The San Francisco Peninsula: A Coast Side Day Trip

Food & Drink, USA Travel

California is Number One in the United States for its diverse agricultural products, and the San Francisco Peninsula has its share of offerings. For example, they grow large quantities of Brussel sprouts and pumpkins in the region.

My friends and I had a day trip to explore the coast side of the San Francisco Peninsula. On a sunny fall day, we decided to make pumpkins the theme of our trip. With our ultimate destination, Half Moon Bay, also known as the Pumpkin Capital, in mind, we started in San Francisco and headed south along the Pacific Coast, Highway 1.

Thank you to the San Francisco Peninsula for hosting my stay.

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Rosalind Bakery in Half Moon Bay a day trip from San Francisco

Rosalind Bakery

Rosalind Bakery in Pacifica was our breakfast stop, just a block from the ocean. Pacifica is the perfect San Francisco day trip. The bakery owner, Matthew Kosoy, told us that the negative ions from the surf and the mellow climate positively affect their products. They make their baked goods from flour from the Central Milling Company. If you want to try your hand at home baking, you can purchase the same flour at the bakery.

Owner Matt Kosoy at Rosalind Bakery in Pacifica
Matthew Kosoy, Owner of Rosalind Bakery in Pacifica

Matthew grew tired of his career in information technology as a web developer and began working with bread as a hobby. In 2017, he started selling bread at a farmer’s market. Matthew enjoyed the bread-baking challenge, as it always had a new aspect. The temperature and humidity impacted the bread daily, and he enjoyed having a new test every day. By 2019, he opened Rosalind Bakery in honor of his grandmother.

What to Order at Rosalind Bakery

I ordered a pumpkin Chai latte and a ham and cheese croissant for a mid-morning snack to kick off our pumpkin-themed trip. The pumpkin was the perfect addition to the Chai latte. I chose the ham and cheese croissant while they offered a seasonal pumpkin Danish topped with pepitas. The croissant featured barrel-smoked sliced ham, Provolone cheese, and a bit of mustard for an added zip. Then, they topped and baked the pastry with Everything Bagel seasoning for a flavorful topping. These croissants would also be perfect for a light breakfast.

Had I not had a theme to lean into for my trip, choosing what to eat would have been difficult. I suggest you grab some bread to make a sandwich for lunch, on one of the area’s beaches. While in Pacifica, stop by a local shop and buy some Pacifica Jack cheese to incorporate into that sandwich. Rosalind Bakery also offers some cookies perfect for a road-tripping snack or dessert for lunch.

If you can’t make it to Pacifica, you’ll find other locations in the San Francisco Bay area. You’ll also find their bread and pastries served at several restaurants on the peninsula. Check out their website to find a location near you.

The Pacific Coast Highway on a San Francisco Day Trip
The Pacific Coast, Stunning Views on a San Francisco Day Trip

Continuing south on Highway 1, 30 miles from San Francisco, is the charming town of Half Moon Bay. Known for beaches, surfing, and seafood, Half Moon Bay is the Pumpkin Capital of the world.

Uncle John's Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay
Uncle John’s Pumpkin Farm in the Pumpkin Capital

Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm

To celebrate the fall produce, Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm is a family-owned farm. The pet-friendly pumpkin farm lets you bring the whole family to your pumpkin adventure. The region annually produces 3,000 tons of Cucurbitaceae, the gourd family of flowering plants. You’ll find a variety of pumpkins, squash, and gourds at Farmer John’s, with over a dozen varieties on offer. They even have the Atlantic Giant, which is always a fun variety due to its size.

Whether you’re looking to work up an appetite for a tasty look or to burn off some of the calories after, Half Moon Bay is the place to do it, with its variety of trails. You’ll find various trekking options, from old ranch lands to sandy coastal beaches. Check out their trail guide for a complete listing of hiking options at Half Moon Bay.

Interior of Fattoria E Mare
Interior of Fattoria E Mare in Half Moon Bay

Fattoria E Mare

We stopped at Fattoria E Mare, on the main street in Half Moon Bay. As we entered the bright blue dining room, mare—the sea is evident, but our pumpkin-themed lunch was more representative of the land—fattoria. The chef offers a wide variety of bounty from the sea, like clams, calamari, red snapper, and mussels, if that’s your preference.

Owner Chef Pablo came to the United States from Mexico in 1993. He spent time at Reed Hearon and Laurent Manrique, and while at Luce, he was awarded a Michelin Star four years in a row.

First Course

The four-course lunch even offered choices in the first and second courses. Our first course was two dishes featuring butternut squash and a bit of pumpkin. The first dish featured pumpkin gnocchi with sea salt atop butternut squash chips with paprika. Chef Pablo makes the pasta fresh daily. Secondly, the chef offered butternut squash with burrata and pepitas, also known as pumpkin seeds.

