Sunday, December 28, 2008

Raven's Brew Coffee

A recent semi-local treat I just had was Raven's Brew coffee. Although, somewhat obviously, the coffee is not grown here, it is locally roasted and therefore counts as local - more or less.

Anyway, we recently tried their Dead Man's Reach blend, and it is the best I have ever had, hands down. I drink my coffee black, so I really get the full flavor of it - sometimes that's a bad thing. In this case, it's a very good thing! Dead Man's Reach is very rich and full-bodied, but lacking in that acid-y edge that so often makes coffee less than a pleasure to drink. I will admit, I initially bought the coffee because of the humorous label design, figuring that it couldn't be any worse than what I normally drink. In this case, the coffee is actually better than its packaging suggests.

Many of the popular brands, such as Starbucks, are really acidy and terrible when you drink them black. They really seem to be designed to be smothered with gallons of sugary dreck. Not Raven's Brew - it tastes as delicious as it smells, and that's saying something. We are looking forward to trying their other blends, and will report back when we do! Don't know if this stuff is available via retail in the lower 48. If you like good coffee, it's worth a look. Of course, you could just visit them here http://www.ravensbrew.com/ and order some. You'll be glad you did!

Eating Alaska - the movie!

http://www.eatingalaska.com/ is where you would go for information on Eating Alaska, a documentary. It sounds very interesting, and I am looking forward to seeing it! For more details here, see the lovely comment attached to the previous posting on Localvore eating. I should point out that this blog is not affiliated with the movie in any way, but it certainly looks like a great movie!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Localvore - the northern edition

So, the localvore movement (and yes, I know it is generally spelled locavore, but as the movement does not address eating locas that makes no sense.) As the localvore movement makes greater and greater headway, I thought it would be interesting to see how this notion would hold up here in Alaska. It is an issue of some immediate import, as well as the general "important to the next generation" kind of important. Anchorage is pretty much right on the Pacific Ring of Fire, and has had a very nasty quake in recent memory (I think '64). So what? Well, official estimates say that there is a 3 day supply of food in the state, and almost all that comes in comes through Anchorage's port. Which would certainly be destroyed in any major earthquake. So in addition to being green and so forth, it makes a certain amount of sense to have as many local food sources developed as is reasonable. Also, shipping costs are astronomical!
First, assessing resources. There seems to be a long, strange, and troubled backstory behind the dairy farms of this area. Apparently there are cows, and they are being raised on purpose by farmers who would like to harness the power of milk for commercial production. However - and I don't pretend to know why this is - no one can keep a dairy functioning in this darn state. I got all excited because a Mat-Su area dairy had started production on milk and ice cream and was attempting to work out cheese as well. This is well worth supporting, but is shaky from the consumer perspective. Their milk costs a good deal more than the stuff that gets hauled up from Seattle. I know - support your local. But paying more for something that doesn't have the shipping costs on it? I'm sure there's an explanation somewhere, but I'm going to have to see the data on this one. Also, apparently you have to drive to the dairy (about an hour from here) itself to get the ice cream, and I just don't care that much.
Vegetables are pretty abundant, depending on what you are looking for. If you are after carrots and potatoes, you are in luck. Anything else...well, if you consider Hawaii local, then you're in even more luck. And there are people here who consider basically the whole Pacific "local". Also, the two Anchorage/Mat-Su potato suppliers have happily chosen some of the funniest labels for their packaging that I have seen in a while, so that is an added bonus. If you like reindeer and caribou and so on, you will never lack for local meat. Also, if you like salmon and/or seafood, you are also in pretty good shape.
Of course, if you have any skill as a forager and know what to look for, you can also do pretty well. Alaska native cookbooks have all kinds of great tips for food you can find in the wild. Also, there is the famous whale blubber ;) However, I have a spotty track record with that sort of thing, so I plan to just stick to your commercial groceries.
Second, assessing allies in this quest to eat locally. Just judging by my cursory web search, there seems to be a small plucky band of Alaskans committed to localvore ideals that posts very occasionally on a website. There is the Alaska Grown organization. And that's about it. The hippies where I work buy veggies from a CSA...that is based in Seattle. That's the local. It gets flown in every week. I take this lack of a huge and active localvore movement to mean that no one else thinks its going to work that well, either.
But I'm not giving up on this notion! I will do some more investigating and get back to you. So there's something to look forward to.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Living Cookbook

It Lives! ...no.

