One of my favorite stop-offs in South Lake Tahoe is Sprouts Natural Foods Café. Yum! Originally created by the current owner’s mother in the mid 70’s as a health food store and five-seat juice bar (then called“The Fresh Apple”), after operation by two subsequent owners and repurchase and renovation by the original owner’s son in 1990, this cozy place retains its hippie-ish vibe. The staff–young, friendly and happy, perfectly compliment and bring this low-key and unpretentious place to life; I love the atmosphere here.

Per the menu: “Althought Sprouts is not completely organic, we do our best to serve the cleanest, freshest, most wholesome food available…all of our ingredents have always been, and will continue to be, all nature and of the highest quality.”

Sprouts serves a varitety of sandwiches, soups, salads, bagals, breakfast items and specialties like a short grain brown Rice Bowl, sprouted whole wheat tortillas, Hummus Melt, Tempeh Burger, Baked Tofu Bowl and Steamed Veggies. The salad selection is excellent, chock full of fresh veggies and other healthy ingredients. But yours truly? I come here for the juice! Fresh fruit and veggie juices (including wheatgrass) taste soooo extra good next to the lake. Today I ordered the Spinach Cocktail: spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, apple and carrot juice, and chased that down with a Hot Shot: organic wheatgrass (cut to order), fresh ginger, lemon and cayenne. Bam! I hiked down to the lake and then on my way out stopped at Sprouts again, and since I’ve been feeling under the weather, ordered a Flu Fighter: carrot, orange, ginger, lemon, celery and parsley. Really tasty and healthy; a great place to stop for a pick-me-up if you’re here in South Lake! Feels like home.

NOTE #1: Sprouts only accepts cash, and while there’s a convenient in-house ATM, the use fee is $2.50, so my advice is to stop by your own bank on the way instead.

NOTE #2: If you’re staying in Tahoe and eating healthy–the only health-food store in town is this little gold nugget, Grass Roots Natural Foods in South Lake Tahoe. It’s not far down the street from Sprouts (on the Y), and is a tiny, magical little co-opp-y type place where I can find almost anything I need. Lovely. Here’s info via yelp–take the time to read the rave reviews if you need more info. http://www.yelp.com/biz/grass-roots-natural-foods-south-lake-tahoe

Check here for info via FB: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sprouts-Natural-Foods-Cafe/116176731727055?sk=info