Category Archives: Half Moon Bay

Restaurants, shops, people, and the other flotsam and jetsam in Half Moon Bay

Tucker: The Jackalope of Pelican Point

For reasons that I don’t yet entirely understand, it was love at first sight.


There was just something so sturdy and athletic and handsome about him…


… yet whimsical and unassuming and open at the same time.
The experience of seeing Tucker romping the dunes of Pelican Point Beach was like watching a seriously stocky woman having a fabulous time dancing at a wedding.


Tucker LOVES his beach time.


He simply oozes the confidence building attitude of the Jackalope in Boundin’


Come to think of it, he even has a few of the same moves.
For a dog his height, Tucker can really build up a decent head of steam on the firm straightaways.


And where the going gets a little heavier for a critter with three-inch legs sponsoring a two-foot body? Well, this dawg isn’t afraid to make a bit of a mess and let the sand fly where it may! Sometimes you just have to go where the path is a bit rough, like, when there’s a new friend to meet, for example.
It was like living the proverbial slow motion run through the field of daisies into the loving embrace of your soul mate. Cue the violins…


… nope.
He ran right past me. I clearly was so NOT the draw.


Objects of fascination are short lived in the dog world, apparently. The moment a stick showed up on the scene, poor Tucker was as much yesterday’s news as I had been, thirty seconds earlier.

Who knew the axiom “Payback’s a bitch” was so literally true?


At least Tucker got a sympathetic belly rub out of the deal.


In my moment of distress, all I got was a sheepish half glance as he started to slink home. But Tucker has a remarkably fast emotional metabolism, and before he got a short waddle away, he had regained enough of his composure to circle back and tell me a great joke.

I’ll save that for another day. Meanwhile, I’m boundin’ over to to buy the next best cure to a belly scratch for a broken heart: a booster shot of my second favorite jackalope in the Pixar Short Films Collection, Vol. 1,

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Harvey Yaw, Bagpiper For All Occasions

We could hear the bleating of “Amazing Grace” as we stepped out our front door, so I didn’t expect he’s still be playing by the time we got down to the beach and up The Path to the Ritz Carlton.


Good thing Harvey has such a large repertoire.


Harvey is as much a treat to watch as he is to hear. He’s got the full deal going on. And in the luxury of sitting in the sunshine, toes tapping to Harvey’s jigs and hymns, soaking in as much of both as I could, I started to have a few questions.

For instance, we hear this man fairly often from the balcony of our little pied a terre, when the wind is blowing the right direction.  It’s delightful, and when that happens I bless him, wondering what his name is.


The pipes themselves were spectacular. Does the Celtic-looking silver work have any clan significance?


Is that a ceremonial dagger? Do they keep it on hand in case the bladder for the pipes gets stuck on full throttle, like a car alarm that you can’t shut off?

What’s the deal on the tabs? Does it help them avoid the embarrassment of getting caught with their socks inside out?

And where do you buy shoes like that? Is there a secret “Hobbits ‘R’ Us” store somewhere, maybe hiding in plain sight?


Which lead (naturally) to “I wonder what he’s got in his pocketsies?”

When he stopped playing, Rick went up to give him our “rickandkathy” calling card and let him know he’d be showing up on our blog in the next day or two.  And that’s when not one but two mysteries were solved.

He unsnapped his furry pouch thingy and withdrew…


… his business card.


Turns out Harvey W. Yaw is a Bagpiper for all Occasions.


I’m not sure what the exact occasion was yesterday, but for us, the event was a beautiful early evening in April on the cliffs of Pelican Point, with Harvey.

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The Sandbox of Pelican Point

Getting sand between the toes with friends and taking on the Pacific ocean are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


Sometimes people show up in multiple family units, dedicated to wearing the little kids out for an early bedtime so the big kids can reminisce about how good it used to feel when they were little kids and would play so hard they would go to bed exhausted, the fun quotient of the day thoroughly used up without anything wasted and nothing left over.

And yes, I’ll take anyone’s photo, anywhere, every time, going to great lengths to get strangers a high-res, Christmas-card worthy image, for free. It might be a sickness. I can’t help myself.


Sometimes the gathering is more “Hey, watcha wanna do this afternoon, Becky?”


For some it’s all about the thrill of bare, numb feet, racing towards the roaring crash of water coming at you, safe because you’re holding hands… and Mom has all the shoes…


… and sometimes the thunder of waves provides a refuge of uninterrupted mind space, exactly the level of solitude you need to become the hero, a doer of great deeds of daring on the open seas.


The beach is a “mistakes cost nothing” canvas one moment…


… and a catwalk for a high-fashion dreamer the next…


… and a chance to stomp ahead down the path in a little pink pout, if you feel like it.


It’s a 3D light box with no self-awareness and room to spread out a little and play with light and shadows and some new moves*…


… and it’s a time for kindred spirits to stroll along in a silence of understanding and companionship.


It sponsors spontaneous affection one moment…


… and coy-for-the-camera cheesiness the next.

But mostly, the beach is a clean slate, where nothing needs to compete for room to grow…


… including friendship.

* Stay tuned… coming to a screen near you soon!

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Lulu and Oliver Visit The Beach

Two new ecru Poos flew through the dunes of Half Moon at noon.

