Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend in Fort Bragg & Mendocino

We just got back from a long weekend up in Fort Bragg, California. We were up there visiting our god-daughters and their families. It was a nice visit. We go up there at least once a year, so we have some old favorite eating spots - but I "discovered" a great new spot too.

I've gotta put "discovered" in quotes, because it's a really well-known spot, and it was even a VegNews pick. It's called "Living Light," all vegan and all raw. They run a culinary institute, have a food-to-go spot, and a great culinary supplies store. It's rad! Last time we were up there, it seemed smaller and less impressive, but this time I was really impressed. I would have enjoyed many more meals here, but I'll have to wait 'til next time!

Here's a picture of the To-Go cafe - they've got juices, cold soups, lunch and breakfast items, and a lovely dessert case!

I ordered the Granola for breakfast. It was so good I went back again this morning for more! It's Spouted Buckwheat Granola made of "buckwheat groats, dates, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, coconut, raisins, & spices." Topped with bananas, apples, raisins, cinnamon, and fresh almond milk. Filling and delicious!

Of course, I was unable to resist the allure of that dessert case. I bought a Lemon Bar with Coconut Macademia Nut Crust. It was pretty pricey ($4.95), but very good. Mmm.

Another great breakfast place, that I never miss, is the all-veg*n "Raven at The Stanford Inn", in Mendocino. The Stanford Inn is a cool hotel spot that is super pet friendly, has an organic garden, and is far too pricey for our budget. However, you can go to their restaurant for meals, even if you don't stay there. I was really happy to see that the menu was much more vegan-heavy than it has been in the past. The whole main page was ALL vegan, and now even their french toast, daily muffins, and daily scones are all vegan - where they used to just be vegetarian. Hoorah! Also, I noticed that my scramble was by default made with tofu, but you could substitute eggs for $2 extra. Yeah! I thought that was nice to see after all the times I've had to pay $.50 extra for soymilk in this world. I love the presentation here: they use almost all organic produce, and as much produce from their gardens as possible - and even garnish with edible flowers from the garden. I really wanted the French Toast, but I chose to be a good girl and order a Veggie Scramble. It was delicious. The potatoes were a little burnt, but that's okay with me since I don't ever eat hashbrowns/oven fries anyway.

I couldn't quite skip out on the sweeties, so I got one side pancake, which came with a *stunningly* delicious fresh peach compote. Oh MAN, I wish I could get my little vegan paws on that recipe. It was so fantastic and flavorful. Somehow they managed to make those peaches more PEACHY than ever seemed possible.

I also ordered a strawberry muffin to take-away, and I snacked on it later in the day. Yum, it was great too. I look forward to my next visit. How long will I have to wait until there's a restaurant in Santa Cruz where I could go out for vegan pancakes or French toast???!!!

One last noteworthy meal to share - dinner at the Mendo Bistro in Fort Bragg. They have an easy-to-navigate menu that's almost entirely NOT vegan, but they do have a section where you can pick your protein, your preferred cooking method, and your chosen sauce, and they will cook it up. One protein option is tofu. So, I ordered tofu, sauteed, in Charmoula sauce. The waitress described Charmoula as a spices & olive oil blend. It was very delicious and flavorful, and served with some really nicely cooked veggies. It's a lot of tofu, but it was a nice filling meal. Also, I have to say, that tofu was Perfectly cooked - crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Yum.

In general, Fort Bragg and Mendocino are both very vegan-friendly travel destinations. There are many restaurants that are very vegan friendly, almost everyone knows the word "vegan" and behaves accordingly, and there are even some nice natural foods stores if you want to get your own provisions.

Plus, there were friendly folks selling delicious Bing cherries on the side of the road for only $5! We bought some yesterday, and we weren't even done eating those on our way home when we saw another road-side booth and bought another bag! What gluttony! Fresh cherries make a great road trip treat. Mmmmm.

13 comments:

  1. Better to snack on cherries than, let's say, chips... It's great you were able to have a nice breakfast everytime, last time we were on a trip I had to take my own bread to the cafe because they didn't have anything vegan!

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  2. oh, fresh cherries, I can't imagine anything better to gluttonize on (unless you're talking strawberries, but I think you know about that, too!)

    those meals look great, especially that pancake and the sprouted granola bowl, yum!

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  3. Living Light definitely sounds like my kind of restaurant, since I'm 75% raw. Yum!

    I'm LOVING the fresh cherries right now - can't get enough!! Enjoy :0)

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  4. That peach compote is to die for, makes me long for summer peaches! And I am dying to get back to California for the bing cherries alone. I think I paid $1.50/lb for them when I was there? Crazy!

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  5. The raw "granola" sounds like wonderful breakfast- Now I want to try recreating something like that for myself!

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  6. Looks like some yummy meals! I like the Fort Bragg-Mendicino area. We used to go their quite a bit when I was in AmeriCorps. Have you discovered the hot tubs in Mendicino? Hey did you hear that Oprah has gone on a 21-day vegan cleanse. She is blogging about it on her website. She seems to be enjoying the meals quite a bit. Who knows maybe she'll help spread the vegan word. Thanks for posting comments on my blog. I love reading them. See you in a few weeks!

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  7. I just went through an entire bag of fresh yummy cherries. They are at the top of "my favorite fruit" list. Glad you had such a vegan-friendly weekend!

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  8. CHERRIES! I miss those... I can't wait until they're back at my co-op. And that store looks like a great "discovery!" :)

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  9. Ooh, that lemon bar looks delicious! I hope you had a fun trip, I've been wanting to check out that veg resort.

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  10. Those restaurants all look really nice, it's so much fun to travel and find restaurants like that. Except that you can't go back regularly. And the cherries! Oh, the cherries. I'm waiting until they're a tad more affordable here but don't want to miss out on any of the season.

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  11. I love cherries - lucky you! The lemon bar also looks exquisite. :-)

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  12. Ahhh, some of my best CA memories are buying cherries from road-side stands! I love this post, so many new (for me) places and things. And you know what I love? The idea of one side pancake! When I'm out, I usually order a short stack anyway, but the option of having one is even cooler.

    Hey, we're on! Any time you want to have a vegan adventure in Iran, let me know! I've avoided traveling there for so long, but having a trip cause or theme makes it sound so much more fun! =)

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  13. Hi Amey! After a long absence I'm finally back to blogging. Just caught up on your old posts. Congratulations on the article in the newspaper. I wish it was still available to read online. Bummmer. Not being able to touch my toes I've always been very envious of you how you can completely fold in half!

    I saw your comment on Bazu's blog about going to Iran one of these days and I'm warning you in advance that if you ever go I'm so tagging along!!!

    Glad to see you're doing well.

    Cheers,
    Crystal

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