Highway 1 from Pacifica to Santa Cruz

I’ve done lots of hiking along Highway 1 this year with my wife. The western sides of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties have gorgeous views of the sea, but also lots of pretty brussels sprout and artichokes farms to walk past. Food options vary in quality for grubby hikers. From North to South:

Surf spot (Pacifica) : http://www.chowhound.com/post/surf-spot-pacifica-opened-week-855037?commentId=9541312

Gherkins (Montara) : ok sandwiches, bloated, soggy, pickles (apparently not homemade).

Barbara’s fish trap (half moon bay) : Good fried fish, I’m not too keen on the chips. Odd seasoning on the clam chowder that veers away from seafood — too much sage and thyme, maybe.

Duarte’s (Pescadero): iconic place, owned for generations— skip the fool’s gold menu main dishes and go straight to the sheet of specials. Artichoke soup (with some warm sourdough bread from Moonside Bakery in Half Moon Bay), local fish such as petrale sole ($5 extra to have it sautéed or blackened instead of fried), ollalieberry pie (top notch filling, weak crust)

Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos (Pescadero) : $3 for one of the best fish tacos I’ve had in a while. Plump, sautéed (maybe grilled), red snapper topped with red salsa.

Downtown Local (Pescadero) : Sightglass coffee, funky vintage pop culture vibe

Highway 1 brewery (Pescadero): good beer, within walking distance to Costanoa (various lodging options from tent to lodge). Good housemade pickles, especially the jalapeños, and meaty hot wings. Hot sauce for the wings, which you can get naked or breaded, was very spicy.

Pie ranch (pescadero) : outer rim was best crust in this stretch of the 1— butter flavor and flaky. Something went wrong with the bottom crust, which was almost solid butter. Fillings were polarizing to our group. Lemon buttermilk pie was curdy and awesome (to me)— reminded me of farmer’s cheese. Chocolate was too eggy for my taste, others loved it.

Swanton Berry farm (Davenport) : jams to sample (Tayberry was my favorite), vegan vegetable curry soup which smelled really good. Pie crust was hard, but good ollalieberry filling.

Whale City (Davenport) : pastry window with some novelties like ollalieberry croissants (filling better than the dough) and a good carrot muffin. Artichoke omelette sounded overwrought (pesto, artichoke, goat cheese, etc.) but was generous with the artichokes and quite good. Solid burger at dinner time. Pie is unremarkable.

What else is good along this stretch?


I wish I knew more about places along here, myself. Here’s just a couple I know about personally.

Sam’s - stay away. I mean, it not terrible, but between having a wait and being mediocre…

Pasta Moon - nice enough, kind of down home. Lots of things that are now standard ( like a good burrata ).

Half Moon Bay Coffee Company - hits the spot on a cold blustery morning ride. Hot chocolate and fries.

Sushi Main Street - while this wouldn’t make anyone’s list of best sushi in the bay area, I thought it serviceable a few times when I stopped in. Nice rock bar - shale?

San Benito Ale House - this is the San Benito Hotel. It has a very historic bar in the front corner, so I like stopping in. They have had a succession of attempted fancier restaurants in “the back”, but the bar has always been very pleasant. With their new focus on local beers it seems even nicer.

Ketch Joanne - A real seafood shack. My choice for Crab Weekend ( when we had Crab Weekend ) because the lines at Barbara’s were always really long. Better to just hit the window for crab, instead of going inside.

3-Zero Cafe - excellent american breakfasts at the cafe at the airport. Closes around 2. Fun for kids with a bit of memorabilia and the occasional plane.

Pescadero Country Store - nice place for sandwiches. Warm. Nice outside green spot if you happen to see some sun. Not so much to write home about but would stop in again. ( haven’t tried the taqueria on the corner, would be interested in a report )

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What recommends Sam’s Chowder House is dogs okay at outdoor seating.

Stopped for lunch at Via Uno in half moon bay around a year ago for lunch . I enjoyed my pizza with anchovies along with a mixed salad that was lightly dressed with a raspberry vinergerate , also had a nice glass of wine . I don’t remember the varietal . There has been one place I have been wanting to stop at . I think it’s in Motara . It’s on the ocean side of Hwy 1 and is this little taco shack . It’s sort of bent over and run down looking . Has anyone stopped in ? It looks like a great place .

We stopped at ARK Indian in Half Moon Bay a couple of months ago for lunch. The food was surprisingly good. I don’t remember any specifics except that the 10 y/o undoubtedly ordered chicken tikka masala.

Went to Barbara’s Fish Trap a couple of weeks ago. It’s where I want to go when I visit the fishing boats at Pillar Point.

