Freshies: South Lake Tahoe
June 25, 2012 |
Tucked away in a small strip-mall (across the hall from a pirate novelty store), one of my favorite restaurants, and a true hidden gem on Tahoe’s south shore, Freshies, offers an enticing array of Hawaiian-influenced dishes. Their wholesome menu is mostly organic and offers many vegetarian and vegan dishes as well, using only the freshest meats and produce to create tantalizing Pacific Rim flavor combinations.
Packed with tons of “Aloha spirit,” the restaurant is playfully decorated with tiki décor — even a beautiful fish aquarium and tropical seaside mural on the wall to add to the relaxed ambiance — making for an unforgettable dining experience. No small detail is overlooked; even the salt and pepper shakers and place mats are Hawaiian-style. You truly feel like you have stepped out of South Lake Tahoe and into an island oasis (especially during the winter months when the everything is blanketed with snow). The bar is one of my favorite features, it is a long stone-like slab with inlays of multi-colored, smooth glass pieces; it is truly beautiful addition to the colorful décor. The restaurant itself is quite intimate with its somewhat small dining area, but it never feels crammed, even when full to capacity. During the summer months (typically from Memorial Day to Labor Day), you can dine on their rooftop deck with has stunning views of the lake and bright flowers to enhance the dining experience.
The food. Oh, the food. It is truly incredible. I have never had a dish I didn’t like. Their expansive menu offers a wide arrangement of delectable items, creating a bit of a dilemma with making a decision on what to order. The number one item they are “known” for are their infamous fish tacos. They come four ways: grilled, fried, blackened, Jamaican Jerk, or their extremely hot Buffalo-style. They are served in two corn tortillas and topped with shredded cabbage, cheese, tomatoes, and their spicy chipotle tartar sauce. When the tacos arrive at the table, they are accompanied by a basket of an array of hot sauces (from local hot sauces to Sriracha) for you to add to your taco, if you so dare. A perfect side on a hot day is their house-made gazpacho, it is one of the best I have ever tasted: chunky, full of tomato and fresh vegetable flavors, and a dollop of sour cream on top which really compliments the flavors of the cold soup.
After my first few visits, and being faithful to only ordering the fish tacos, I decided to expand my selections. I am so glad I did. The first new items I ordered were their Cream of Tomato Basil Soup and the My Tri Fries (a combination of yams, sweet potatoes, and Russets, which are sprinkled with a slightly spicy Caribbean spice blend)… delicious! The soup is mildly sweet with a slight tang, and the fries are completely addictive with their spicy dusting. Now, these were just lunchtime items. The dinner menu is a complete other range of amazing dishes. By far, my two favorites have to be the Organic Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry (with thighs), and the Good Old Red’s Country-Style Pork Spare Ribs (with their zesty Hawaiian-style barbecue sauce). And the desserts… there is a whole other world going on there; they are homemade, and they even offer a vegan option as well (the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie). My favorite dessert would have to be the decadent Big Kahuna, which is Kona coffee ice cream blended with toasted hazelnuts atop an Oreo and coffee crust, topped with chocolate and fresh whipped cream — a fabulous way to end the meal.
The staff is always extremely friendly and attentive, making the whole dining experience a complete enjoyable success. If you are a true foodie, as I am, you will appreciate everything Freshies has to offer, and won’t mind a bit of a wait for your delicious meal… it is well worth the wait for the perfection they serve. The price range is great as well; they definitely give you large portions! This is a must-try restaurant whenever in South Lake Tahoe.