Having visited here last year, gorgeous scenery, great places to visit, wonderful walking and superb eats, I had forgotten that the weather here is more like the UK than sunny California quite a bit of the time, as San Francisco has it’s very own micro-climate which can be cool and damp just a very few miles from clear blue skies and temperatures that are at least 15 degrees warmer.
So having just brought one extremely thin hoody I had to invest in a lightweight fleece lined jacket – seriously, in August no less.
Half Moon Bay has to be one of the most gorgeous places to visit, whatever the weather, walk up the coast on the California Trail and catch shoals of wales, rocky outcrops and amazingly balanced paddleboarders. Not for me, that one.
Three places well worth visiting for excellent eats:
Sam’s Chowder House – this is a local award winning institution, serving some of the freshest fish you’ll find anywhere. Try their famous lobster roll if you’re totally uncaring about calories, or go for the seafood salad full of fresh shellfish. Don’t blame me if you can’t get in.
Sam’s opens at 11am and you’ll usually find a queue waiting outside the door. This is one of the most popular places for miles. Parking can be extremely tricky as well. Go early, build up an appetite and find yourself a parking space into the bargain by walking for an hour or so down the coast. Go south from Sam’s for the best scenery. Don’t dress up…
www.samschowderhouse.com 4210 North Cabrillo Hwy Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
reservations: (650) 712-0245 or use Open Table.
La Costanera – Peruvian Restaurant – another institution much loved by locals and so again can be difficult to get in so if you know you’re going to be visiting the area book well in advance.
La Costanera has one of the best views of the Pacific and sits right on the coast, about five miles north of Sam’s on the Cabrillo Highway. The food is superb. Beautifully fresh, full of flavour and it’s easy to over order. Try their fish paella which I had last night, after a warm seafood salad. One place I will definitely be visiting again.
La Costanera 8150 Cabrillo Highway Book with Open Table or call (888) 659 7552
The Conservatory at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay – having tried their main restaurant last year, this is the place I would recommend for dinner. At The Conservatory, which looks out over Half Moon Bay, you can’t book, so eat early as many people here do. It’s a big restaurant and you won’t have to wait long to get a table. Be warned that very early on it’s full of young kids and parents eating burgers and fries so if you want a more sophisticated meal go about 7pm.
The Conservatory specialises in fresh organic produce and beautifully prepared dishes. The food isn’t played around with other than cleverly combines flavours. Try the grilled asparagus, the Loch Duarte salmon and don’t miss out on the blistered shishito peppers. Delish.
The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, 1 Miramontes Point Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
As I said before, This part of the country can be anything from very cool to misty and drizzly to blazing sunshine so you need to take everything from sneakers and trainers to flipflops and a pair of heels, although you may not need those here.
It’s also very casual with a resort feel. During the day most wear clothes suitable for working out/walking/running and whatever you do don’t dress up. In the evening simple maxi dresses and flipflops (or sparkly Fitflops) plus a mid weight sweater and wrap, alternatively pretty much anything goes.
I’m off up to Napa and then to LA, so as someone who can’t pack without options, and has to pack for every eventuality, yes I have a lot with me. From high heels and short chic dresses to workout kit. And yes my case weighs a ton….