Sunday, July 5, 2015

Vegan in Guerneville

It's our last summer in NorCal, possibly forever.  I'm getting in my last bit of exploration before we hit the road.  It' been fun, but it's also a bummer knowing that there is still so much we won't be able to experience.  Even after eight years here, we have not even come close to uncovering all of the beautiful secrets that this state has to offer.

Recently some friends and I were discussing where to go for a girls weekend.  One of us had been to Guerneville in Sonoma County, and suggested it as a nice low-key getaway, so away we went!

As you can see from my sweet Solar Shields, I am ready for adventure.
Sonoma and Napa are full of little towns like Guerneville - one cute block of downtown nestled along the river amongst a smattering of wineries.  Each town has its own flair, and Guerneville was right up my alley.

One thing that makes it stand out is that there is actually a nightlife.  We didn't roll into town for dinner until about 10.30pm on our first night there, and were wondering if anything would be open besides the Safeway- it's not uncommon around here for everything to shut down at 9pm.  Hell, even in San Francisco nearly all the bars close at 2am.  Guerneville, however, was still hopping.  Most places are open til 10 or 11, but will stay open as late as there are customers. We finished dinner at midnight and plenty of places downtown were still going strong.

We ended up eating at a funky place that's an american-style diner during the day, and a Korean place (Dick Blomster's) in the evenings.   The food was amazingly good, seasoned and spiced perfectly, with generous portions at a shockingly fair price.  We shared some fries and chrysanthemum greens as appetizers, then for my main course I had the tempeh and rice cake dish. 

The portion looks small in this bowl, but that's because the bowl was the size of a basketball.
View from our patio- wineries to the right, mountains to the left.  We took it easy on our first morning there and enjoyed some fruit and mimosas while taking in the scenery.

Mimosas are the true breakfast of champions.
In stereotypical girls weekend fashion, we headed out for brunch and ended up at Boon Eat + Drink.  There wasn't anything listed on the menu that looked completely vegan, so I went ahead and checked with the server.  Everyone in Guerneville is familiar with what "vegan" entails, so it was no problem.

We started off with truffle fries and roasted brussels sprouts.  You can't go wrong with either of those.

Nice and garlicky, with plenty of crispy parts!

Truffle fries + homemade ketchup = YUM
I had a hankering for breakfast potatoes, so I ordered them topped with the ratatouille.  This was a simple dish but it was prepared excellently.  I licked my plate clean.  Or rather, wiped it clean with a truffle fry.

Another deceptively large bowl.
 There are a number of small art studios in town, and a good number of the people who love there are artists.  Walking around town you'll notice multiple koi fish paintings on the streets.  

Wonder where they are swimming to?

Bridge over the Russian River

View of the river from the bridge.

After wandering around downtown, we headed to the river for some sun and swimming.  The water was not nearly as cold as ocean water, and the current was light enough that we were able to dive in and splash around at our leisure.

Secret beach.

High five!
On the way home we stopped for ice cream at the Guerneville Bank Club, a renovated bank building that houses ice cream, pie and boutique shops all merged into one.  Nimble & Finn's provides the ice cream, and they always have at lease two vegan flavors on tap.

I love a town that appreciates dogs!  Where's the husky pup, though?

They will let you try every flavor in the store! I liked both flavor options but went with the coconut caramel.

Just looking at this pic makes me hungry again.
For our final dinner in town, we drove down to the town of Jenner.  It's super tiny- no downtown at all, just one really awesome restaurant, River's End.  Again, nothing obviously vegan on the menu, but the server was able to rattle off everything that she could veganize.

FYI- all of their salads can be made vegan.  I'm picturing all three here.

Duck breast salad without the duck!  Wilted spinach, lentils, roasted cherries and almonds

Orzo salad with roasted veggies and pickled fennel.  They veganize this by leaving off the cheese.

Beet salad!  This one has cheese on it but they'll leave it off for vegans.
For my main course, they veganized the vegetable napoleon.  Farro topped with roasted vegetables and tofu, with balsamic glaze on the side.  This was good, but I was already pretty full from the salad.  I'd say that any one of the salads would make a fine main course.  Everything is very fresh, and prepared to let the natural flavors of the veggies shine.

More brussels, obvi.
The next morning, we grabbed coffee and headed back to the real world.  On the way out I noticed a cute smoothie place.  I wish I had been hungry enough to grab a smoothie- maybe next time!

Strawberry signage!

Green smoothie menu!!
If you're looking for a weekend trip, Guerneville is highly recommended for a vegan/pup/LGBTQIA/family friendly vacay.  I wish I had enough time to go back with AP and Pups, but for now we are moving on to other adventures.

That's good advice for us all.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow! I had no idea there was somewhere like this so closeby. It sounds so cute. I have missed swimming in pools since the ocean is so bloody cold. And yay for veg-friendly restaurants. Truffle fries?!