Accessible only by a 4-wheel drive required 14-mile dirt road 25 miles southeast of Big Sur, CA, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center offers an escape from everyday like no other. Nestled in a mountain valley deep in the Ventana Wilderness Preserve, this retreat has served as a place for self-discovery and healing since 1967 when Buddhist author Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, opened Tassajara, the first Zen training monastery built outside of Japan.
Tassajara currently beckons everyone from Buddhist monks, celebrities, stressed-out executives, to an increasing number of technoholics seeking a digital-free environment to unplug and rebalance.
Retreat gates open to guests April –September but for the remainder of the year, Tassajara is limited to private Zen retreats. An eco-efficient paradise, the entire property draws 100% of its energy from solar panels as well as onsite hot springs which not only provide renewable heat and hot water but plenty of opportunities for blissful soaking.
When it’s time to eat, it’s hard to imagine which cuisine would best match these surroundings. Not to worry, checking into this world famous Zen retreat means experiencing vegetarian yet decidedly non-ascetic dishes all prepared onsite by chefs and guests alike. Here’s some of
their latest menu offerings:
Nutloaf w/Mushroom Gravy
Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans drizzled w/ Artichoke Aioli
Roasted Beet Salad over Arugula
Leek and Goat Cheese Gallette
Cauliflower w/Red Bells
GS w/Avocado, Orange Supremes and Almonds
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries w/Shortbread
North African Stew
Babaganoush and Pita
Med. Salad w/Cucumber, Tomatoes and Feta
Sticky Date Cake
Asparagus-Shitake Quiche w/Porcini Sauce
Tarragon White Beans
Roasted Summer Squash
GS w/Nectarines, Fennel and Slivered Almonds
Berry Fool w/ Black Pepper Cookie