Two things compelled me to write about a non-Phoenix vegan destination. 1. I really need a vacation, and 2. We just learned that the beautiful cat that stayed with us at the Stanford Inn by the Sea in Mendocino, Calif. passed away.
If you are like us, “Where are we going to eat?” always factors into our vacation planning. Especially after we traveled to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore a few summers ago. I sure hope Pepto-Bismol is vegan because my husband downed at least two quarts of it during our misadventures in dining there.
Last fall, we decided to visit the redwoods in California. I’ll admit that I was motivated because my favorite National Geographic explorer J. Michael Fay conducted a “redwoods transect” of the area and I really like to say the word “megatransect” (the name for his trek across the Congo and Gabon). But mostly we went because we found what I believe is probably the best vegan resort on the planet – the Stanford Inn by the Sea.
- The on-site restaurant that is vegan/vegetarian
- The green/eco-friendly nature of the hotel/grounds
- The uber-gorgeousness and remoteness of the region
- Free bike rentals
- Vegan chocolate-chip cookies left for us in our room every day
- And most important: the kitties that live at the inn.
I think we have some type of cat-magnet vibe about us, because all three nights we stayed there, a lovely calico kitty named “Callie” invited herself into our room and slept with us. We were very sad to hear of her passing. She was precious.
But now to the food…
The vegetarian/vegan Raven’s Restaurant is attached to the inn. Breakfast is included with the room, and they serve both vegetarian and vegan options. Be hungry, because it’s a full meal. The “Vegetarian Garden Scramble” was good, but I think I liked the “Stanford Ranchero” the best. The fresh vegan muffins were great too.
Also included with the hotel room (I think) is afternoon tea. They served amazing homemade vegan treats – all you can eat (but I tried to not entirely pig out). The website is currently saying they offer “afternoon hors d’oeuvres” so I hope they didn’t change it from tea/baked goods to bar food. (Ed note – see comment below. Delightful afternoon treats are still happening!)
We ate dinner at the Raven’s Restaurant two of our three nights there. It looks like they recently brought in a new chef and have almost completely changed the menu. That’s probably a plus, because the dinners were just “good” (not exceptional) and they were somewhat expensive. We also could have been spoiled because we stayed in San Francisco during the first night of our vacation and had a glorious meal at Millennium. Given the location and ability to just roll out the restaurant to our hotel room, we were pleased with what we got. I remember the soup and the pasta being particularly excellent, as were the deserts. The new menu looks great, so I hope we are able to make a second visit. It would be sad to not see Callie though.
Don’t forget to try the local wines as well – which was another plus of the restaurant being attached to the hotel! No need to have a designated driver to navigate the twisty coastal roads after dinner!
We’re always looking for other great places to stay that are vegan-friendly, so please pass along recommendations. There was plenty to do (and other places to eat at) in the area, but since I’m trying (and failing) to take my husband’s advice and “keep the posts short” – I’ll save that for another day.
My husband’s photos from the region: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bostworld/sets/72157622593743686/
The Stanford Inn by the Sea on Facebook, including more cat pictures: