Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 29: Breakfasts of my dreams

I’ve been fortunate to be able to stay at the Stanford Inn in Mendocino a few times, and while there’s plenty to recommend it, the breakfasts at Ravens are a major selling point for me. It’s a 100% vegan place, and they offer a wide variety of options both savory and sweet. When I make an elaborate breakfast at home, I am basically always trying to recreate the memory of these breakfasts, sans lovely view and fog. My latest trip was with my partner, who hadn’t been before.

Above: First morning. Forgot to take a pic until I was already halfway through. Yum.

The first morning, I ordered the florentine with braised tempeh and roasted potatoes. So yummy. A good, filling meal before heading out to paddle up the river a bit in a canoe.

Above: Pretty as a picture.

On the second morning, I tried the chickpea crepe with avocado chimichurri and garden vegetables with a side of sweet potatoes. The crepe itself was almost rava dosa-like, which I enjoyed. Once again, a solid way to power up for a morning full of short hikes in the forest and around a lighthouse.

On the last day, I got French toast, but I shoved that in my mouth so quickly I forgot to take a picture at all.

What I’m trying to say is, be jealous. And if you can manage it, go see for yourself. (‘Cause it ain’t cheap. Yeesh.)

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 28: For Brunch, I’d Rather Be In Mendocino

I’m having a hard time right now, in life. I frequently daydream about things I’d like to be doing with time and money I don’t have. A common imaginary trip? Mendocino, California–particularly the Stanford Inn. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting it a few times now, and it is my happy place. Cozy rooms. Beautiful scenery. Charming town. Relaxing amenities. And, oh, the food. Vegan everything, especially the breakfasts.

While I can’t make it up to Mendocino right now, I can try to recreate one of their signature breakfasts: Grilled polenta, braised greens, and cashew sauce. Plus a side of tempeh.

For the tempeh and greens, I made a quick marinade with lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and a splash of liquid smoke, diluted a bit with water. I used half in a pan with shredded cabbage and baby spinach (what I had on hand) and the other half in a skillet with sliced tempeh and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Cashew sauce was based on the “savory” recipe from The Kitchn. And the polenta I cooked ahead of time, then poured into a square baking pan to cool and solidify into something I could slice and pan-fry. (It was not perfect, though. Damn slices didn’t brown well and broke up when I flipped ‘em. Oh well. Next time, I’ll leave it to the professionals.)

Food Blog

Ginger carrot salad, lemongrass tofu, and seaweed rice

This was so many things, but all of them simple. The lemongrass tofu comes from Salad Samurai, and I’ve made it before (for the pad thai salad), but I thought it might work in this context. The other two dishes come by way of the Thrive Foods book, which I’ve only cooked out of once. Well, technically, that was a raw thing (some energy balls involving all kinds of obscure “superfood” powders I ended up spending $$$ for at Whole Foods that now live in a gallon zip bag in the bottom of my baking tub, but I digress!), so this is the first time I *cooked* with the book. It’s basically a vegan nutrition book with a section containing collected recipes from a variety of sources (well-known vegan/raw food restaurants, friends of the author’s, etc.), and it’s not the most well-organized reference, so I really had to sift through it for inspiration.

What drew my eye was this “Asian” carrot salad with a ginger-lime dressing, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, and avocado. I threw a whole bunch of big, fat, locally-grown carrots in the food processor with the shred blade, and ended up with twice as much carrot as necessary. And even setting aside half of the shreds, this was a pretty massive salad. Hopefully it makes good leftovers.

I opted for a simple rice dish to bring things together, and this recipe was from Ravens Restaurant in Mendocino, Calif., which is attached to the Stanford Inn, an all-vegan rustic/fancy lodge that I’ve had the great fortune of visiting three times. I’d go back right now if it wouldn’t fill me with checking account dread. It’s beautiful and cozy and the breakfasts are wonderful. So why not try to make their seaweed rice? It’s not the same, but it’s a lot cheaper and doesn’t require a four-hour drive.