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Dinner at Ravens Restaurant

May 21, 2011

I knew before coming to Fort Bragg that somehow, some way, I’d HAVE to make it to a certain restaurant nearby during my time here. Last week, I did.

I had the joy and privilege of taking a drive down Highway 101 with my classmates to the lovely town of Mendocino, California, where we dined at the illustrious and world-famous Ravens Restaurant.

Located within the Stanford Inn eco-resort, Ravens is a gourmet, all-vegan establishment with such an immense reputation that VegNews Magazine named a meal at Ravens the #1 must-do item on their “vegan bucket list.” Wow.

Inside, Ravens manages to be simultaneously cozy and chic, with a lodge-like feel.

Crusty bread and carrot pâté awaited us on the table.

Soon after our arrival, the chef sent out an amuse-bouche for us of crostini with lime-scented kalamata olive tapenade.

Several of my dining companions started with the soup of the day, a smooth broccoli-leek bisque.

Libby ordered a crab cakes appetizer for the whole table to share.

For once, I wasn’t the only one snapping photos left and right! I love being in the company of fellow die-hard foodies.

Instead of a single entrée, I ordered two appetizers for my meal: a cracker-thin pesto-spinach pizetta…

…and the “dos tacos biológicos”—green chiles, agave mushrooms, caramelized onions, pepitas, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, and cashew-lime crème fraiche.

Linda, Libby, and Reva all chose the eggplant parmesan as their main dish.

Sâmia got this platter of braised greens, potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, and gorgeous heirloom carrots.

If I had decided to order an entrée, Mari’s and Pat’s choice would’ve been the one for me—a kabocha-squash-stuffed chile relleno with Mexican quinoa, guacamole, and cabbage slaw.

Sâmia’s dessert sampler trio, with slivers of chocolate tart, raw key lime cheesecake, and lemon custard tart, was very enticing…

…but alas, something else on the dessert menu had my heart from the moment I saw the words “pecan torte.”

Behold: buttery shortbread crust. A mountain of caramelized pecans. Rich maple ice cream. And two little pools of perfect milk chocolate.


Every morsel that passed my lips that night was amazing, but nothing, nothing could ever top this. I have no words. None. Zero. Nada.

Ravens Restaurant deserves every bit of praise it’s given. That dessert earned a spot in my top ten (if not top three!) of all time, without a doubt, and the meal as a whole was a warm, wonderful, and delicious experience I will never forget.

What are some of the best restaurants you’ve ever eaten at?

32 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2011 12:02 pm

    Holy food porn! It all looks so good and so ‘real.’
    Cafe Gratitude is about as wonderful as I’ve gotten–not a big restaurant person… I love reading others’ experiences though!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2011 5:37 pm

      Cafe Gratitude is delightful too! 🙂

  2. May 21, 2011 12:16 pm

    Wow, the interior of Ravens looks like someone’s house rather than a restaurant! All of that food looks crazy good. I think I would have lost my mind over that pecan dessert too, it’s sounds incredible.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2011 5:37 pm

      Yeah! Someone’s very nice, upscale, expensive ski-lodge house… 😉
      The pecan dessert was just about the best thing ever.

  3. Matt permalink
    May 21, 2011 12:53 pm

    Add this to my long list of things I’m jealous of you for experiencing without me. Malaysia has next to no vegan-only restaurants.

    You know I’m not generally a fan of pecan-based desserts but that one looks pretty awesome.

    Glad you were able to experience it, though. (even without me…)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      June 8, 2011 5:05 pm

      You know I wish you could’ve been there, honey!

  4. May 21, 2011 1:34 pm

    Another awesome post full of amazing food!

    I would die to eat a whole meal and not worry about the dairy part!! Especially dessert!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2011 5:36 pm

      I know what you mean, it’s SO nice to not have to worry about sneaky animal ingredients.

  5. May 22, 2011 3:06 am

    I’ve dined at some fairly upmarket restaurants, but never anything with even a vegan option, let alone a vegan ethos! I’m so utterly in awe of your dessert. When I saw the sampler trio I thought that would certainly be my pick, but no. Pecan pie all the way, particularly as pecan pie all but doesn’t exist down here!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      June 8, 2011 5:07 pm

      High-five for pecan pie! It’s one of my favorite desserts of all time.

  6. May 22, 2011 8:42 am

    I never would have chosen the pecan dessert, but by being like that, I know I really limit myself. It’s not all about the chocolate and creamy desserts! After I read your post the other day, I went to see if Fort Bragg was close to the Stanford Inn because that’s definitely on my short list of places I want to go with my husband. So I’m glad you posted this. All of that food is so utterly impressive looking. My favorite vegan restaurants remain in NYC, but I would love to challenge that with a visit to upper California.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      June 8, 2011 5:09 pm

      You should DEFINITELY pay a visit to the Stanford Inn (and Ravens, of course) if you get the chance. I would’ve loved to stay a night there!

  7. May 22, 2011 10:54 am

    wow! seems like such a neat restaurant!! i so want to eat there!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2011 5:35 pm

      If you ever have the chance to, you SHOULD!

  8. May 22, 2011 3:27 pm

    That pesto pizza looked uh-mazing! I’d love to try any place that is recommended to add to your bucket list! What state is this one in?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      June 8, 2011 5:16 pm

      It’s in Mendocino, CA! About 4 hours north of San Fran.

  9. May 22, 2011 4:18 pm

    WOW! I nearly died just looking at that dessert so I can’t imagine what it must have tasted like! Ravens looks truly wonderful and every dish looks worth trying.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      May 22, 2011 4:27 pm

      It’s in Mendocino, California – about a 3.5 hour drive north of San Francisco. 🙂

  10. May 22, 2011 9:07 pm

    This looks great! They even have raw stuff? wow! Is this better than Millenium?That has to be in the top for me.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      June 8, 2011 5:17 pm

      Better than Millennium? Hmm, I’m not sure about that…honestly, I’d say ‘no,’ but it doesn’t miss the mark by very far!

  11. May 23, 2011 12:07 pm

    HA! Love that shot of everyone photographing their food. Looks like you are having a fabulous time, keep these posts coming! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2011 5:33 pm

      Hehe, I know! It’s great to dine in the company of other foodies 🙂

  12. Leslie permalink
    May 24, 2011 9:37 am

    Wow! I tried my hand at impersonating the mushroom/onion tacos! OMG! They came out great. My little magic bullet came through to make a quick pico and the cashew lime cream which is heavenly! This is what real food is all about. 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      June 8, 2011 5:20 pm

      Very cool! Way to go, Leslie! I should try making these at home, too.

  13. May 24, 2011 10:15 am

    The pecan torte looks great. I KNOW Dad would love it! Everyone’s meals look yummy. Cute seeing everyone taking their own pictures!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      June 8, 2011 5:20 pm

      Yes, he definitely would!

  14. May 24, 2011 11:38 am

    All of that food looks ridiculously delicious! Especially those desserts! 😀

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2011 5:32 pm

      “Ridiculously delicious” is totally accurate!

  15. May 24, 2011 11:48 am

    You are awesome Amber – Whoopsies, I meant rawesome! Hugs gorgeous girl and hope you had fun at Living Light xx

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2011 5:32 pm

      Hugs back! Thanks Priscilla 😀

  16. May 24, 2011 8:17 pm

    It looks like you are having a great time in your life right now!! ENJOY!!!!!!!!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2011 5:32 pm

      Very true! I’m enjoying it LOTS!

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