Lots of extra snuggles.
I can probably count the number of date night’s we’ve had on one hand, so it was exciting to go out by ourselves for Big T’s birthday. Who am I kidding, we were friggin ecstatic. We made reservations a few months ago for the Chef’s Table at the Napa Rose Restaurant. We’d been to the Napa Rose before, and were impressed when they came up with a memorable vegan meal on the fly that wasn’t just a few pieces of lettuce and a lemon wedge (that particular restaurant in Pasadena has since closed down, thank you very much).
The Chef’s Table is right smack in the middle of all the cooking action, and we felt like we were giving them a Top Chef challenge when we informed our waiter that we were vegan. Chef Sutton, the Executive Chef of the restaurant came over and introduced himself, and asked if there was any food we didn’t like. We told him to have a ball, and that we love all vegan food and are looking forward to eating whatever they create.
Oh man, did he deliver. We wound up with a five course meal that made our taste buds dance with joy. He even made beets roasted in champagne that Big T actually liked. In fact, we saved the beets for the last bite because they were so amazing. Who knew beets could be so good? It was fun watching him prepare the meal in front of us, and he told us about everything he was making.
So, thank you Napa Valley and Chef Sutton for taking our diet and running with it. We left the Chef’s Table full and giddy.
Somebody thinks swimming is the bee’s knees:
Vegan travel isn’t nearly as complicated as it used to be. I remember 10 years ago, when I had to walk in the snow 12 miles to get to school, I’d always have to bring my own vegan food when I traveled. Now it’s easy to find a Chipotle or Panera, or even an all vegan restaurant that was referred from awesome websites like www.thehappycow.net, but what do you do when you’re in an area where you can’t *gasp* utilize your smart phone?!?
This happens to us every once in a while. We’ll sneak off to a place where there aren’t a lot of restaurants or grocery stores to fall back on. Those places are nice, because who wants to see the same old restaurants and grocery stores everywhere? But they do require extra planning. For our vacation to Cherry Valley and Oak Glen, we knew it was going to be a challenging trip. Fortunately, years of experience made it pretty snag-less (go us!) Here’s what we did to make sure we ate well, because it is a vacation, after all!
We started out in Cherry Valley for a Lavender Festival at the Highland Springs Resort. It used to be called “The Last Resort”, and was a vegetarian wellness center that Albert Einstein used to frequent (no joke!) We technically could have ventured into town and eaten at Subway or something, but who wants to leave a place that looks like this:
It was kind of like that poppy field in “The Wizard of Oz”…….poppies…………..*suddenly in a daze with silly grin on face*
So this is what we did:
1. We researched the few restaurants we could find on location ahead of time and called to make reservations and ensure they could make us a vegan meal.
2. We requested an *empty* mini-fridge for our room. They said it wouldn’t be a problem, but we discovered they’d forgotten once we were there. They were nice enough to let us store our perishables in their main fridge until they could get the mini-fridge in our room. They didn’t have a microwave in the room so we had to use things that didn’t need to be heated.
Next we went to stay at a B&B in Oak Glen. This was a little more challenging, because there weren’t any restaurants around.
3. We called the B&B ahead of time to make sure they knew we were vegan. We gave them a few simple ideas for our breakfast, and they said it would be no problem. They gave us an amazing breakfast, and asked if we had any tips for the next time they run into vegan travelers.
4. We brought sandwich items like avocado, pickles, and hummus. When we were out for the day, it was easy to find a restaurant that served sandwiches. We asked them to put as much produce as they had on the sandwiches, and made then added some yummy extras.
5. We brought some of our favorite snacks, but they only lasted about five minutes. That’s always the problem with good snacks, isn’t it?
6. We lugged everything around in a cooler until we got to our destinations. We’d asked the B&B if we could use their fridge, and they didn’t mind a bit. It was a bit of a pain, but worth it.
If you have any other vegan traveling tips, let me know. I’m always glad to hear new ideas.
If you want a nice getaway during Apple Season, make reservations at the Serendipity Bed and Breakfast. You have to do it fast though, because they fill up like crazy. My Mom and I stayed for a night during the Lavender Festival. One night really wasn’t enough though to enjoy all of the charm at the Serendipity Ranch. Next time we’ll have to plan a longer visit.
There were so many little places to explore here, but our favorite place by far was sitting on the swing on the front porch and looking over the lake at night while the frogs talked back and forth to each other. It’s so weird, the frogs will be so noisy and then stop talking all at once.
In the morning, Nina (the b&b owner) put birdseed out because I really wanted to snap some pictures. I got a lot of great pics, but I had to get the okay from this chipmunk first:
Little T’s favorite part of the ranch were the llamas. Nope, they didn’t spit at us, but I’m sure he would have thought it was funny if they did.
The coffee machine was pretty snazzy. They even had blueberry coffee, my all time coffee favorite!
They even made us a delicious breakfast to accommodate our vegan diet. They were such friendly people and we can’t wait to visit again. It was incredibly charming way to spend the weekend.
My mom and I had an amazing time. They had so many relaxing and enjoyable activities at the Highland Resort’s Lavender Festival.
They had a craft table where you could work on different projects with the lavender. Our favorite was making the lavender wands because there was nothing more relaxing than having the smell of lavender fill your nostrils as you weave the ribbon in and out.
The finished product:
They also had some lavender inspired drinks. My favorite was the lavender lemonade, but this lavender margarita wasn’t too bad, either.
Exploring the lavender fields at sunset:
And having a glass of wine in a water cooler cup before bed time:
My Mom and I packed up with Little T to go to the Lavender Festival in Cherry Valley.
We were pretty amused at how much stuff we needed to pack in order to get away for one weekend…okay, so we probably didn’t need all of it.
I always wonder what Little T thinks when he falls asleep in the car and wakes up in random places like the middle of a lavender field.
I asked Little T what he thought, and he seemed happy about the whole thing.
They had lots of fun activities for Little T to enjoy.
There was even some baby romance:
And my favorite activity, Mommy/Baby Snuggles: