity to have a friend for that long and you would think we would be bored of each other by now but not so. We don’t need to do or say a whole lot to have fun together. We do like to eat and go to new places so for her 30th birthday recently we were perfectly happy eating our way through Pescadero and Half Moon Bay.

Our friend Sasha found a guide to Pescadero in a magazine she was reading which made planning the day super easy so here’s what we did and ate.

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After an hour drive from San Francisco, our first stop was of course food. We went to Arcangeli Grocery Co. for their famous artichoke bread. This bread is amazing, okay? It’s a big loaf of warm bread, crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside with garlic and fresh chunks of artichoke. I think we bought 3 loaves. I could’ve eaten an entire loaf by myself. The store also sells specialty foods and wines but honestly I was distracted by the bread so I don’t have a lot of details on the rest.

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This artichoke bread is a thing of beauty

We walked around the rest of the town, which is very small, continuously chomping away on the artichoke bread. We stopped at this funky looking tree in the front yard of a fine arts store filled with paintings, glass sculptures, and beautiful jewelry.

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We spent a lot of time at the art and furniture gallery Made in Pescadero tinkering with all of their knick-knacks. I especially loved these framed maps of London and San Francisco that were folded into the shapes of dresses – a perfect gift for any travel lover.

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Even though we had been snacking on our artichoke break, we had a proper lunch at Duarte’s Tavern, an institution in Pescadero and we also got some coffees across the street at Downtown Local which is also a treasure trove of memorabilia and knick-knacks from decades past.

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Downtown Local

Our next adventure was a five minute drive to Harley Farms Goat Dairya working farm with over 200 goats that produce award-winning cheeses. We first went to The Cheese Shop to pick up some goat cheese and truffles and of course sample everything! We viewed the upstairs hayloft which would be the perfect place for a cheese party. And of course it all starts with the goat so we went to the farms to see the goats and llamas chillin’.

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The hayloft
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View of the paddocks and pasture

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I could only eat one goat cheese chocolate truffle. I couldn’t possibly fit another one into my stomach but then we continued our journey to the Pie Ranch and then suddenly we were hungry again. The Pie Ranch is amazing and was probably my favorite stop of the day. The organization provides food education to students all over the Bay Area and trains future farmers through apprenticeships and internships. Their funds come from donations, cooking classes, and a monthly work day and barn dance where volunteers come and work on the ranch and then share in a feast and music and dance afterwards. The aim of all this is to encourage a socially responsible food system – and to be able to make delicious pies. We bought a large peach pie and then small pies of rhubarb and lemon and took them outside to enjoy on one of the picnic benches. They were all divine but I was partial to the peach.

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The beautiful birthday girl!

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Ok, we stopped eating for a little bit and thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk to give us some time to digest our food. We may be food crazy but we’re not delusional. We parked at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse and walked along the coast line. The views from this 19th century light house are pretty perfect.

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The birthday girl photo-bombing the sea

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We couldn’t go back to San Francisco without a big celebratory dinner. On the drive back to the city we stopped at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay and had dinner at The Conservatory but not before enjoying the hotel’s outdoor patio for a drink. The restaurant isn’t as expensive as you would think at such a fancy hotel as the Ritz. My pictures of our food were too dark after the sun set but trust me that everything was delicious including my seasonal kale salad, seared salmon, and especially my apricot almond cake with pistachio ice cream.

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The patio at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

Yes, a true friend is one that you don’t have to say anything to or do anything special with but still feel comfortable and content. Happy Birthday Dee. I’m glad all we have to do to have fun together is stuff ourselves silly while we explore a beautiful, sleepy town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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