I had the genuine pleasure of spending this past weekend at The Stanford Inn in Mendocino, and all-vegan hotel with an award-winning restaurant. Am I lucky or what? It was rejuvenating, relaxing, and the food was delicious. Every hotel guest gets breakfast in the dining room included with their room, but we decided to splurge on dinner one of the nights we were there too. Boy are we glad we did - Ravens' Restaurant dished up the perfect early summer dinner!
First, we had the savory and smooth French Onion soup. Full of beautiful caramelized onions, and happily without any vegan cheese (would have ruined it!), this was the perfect thing to whet our appetite. Plus it smelled divine!
Our salad of choice was wilted spinach with shitake "bacon", walnuts, and crostini. I don't know what, if any, resemblance the mushrooms had to bacon, but they were quite tasty. They were also a bit chewy... in a good way. The contrast of texture with the crunchy walnuts and crisp crostini was quite nice, and the warm vinaigrette left the spinach well-flavored and wilted, without totally killing it.
My husband had the BBQ tofu with cabbage slaw for his entree and, thanks to his capacity for sharing, I can say that it was awesome! The sauce was tangy, but with a good sweet balance and just the right amount of spice, and the fresh cilantro in the slaw brought a very nice brightness to the dish. This one just screamed "summer"!
My entree was also quite summery - portobello sliders with dill potato salad. The sliders themselves had a scrumptious nutty flavor and a sweet and salty chutney spread on the homemade buns. My only complaint here was that the bread could have been softer to make for easier eating, but it was so tasty that I was happy to be messy. And that potato salad! It rekindled my love of dill. Yum!
Dessert time is the best time at Ravens' in my opinion! I mean, just look at that beautiful pecan torte with maple ice cream! So pretty, but it tasted even better. Like a pecan pie without all the gooeyness. And the ice cream added just the right amount of creamy goodness the torte needed. A real winner, if you ask me.
Then there was the chocolate tart. I loved this dessert. I know it doesn't look like much (note to Ravens': Edible flowers does not a presentation make) but it was heavenly on the tongue! Silky smooth filling atop a chocolate crust with a really nice salt balance. In fact, all the sweet treats we ate during our stay - from the muffins at breakfast to the cookies left in the room at turndown - showed off the chef's real skill for using salt in baking. As a salt lover with a sweet tooth, I was particularly happy with this... and with our whole meal!
I can't recommend a trip to beautiful Mendocino, CA more highly, and a stay at The Stanford Inn is just icing on the vegan cake. Add it to your bucket list - VegNews did! :)
Up next, more vegan eats in NJ. Meanwhile, have a great day, everyone!