Two years yonder I attended the grand gourd mecca that is the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival and digested a whopping 11 different pumpkin-flavored food and drink items in a mere 48 hours. It was a recklessly delicious sojourn that I felt in my tummy for some days to come afterward. Thus, being the reasonable, responsible and civil adult that I am, I returned to the Fest this year with one goal in mind: CONSUME 12 PUMPKIN-FLAVORED FOOD AND DRINK ITEMS.
And that's exactly what I did.
Here are the 12 pumpkin-stuffs I consumed in 48 hours at the 2014 HMB Art & Pumpkin Fest (in the order in which they went down my gullet)...
1. Pumpkin Pie Taffy (Half Moon Bay Salt Water Taffy Co.) - I actually sampled the taffy at a restaurant hostess desk within an hour of arriving in town Friday night. I don't think I can understate how awesome this taffy is - with a very real pumpkin-y taste. Left with nary a choice, I later stopped by HMBSWTC to pick up two bags worth.
2. Pumpkin Pie (Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Fest) - Signs throughout the Fest touted their pumpkin pie as the best on planet Earth. While I wouldn't go that far, the hyperbole wasn't that far-fetched as the pie was rather exceptional and probably the best pumpkin-stuff at the actual Fest.
3. Anderson Valley Brewing Company Fall Hornin' Pumpkin Ale (San Benito House) - AVBC makes some of my favorite beers AND I'm obsessed with pumpkin beer. This seemed like a slam dunk. Unfortunately I found the Fall Hornin to be a little too dark, therefore heavy, for a sunny outdoor afternoon and a little sparse on the pumpkin aura that I had hoped for.
4. Pumpkin Bread (HMBA&PF) - The pumpkin bread was pretty stellar. A very buttery, sugary crust and a nice fluffy pumpkin cake. Would I have happily downed a whole loaf in one sitting? Maybe.
5. Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale (Half Moon Bay Brewing Company) - The annual official beer of the fest, the Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale is everything the AVBC pumpkin beer isn't: lighter, tastier and packed with pumpkin essence. I'll just be frank: I drank a few of these.
6. Pumpkin Cookie (HMBA&PF) - This pumpkin cookie was so meh and insignificant I can barely remember anything about it. Think of it as the Josh Hartnett of pumpkin cookies.
7. Pretzel with Sweet Pumpkin Dipping Sauce (HMBA&PF) - This was basically a salted Super Pretzel with a side of pumpkin pie puree... AND I LOVED IT.
8. Khoresh~ E Kadoo Tanbal (Cafe Gibraltar) - Cafe Gibraltar is beloved up and down the San Mateo County coast for its authentic fine dining Mediterranean fare. After a day of eating pumpkin sweets, a real meal seemed in order. And, of course, I ordered the pumpkin stew. Thick, heavy on spice and packed with real pumpkin pieces, it was a top notch dish.
9. Pumpkin Waffle (Half Moon Bay Lodge) - The hotel courteously offered gratis continental breakfast and on Sunday morning they brought out pumpkin waffle batter. Although you can see I suck at making pretty waffles, it still tasted really pumpkin-y and much better than expected from a free hotel bfast.
10. Pumpkin Spice Latte (Half Moon Bay Coffee Company) - You know I started the Sunday festival festivities with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. While not the best I've ever had, certainly better than 'Bucks.
11. Pumpkin "Scone" (HMBCC) - For a place that makes solid lattes, HMBCC certainly makes peculiarly bad scones. Even more insignificant than Saturday's pumpkin cookie, I'd describe this scone as Josh Hartnett's Stand-In.
12. Pumpkin Gnocchi (Sam's Chowder House) - At my final stop before leaving town, I did not expect Sam's, a long-time popular seaside seafood shack, to have anything pumpkin. However (possibly capitalizing on the pumpkin-crazed idiots like myself in town for the Fest), they DID in the form of a side: pumpkin gnocchi. And they were surprisingly good for a random side at a seafood joint.
And finally, a picture of my dog in front of the HMB sign right before we hit the road back to LA...