Heres the fish markets that Ive visited over the past few decades in the Half Moon Bay (HMB) area. Any other hints would be appreciated.
If I have hours and addresses, they will be posted. Otherwise just call the number listed.
HMB Fish Market
Princeton Seafood Company
Red River Smoke House ( !!!!!!!! NEW !!!!!!!!!)
Ship to Shore
Off the fishing boats at Pillar Point
280 Ave. Alhambra, El Granada, CA 94018
(650) 712-8862 (TUNA)
This award winning fish and cheese smokehouse has the largest selection in the area. It changed owners last year, but the quality seems the same.
The following is available at the store:
Cold and Hot smoked Salmon, Albacore Tuna and Salmon Jerky
Smoked Trout, Sturgeon, Eel, Mussels
Smoked Specialty salads salmon and cream cheese, Tuna and crab
Smoked cheeses - Cheddar, Gouda, Parmesan and other local cheeses
There are plain and peppered versions of many of the above items. They'll also smoke your salmon for you.
They sell both wild and farmed smoked fish. In an old Chowhound post it was mentioned that Creekside uses hickory for smoking as opposed to the more commonly used (for fish) alder and it gives the fish a somewhat stronger smoky taste.
They will give you a gel pack with your fish so that it will stay fresh on the ride home. The fish made it home, still cool from HMB to San Pablo via Santa Cruz and it was a warm day. Overnight mail order delivery is available.
In the following link to the San Mateo Daily Journal, ii says Creekside was opened in 1993 by Patrick McNair, who developed the recipes. In 2001, it was sold and in 2004, the real estate agent who was helping to sell Creekside decided to buy it.
The current owners, Claude and Donna Windell, work alongside son and chief smoker David Barber. There is still the same enthusiasm with the new owners that I found with the previous visits.
It is located on the Half Moon Bay / El Granada border across from Pillar Point. At the Princeton stop light on highway 1, make a turn away from the water. It is up the street from Gibraltar Café.
Closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
HALF MOON BAY FISH MARKET
99 San Mateo Rd Half Moon Bay, CA 94019 (650) 726-2561
Just as you enter town, next to Tom and Petes produce is this fish shop.
I have yet to buy something here, but it has the biggest selection Ive seen in the area.
They had some lox and smoked salmon ($14.99. lb), however by the time I was ready to buy, the weekend hordes had descended and getting over there was just too much of a hassle.
There are tanks of live lobsters and crabs. A big pot outside always seems to be cooking up crab. The aroma inside on Sunday smelled like fish smoking. There are always huge fish on ice and a basket of fish trim like heads and tails. There was some killer looking oysters as well. Big loaves of bread were on the top of the counter and you could buy a limited selection of wine. They always seem to know their customers quite well. Any local opinion or insight?
PRINCETON SEAFOOD COMPANY
#9 Johnson Pier, Pillar Point Harbor Half Moon Bay,CA 94019 (650) 726-2722
From the website (link below)
We Serve CRABS And Other Fine Customers!!
You gotta like a a place as corny as that. Now that it seems The Fresh Fish Company closed (sob), this is my favorite spot for fresh fish, and the prices are just great.
You can select a whole fish and they will fillet it for you. It is in back of their restaurant. The restaurant is OK, but nothing outstanding. They do have a walk up window where you can get fish and chips and seafood cocktails. Never tried those, but the line was long on Sunday.
It is Princeton in the area of Barbaras , HMB Brewing and Mezza Luna
Yeah, on their website they mention the award winning clam chowder. I was dragged to the restaurant by someone who insisted I didnt need to eat at fancy places. The clam chowder was forgettable, so I cant provide details. However, I wouldnt order it again.
For me, this place is about the fish store. They have tanks of live fish too. The fish store is on the side of the restaurant, next to the driveway.
RED RIVER SMOKE HOUSE
205 Yale Avenue, Princeton-by-the-sea, 650-200-5565\
This is a new smoke house and, IMO, a place to keep an eye on.
The smoked salmon has all sorts of wonderful flavors, smoked over hickory and sometimes apple wood. The flavor and texture is so balanced. Theres not too much smoke, not too little. There is a pleasing oiliness, but not excessive. Not too dry or moist. Salmon says it has salt, brown sugar, spices, natural wood smoke.
The cold smoked salmon, gravlax, has cognac in the brine. The smoked rainbow trout was exquisite. They had a nice smoked salmon spread that they gave samples of on toasted bagels. There is a lot of sampling of everything.
The big refrigerators were almost empty and smoked salmon was being replenished straight from the smoker. They had lemon pepper salmon as well, but were sold out by Sunday. Another case held all sorts of big bags of pickling type of spices
How new I dont know because the owner got snarky with me. When I said I had not seen the store before and was he new, he said Im not new, Im 68 years old. Then proceeded to ignore me in favor of customers who were trying to see if there was a cheaper piece of salmon than the $3 piece they were holding in their hand.
He explained to THEM, that the reason for calling his smoked salmon San Franciscan style was that he got sick of people asking if his salmon was real NY style. Besides, he added, we are near San Francisco. He did say to the OTHERS, he was getting over a vacation and not in the groove yet. Ill see how it goes next time, however the smoked fish seems worth the hassle.
It seems like they will also be selling Muffaleta from a local Pacifica company called Amazing Gracies Vs Signature Foods. The muffaleta is currently sold at farmers markets and HMB area markets.
In the vicinity of Mezza Luna. Go up that street..Left on Capistrano, Left on Prospect. Right on California left on Yale. There are also sign boards to follow. I was looking for my favorite fresh fish shop which was closed permanently when I stumbled across this place.
SHIP TO SHORE
Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-8506\
Ive never eaten here, but they have a BBQd seafood restaurant. The fish shop always seemed pricy and never seems to have much local fish.
OFF THE FISHING BOATS AT PILLAR HARBOR
Ive never done this, but this is a nice article with info and another link.
On the pier, check out the chalkboards posted at the end of each dock to see which boats are selling what.
Call the harbor hotline at 650-726-8724, or the harbormaster at 650-726-5727. for off-the-boat fish sales information at Pillar Point