Day Trip: Half Moon Bay

Beyond the fog and cliffs

Half Moon Bay State Beach is a little like Brigadoon this time of year: either engulfed in moody mist or gloriously splayed out, all hot sand and wave-cap-framed horizons.

Whether you're heading to Half Moon Bay to hike the trails or to gaze at the waves, follow your exertion (ahem) with lunch at one of two new restaurants in the city's beach-town-meets-Mayberry downtown.

Fish 'n' Frites: It takes a few steps at this new chippy to place an order. First you pick your fish (displayed on ice), then your batter, sauces and even frying oil. Our favorite of the combinations we tried: tempura-battered cod ($15) dredged through pickle-flecked tartar sauce. Even better are the Belgian-style frites that come in every basket. Fat lengths of potato are double-fried, ensuring every millimeter of their exterior is gold and crunchy.

Ground-Up Burgers: This two-month-old burger shop, which is open Friday through Sunday, sources grass-fed beef and vegetables from local farmers, and bakes its own buns. The efforts pay off: The Wilbur ($11) is a great burger, pink-centered and capital-B beefy, the patty capped in aged cheddar and bacon. You can order a kale salad ($7) with it, but the vanilla milkshake ($6) is equally ethical and three times as delicious.