Lake Tahoe Bears – Friend or Foe?

Everybody loves bears; stuffed bears, carved bears, bear jewelry, bear photos and bear stories. When you visit Lake Tahoe you encounter bears everywhere. Why? Because everyone LOVES bears. Or do they?

Annie the bear welcomes all my guests.
Annie the bear welcomes all my guests.

You notice I did not mention ‘live’ bears. My friends and family come to visit Lake Tahoe and buy bear necklaces, bear mugs, and bear sweatshirts, but freak out if they see any of our Lake Tahoe bears walking down the street. First they freeze in fear, then they begin walking slowly backward, before they turn and run full out for the house. This is usually followed by lots of screaming and hyperventilation.

Adult bear across the street from my house.
Adult bear across the street from my house.

Perhaps those who visit Lake Tahoe imagine the Tahoe National Forest operating like a large zoo; the bears stay on their side of the forest and the people stay on theirs. Has anyone mentioned this plan to the Lake Tahoe bears? More aptly, has anyone ask the bears if we could turn their home into a vacation destination, and pave over their food supply?

Bear cubs playing in soccer net at Kahle Community Center in Lake Tahoe
Bear cubs playing in soccer net at Kahle Community Center in Lake Tahoe

*Click on the picture above to see the video*

I LOVE living in Lake Tahoe and yes, I love Lake Tahoe bears. The Tahoe forest is home to the Black Bear whose fur can be blond, brown or black. These bears are generally peace loving and their cubs are playful and energetic. Black bears spend the winter in a state of light hibernation for which they must prepare by eating loads of food during the summer. This foraging for food takes them into populated areas, where they would generally prefer not to be. I don’t know if they like us, but they appear to want to eat and live in peace with us.

This bear cub is sitting in front of a neighbor’s house watching my children play soccer.
This bear cub is sitting in front of a neighbor’s house watching my children play soccer.

What do you think? Do you like bears? Do you hope to see one of our Lake Tahoe bears strolling down the street toward you or would you rather enjoy their beauty from afar….really far? I am interested to know what you think. Please add your comments and questions above.

https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/public-works/waste-not/bear-wildlife-awareness/bear-awareness-program
https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/public-works/waste-not/bear-wildlife-awareness/bear-awareness-program

Avoid Lake Tahoe bears by keeping food in secure bear bins and not in your car or tent. Do not chase down a bear or try to take a selfie with a bear. This could end very badly for you. Please do not try to make Lake Tahoe bears your friend. If a bear frequents populated areas too many times, it could mean the end of his/her life. For more information on our local bear program visit: https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/public-works/waste-not/bear-wildlife-awareness/bear-awareness-program

Young bear down the street from my house
Young bear down the street from my house

If you see one of our beloved Lake Tahoe Bears take the following advice from the US Forest Service.

In Your Yard: Do not run. Be aggressive and assert your dominance by standing tall and making noise that will scare the bear away. Banging pots and pans together and shouting loudly works well.

In the Woods: This is the bear’s territory, respect that and do not run. Make eye contact cut don’t stare, pick up small children, make yourself appear as large as possible, stay calm and quiet, back away and enjoy the experience from a safe distance.

Anywhere: If the bear attempts to get away, do not block the bear’s escape route! Bears will often climb a tree if frightened and usually won’t come down if humans or dogs are present.

For more information regarding Lake Tahoe bear safety please visit: http://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/bears

For more information about black bears: Black Bears (Falcon Pocket Guides) 

Please add your comments and questions to the comment box above.

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Best Mexican Food in Lake Tahoe – Azul Mexican Grill

Azul Mexican Grill offers authentic, gourmet Mexican food for your dining pleasure when you visit Lake Tahoe.

Azul Mexican Grill - Outdoor dining
Azul Mexican Grill – Outdoor dining

In July of 2015, Jose and his daughter came to Lake Tahoe on vacation. They were so enraptured with the beauty of Lake Tahoe that Jose decided that this would be the location of his next restaurant. Jose is a veteran restaurateur and talented chef. Agave Azul Mexican Grill was born.  It has been a favorite of my family since the first day we walked in the door. The food is unmatched and the service impeccable.

Azul Mexican Grill - Traditional Dining
Azul Mexican Grill – Traditional Dining

The Azul Mexican Grill serves the best Mexican food in Lake Tahoe with the perfect blend of elegant and comfortable ambiance. The traditional dining room has both tables and generous booths. It is the ideal location to bring your family and friends for a relaxing, delicious meal. Perhaps you want to catch the game with your meal. The Azul also offers a bar & grill dining area where you will find comfortable tables and HDTVs for your viewing pleasure.