I loved the 2022 Vermentino bottle’s label’s blue, green, and yellow swirls from Barterra Winery. A delta breeze influences the vineyard where these Vermentino grapes grow. It stays cool even during the warm summer.  This Vermentino is a tart wine with notes of lemon and tropical fruit. In addition to pairing well with our pumpkin offerings, it pairs well with seafood and pasta dishes featuring fresh vegetables or pesto sauce.

Second Course

The second course included a duo of pizzas—first a pizza Margherita and then a meat lover’s pizza. They paired the pizza with a 2020 Sojourn red blend from Lodi, composed of almost equal amounts of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, then about six percent Carignane, and a bit of Alicante Bouschet. Smooth, rounded tannins and oak support the black plum and blackberries and finish with pleasing molasses, coffee, and dark chocolate flavors.  A balance of tannin, fruit, and acid makes this blend versatile enough to pair with a wide range of foods. In the second course, it pairs well with the red sauce and the meat on the meat lover’s pizza.

Since pumpkin is a seasonal item, you may not find it on the menu when you visit, but you’ll find another equally excellent seasonal ingredient. You can also order Chef Pablo’s Margherita pizza and the meat lover’s any time with its 24-hour dough fermentation.

Main Course

The main course offered pork chop, mostarda, and chicories paired with a 2019 Odyssey red blend from Lodi, of 67 percent Syrah, 26 percent Zinfandel, and 7 percent Petite Sirah.

Pumpkin Gelato and Pumpkin Flan Brulee at Fattoria E Mare in Half Moon Bay
Pumpkin Gelato and Pumpkin Flan Brulee

Dessert

Finally, as with the first, the dessert course perfectly fits our pumpkin-themed day trip down the San Francisco Peninsula’s coast. We had a house-made pumpkin gelato served on top of a pumpkin flan brulee paired with a 2022 French Colombard from Mendocino. This light and semi-sweet offering balances with good acidity.  It had lovely vivid aromas of golden apples, white pear, floral honeysuckle, and fruit cocktail. The fruity floral made it a natural choice to go with our dessert.

Baterra Winery Wine in Half Moon Bay
Baterra Winery Wine

Barterra Winery

Located next door to Fattoria E Mare, you’ll find Barterra Winery. While you’ll discover Barterra wine on the wine menu at Fattoria E Mare, you can explore Barterra wine at the tasting room next door. You’ll also find local treasures for sale, like honey, jams, and jellies.

To read about another wonderful restaurant in the San Francisco Peninsula, check out this article. The Bayside also makes another perfect San Francisco day trip.

Pin this to your favorite day trip board!

San Francisco Peninsula Pinterest Pin
Piper
Piper

While Piper is a lifelong Michigander, she’s had adventures worldwide. Bomb-sniffing dogs chased her in the middle of the night in Bogota (working late), gate agents refused her boarding to Paraguay (wrong visa), and US Marshals announced her seat number on a plane while looking for a murder suspect (she’d traded seats). It’s always an adventure! She even finds exciting activities in her home state of Michigan, where she lives in Lansing with her husband, Ross Dingman, her daughter, Alexis, and two granddaughters.

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6 Comments

  1. Apryl Chapman Thomas

    Now I am hungry! Great food shots – really want to visit Rosalind Bakery!

    Reply
  2. Hiral Pandya

    Loved how you have covered the coastline with the best food curations. Great food, a slice of cake, a glass of wine and a farm visit, what else do you need? It’s an amazing article that got me salivated. 😉

    Reply
  3. alexa meisler

    I grew up in Northern California and my aunt still has a house in Half Moon Bay. I love to go back and visit this area. Oh, and by the way….. Pumpkin Flan Brulee is yes in my book!

    Reply
  4. Ivan

    Mmmm, that bakery offer looks gooood!
    I’d take that thing in the middle, please, I believe it’s something with pistachio.
    Also, I love Matthew’s story. That’s an environment I’d like to end up in myself, once I get tired from the career grind.

    Reply
  5. Heather

    I love how diverse California is. That’s why it’s my adopted home state. I’ve been to San Francisco and loved exploring the peninsula!

    Reply
  6. Paige

    What a great agricultural trip! Everything sounds so delicious!

    Reply

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Welcome to Follow the Piper! Discover interesting destinations, and practical planning tips for packing more travel into your everyday life.

Our founder and author, Amy Piper, is a freelance travel writer, blogger, photographer, and author specializing in luxury and multi-generational travel. She is a native Michigander who travels through the lens of a food lover and has been to 41 countries and 45 states.

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