Main Street Kelseyville is a little busier than normal this Tuesday afternoon. With the recent warmer temperatures, mother nature is coaxing all of us to get out and about. Patrons leave Sophies Day Spa with a scoop of ice cream in one hand and a bag of goodies in another. A man leaves Bell Haven Florist with a bouquet and a smile in his step. Outside the Saw Shop, the covered patio and heaters remain in place just in case this warm spring weather should change its mind and bring us more rain. But the sky is clear and blue, and the rain seems a distant memory. It’s not a question on whether to eat outside or not. It would seem an insult to spring and its beauty to do otherwise.
By now, most of us have heard about Blue Zones in Lake County in one form or another. You might even say it’s becoming a “thing” in Lake County. You’ve heard about it in our schools, grocery stores, neighborhoods, and, more recently, our restaurants. I had the privilege of attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Saw Shop Public House to celebrate their becoming a Blue Zones Project approved restaurant. Now, if you are anything like me, that has to pique your curiosity; since I have yet to have a disappointing meal at the Saw Shop. Can it really be not just good for you, but taste good too?
My lunch experience begins with a warm welcome from my server, and I eagerly look at the menu. In blue, each Blue Zones menu item is marked. Well, that’s easy enough I smile as I give my order. Soon after, my black bean hummus appears, revealing a colorful display of fresh vegetables and crisp, locally-made tortillas, all surrounding a large serving of black bean hummus. It’s perfectly topped with fresh corn, whole black beans, cilantro, chives, chipotle peppers, and Chacewater olive oil, tying all the ingredients together. This promises not to be your ordinary grocery store hummus. The colors delight my eyes and tantalize my taste buds. The first bite’s a bit of a surprise. This creamy, smooth texture has a little kick to it. It’s not enough to ask for a glass of milk but definitely stands out from any other hummus I’ve eaten. The veggies act as spoons, forks, and knives to get the job done, and each herb brings a bright, fresh flavor to every bite. What a treat. What a surprise, for sure.
Next, the black bean burger. Now I know what you’re going to say; how can a veggie burger be a burger? I mean, let’s get real here. And I do hear you! But hang in there. This is the Saw Shop, after all. Give ‘em a chance! To my delight, this black bean-inspired veggie burger isn’t anything like a veggie patty I’ve seen before. If you’re looking for a large burger, this one holds its ground. It’s topped with fresh avocado, spicy pickled jalapeno, blackened red pepper, and leaf lettuce. Each bite is moist and creamy, with the perfect balance of spice from the peppers and crunch of the lettuce. And no soggy bun or dripping grease happening here. Every bite is a true delight to experience a burger unlike any other I’ve had before.
And here is where the magic happens. Luckily for me, I also ordered a side salad instead of fries to go with my burger. A lovely mixture of greens, topped with cherry tomatoes, croutons and fresh pickled red onion fills the palate. But the piece de resistance is the side of their house-made honey-lime vinaigrette. Is it good on the salad? Yes, of course. But to dip your burger in it is to take a short trip to heaven. Each bite is a tang dressing up an already good burger to paradise.
And here’s the best part of my time at the Saw Shop, I finished my burger, every bite, dressing and all. Was I full? Yes. Was I uncomfortable? Not at all. It felt like my body thanked me and, in turn, gave me no issues of any kind for the rest of the day and a great night’s sleep. Could I say the same if I had had a “real” burger? Absolutely not. And hey, let’s hand it to the Saw Shop for knocking this one outta the park! Go see for yourself. And don’t forget the honey lime vinaigrette for good measure.
Weston Siefert, owner of the Saw Shop Public House, said it best at the ribbon-cutting ceremony: “For me, it was a no-brainer, a natural progression of what we do. We try to serve as much local produce as we can when it’s available and be as inclusive as we can with our community. So It was a natural progression for me and exciting to give our guests the opportunity to have some other options.”
Hats off to you, Weston, for making eating healthy taste good too!
3825 Main St, Kelseyville, CA 95451