Azul Mexican Grill - Bar & Grill seating
Azul Mexican Grill – Bar & Grill seating

Let’s face it, we really just want excellent food. The Azul Mexican Grill will not disappoint. Your meal begins with chips, salsa and this really great bean and cheese dip. The appetizers are heavenly. You must try the Agave Azul sampler (shown below). Yes, those are bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with mozzarella cheese.  This appetizer is generous enough to provide the entire meal for two people.

Azul Mexican Grill - Authentic Gourmet Mexican Food
Azul Mexican Grill – Authentic Gourmet Mexican Food

My favorite meal is the Agave Azul Enchiladas. My husband favors the Agave Azul fajitas with home made corn tortillas that melt in your mouth.  Whatever you order, make sure to ask for the home made corn tortillas. I did not even like corn tortillas until Jose convinced me to try his. Now I can’t get enough of them. I also highly recommend their ceviche.

Azul Mexican Grill - Full Bar Service
Azul Mexican Grill – Full Bar Service

The Azul Mexican Grill provides a full bar service. Their signature drinks are divine. My favorite is their Watermelon -Rita. (shown below) It has actual chunks of watermelon floating in the drink.  The best beverage after a day in the sun, to accompany the best Mexican food in Lake Tahoe.

Azul Mexican Grill - Azul Full Bar
Azul Mexican Grill – Azul Full Bar

Dinner at the Azul Mexican Grill will run you an average of $15 a plate plus drink and gratuity. Breakfast and lunch will cost less. Happy hour runs from 3 to 6 pm. The Azul Mexican Grill is open Monday through Friday fro 10:30 to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.

Azul Mexican Grill - Happy Hour Specials
Azul Mexican Grill – Happy Hour Specials

You will find the Azul Mexican Grill on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe, less than one mile from the state line. Be careful not to mistake it for Azul Latin Kitchen in Heavenly Village. The Latin Kitchen is more of a Cal-Mex blend, rather than authentic, gourmet Mexican like the Azul Mexican Grill.  Take Highway 50 out of California, into Nevada, 0.6 miles. It is just past the Lakeside Inn, next door to Sushi Pier, on the right hand side of the road.

177 Highway 50, Stateline, Nevada
177 Highway 50, Stateline, Nevada

Lake Tahoe Dance Festival – Tahoe City

Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.

-Charles Baudelaire

Lake Tahoe Dance Festival
Lake Tahoe Dance Festival

The 4th Annual Lake Tahoe Dance Festival will take place on the Gatekeeper’s Museum Grounds in Tahoe City. If you visit Lake Tahoe between July 27th and the 29th you will want to get tickets for this beautiful event. Students and teachers from the Tahoe Dance Collective will exhibit their talents and hard work through their innovative and classical performances. Imagine sitting on a blanket in the spectacular Tahoe National Forest while graceful artisans and beautiful music spin fascinating tales.

Tickets are available for $25 at the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival website. Bring a blanket or low back lawn chair to watch the performance in comfort. Park in the Gatekeeper’s Museum parking lot located at 130 West Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City, CA. If the Museum parking lost is full, you will find space at the Transit Center just south of the Museum on Highway 89.

Best Breakfast in Tahoe

Peace, Love and Waffles!

Red Hut Cafe - Ski Run location serves dinner also.
Red Hut Cafe – Ski Run location serves dinner also.

The Red Hut Cafe is a Tahoe fixture and a ‘must go’ when you visit Lake Tahoe. The Red Hut is historically a breakfast café but you can also enjoy a great lunch. You will find three Red Hut locations in South Lake Tahoe. The original cafe is located in the middle of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50 (Lake Tahoe Boulevard).

Original Red Hut Waffle Shop
Original Red Hut Waffle Shop

The Original Red Hut Waffle Shop

In 1959 Mac & Lorraine moved the old donut shop from the state line, 2.5 miles down Highway 50 to its current location. Lorraine and her daughters worked the dining room and Mac prepared the best breakfast in Tahoe. Lorraine and Mac sold the business in 1984 to the current owners, and long-time customers. The Gardner family still runs the business today, which looks and tastes very much as it did in 1959.

Red Hut Cafe - Kingsbury Grade location
Red Hut Cafe – Kingsbury Grade location

Additional Locations

The Gardner family has opened several additional locations since then. In 1990 the Kingsbury Grade location opened. This is my favorite Red Hut spot. It is a little roomier than the original location with peek-a-boo view of Lake Tahoe. The Ski Run Red Hut opened in 2009 and is the first Red Hut Cafe to offer dinner. (The Ski Run location also contains an old fashioned soda fountain.) Since then, Red Hut Cafés have opened in both Carson City and Reno, NV.

