Surf City USA
Huntington Beach Pier
Written by Paulette Le Pore Motzko
Photography by Nick F. Belman & Paulette Le Pore Motzko,
Digital Photo Editing By Paulette Motzko
Copyright January 2014, Paulette Le Pore Motzko & Nick F. Belman
One of my favorite piers in the nation has got to be the Huntington Beach Pier. It was the first pier my family visited when we moved from Tucson, AZ when my dad had the burning desire to see the Pacific Ocean.
I remember when the grunion were “running” and my brother’s had fishing poles in their hands for all the silver fish that seemed to be jumping out of the water in the late 60’s. I just loved looking for shells with my mom and sister, as I was only six years old.
Many years have passed and the pier has been completely rebuilt since then, made sturdy after the storm that destroyed the end of it in the storm of 1983. The pier was lovingly restored in solid concrete making it one of the most sturdy, solid concrete piers in the world. The renovation took $900,000 and years of work but now the locals have nearly forgotten.
Like the sea itself the Huntington Beach Pier and areas surrounding it, along Main Street are lined with people selling everything from henna tattoos, candles with shells in the wax, and every designer brand sunglasses line the streets. By the pier on Saturday you will see paintings from local artists, reminiscent of The Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach.
The promenade area has gone through a multi-million dollar face lift with fancy restaurants teeming Main Street from Pacific Coast Highway to Olive Street by the octagon-shaped Starbucks on the corner.
The closer you get to the water the real estate goes up, of course, but there is always something going on in Surf City, CA. “Surf City” is what locals call Huntington Beach close to the water.
If my spirits are low, all I have to do is walk down Pacific Coast Highway and feel the sea breeze blow through my air and smell the salty sea air with a hint of smokiness from the many bonfires people light up once the sun sets; the sea sets me free. I guarantee the sea will set your spirits soaring just like the colored kites you will see people flying overhead on a clear day.
Some of the sights and sounds and smells you will experience are:
People walking their dogs of all sizes, some wearing sun glasses and clothes fancier than people!
50 Style Cruiser Bikes cruising in pastel hues with happy, lighthearted people enjoying the simple things.
With The Strand coming in a few years ago on 7th Street and PCH, it brought a futuristic look-almost like the movie “Back to the Future”. At night it is so well lit, it reminded me of a movie set!
When I first came out of the elevator on to 7th Street by The Strand, and art gallery and saw Sertino’s Coffee Café-I had to know more and snoop around.
I ended up meeting the owner of Sertino’s and wrote a Feature Story for them and shot photos illustrating the nice, open-air feeling and freshly ground coffee drinks and sandwiches they served. If you go in, say hello to Paul and tell him Paulette Motzko sent you! The Meatball Sub, Mexican Hot Chocolate, fruit smoothies, and Chicken Pesto Sandwich are my favorites there.<
On Tuesday nights you will experience the local farmers bringing in their garden grown fresh produce that lights each stalls like a rainbow. There is nothing like giving the farmer who grew your onions or beautiful, shiny eggplant or heirloom tomatoes the money. No middle man and the grateful smile one the farmer’s face cannot be bottled and the dishes come out so much more aromatic and flavorful.
You will see and hear surfers on their boards when the tide is high and beach goers and tanners and just fair skinned ladies like me who love the atmosphere and have no intention on tanning anything!
Also, at The Farmer’s Market you can pick up beautiful bouquets of flowers for as low as $5 that will grace your table and make you smile all week.
The IHOP is open late and it has an airy patio where you can people watch and dog watch and enjoy pleasant conversation with your pancakes and waffles.
There is also Coach’s Mediterranean Bar & Grill on Main Street that you won’t be able to miss by the ATM. You will see people out on the patio eating delicious Italian and Middle Eastern and Greek dishes and talking, laughing and drinking one of the many drinks from the huge lit up bar that Coach put in after he remodeled a few years back and expanded the restaurant by double. Coach is a busy guy and he never sits still long but if you are lucky enough to say hello to him tell him Paulette Motzko told you to stop by. Try their Falafel or Hummus or Gyros or one of the many Italian dishes or other specialties.
You will see Dukes on your left as you walk down the pier and you can enjoy steak and seafood while enjoying an amazing view of the ocean.
At the other end of the pier-after walking to the end of the pier, you are rewarded with walking inside Ruby’s Surf City Huntington Beach. There you can enjoy a modernistic diner atmosphere and be served by the best waiters and waitresses in town that not only are personable but have to carry orders on platters up a huge towering stair case to the upper level-when they are very busy. (The upper level is my favorite place to be because you can see whales on a clear day or dolphins, which I have seen over a dozen times there, or a sail boat or other sea mammal like a seal perched on a rock.
Pelicans soaring overhead and seagulls flying about and the view is good at Ruby’s. My favorite eats are their Seafood Platter and instead of fries with potatoes, go outside the box and try their sweet potato fries. You will be glad you did. Also another great one is their Asian Sesame Chicken Salad. I have been trying to get their dressing recipe for years!
The tiled amphitheater brings in bands and drums bands that get people dancing, playing and kids smiling and old people feeling like kids.
On any given sunny day, if you time it right, you will be able to experience the wonder and magic of a sunset at The Huntington Beach Pier.
You will not forget it and it will draw you back like the siren song of a mermaid in the sea.