[Eat] Dad’s Luncheonette

“I can’t believe we are at the beach this late!” I remember shouting to my mom years ago, in the pitch black night. “We should make this a tradition.”

My friends (who were basically my sisters), Amanda and Kristina, excitingly agreed. It was the Thursday of Thanksgiving. After dinner and dessert and dishes, my mom had casually mentioned driving to the beach. We thought she was joking. There was no way we were lucky enough to get to go to the beach this late. Holiday or not.

But she wasn’t joking. We piled into the backseat and drove to the coast, singing and waving our hands to Hotel California on the way. I had that giddy feeling you can only get from doing something completely unordinary and unscripted. As far as my teenage brain was concerned, this was the thrill of a lifetime.

We have yet to return to the beach late at night during the annual thankful Thursday. The night blissfully remains in my memory, not morphing into a tradition after all. However, this past weekend, I discovered something almost as delicious as being a teenager, out past bedtime with your feet in the cold sand. And it’s called Dad’s Luncheonette.


Dad’s Luncheonette is a small eatery off the coast of Half Moon Bay. The kitchen is housed in a train caboose and there are a few chairs and counters within the wood fence built around it. There was a slight chill outside – as to be expected on most days, for most Northern California beach towns – but huddled close together in line, within the fence, the wind was blocked. The day was nice.

The menu is limited but everything looked tempting. Mike and I both ordered a beer and the Hamburger Sandwich. (Although there is “melty cheese” on it… which would make it a Cheeseburger Sandwich, right?) We also spilt an order of the Mac & Cheese with chips.

There’s a reason their website mentions the food is meant to be “enjoyed quickly, messily, on [their] patio…” Our sandwiches were absurdly messy and the patio is tiny; so eat quick – with a lot of napkins – and move along for the next group of foodies to enjoy Dad’s.

Get there early because things sell out quickly
Mike at Dad’s!

We ended up taking our lunch to-go and ate across the street at Half Moon Bay State Beach. (Note: there is a $10 parking fee at this beach.) When the sun was out, it was just hot enough to be considered a nice day. However, even with the occasional cloud coverage, the beach and the view was so pretty, there wasn’t room for complaining.

California Girls

In between gusts of wind and sips of beer, I quickly devoured my cheese hamburger sandwich. It was messy and juicy and satisfying. The bites of fried egg with the combination of burger, melty cheese, and Dad’s sauce was perfect. The grilled bread complimented the sandwich so well, I didn’t even mind that it was white bread and not wheat or sourdough. (#healthyeaterproblems)

Too hungry to snap a better picture

And after? the mac & cheese. THE MAC & CHEESE! Creamy, ooey and gooey. Plus, the crunchy house-made potato chips on top? Next. Level. Mike and I both commented that we should’ve got our own instead of sharing one. The ultimate compliment coming from two sharing-loving people like us…

The food was delicious and satisfying. It’s a splurge meal but not one that you should feel guilty about. After all, almost everything is organic, homemade, and local.

The beach on Thanksgiving night never became a tradition but there’s no doubt that eating Dad’s Luncheonette, seaside, should become one!

Playing Kubb after lunch (which was harder than it looked with the wind!)

PS. Speaking of beaches, I’ll be posting about our trip Bali this week!

PPS. Dad’s Luncheonette is where it’s at but this isn’t a secret. We waited 1 hour to get our food so don’t come starving! (However, the place might have been so packed because of this article that came out in the SF Chronicle the week before.)

Also, a friend we were with is lactose intolerant and Dad’s didn’t allow for any substitutions; including taking the cheese off the hamburger sandwich. The girl working the register mentioned they had become overwhelming behind by making modifications to orders but, if someone has an allergy or intolerance, you’d think exceptions could be made… Luckily our friend had medication with him and was able to still order/chow down.

[Get Away] Sebastopol, CA

Sebastopol is about 50 miles North of San Francisco where art, local wine, and organic food have intersected. It’s trendy and cute; affordable with accessible parking (do San Franciscans know of such a thing!?). It’s essentially the perfect place for a weekend away from the Bay. Although, I grew up there (on alternating holidays and every other weekend) so I am biased…

(Who wouldn’t have a sweet spot for the town you used to snag honey sticks and play pretend with your sister in?)

However, Sebastopol has changed since my bike horse riding (we were really good at playing pretend, I’m telling you!) on dirt roads days. Specially there is the addition of The Barlow, a trendy area of shops, galleries, and eateries. Truth be told, Mike and I didn’t know The Barlow even existed. But what a pleasant discovery it was!

We opted out of the Hallmark fueled February 14th madness this year and postponed celebrating until the weekend (President’s Day weekend). We’ve been wanting to do a tour and tasting at Spirit Works Distillery for some time and figured the three day weekend was a perfect time to go.

Turns out, it poured almost the whole time we were there. Bloated rain drops pounded down with only a few pauses of dryness in between. My big, polka-doted umbrella was essential. Water proof shoes (and mascara!) a must. Puffy jackets and beanies taking priority over any date night outfit I had planned.

It sounds dreary but in reality, it couldn’t have been more perfect. A cozy, romantic, tipsy, love drenched weekend playing tourists in a nearby town. A pocket of time that I could feel how good the memories in-the-making were.

After we checked into the Sebastopol Inn, conveniently located just across the street from The Barlow, we started our night at MacPhail Tasting Lounge. Here we spilt a flight anticipating a boozy night with a tour and tasting scheduled next and dinner at a place with a seemingly delicious cocktail menu!

After our wine, we walked to Spirit Works. A grain to glass distillery located in The Barlow (seriously, best place ever). They use only organic grains for their alcohol and are a women run establishment. It’s safe to say there were a whole lotta things I liked about the place!




The tour was fun and interesting. And then it was on to the good part, the tastings! Everything we tried was so, so good. We ended up buying a sampler and a bottle of cask strength wheat whiskey.

My favorite was the sloe gin (that is basically gin and juice …that they call their gin and juice #mindonmymoney). I typically don’t like sweet drinks but this stuff was good. Highly recommended, y’all.

Then it was time for dinner at zazu kitchen and farm. Mike and I really like craft cocktails (if you can’t tell already) and local, sustainable food. Zaza was close to an oasis for us. We started with a cheese and meat plate (bad vegan…), picking the lonza, the weirauch st. rose (sheep) cheese, and iscalini cheddar pimento  (cow) cheese. YUM!!

We spilt a salad, bacon wrapped dates, a bucket of Korean fried chicken wings, and a poutine-like dish (Mike is Canadian so we always order anything close to poutine when we see it on a menu).  It was way more meat than we usually eat. I enjoyed every bite though.

We went back to the hotel after dinner. It was sprinkling out but we decided to go hot tubbing anyway! The Sebastopol Inn was literally perfect for our stay. Conveniently located, cute, clean, and equipped with a hot tub.

The next morning we went to Taylor Maid Farms for a quick breakfast and caffeine. My go-to coffee order is a cafe au lait with almond milk and a dash of cinnamon. Taylor Maid is the best I’ve ever had. So smooth and creamy and perfectly balanced.

It was raining hard when we finished our coffee and tea so we decided to go straight home instead of venturing down town. Besides, it was a 3-day weekend and we wanted to beat the traffic.

I can’t wait to go back for another weekend at The Barlow though! Sebastopol is perfect for a girls weekend or a romantic weekend away. The food, the wine, the vibe… it’s all dandy.