Saturday, March 2, 2013

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

Brewery Food

It is nice to be surprised sometimes. Assuming the surprise is one that is likable.

I had assumed that brewery food was on the same scale as bar food. Maybe. Maybe not.

I knew I wanted to stop at the beach in Half Moon Bay. I needed to get my beach fix. I needed a sunset. If I was going to stay for a sunset, it only made sense to find dinner somewhere close to that sunset.

So I looked for gluten-free options in Half Moon Bay. That seemed like the logical thing to do.

But I was with a small group of colleagues. Colleagues who are beer connoisseurs. I don't have a problem skipping the beer, but places where they get their good beer aren't usually known for their gluten-free food options. If they have any at all.

So when I found this place as recommended for gluten-free food, I had to give it a try. And luckily for me, the beer connoisseurs didn't have any objections. It is a brewery, after all.

But would the food be gluten-free and good? I was about to find out.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

I offered to drive, since I knew the way. I suspect my colleagues were mildly thrilled with this, since that meant they had no limits on their ability to sample the selection of beers.

We enjoyed the beach and stayed for the sunset. Two items accomplished. Next, food and beer. Well, beer for them. Food for all of us.

After being seated, I explained my gluten-free needs to the waiter and asked him if certain items had any gluten in them. He wasn't sure, so I asked if he could find out about a few of the menu items.

I didn't get a lot of good vibes that the waiter knew what I was talking about. But he was willing to ask. And he disappeared in search of answers.

It took a seemingly long time, but when he finally did come back with our drinks, he also brought this.

Look! That there is a gluten-free menu! At a brewery!

So, in spite of my waiter's seemingly questionable understanding of what I needed, the brewery itself knew what I needed!  Well done, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company management.

I was one happy camper with that menu in my hands. Safe eating. And choices. Several choices.

And then I looked closer. You should too. Go ahead. Look closely at the bottom of that menu.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Do you see it? Have you ever seen it before?

Portuguese Fisherman's Stew! 

Really. No joke. No Photoshop. This is a real picture of a real gluten-free menu at a real brewery.

Stew is unusual at any restaurant, even more so at a brewery. But Portuguese Fisherman's Stew?

There was not a moment's doubt about what I would be ordering. My own Portuguese heritage was screaming for some of that stew. And gluten-free too!

And can you read the details on that menu up there? This Portuguese Stew has linguiça in it.

Linguiça! Oh, how I have missed you all these years!

Linguiça (pronounced lin-GWEE-sa or li-GWEES-a) is smoke cured pork sausage, made with garlic and paprika. Not chorizo. No, we are talking about Portuguese linguiça. There is no other.

See, I grew up eating linguiça frequently. I'm a quarter Portuguese, but you wouldn't know it by looking at me. My grandparents used to make their own linguiça every year. It was what you did when you raised your own hogs and you are Portuguese!

Once my grandfather died, we didn't make linguiça anymore.  But it was still made in the community and we could get it readily from friends and family. 

And then I left home and with it, my frequent exposure to linguiça. You just don't find linguiça very many places.

My lucky stars were aligned this night. A beach. A sunset at the beach. A brewery with a gluten-free menu. A gluten-free menu with Portuguese Fisherman's Stew! Portuguese Fisherman's Stew with linguiça! Who could ask for anything more? Not me!

Some unidentified fish, clams, mussels, langostino, shrimp and linguiça!

Oh, so you want to know how this stew was?

Absolutely fabulous! Just miraculous! Simply unbelievable!

This stew is worth going to a brewery for! Oh, that might not mean much to those who can drink all of the available beers. But for me, this stew was reason enough.

And as far as gluten-free menus go, where else have you seen so many choices of such variety. Not just the standard salad and grilled meat selections. Not here. These are choices.

Now I want to go back and try some of the other gluten-free choices. But I fear that my heritage will suck me back into utter bliss with this stew and that linguiça! Please forgive me if that happens.

Oh, and for the gluten-drinking members of your party, reports were that this brewery's beers were pretty good.

See, there's no reason for everyone not to go! That means everyone can go. Everyone should go.

Go on, go!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your thoughtful comments.