Best Breakfast in Tahoe - Kingsbury 4

Breakfast is King at Red Hut

Breakfast is the specialty of every Red Hut Café. Traditional breakfasts with waffles, pancakes, bacon & eggs, and omelets are served with excellence every day. These are breakfasts of huge proportions and ‘The Usual’ is a local favorite. If you are tanking up to hit the slopes for the day, the Red Hut has you covered. Daily specials often include fresh fruit and breakfast is served all day. Expect to pay about $10 for your meal and a couple bucks for your drink. My husband and I never pay more than $30 for the two of us: two meals, two coffees, one juice and a 20% tip all for just under $30! Life does not get much better than that.

Red Hut Cafe - Kingsbury Grade sign
Red Hut Cafe – Kingsbury Grade sign

Getting There

The Original Red Hut is located at 2723 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Red Hut Cafe Nevada is located at 229 Kingsbury Grade, Stateline, NV.

Red Hut Cafe Ski Run is located at 3660 Lake Tahoe Blvd, Corner Hwy 50 & Ski Run Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Locations of 3 Red Hut Cafes in the Tahoe Basin.
Locations of 3 Red Hut Cafes in the Tahoe Basin.

Lake Tahoe Live Music – North Tahoe

Free Friday Night Bands – Come dance on the beach when you visit Lake Tahoe at Music on the Beach!

Lake Tahoe Live Music - Kings Beach
Lake Tahoe Live Music – Kings Beach

Let loose and start your Tahoe weekend with a concert on the beach. Experience great music, meet new people and soak up that great Tahoe vibe at Music on the Beach. Watch the sun set over Lake Tahoe while Lake Tahoe live music washes over you.

2016 Music on the Beach Lineup 

June 17 –  The Blues Monsters

June 24 – The Wrinkle

July 8 – Coburn Station

July 15 – Sneaky Creatures

July 22 – Abalone Grey

July 29 – Buddy Emmer Blues Band

August 5 – Paul David and the Drivers

August 19 – Miss Lonely Hearts

August 26 – Forget the Roses

September 2 – Achilles Wheel

Kings Beach
Kings Beach

Come early. Everyone loves a concert on the beach and music goers begin showing up before lunch to find their perfect spot. Kings Beach is an expansive lake side beach with room for all your friends and family.

Lake Tahoe Lie Music - picnic
Kings Beach picnic area and BBQ

Bring the whole family and enjoy a barbecue on the beach. Kings Beach is in the heart of town with cafes within walking distance. Food vendors are on the beach Friday evening for your dining pleasure. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company beer, 14 Hands wine, and soft drinks are available for purchase from 6-9pm. Children will enjoy the playground on the beach.

Kings Beach playground
Kings Beach playground

Parking at King’s Beach is $10, so why not make a day of it. Bring a jacket. When the sun sets it can get chilly at 6200 feet, especially after a day in the sun. Please no outside alcohol or pets. Come on out, visit Lake Tahoe at Music on the Beach and enjoy our hospitality.

 

 

Best Sushi in South Lake Tahoe – Sushi Pier

Fresh, delicious, all-you-can-eat sushi with excellent service when you visit Lake Tahoe.

Sushi Pier chefs
Sushi Pier chefs

Sushi Pier chefs are the artisans of great, nutritious food, providing a superior dining experience. Yes, it is all-you-can-eat for $27. This includes appetizers, long rolls, hand rolls, mussels, shrimp and dessert, every kind of sushi on the menu. The servers are extremely attentive and you can put in multiple orders of the same item at once.

Best Sushi in Lake Tahoe - Sushi Pier - dining room
Sushi Pier dining room

The truth is that I grew up in the Bay Area and never liked Sushi. My husband and kids love sushi but I would always order a Bento Box with teriyaki chicken. Occasionally I would have a piece of California roll since I do not like the texture of raw fish. Then we moved to Tahoe and my twenty-something daughters were so excited about Sushi Pier they convinced me to not only go, but to try some sushi. I LOVE it. Sushi Pier has a variety of sushi offerings that include cooked fish, for those in your party that may be sushi wimps (like myself). The Mid-town roll is my favorite.

Mount Rose
Mount Rose Roll

The Mount Rose roll is super yummy and a local favorite, topped with crab and scallops.  The baked mussels are a ‘must have.’ The Nigiri is excellent; the Mickey, the Donald and the fresh water eel are my husband’s favorite. My son and his wife love the quail egg shooters. And don’t forget dessert. The ‘Happy Ending’ is as good as it sounds.