Night of the Living Cookbook! ...no.

Despite the fact that it sounds like a 50's B movie, Living Cookbook is actually a recipe managment program. And an awesome one it is!

My previous recipe management system went like this: I have subscriptions to about 6 food magazines and I check out epicurious and CHOW on a daily basis. When ever I see a recipe that interests me and/or Mr EA, I cut or print it out. It then got stored in The Notebook. The Notebook is a 3 ring binder divided into sections (Vegetarian main dish, baked goods, sauces - that sort of thing). These untried recipes go into folder/pockets in the sections, and once they have been tried they get taped fast to pieces of paper and put into the bodies of the sections. You can see how this would be really efficient up to a certain point and then become completely unworkable. Well, it did. The pockets are overflowing, many of the recipes in the "try this" folders were duplicates or very nearly so, and the thing weighs like 50 pounds. It was about the time the system went into failure that I decided to surf around and look for a different solution.
After weighing a couple of different options, I decided to go with the Living Cookbook . It's reasonably priced while having an absolute boatload of features. In addition to being able to manage the recipes in a handy digital format, it also has menu planning, shopping list creation, nutrition analysis, and cookbook publishing features that will be extremely useful to me. It also has a bunch of features I probably will not use - inventory management being one of them, but mostly it is very useful. So far I have had it two weeks, and I love it very much.
The best thing I have found about it so far is that you can copy and paste recipes from net sources, which is saving me a huge pile of time. Since most of the recipes in The Folder - which I am busily converting - are from magazines, and those magazines have websites, and those websites have databases of their recipes... Well, you see where I am going with this. It is saving me a LOT of tedious typing.
While I know that it is wrong to look for happiness outside of yourself, I will go ahead and say it - this program makes me very happy indeed. I am a tech-geek kind of person, and this program is already making my life easier, which is what computers were supposed to do. Every week I -with input from Mr EA - make up a weekly menu, from which I make up a shopping list. I use the list to plan our weekly grocery shopping list, pick out the coupons we can use, plan our route for the stores we need to hit, if our Fred Meyer's is not likely to have everything we need. This took probably a couple of hours of planning time per week. Since I've started using Living Cookbook, it's taken about 45 minutes, and approximately 10 of those minutes were me hunting through the drop-down menus looking for the option to edit the list. Seriously, you drag and drop your recipes into the calendar, hit the shopping list button, and it does your list for you, which you can then edit to add other stuff or remove the items you already have. And it organizes the items into categories. I'm dizzy just thinking about it.
Is this program for everybody? No, probably not. I was telling a coworker about it, and she launched into a thing about how cooking is an Art and she doesn't follow recipes, and anyway, she doesn't like to be constrained by pedestrian menu lists, and anyway, she doesn't cook everyday, just like she doesn't paint everyday. O. K. So this program is not for her, or anyone like her. Also, if you don't have a lot of recipes, it's probably not worth it for you. But if your situation is more complicated, it just might be for you.
(I paid full price for my copy, and am receiving no compensation for writing this. I just love it and think it rocks. Enjoy!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge

