Muir’s Tea Room – a slice of vegan heaven in Sebastopol!

Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh my friends….I can’t BELIEVE it has taken me so long to find this place, it has been open since shortly before I got here at the end of 2014! I had heard about Muir’s Tea Room on Facebook, but thought it was just a regular old tea house with some vegan options. Imagine my extreme excitement and urgent need to get there asap when I found out it was ALL PLANT-BASED!!!!! Woo-hoo!!! That makes it the only vegan restaurant in Sonoma county, which is a travesty that needs to be addressed asap by anyone other than me, hee hee….

Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

Muir’s Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

Muir’s Tea Room was opened in December 2014 and is inspired by John Muir, a Scottish-American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. Owner Christine Dzilvelis and chef Tika Moon serve a traditional Scottish/English tea service with tiered racks, as well as lunch items such as sandwiches, soups, salads with home-made dressings, and traditional Scottish pasties. It is located in one of my favourite towns in the area, Sebastopol, right on Main Street, in a gorgeous restored 1892 Victorian house surrounded by lush gardens. The decorations are all nature themed and cute as a button, and there is also a gift shop filled with all manner of fascinating curios. And….more importantly – there are UNICORNS and MY LITTLE PONY items as well!!!! I felt like I was in a much more tastefully decorated and spacious version of my own lair!!!!

The decision to name a vegan tea shop after a noted conservationist is extremely timely given the drought that California is facing right now. Animal agriculture is responsible for 47% of California’s water footprint, versus only 4% for domestic water use (Pacific Institute). The adoption of a vegan diet can save on average 600 gallons of water a day compared to eating a standard American diet (National Geographic). Because of how much food is cycled through animals to produce animal products, a vegan diet requires 18 times less land to produce than a meat-eater’s diet, and 3 times less land than a vegetarian’s diet (a vegan diet only requires 1/6 of an acre of land per year to feed one person) (Earthsave, PNAS, NSRL, Johnny Seeds). Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction (full sources available at the website for the excellent documentary Cowspiracy, which I recommend you watch at your earliest opportunity if you care about the earth. Also please check out the excellent work Truth or Drought are doing to raise awareness on this issue, and add them to your Facebook feed).

So! Without further ado…I present….Muir’s Tea Room…a story in pictures!!!

Outside patio, Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

The outside tables are extremely pleasant, and look out over Main Street in Sebastopol and the beautiful gardens at the front of the house.

indoor dining area, Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

Part of the indoor dining area

Vegan baked goods, Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

The dessert case

Genuto vegan gelato, Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

Genuto vegan gelato! Didn’t get a chance to try, sadly as too full from all the other exciting things I had!!!!

Nature themed gift shop, Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

Nature themed gift shop on one end of the dining room

Gorgeous china table settings, Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

Elegant and unique place settings – adore the deer napkin rings!

Here is the Close to Nature’s Heart tea rack, $21.95. Includes an endless pot of tea from a vast selection of tea flavours, 2 flavors of finger sandwiches (2 of each flavor), choice of cup of soup or house salad, scone w/jam AND assortment of petit desserts!!! Yeah, baby!!!! (click on any photo to see more details and a larger version).

And the soup, sandwich and salad combo with a pasty instead of a sandwich:

Here a few more pictures of the fanciful, creative and relaxing decor and some of the food:

Before leaving, I signed the guestbook which was being lovingly watched over by an awesome unicorn:

Guestbook, Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

A beautiful unicorn watches over the guest book

Christine, the owner of Muir's Tea Room, Sebastopol, California

Christine, the mysterious, benevolent genius behind Muir’s.

And managed to get a photo with Christine, the creatress of this magical place! Thank you to Christine and her friendly and welcoming staff for an amazing, enchanted visit to vegan paradise!!!

Muir’s Tea Room
Address: 330 South Main Street, Sebastopol
Telephone: 707 634 6143
Hours (watch for expanded hours including dinner opening coming soon! Yay!)
Tuesday- Friday 11:00 AM- 4 :00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM- 4:00 PM
Monday- closed

Reservations are recommended for holidays and weekends. Also check their website for special events throughout the year.

