Half Moon Bay was a must visit for this trip for one reason – Barbara’s Fishtrap.
My orthopedist, who grew up in San Francisco, suggested me to go to this restaurant for the best clam chowder. He told me that Santa Cruz usually had an annual clam chowder cook off. So, all this time I thought Barbara’s Fishtrap was in Santa Cruz, but it actually was in Half Moon Bay. Regardless, I visited both places. Santa Cruz blog post will be out soonish. My cousin also told me to visit Barbara’s Fishtrap – she was the one that told me it was in Half Moon Bay.
Anyway, to our luck, there was a Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival on the weekend I went to Barbara’s Fishtrap. Had I just went for the restaurant, I wouldn’t have done much in Half Moon Bay and probably left shortly after. While Half Moon Bay wasn’t the clam chowder city, it did host the largest annual pumpkin festival in the world.
Barbara’s Fishtrap (website)
By the time we arrived, it was probably around 2 or 2:30pm. We drove longer than usual because there was heavy traffic due to the festival. We found a parking spot and got a ticket to be called. P.s. Barbara’s Fishtrap closes at around 3pm to 3:30pm so in case you want to make it for lunch you better arrive by 2pm because there will be other people queued until 3pm by then. Luckily we made the cut that day.
In one of the rooms. We were sitting in a different, more outdoorsy room near the entrance.
There isn’t a line for the restaurant as people get the tickets and can freely go or wait for names to be called. There was a line for people waiting for takeaway though.
The must order. There was clam chowder in a small cup, large cup, and here in this photo is clam chowder in sourdough bread.
Was the food so amazing that they were simply incredible and gave me mouthgasm? To be honest, no. But they were still very good and very fresh and very yummy. I’d give it around 8.3-8.5 (out of 10 of course).
Half Moon Bay
Maverick Surf Company (website)
Another restaurant nearby called La Costanera (website) Peruvian restaurant
Yeah the weather was kind gray and gloomy that day
Oceano Hotel & Spa Half Moon Bay Harbor (website)
The Shoppes at Harbor Village, we saw a bride coming into the the village that day
Completely dead, many shops were closed. We were wondering why cause it was a Saturday until I remembered I saw the poster below at Barbara’s Fishtrap.
50th Annual Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival (website)
We were lucky that of all the weekends that this was hosted, the largest pumpkin festival in the world was hosted on the weekend we went to Barbara’s Fishtrap. We could have gone on the weekday and missed this festival completely as well. Since we were here, of course we had to check it out! The festival was I guess was a prelude to Halloween. Prepare for a photo dump.
At the beginning we thought – oh this festival seemed so small, why weren’t there that many people? We were mistaken.
Barterra – just some wine bar we chanced upon
This was just the beginning of the streets with the pumpkin festival. Some performers in the middle with a large audience surrounding them
We later came here to buy pumpkin pie
This was the pumpkin pie, not too sweet, felt very homemade
DJ of mainstream and dance music, lots of people were dancing about 30 mins later
All kinds of foods were available in the festival
OK. We tried to take a sneak peek of the pumpkin but they purposely fenced it off so you really had to pay first before you can see the pumpkin in real life, so it’s a risk you are taking.
Especially food. Ravioli, Pumpkin bread, ice cream…
Lots of art were on sale that day too
Pumpkin field. This wasn’t in the festival but I believe along the freeway when we were leaving
If you’re ever in San Francisco during October, I definitely recommend you to do what I did and combine Barbara’s Fishtrap and the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival into one day trip!