Pescadero, we could eat you up!
While driving on Highway One, you easily get hypnotized by its beauty – eyes usually always focused on the ocean and the beaches – results in most of the time travelers overlooking the one or another sign pointing to a hidden gem, only a short detour away. Like Pescadero. Coming from south, fifteen miles before Half Moon Bay, Pescadero is only five minutes drive inland. Handpainted messages pinned to the power poles welcome you to the little village, tucked away among farms, that is home to 650 people. And while the population number is not high, Pescadero has compiled serious culinary treasures.
Pescadero Farmers Market
Let’s start with the Pescadero farmers market. Every Thursday from 3 pm to 7 pm the local farmer bring their produce to the Stage Road, selling only the freshest veggies and fruits. In fact, does it get any fresher as the transport time is barely 30 minutes from each farm? Juicy strawberries and peaches, plump heirloom tomatoes and sweet cherries, cucumbers that taste like cucumbers, and everything else that the harvest has to give.
Arcagneli Grocery Company
If Pescadero is on your road trip list, then we bet it’s because you somehow, somewhere found out about the artichoke bread from Arcagneli Grocery Company. The first time we got there, we almost burst out in tears, because the lady in front of us snagged the last loaf. Desperation. Already on our way out, the baker emerged from the kitchen, shouting “new bread!”
So here is the deal, they sell out so fast that if you see only 3-4 pieces of bread waiting to be picked up, let someone else take them. New, fresh, warm, soft artichoke bread is on its way. Meanwhile, browse the aisles for homemade pasta sauces, dressings, and dips. The family-run store is well-stoked on everything you need for a picnic at the Pescadero State Beach.
Next culinary stop: Harley Farms and their award-winning goat cheese. Drive through the “downtown”, follow the street to the right and you will find a storybook farm. Colorful signs decorate the shed and direct you “to the shop” or “to the goats.” After an obligatory selfie with the goats, dive into the shop and let your taste buds enjoy one of best cheese made in California. Harley Farm makes delicious goat cheese, from honey-lavender chevre to the cranberry-walnut rounds to garlic-herb Fromage Blanc. Every bite a dream. We also like to stock up on their homemade vinaigrettes that make our lunch salads more exciting. It might require more planning, but Harley Farms host regular diners in the attic above the shop. Check their calendar.
Cioppino is North California’s culinary masterpiece. Hodgepodged by Italian immigrants from San Francisco in the late 1800s, Cioppino has spread out to every dive bar that is near the ocean. Duarte’s version of the tomato-base seafood stew has an extra heap of crab meat that makes it superb. You can eat it come rain or shine, but on a foggy day, the Cioppino feels just more comforting. Yes, the Fog, we love it.
Just for a quick coffee fix after the farmers market stroll, Downtown Local is brewing fresh coffee for locals, visitors and the many bikers who stop for a break. At this point, we want to say, that we admire all those people cycling the windy and steep streets of California. Share the road with them and watch out. Back to coffee. The little store also sells pastry bites and has curated collection of vintage items for sale. When we are already talking about vintage, small towns are vintage-lover paradise. Way cheaper than the fancy counterparts in big cities and you can score real treasures. A friend of us bargained perfectly preserved peacock chair for $15! Right, $15! Just to compare, they run for more than $300 in stores. There are few in Pescadero for you to browse.
Do you wanna do-si-do? That’s the question every 3rd Saturday of the month at the Pie Ranch. Part educational farm, part market and occasionally square dance wingding with preceding outdoor potluck dinner, Pie Ranch is a great spot on the Highway One to rest for a second, take a seat at the hay bales and indulge in a delicious pie.
So have we convinced you to make that detour to Pescadero? We hope so because we can vouch, you won’t regret it. Tell us your favorite Highway One detour spot?