Celiac Heaven found in Mendocino
The Stanford Inn by the Sea in Mendocino, Mendocino is a pricey treat but was fantastic value for money for me last week. I spent two nights in Room 205. The room was incredibly clean and featured a working fireplace which I used in the evenings. The deck had a lovely view of gardens trees and sea, and the hotel is home to many creatures including cats, horses and llamas. This was all very fine but the gluten free menu offerings in the stellar restaurant were truly fantastic. A sumptuous gluten-free breakfast comes with the room. After my first meal in the restaurant all the staff remembered that I was gluten-free and brought me gluten free extras and goodies. I could hear a cry go up in the kitchen, GLUTEN FREE! GLUTEN FREE!
The Inn has extensive gardens on the grounds and grows the vegetables and fruits prepared at the restaurant. It was glorious safe eating all trimmed with edible flowers.
What I ate:
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Grilled watermelon atop spinach and basil chiffanade and heirloom tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette
Glazed Tofu and Croquettes
Tamari maple glazed tofu cutlets and baked hijiki seaweed - potato croquettes accompanied by steamed cauliflower and carrot-ginger coconut cream sauce
Live Peach Cobbler
Fresh summer cinnamon spiced peaches blended with dates an finished with a walnut-date crumble
Two corn tortillas with black beans, your choice of tofu or braised tempeh, with or without vegan cheese, topped with our chipotle sauce and salsa cruda. Served with russet and sweet potato hash browns (I had this with eggs instead of tofu.)
Amuse Bouche was a chickpea paté with herbed flax crackers. Also an avocado lime purée.
Three pieces: Hand rolled nori with seasoned tofu, daikon radish, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, sushi rice and almond butter. Sesame roasted bell pepper nigiri. Grilled trumpet royale sushi. Served with wasabi, pickled ginger and Nama Shoyu dipping sauce. (Without my prompting, the server stated the kitchen would swap wheat-free tamari for Nama Shoyu.)
WIld Mushroom Crepe
Local chanterelles sautéed over a puttanesca sauce with deep green greens. (Minus the crepe.)
Red Bananas Foster
Strawberry, Cashew-Vanilla, Coconut-Chocolate ice cream atop red bananas caramelized with Flor de Cana Rum and brown sugar.
Above, Tuesday morning breakfast: The signature brunch entree created with grilled citrus polenta covered with fresh garden greens sauteed in Stanford braising and served with creamy cashew sauce. Note that southwest corner of polenta and a nasturtium petal were nibbled before the Joyful Celiac remembered to document breakfast.
I also photographed Monday night dinner, but I abstained from flashing other diners with my camera and the pictures are dark and fail to capture the food's presentation and appeal. Below, the dining room at dinner time.
I met five felines on the property. Only this one consented to be photographed. She was extremely affectionate and soft. And lucky. As a stray she was welcomed into a vegetarian hotel which was already home to a large posse of four-legged rescued beings of many species.
The dawn view from the porch of my room.
The Big River from the outrigger canoe I rented from Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, too! which is on the edge of the Stanford Inn property.
While I've sailed and rowed, I had never canoed before. The handbuilt solo outrigger was light, stable and responsive. Though I'd been warned it was unlikely, I did get to watch a family of river otters playing in the shallows near the mouth of the river. I didn't want to startle them so there are no pictures.