From Garden to Table
The terraced organic garden that steps down the hillside in front of the Stanford Inn (above Mendocino Bay) provides some of the vegetables and herbs for the innovative cuisine in the hotel's Ravens' Restaurant. A stroll through the farm, with a visit to the donkeys and horses and llamas, helps work up an appetite for the vegetable-based whole-food meals that raise the bar on all-vegan fine dining. Innkeeper Jeff Stanford puts his ethics on the plate: Vegan for both health and philosophical reasons, Stanford collaborates with certified nutrition consultant Sid Hillman and the Ravens' chefs to create dazzling meals, including one of the most innovative and tempting brunch menus I've ever encountered. The Inn, a large boutique hotel with panoramic ocean views, an organic farm, luxury amenities, and a bookstore and wine shop, gains additional points for being dog-friendly--even in a special dining area.