Sushi Pier rear bar
Sushi Pier rear bar

Sushi Pier serves traditional Japanese drinks, specialty Sake cocktails, beer and a full compliment of well drinks. Six HDTV’s are broadcasting sporting events for your viewing pleasure.

Sushi Pier Lake Tahoe
Sushi Pier Lake Tahoe

Sushi Pier is open for business Monday -Saturday 11:30 to 9:30 and Sunday 11:30 to 9 pm. Sushi Pier is located at 177 Lake Tahoe Boulevard (Highway 50) in Stateline, Nevada. From South Lake Tahoe, California, take Highway 50 out of California into Nevada 0.10 miles. Sushi Pier is on the right hand side of the road, just past the Lakeside Inn.

Map to Sushi Pier
Map to Sushi Pier

American Century Celebrity Golf Championship – South Lake Tahoe Golf

On July 19-24, 2016, the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship is being held here at Edgewood Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe.

Edgewood

Attention golfers: Edgewood Tahoe offers the best in South Lake Tahoe Golf. This beautiful South Lake Tahoe Golf Course sits right on the shore with spectacular views of our Alpine Lake and the surrounding mountains.

The American Century Celebrity Golf Championship is a week of play, action, and excitement in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. 80 Pro Athletes and Hollywood Celebrities will compete for their share of a $600,000 purse and the coveted American Century Championship Cup. For more information about the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship please visit: AmericanCenturyChampionship.com

Harveys Lake Tahoe Promotions – Check out Our Best Rates

This event fills up local hotels so don’t delay in making your reservations. Harrah’s, Harvey’s, Mont Bleu, the Hard Rock and the Lakeside Casinos are all within walking distance of the course, as is the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel (formerly the Embassy Suites).

Local’s Tip: For an excellent cigar during and after your round of golf, be sure to visit the Lake Tahoe Cigar Shop on the ground floor of Mont Bleu Casino. The owner, Blythe, is very knowledgeable and friendly and the shop features a walk-in humidor as well as a full line of tobacco products and sports apparel.

South Lake Tahoe Bakery makes the best Cinnamon Rolls on Earth!

Sugar Pine Bakery

Scrumptious cinnamon rolls
Scrumptious cinnamon rolls

The cinnamon rolls at Sugar Pine Bakery are nothing short of heavenly. Warm it up for just 5 seconds in the microwave at it will literally melt in your mouth. You better come early.  Sugar Pine Bakery makes everything fresh and their cinnamon rolls sell out before 10 am almost every day.

South Lake Tahoe Bakery - Sugar Pine Yummm
yummmmmmm

Let’s face it, everyone comes to Lake Tahoe to treat themselves and celebrate their lives. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and promotions of every kind are blissfully celebrated with edible treats. On vacation we usually purchase our baked treats after we arrive at our destination. Heck, getting to vacation in Lake Tahoe is a celebration in itself. Sugar Pine Bakery is ready to make your celebration just a little sweeter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Rebecca’s 10th birthday

Sugar Pine Bakery sells much more than cinnamon rolls and cakes. Come by the bakery and enjoy a cup of coffee or specialty drink. Order a sandwich or some homemade granola. You find the most creative pastries of every type as well as childhood favorites like chocolate chip cookies. Don’t forget to get a loaf of fresh baked bread before you go.

South Lake Tahoe Bakery - Sugar Pine - Bread Board
Bread and sandwich offerings

Ask for a loaf of Tahoe Sourdough. Sugar Pine Bakery carries many fresh bread choices but my favorite is Tahoe Sourdough. No, it is not just sourdough bread made in Tahoe. Tahoe Sourdough bread has a real rustic consistency that melts in your mouth once you bite into it. It is great paired with soup or chili. I especially love that the server will ask you if you would like your bread sliced before they pack it up. They use a vintage bread slicer and package it while you wait. This keeps the bread from getting stale or dried out by sitting sliced all day.

anniv cake
50th Anniversary cake with matching cupcakes for the grandkids

Every special occasion in my home includes baked treats from Sugar Pine Bakery. If you have a specialty order – no problem. The artisans need at least a week’s notice for specialty cakes. I hosted a party for my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary and of course Sugar Pine Bakery provided the cake. This cake was not only a dessert, it was the loveliest decoration in the room.

South Lake Tahoe Bakery - Sugar Pine - cafe
Cafe area perfect for having a cup of coffee with your pastry/

The service at Sugar Pine Bakery is without fault. Owners Jonathan & Teresa Argon are usually either waiting on customers or cooking in the back. Either way, they are at your service if you just ask.