We almost always stop at Creekside Smokehouse in El Granada and pick up a couple of things. http://www.creeksidesmokehouse.com/

There’s a new place called the barn in half moon bay, approx 2 miles north from the intersection of 92 and 1 mile south from sams

Fairly small menu (burger (also have a home made veggie burger), chicken / pork sandwiches, salad, and they use local / organic / home made cheese etc.So a labor of love and also a wee bit pricey. We think its awesome

disclaimer: one of the owners is a good family friend

Dogs OK at outdoor seating at the 3-zero cafe, pretty sure I saw one.

We stopped at the Country Store yesterday for lunch and sat outside at a picnic table since we had our dog with us. (There’s seating inside as well which looked nice.) My husband had the fish and chips which he liked. It was a huge portion (really enough for two) and very fresh, but the (too thick) potato wedges weren’t cooked all the way through. I had an excellent chicken club on sliced sourdough. Very pleasant sitting outside. We’ll be back.
After lunch, we drove up to see the goats at Harley Farm - cute as always.

After camping this weekend we stopped by Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos. Tried carnitas, fish, al pastor, pollo asado, chile verde. Liked the al pastor the most. Fish was good as well. would have preferred them using different salsa for different tacos since all except chile verde used the red one. Pollo asado was a little dry with the breast meat and chile verde was a little tough. Forgot to order the chorizo that @tm.tm mentioned here .

Duarte’s was busy with a half hour wait.

Our preschool teacher, who lives in La Honda, recommends Amigos, Duarte’s and Cindy’s wood fired pizzas (Pescadero Country Store). Anyone tried the pizzas? A separate person recommended the artichoke bread from the Country Store.

BTW, I vote thumbs up on Memorial County Park for great camping among old growth redwood trees and a easy non-dizzying 7 mile drive to good food in Pescadero. The water hole/ creek, a 0.3 mi hike from Wurr Flat, is a striking local wonder. Would be a wonderful picnic spot with gourmet takeout from Pescadero.

+1 on The Barn. Good ingredients prepared well. Had the regular burger, fries, ancho-chile pulled pork sandwich, curry squash soup, and apple shortbread. The pork sandwich was like a cross between a regular pulled pork sandwich and a banh mi. They didn’t numb the heat for both the squash soup and the pork sandwich. The apple shortbread was great. We bought the last piece. The tartness of the apple, and the light sweetness of the rest produced a dessert that in our opinion compared favorably against the well known pie, cake, tart places in the Bay Area. Nice, relaxed seating area.

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Sadly, the Pescadero Country Store is no longer an option.

That is very sad. It was a nice space. Who are the owners?

Barbara’s serves the best bowl of cioppino in NorCal, for my money.

Also killer homemade cheesecakes, when they’re available - huge oldschool NY style deli slices! Don’t be fooled by the MOR commercial key limes just because it’s a fish shack… one of the waitresses bakes these cheesecakes at home and they’re the best I’ve had in recent memory!

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My preschool teacher got the scoop. Pescadero Country Store is owned by a locally prominent family. The fire left one wall standing. That allowed them to rebuild with a renovation permit instead of a rebuild permit, and a rebuild permit would be a lot more costly. I was told also they just redid all the bathrooms and then the fire came while they were out of town.

So hopefully they will be able to rebuild soon.

I stopped at Swanton Barry farm today and got the a blackberry cobbler out of the refrigerator. Delicious berry part, but the whipped cream was thick and over-whipped, and the crust, which sat under the cream and over the berries, tasted stale. Oh well, their jams are killer, so it’s still worth a stop. I think they also had pumpkin pie and a strawberry shortcake available.

We also hit the Barn for a burger. I asked for the Hot Farmer burger “medium-rare,” and it came out more medium and needed more salt. Good toppings and bun, so enjoyable overall. Thin cut skin on fries were great and they use Sir Kensington ketchup, which is very tomato-ey, and probably the first non-Heinz ketchup that I’ve been cool with.

I had a nice breakfast at The Press in El Granada a while back. A bonus is that they open really early (4 a.m. M-F and 5 a.m. on the weekend). Kind of hippy-dippy California, in a good way.

Uni on the pier at HMB after cracking open live sea urchins. Bring vinegared rice and nori.

I am curious about Dad’s Luncheonette in HMB. The chef used to be the chef de cuisine at Saison. Anyone tried?


Architecture and coastal views brought us to the Pacifica Taco Bell.

The Beefy Fritos® Burrito, on the dollar menu, was the salty crunchy experience I needed after a labored hike. I’ve grown to find their other items more wretched as I get older, so I was happy to find this new go-to item.

The Enchurito (?) was a bag of nacho cheese with some sort of packing material inside.


So did you think that this is the best Taco Bell in the world?

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr