Of course I had to return to the Jalama Beach Store a second time to try their Ahi Burger and onion rings!

Spending nearly a third of my time in the last year traveling the western United States in a travel trailer has been quite a change for me. Trips thus far haven’t exceeded six weeks, so I’ve never really longed for home – instead I’ve relished each adventure. What I found quickly, however, was that pantry storage space for ingredients is somewhat limited (and quality ingredients sometimes difficult to obtain) – so I’m trending at about a third of my meals being from restaurants along the way.
Honing my Seattle-foodie skills, I’ve begun planning these meals-out just as I plan routes and campsites – primarily searching Instagram channels and asking locals for suggestions. To my surprise, my success rate in finding drool-worthy restaurants has been high!

I’d all but blown-off the recommendations for the ‘World Famous Jalama Burger‘ at our county campground due to what I was sure was a lot of hype (and perhaps a lot of desperation for it being the only thing available within a 20-mile drive). Boy, was I ever wrong! The burger itself was massive – boasting a massive beef patty and enough crisp, fresh veggies and bacon to make you wonder how you’ll ever eat it without dislocating your jaw. It’s no wonder Ray Kroc liberated the Jalama Burger’s “secret sauce” recipe for use on his own new burger enterprise back in the 70s after becoming a frequent flyer at the Beach Store’s restaurant! Once you add epic views of the Pacific Ocean, rolling hillsides aglow with brilliant mustard blossoms, a cold beer, and a heap of piping-hot crispy fries, you’ll soon realize you’re in burger Nirvana.

There were a lot of things to love about Half Moon Bay – one of which was Sacrilege Brewing. I’d been craving fish tacos and finding them on the menu here made my choice a no-brainer. These tacos were jam-packed! Even with the doubling-down on corn tortillas, it was all I could do to keep this delicious mess controlled long enough to get it to my mouth. Hand-dipped halibut filets were cradled in a nest of tangy slaw with a spicy-citrus drizzle to keep flavors balanced. Extra jalapeƱos were the icing on the cake.

Just down the street from the brewery I bumbled into San Benito House’s Garden Deli Cafe. Unbeknownst to me, this Half Moon Bay gem is known far and wide for having some of the best sandwiches around! The line was long, but service quick (despite making every sando to order). What really sets them aside, however, is their house-baked bread – lined up on the counter like soldiers ready for action. It’s rare you’ll find me raving about a tuna sandwich, but their version – stacked high with tuna salad – was as hearty as they come. My choice included their olive-walnut bread, lettuce and tomato and was just the right size to energize me for an afternoon bike ride.

Rolling in to 100-year-old Twin Oaks Roadhouse, my expectations weren’t high. As expected, things were a little crusty, lights were a little dim, and the bar was sprinkled with folks who looked like they’d spent a little too much time in their seats. With that said, my Nashville Hot Fried Chicken sandwich was out of this world! Photos can be deceiving, and I’ll bet you thought I’d gotten up-close-and-personal with my photography making this monster look larger-than-life, but it really was that big! This juicy, hot, delicious mess was perfectly cooked: Crispy out outside, tender and so juicy on the inside, and accompanied with all the usual suspects (lettuce, pickle, and a killer spicy sauce). Service was stellar, and despite what could’ve been an awkward experience sandwiched between locals, we felt welcomed by the friendly folks around us. The bonus to this gem was that it was just minutes from our AirBnB, and a great little country store where we picked up all the makings for Manhattans, once waddling back home.

I love a good fish sandwich, so when I spied this gem on an internet search, I know I’d have to give it a whirl. Half Moon Bay Brewing was in a busy spot near the marina, with a tight parking lot, but inside it was wide open and comfortable. Their blacked fish sandwich featured fresh, local cod, a scrumptious lemon aioli, and bright greens with a citrus twist – and served on Acme Bread‘s pillowy ciabatta. Fittingly paired with their Half Moon Bay IPA – rich with Galaxy hops and hints of stone fruit and guava. Service was prompt, but we were thankful to have headed in a little before the dinner crowd hit just an hour later.

You knew I’d be sharing my favorite eggs Benny joint, right? Cafe Bellini hit this one out of the park! Their Blackstone benny was packed with bacon, smothered with house-made hollandaise, and boasted lovingly-poached eggs. I’ll be the first one to tell you I’m a hollandaise-snob, and also the first to say these folks have it perfected! I’ve had my fair share of losers when it comes to eggs Bennies, but this was definitely one to write home about. Even their fluffy English muffins were many steps above average. While the location wasn’t anything to write home about, the service and ambiance sure were.

Another gem, just steps from Cafe Bellini, City Chopsticks was tucked between nondescript businesses in a strip mall – but that’s definitely their only downside. We regaled in course-after-course of tasty, authentic Cantonese, Hunan and Szechuan fare – with most dishes boasting locally-sourced ingredients. Service was the best we’d received during our entire trip and we were sure to thank our AirBnB hosts for the recommendation. The Lu brothers, owners, were overseeing operations – helping as needed, as well as graciously welcoming guests and ensuring their enjoyment. A steady stream of locals popped in and out picking up to-go orders, without disrupting the flow of our generous spread.

Heading to California? Drop by any of these gems – and (as always) let me know your thoughts and experiences, too.

Written by

Seattle Maven

Former concierge, frequent bruncher, forever pug-lover, animated talker, wandering hiker, enthusiastic traveler, authentic writer and hollandaise fan.
Join me in my travels locally (Seattle & PNW) and throughout the world!