South Lake Tahoe Bakery - Sugar Pine drink menu

Visitors commonly ask me to recommend a South Lake Tahoe bakery.  My ‘go to’ bakery is Sugar Pine Bakery in South Lake Tahoe. Sugar Pine Bakery is located at 3564 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, next to Herbert Street just west of Ski Run Boulevard.  The store front is not easy to see at first because is sits back from the road, just behind the Tahoe Hemp Company.  For more information please check out their website: mysugarpinebakery.com.

South Lake Tahoe Bakery - Sugar Pine store front

When its time to find a South Lake Tahoe bakery remember                      Sugar Pine Bakery and you will not be disappointed.

 

To Buy or Not To Buy – Lake Tahoe Bike Rentals

Cruiser Bikes for men and women

Lake Tahoe Bike Rentals 2

You are enjoying beautiful Lake Tahoe and all it has to offer. What could possibly add to your current pleasure – a bike ride! You don’t want to get back in your car and hassle your way across unfamiliar terrain when your goal is to spend time soaking up the great outdoors. Travel by bicycle and do both – enjoy the great outdoors while exploring new scenery.

Lake Tahoe Bike Rentals

Tahoe Bike Company is located right in the heart of Lake Tahoe by El Dorado Beach, the Commons, and Campground by the Lake. You can rent bicycles of all shapes and sizes. Beach cruisers are the heart of this Lake Tahoe bike rentals company. You can also rent electric bicycles, surreys, mountain bikes, tandem bikes, children’s bikes and trailers. The cost to rent a beach cruiser for a day is $45. Perhaps you would like to rent a beach cruiser for the weekend, you are looking at closer to $100 bucks. Worth it? Absolutely. Look around Lake Tahoe at all the people, locals and tourists, out riding their bikes both owned and rented. Tahoe Beach Cruisers even delivers your rentals to your hotel or campsite or vacation rental.

Lake Tahoe Bike Rentals - cost

Perhaps vacation is a good time to try out a new bike and see if you would like to purchase one. You can rent a beach cruiser from any Lake Tahoe bike rentals business at the cost of about $300 for the week. You can also purchase a very nice beach cruiser for $300 and take it on every vacation. My children’s favorite places to vacation are those places that are bicycle friendly. It’s a great way to meet people and make friends. Cycling is not only fun, it is good exercise. Let stress slip away as you cruise along Lake Tahoe’s shores with the breeze in your hair. For more information about renting a bike from Tahoe Bike Company visit: tahoebikecompany.com. For more information about finding the right beach cruiser visit: Beach Cruisers – Finding the Best Inexpensive Cruisers.

lake tahoe bike rentals view

The Lake Tahoe Disc Golf Course at Bijou Park is a “Must Play”

The 22nd Annual Tahoe Pro/Am is here

bijou park sign

My brother Jason has three priorities in life: faith, family & disc golf. Oh sure, he is a small business owner who works insane hours commuting all over Northern California, but he works like crazy to free up time to golf – disc golf.

Lake Tahoe Disc Golf Courses - Bijou hole 26
Lake Tahoe Disc Golf Courses – Bijou hole 26

Ten days from now, he will be enjoying one of the four Lake Tahoe disc golf courses, at the 22nd Annual Tahoe Pro/Am competition, in South Lake Tahoe’s beautiful Bijou Park. The Lake Tahoe disc golf course at Bijou is a “must play” in his book. Jason’s favorite Lake Tahoe disc golf course is at Zephyr Cove Park because of the challenge and view of the lake. However, when I asked him which Tahoe course to recommend to a friend he stated without hesitation, “Bijou.”

Lake Tahoe Disc Golf Courses - Bijou - picnic tables
Lake Tahoe Disc Golf Courses – Bijou – picnic tables

The 22nd Annual Tahoe Pro/Am takes place on July 23rd & 24th of 2016 at Bijou Park located at 1301 Al Tahoe Blvd in South Lake Tahoe. To get there, take Highway 50 to Al Tahoe Boulevard (Denny’s is on the corner). Take Al Tahoe about 1/3 of a mile to Bijou Park. For more information on the competition visit: http://www.pdga.com/tour/event/28293.

Bijou_Map

While you are in Tahoe enjoy our spectacular beaches, savory food and funky music. Please take a break to pamper yourself by stopping by Revive Coffee & Wine Bar for respite and refreshment.  https://visit-lake-tahoe.net/fine-drinks-good-company-great-ambiance  If you have not played the Lake Tahoe disc golf courses, it’s time to come visit us. You will have an unforgettable time.