Wednesday, October 30, 2013

San Benito Hotel in Half Moon Bay

San Benito Hotel where we spent the first night of our honeymoon 32 years ago is purported to have become fairly noisy with a boisterous bar trade, but some locals told us it now has a sandwich shop serving the best sandwiches in town on bread they've baked themselves.   So we opted for lunch there and a stay at a newer place with views of the harbor in nearby Princeton-by-the-Sea.   

San Benito House pumpkin display

We enjoyed sharing the avocado egg salad on walnut and cucumber cream cheese on wheat bread along with a cup of artichoke soup, a local favorite.    I am hunting for a recipe that will  duplicate the creamy texture (the potatoes probably helped) and mild chile flavor of the soup.


2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 lb. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and roughly chopped
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving

Heat butter in 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add artichokes; cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until artichokes are very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer stock and vegetables to a blender; puree until smooth. Return to saucepan, add cream, and bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by a third, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Preparations were well under way for the annual Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay so we were able to enjoy the the festive fall decor without fighting the inevitable traffic jams that could only have gotten worse in the over 30 years since we last attended.  

The pumpkins had been delivered for weighing earlier in the week, so the the heaviest one weighing a whopping 1,985 pounds was already on display.  The weight of such a large pumpkin results in a rather flattened unattractive appearance which my husband likened to the rolls of skin on contestants in the Biggest Loser.   

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