Did we just win something? I feel like we should have won something…

The one in the green collar is Oliver. And the one in pink?



They’re five-month old Standard Poodle siblings. Lulu lives in Half Moon Bay. Bro Ollie lives in El Granada. Their respective owners got them together for a visit and a romp on Sunday.


There was some important skills-training going on with the older kids. The black Standard (from the same breeder, I think) was working the ball moves, showing them how it’s done.


Lulu caught on quickly.

While the twenty-yard tennie chase was fun, the pups had their fill of it soon enough.

Time to practice the synchronized prancing routine.


Of the eight available paws here, it seemed that only three were touching the ground at any given moment.


The new trick for the weekend? The half-circle split and return. They did pretty well, except Oliver couldn’t quite get the syncopated trotting thing down. No worries… there’s always next time.

And look! Kids!


We thought they were a mixed Afghan-Poodle blend at first, the way that kinky hair shimmied and shook. Lulu was working on the blond hair flippy thing that female teenagers seem to enjoy so much.

It turned out they were simply soggy Standards.


Like all youngsters, they were trying on different roles and poses. For instance, it occurred to Lulu that if she could get both ears flapping in time, she might get a bit more lift. She’s seen “Dumbo.” Don’t tell her what is and isn’t possible.


Oliver started the butt nipping circuit.


Lulu ended it.

I must say, I don’t blame Oliver. Lulu is so sweet…


… I almost bit her myself.

Hey, Rick? Forget the elk.

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Restaurant Patio Pooches

Rick and I were hanging out in the spring sunshine this morning on the patio of the Moonside Bakery and had the good fortune to meet Diesel, the 5-year old 100-lb. Rottweiler. The encounter once again confirmed my theory that some of the best people watching at restaurants happens from the knees down.


I have a somewhat traumatic history with substantial guard dogs, so I made sure I didn’t have any bear claw crumbs on my face before I went over to say hi.

As it turns out, the most threatening thing about Diesel was his doggie breath. He’s a real sweetie.

Most restaurant patio dogs are.


Oh sure, some of them aren’t hap-hap-happy about being there, but then, they probably aren’t happy about being anywhere.


I’ve seen a few who are patio pooches by virtue of a little wet weather and the ubiquitous North American “no dogs allowed inside” policy.

Poor sturdy little soggy pooch. His face reminded me of one of my cousins.


The ones who get to inquire at table side about dining options seem to get the most fun out of the outings.


Others enjoy a more privileged seating assignment.


For this charmer, it was enough just to have the chance to sit in the sun and show off the new bling.


The biggest bang for the bark comes, though, when restaurant dogs appear to groove on the chance to meet new friends.


Some friendships get off to an astounding level of intimacy right off the bat.


See? This is why I checked my face this morning for crumbs.

The Real After Shock? No Tsunami in Half Moon Bay

Well, one out of three isn’t so bad.


Of my three predictions yesterday, only the final one came true: Rick and I now have an additional 317 fabulous wave photos in our archives.

We’re gonna need another external hard drive.


There was plenty of drama, but it was more of the “sun streaming through the clouds on breath-taking back-lit scenery” than the “tragedy at sea” type.


There were lots of people down at the coast, many choosing a safe perch from which to peer into the horizon for signs of the monster waves. The front yard of the Ritz Carlton is about 75 feet straight up from the beach.

It could be anywhere from 40 to 100 feet of cliff. I’m bad at guesstimating that kind of thing. But it’s up there.


See? Safe.


Some settled for the mid-span viewing zone. Adventurous, yes, but still within the “not likely to need an at-sea rescue” margin of sanity.


Others? Not so careful.


Of course, if you’ve traveled all the way from South Carolina and never had a toe in the Pacific ocean before and this was your only window, and you were only going to be down there for five minutes…


… well, there are always a thousand stories beyond the yellow tape.

P.S. This morning, March 1, there are reports of devastating tsunami damage and loss of life along the coast of Chile. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering as a result.

Lunch At The Flying Fish Grill

We drive by it on every commute over the hill, just a tiny place, tucked in beside Tom & Pete’s Produce and the Half Moon Bay Fish Company.


Last Saturday we were hitting the fish market anyway, so what the heck?


It was gray and threatening soggy. Otherwise, we would have sat on the wee patio.


Inside it was teeny and informal, and comfortably packed with friendly staff and unhurried grazers… the kind of place a gal can refresh her lipstick right at the table.


From my side of the table, it was a toss up between the crab melt and a fish taco. The Landshark beer was a no brainer.


Rick always goes for the lager.


Decorated in a quirky blend of retro-Hawaiian and coastal funky, the net result is “not-trying-too-hard” fun.


Yup… fresh.


Fresh, friendly, fast, fabulous, and almost free. Really… my grande fish Taco (the “grande” upgrade for 30 cents gets you cheese and avocado) was $4.15.


You gotta know that any dining establishment stocking malt vinegar at each table understands fish.

Rick heard “fresh halibut, just in” and hit the buzzer.


In minutes, Jeanine delivered to him a generous portion of perfectly pan-seared fillet, which came with more fries than pictured here.  However, I had a hard time holding him off long enough to let the waitress traffic die down in front of the window so I could get the shot. The fries kept disappearing between each attempt. I finally settled on this and released the poor man to his lunch.


Didn’t seem to upset him too much.