Muir’s is also a Blue Ribbon Sponsor of this year’s Sonoma County Vegfest on August 15, 2015 in Santa Rosa! Yay!

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Vegan comfort food restaurant reviews: Nature’s Express and Veggie Grill

Welcome back my friends! Today I am very excited to write about two visits I made to two awesome vegan restaurants a few weeks back: Nature’s Express, in Berkeley (East Bay) and Veggie Grill, In Corte Madera (North Bay). As regular readers of PiP know, I am car-challenged, so when the opportunity arose to accompany a friend catsitting in the East Bay, I jumped at it!

Nature’s Express

For dinner on the first night, we opted for Nature’s Express, which was a real surprise for me in Berkeley. It’s in the north part of town, on Solano Avenue, which is a really cute shopping street right at the bottom of the beautiful Berkeley Hills, an area which I had been fortunate enough to spend some time in back in 2013. I hadn’t had time to do much research about the place, so based on the name, I thought it would be one of those Cali-fresh smoothies and healthy salads and wraps type places, but – oh no! It is definitely more in my favourite food realm – comfort food! Yippee!!!! The atmosphere is very casual and laid back too, also a favourite of mine.

Here are my pictures and some detail about the place in the captions!!! Click on any photo to read the full caption.

Their tagline is  “Kick-ass vegan food since 2010” and their website is really fun, with even more pictures, so I encourage you to check it out. Interestingly the restaurant is staffed by hipstery-looking dudes and dudettes, but it was started by a cancer doctor and a nutritionist, both vegans, so there is some serious science and nutrition behind the tasty grub they are dishing up! Their philosophy is as follows:

Nature’s Express is committed to helping people find delicious, convenient, affordable food that is also nutritious. Keeping everything plant based dramatically decreases the toxic organic pollutants, hormones, and antibiotics that are consistently found in our dairy and meat products.

Our philosophy on our food is pretty simple:

1) Fresh ingredients cooked daily

2) Delicious

3) Nutritious and unprocessed

4) Affordable

Sounds good to me! Definitely wanna go back and try some more dishes! Two thumbs up from Pegasus in Paradise!

Veggie Grill

After this, we managed to fit in even more comfort food wonderfulness by stopping at the Veggie Grill in Corte Madera (in ritzy Marin County) on the way home (boo-hoo! didn’t want to go back to land of no vegan restaurants!!!). Veggie Grill is a chain, with 25 stores on the West Coast and their tagline is ‘celebrate the vegetable!’ – yeah!!! Respect!!!

On their menus and website it says this:

Veggie Grill, Corte Madera

I was so excited as I approached since I had been wanting to come here for months!!!

VEGGIE GRILL + YOU.
at our place, vegetables are the rockstars.
shining brightly at the center.
of every plate we make for you.

WE SEE EVERY SEASON.
as an opportunity to
celebrate the vegetable!
the fruit. the grain. and, the nut.

WE SEE YOU.
with eyes wide open. as one of us.
not as a diet, but as a person.
as someone seeking out the vegetable.
we think of you as veggie positive.

Love love love!!!! As my friend Muggs would say! 🙂

You order and pay when you go in and then a server brings your food to your table. The atmosphere and the decor is bright, light and casual. The staff were really nice. I NEED to go back to try more things on the menu, everything sounds sooooo good and there is a lot of variety – appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, all vegan!!! My only small criticism is that they could do with expanding their dessert section, which only has two items (although I do adore vegan carrot cake with vegan cream cheeze frosting!!!).

Here is a slideshow of photos from my visit! Enjoy!

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simon the cat

Simon the cat-dog with his favourite toy, a stuffed rooster!

Whew! What an exciting trip! Here is one bonus picture of the cute cat my friend was catsitting. 🙂 The cat thought he was a dog!

Nature’s Express, Berkeley, CA
Address: 1823 Solano Ave., Berkeley, CA 94707
Phone: 510.527.5331
Hours: Everyday : 10:30am – 8:00pm (except for holidays)

Veggie Grill, Corte Madera and 24 other locations on the West Coast
Address: 147 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera, CA 94925
Phone: 415.945.8954
Hours: Sun – Thur 11am to 9pm, Fri – Sat 11am to 10pm