|The oceanfront view from the Albion River Inn on Northern California's Mendocino coast.|
|Entrance to the Albion River Inn Restaurant|
|Dining room at the Albion River Inn|
The James Beard award-winning chef Stephen Smith has been at the helm of Albion River Inn’s kitchen for over 20 years. He draws the inspiration for his cuisine from the sea, Mendocino’s seasonal organic produce, and local ranchers and purveyors. The back wall of the dining room is filled edge to edge with an assortment of framed awards and accolades beginning from the restaurant’s earliest years. Albion River Inn was a recipient of Wine Spectators’ “Award of Excellence” for 19 consecutive years until recently, when someone simply forgot to submit the application.
|The bar at the Albion River Inn|
The bar is tended by Laura Spradlin, who, like the chef and sommelier, has also been with the inn for over 20 years. She’s a favorite among locals and travelers alike for her hand-crafted cocktails. Drop in between 5 and 6 p.m. to mingle with the local crowd and enjoy happy hour discounts on house wines, beer and well drinks.
The night I was there, I ordered a glass of wine and the chef’s choice three-course menu, which started with a tossed greens salad. The salad featured a great mix of textures--tender roasted beets, toasted pumpkin seeds, and crispy fried leeks--tossed with a tangy mango-rice wine vinaigrette.
|Pan-seared ling cod at the Albion River Inn|
The finale was a decadent, semi-sweet chocolate mousse flavored with brandy, Kahlua, amaretto and hazelnut liquors. The satisfyingly rich mousse was served with freshly whipped cream, fresh strawberries, and fresh mint.
I dipped my spoon into the tall glass of chocolate bliss just as the sun began dipping below the ocean. Pink and purple clouds drifted across a pale orange sky and a faint, ragged edge of a fog bank appeared on the horizon. Guests at the other tables began murmuring their compliments to the chef and then gathering themselves to leave. Slowly, spoon by spoon, I tried to make my chocolate mousse and the sunset last as long as possible.
|Cottages lining the bluff at the Albion River Inn|
|Private deck for one of the guest rooms at Albion River Inn|
|Room 10 at the Albion River Inn|
Guests to the Albion River Inn are welcomed with a split of wine and treated to an exclusive breakfast in the restaurant each morning. Rates start at $195 for a basic room with a view.
Albion River Inn
3790 N Highway 1
Albion, CA 95410
Tel: 707-937-1919 or 800-479-7944
The third and fourth photos courtesy of Albion River Inn. All others by Ranee Ruble-Dotts for CABBI.