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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Halloween Peninsula Dispatch

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Mac n' Cheese...and PUMPKIN in Half Moon Bay - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • Mac n' Cheese...and PUMPKIN in Half Moon Bay

Happy mid-October from the Peninsula! The lights might be brighter downtown but the pumpkins certainly are brighter (and way bigger) down here.

Unless you’ve been spending October under a rock or a giant pumpkin, chances are you’re aware that Half Moon Bay is the World Pumpkin Capital, which essentially means the secluded coastal town is to Halloween what the North Pole is to Christmas. It's the place to be this time of year.

Half Moon Bay

This weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17-18, from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., is the 45th edition of the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. Outside of too many to count jack-o-lanterns, glass pumpkins, and The [Drought-Affected] Giant Pumpkin, you’ve got everything pumpkin-themed to eat: pancakes, pie, bread, sticky buns, ice cream, chicken pumpkin sausages, chili, dipping sauces for pretzels, seeds with mac n’ cheese. Equally important, you’ve got Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Harvest Ale, made with local sugar pie pumpkins. And I'll you decide if this is a trick or a treat: pumpkin jack-o-tinis with Purissima Vodka from Half Moon Bay Distillery. (Hint: pumpkin puree and orange juice added). Now that is spooky.

Admission is free, food is not. The Festival is located on Main Street between Mill and Spruce streets. Some helpful advice from this writer: Do not drive on 92 to get to or leave the Festival unless you’re fond of Bay Bridge eastbound traffic on a Friday at 5 pm. Don't do it.

San Bruno and San Mateo

On the restaurant front, ask any food writer what the next big trendy cuisine will be and you’ll hear a few “Peruvians,” a couple “African countries,” but it’ll mostly be “Middle Eastern” because of how influential new cookbooks and concepts from the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi and Michael Solomonov have become. Not one but two fast casual, high caliber schwarma-pita-hummus-falafel spots have opened with Village Hummus in San Mateo and San Bruno’s Pita Hub. Also worth noting is the opening of Bonchon in San Mateo because we just can never get enough double fried Korean fried chicken. This is the South Korea- based global chain’s (Cambodia! Bahrain!) third Peninsula/South Bay location.

799 El Camino Real, San Bruno, 650-875-7482.
1001 Park Place, San Mateo, 650-212-7711.
220 S B St., San Mateo, 650-458-3110.

A Pita and Schwarma Feast at Pita Hub - FACEBOOK/ PITA HUB
  • Facebook/ Pita Hub
  • A Pita and Schwarma Feast at Pita Hub

The newest Off the Grid mobile food market recently opened Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Hillsdale Caltrain station in San Mateo, at the southeast corner of E. Hillsdale Blvd. and S. El Camino Real. It’s up and running just in time for the holiday surge at the nearby shopping center. This is the 48th (wow, where has time gone?!) Off the Grid market in the Bay Area. Expected vendors include the superb Oaxacan Kitchen. Capelo’s Hill Country BBQ and Frozen Kuhsterd.

East Palo Alto

Lastly, pinkies up, my friends. Here’s both a completely bizarre and fun spin on the traditional afternoon tea. Starting next Thursday the 22nd and each non-Thanksgiving Thursday thru the holiday season, the Four Seasons Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto is hosting “BYTE Nights” from 8:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. at the hotel's restaurant Quattro’s bar. Instead of sipping Earl Grey with harp music, you’ve got DJ KenFused turning it up and tea inspired cocktails served in tea pots. Whoa. And out with the cucumber sandwiches, in with foie gras poppers and s’more choux buns for your mega bytes. I mean, light bytes.

2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto, 650-470-2889.

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Trevor Felch

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