California / Environment / Food / Surf / Travel / United States

Visiting Maverick’s, Half Moon Bay and JettyWave Distillery

It was a spontaneous detour from my drive back to Carmel by the Sea after dropping a friend at the airport back in February. I had been wanting to go check out Maverick’s while I was in the area but something always came up. So I took the opportunity, did a quick search online and plugged it into my GPS. It was a little harder to find than I thought. Of course a quick Google search will direct you through various directions online but without knowing or asking a local it was a little tricker to find. Even with GPS, and Google maps I still had to doing a little exploring and once I did I still wasn’t sure. The tiny parking lots were also full and it took a few visits to grab a spot. It was a bit of a walk, considering I had an ankle injury and sore back at the time but it was silly not to go since I was there. Made famous by Chasing Mavericks, an 2012 film with Gerard Butter, based on the life of surfing legend Jay Moriarity and his mentor and local legend Rick ‘Frosty’ Hesson. There is also the documentary Making Mavericks, Riding Giants and other documentaries. For those who are unaware, Mavericks is dangerous wave that can top out over 60 ft (18m). A wave that have taken the lives of a few big wave surfers and home to some invitation only competitions for those brave big wave riders. Although I have no interest (or skill and ability) to ride big waves but I have mad respect for those who have, it just felt too iconic not to visit. I have to say it was pretty cool to see the white bulb reminding me I was in the right spot when I finally did find it and find a spot to park. I can only imagine the chaos during high season or a competition. But that day was a quiet Saturday afternoon left to move slowly and enjoy.

Half Moon Bay Beach

I walked along the beach and bay listening to the soft repetition of the boat horn. Along the calm water of the bay you could see flat water kayakers and paddle boarders enjoying the afternoon. I finally found a few surfers and people out foiling (maybe Zuckerberg? lol). Of course, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting since Maverick’s is famous for its massive waves, but I could see how dangerously big it could get and fast. I was happy to find a pretty empty beach and calmer waters for the first visit but was a bit disappointed I wouldn’t witness the insane power to push through there. 

It reminded me how grateful I was to be there at the time and how many surfers might dream to visit without the opportunity and even happier I brought my camera with just enough juice in the batteries and space on the card. Whether or not I ever get to witness it’s full power or a big wave surf competition there, I definitely checked a box on my bucket list. The people I passed who I can assume were locals, were friendly and outgoing, smiling and saying hello as I passed. Even had a compliment on my pastel pink jumpsuit from one of the women that walked by. The area in general had a great small community vibe that made living there seem like a laidback quiet life.

Lunch and Cocktails at Jettywave Distillery

After leaving Maverick’s and feeling pretty excited for exploring California’s coastline and visiting Maverick’s for the first time I stopped to get some lunch before heading down Hwy 1 again. I peeked at this cool place with large terrace on my way to see the waves, but it wasn’t open yet, and decided I would come back before leaving.

It had an interesting open concept, where you order your meal and drink at the bar, get your drink there while you pay and then drop your order off at the food station on the other side. They give you a time estimate to come pick up your meal. Considering I was visiting during the covid omicron peak, it was a great method to create a great ambience without that awkward social distancing vibe.

I chose my table in the middle of the garden amongst the ambient fire pits with a bit of shade under an umbrella but enough sunshine to feel the relaxed. 

The laidback but professional and friendly staff make you feel at home and direct you where to go without confusion. An awesome crew happy to help you choose with great recommendations.

Fun and innovative Cocktails or their Half Moon Shine

I am usually a wine or beer drinker and not much of a hard liquor drinker with the exception of Tequila, which is my ultimate choice when there is a good selection. I decided to stray away from their Half Moon Shine that is made in house although I was interested to try. I was debating between a cocktail or local brew, the What the hell Mary? was my initial craving, but then thought I would go green with a Kale Yeah. The team led me to one of my all time favourites and they did not disappoint. The Messed Up Margarita was perfectly mixed with just the right amount of bite letting the lime, tequila and spices flow across my tongue. I savoured the flavour as I waited for my meal, had I been with friends, that could have easily turned into a few more as it was too delicious.

Fresh & Healthy Ingredients but so tasty it will fool you.

It was hard to decide on my meal since the menu overall was salivating. I decided to go with the Vegan salad … because avocado compliments tequila right?  The flavours and fresh ingredients created that umami flavour with my drink. I can’t really eat a lot of quinoa but since it was a small amount I went for it. The cherry tomatos, edible flowers and micro greens fooled my palette to think it was unhealthy because it was so flavourful. There was an earthiness to it, almost smokiness that reminded me of mezcal (but in a fond way). I restrained myself from licking the plate afterwards, as my camera already drew enough attention to me.

Sustainability, Upcycling, Local, Eco-responsible

Majority of coastal residents tend to have a big concern with the ocean, being eco-responsible and California is notorious for this. Jettywave is no exception. With their Half Moon Shine made in house, you can’t get much more local than that. Using organic and locally sourced barley and corn with a “fog fermentation” to create it. You’ll notice the small herb gardens spread around the property as well. They also focus on local suppliers and shop the “back alleys of The Bay Area” to find the flavours for their cocktails, searching for the perfect recipes with a “tilt your head grin” to quote their website.

That they do. The memorable flavours still swirl in m y memory even now months later.

Sea Hugger: Cocktail and non-profit organization

Order the “Sea Hugger” cocktail and 20% of the proceeds go towards helping to perserve their coastal home. The name matching the non-profit organization Sea Hugger which is focused on protecting and healing the marine environment from plastic pollution. They do this through action and education to drive systemic change that addresses the root cause of the issue. With a mission is to educate the public to reduce plastic dependency, ensuring the intrinsic rights of aquatic life, and helping create sustainable communities that are no longer affected by plastic pollution.

Friendly and Welcoming Staff at Jettywave

The entire staff were so kind to me before I was even a customer, taking the time to chat before they were open. They were patient as I ordered and helped answer any questions about the process, finally giving great recommendations. After eating, I went in to find a manager or owner to ask permission to take some photos while I was there. I spoke briefly with Tanya, one of the owners, who was more than kind as she gave me a little run down about Jettywave. She informed me that it was new during the pandemic and explained how they tried to be sustainable and eco friendly whenever possible. She was genuinely interested in what I was doing there, and who I was. I explained my blog, while in the initial stages, was something that brought me joy to share businesses like hers along my travels but nothing fancy or a lot of followers. She was non judgemental and really welcoming to me to shoot whatever I liked, welcoming me to the area in general.

I was over the (half) moon bay with happiness for taking the effort to wait until they opened up after my quick photo walk at Mavericks beach. I admired their wall of photos on my way to the bathroom and could see that Jettywave was more of a passion project than just a distillery. A true team and collaboration by all members. The quaint town surrounding the spot made me want to come back every Saturday, like a local to the neighbourhood. I really wish I was to be honest, because you could see and feel the sense of community there. Good vibes, good music, good food and a cool style to match. Hands down just became one of my favourite places in California. I highly recommend you made the trip to Half Moon Bay and join the locals at Jettywave if you are in the Bay Area.

Big waves or not. 

Located at 155 Broadway Half Moon Bay CA, 94019

Check out their website to learn more or see more photos on their instagram @jettywavehmb.

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