When I die, if I am very good indeed, there will be places available to me that are very much like Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge.
I was first introduced to this place through my boss, who is a very kind lady, and who brought all of us in my office a cup of their drinking chocolate - spicy style! This is a warm concoction of chocolate, not quite a liquid, but not a solid, more like a fifth (no, that's plasma) ok, a sixth state of matter. You could pour it into your mouth, but only if you were quite patient. We ate it with spoons. The flavor is very like dark chocolate, more bitter than sweet, and extremely good. If you get it spicy (I forget if they call it Aztec or Mayan or something along those lines - anyway, if you say spicy, they know what you mean), it comes with some chili zing to it. If you don't like spicy hot stuff, you can always get it sweet.
After my first taste, I kept trying to get there myself, but the place has limited hours - they aren't open Sundays and don't stay open too late evenings - and I could just not get there when they were open. Finally I got myself and Mr EA in while they were open. We got one cup of each of their drinking chocolates. After a bit of sampling, Mr EA decided he wasn't a fan of the spicy, so he finished our cup of sweet, while I had another go at the spicy! It was so good we didn't talk the whole time we were consuming. It is one of those gustatory experiences that rewards attention - flavors keep developing in your mouth. You get varying layers of sweet and bitter, and the chili heat gently builds in your mouth the whole time. There aren't words to describe it fully.
In addition to the wonderfulness of their drinking chocolate, they also, as you might expect, carry commercially made premium chocolates as well as truffles of their own make. I was too sated to try them on this trip, but will definitely be back for further experiments! Also, they were playing some Twin Peaks-y music ( very like Audrey Horn's Theme), which was fun. In addition to all the chocolate, there is also local art and some fun jewelry and that sort of thing for sale as well. If you are all in range of this place, go! You won't be sorry.

Humpy's

Humpy's, located downtown in Anchorage, is yet another pretty good, reasonably priced place to eat. It has been in place for many years, and the locals really do recommend that you go there, especially if you are looking someplace unpretentious and kind of fun with decent food. And all of those things are there for you. I would call the atmosphere somewhere between "sports bar" and "burger joint". It was about equivalent to one of your finer Rod and Gun Clubs (for those of you familiar with the type of institution). We went on a Sunday evening, and the crowd level was sort of raucous, but not scary-raucous. Mr. Eating Alaska had a Bacon Cheeseburger, and I had a Portobello Mushroom sandwich, both of which came with fries. We each also got a nice local ale to go with our sandwiches. Everything had good flavors and was well done. Apparently, Rachel Ray visited this place and raved about it. While we certainly agree with her that it is a good place to eat, especially if that is the atmosphere you are after, I don't know if it is the crown jewel of Anchorage Eateries.
Overall, I'd give it 4 stars - Very good, but not incredible.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the Next Few Days...

Modern Dweller's Chocolate Lounge, Humpy's, Raven's Brew coffee, and localvore musings!

The White Spot

The White Spot Cafe comes highly recommended by many locals. Like so many other restaurants here, it is basically a mom-and-pop operation serving well-made basic food. They have a reputation for having colorful staff, who will throw you out if you misorder or in some other way act dumb. Nothing untoward happened while we were there, but it is not the tourist season, so who can say.
The decor is one of those interesting jumbles that make a place seem homey and eclectic, and give the solitary diner some things to look at, which is nice. We had fun pointing out different little things, like a patch from a police department near where my parents live (Pinellas Park) and a warning sign pointing out that the property is protected by 2 guys with knives. It may not sound funny, but it is when you are there.
The food is basic - sandwiches and burgers and that sort of thing. Their signature item is a halibut sandwich, which Mr EA had one of and enjoyed very much. I had a BLT, which was also delicious. They seem to use quality ingredients- we both had fresh tomato slices and crisp lettuce on our sandwiches, which is no mean feat for Alaska in November. The best thing of all though, was the fries. They were fresh and extremely crispy, and just delicious. Overall, this is another example of a modest eatery with very good, plain food. If you are downtown and want a sandwich without a lot of frills, this is the place for you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Burrito Factory

This morning, acting on a hot tip from the Anchorage Daily News, we made a rare foray out for breakfast. I had read in Friday's paper that a local place called-yes-The Burrito Factory, made some pretty great breakfast burritos in addition to their great burritos for lunch and dinner. What made this an urgent mission was the information that they have Spam and egg burritos. Mr. EA loves Spam.
This is not an atmosphere eatery. Because it is in a Chevron gas station. However, they do have two booths, and if you are lucky and move fast enough, you might snag one. Otherwise, the burritos are wrapped to go, and you are not missing out on much ambiance if you eat in your car. The variety of fillings you can get in these burritos is absolutly stunning, especially when you consider that they are working in a smallish space, which again, is in a gas station. Nevertheless, in the 1/2 hour or so we were there, there was not a minute without at least a short line to order. They keep the orders moving pretty well, and their many happy customers seemed to be in and out in 5-10 minutes, depending on the complexity of their orders.
Mr EA's order was a forgone conclusion - he very much enjoyed his egg and Spam burrito. I had an egg and potato burrito. Both came with cheese and sour cream and salsa - you get to choose your heat level. My burrito was very tasty - egg and potato are kind of bland by themselves, and the condiments really perked them up. Everything was well cooked, the burrito was expertly constructed, and I very much enjoyed mine as well. Reading through the menu has us intrigued - we will be back!

Thai Kitchen

OK, it's not Thai food I don't like - it's food from Thai Village of earlier post fame. After my earlier attempts at appreciating this cuisine, I was a bit nervous to try it again. However, a couple of visits to Thai Kitchen have changed my mind completely. I have been there a few times for lunch over the past couple of weeks with people from work, and have enjoyed it immensely.
The best option for lunch is their buffet. For $8, you get three items and a serving of sticky rice. The counter person dishes it out for you, and the portions are generous. The available items seem to rotate somewhat, as some items seem to always be on the steam table while others have changed. There are vegetarian items available, with quite a few tofu options each time I was there. Also available are fresh rolls (3 rolls and a cup of sauce are $5), a variety of soft drinks, and tea. What really capped my feelings about Thai was when I had the same beef curry thing I had at Thai Village about a month ago. There it was watery and bland and more than a little gross. The same dish at Thai Kitchen was spicy and flavorful, with tender beef cubes and peanuts that had retained their structural integrity. I have had a bunch of different things there, which I unfortunately don't know the names of, and everything has been delicious. My coworkers have reported similar satisfaction levels, and none of them are shy about saying when they don't like things. So I think I can extrapolate from this that everything they have is good food!
Thai Kitchen, located in a strip mall on Tudor, has great food at great prices.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Max's Beefy Burgers



Max's Beefy Burgers is a strange little establishment with weird hours and uncertain signs of openness that we have been trying to vist for some time. It's strange appearance, added to the fact that we have been unable to find anyone we know who had eaten there, made us curious. So finally, this Saturday, we made it in. Inside it is even stranger - it has a Wendy's knockoff exterior and signage, but inside...

It appears to be owned and run by Asians. The menu adds to the cognitive-dissonance-causing nature of this establishment. In addition to quite a few varieties of burger, footlong hot dogs, and a variety of Mexican food, they have Hawaiian BBQed meats, a selection of Chinese specialities, seafood and sandwiches. This may well be the most multicultural establishment in all of Alaska. To give you an idea, available side orders are as follows: fried okra, cheese fries, chili cheese fries, nacho chips and cheese, regular fries, steak fries, onion rings, fried mushrooms with ranch dressing, mozarella cheese sticks, cheese cake, mashed potatoes, egg roll, pot stickers, hot wings of fire, BBQ wings.

Mr Eating Alaska had a crispy chicken burger, which had American cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato, and a side of chili cheese fries. I had a Max's burger, with grilled onion, mushrooms, jalapenos, mayo, ham, pickle, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and American and Swiss cheese and a side of onion rings. My burger was well done with tasty toppings that were applied in tastable but not ridiculous quantities. The onion rings were perfect, crispy and light with real onion in them. Mr EA's chicken sandwich was a preprocessed chicken patty that disappointed him. However, the chili cheese fries were delicious, and he looks forward to trying a few of their other offerings. All in all, the place was reasonably clean, friendly, and weird enough to keep us guessing.

Zorba's


Part of Anchorage's culinary landscape is the many, many kiosks or roadside stands, which stay open through the year. They mostly deal in coffee, but a surprising number sell BBQ, hot dogs and their Alaska counterpart reindeer dogs, and similar treats. One venerable stand near where I work is Zorba's, which as you might imagine, mostly sells Greek food, though they also have a variety of dogs as well.

I have eaten there a couple of times, and though their menu is pretty basic, it is all good! They have a couple different gyro varieties available - lamb, beef, veggie, that sort of thing. The meat is always cooked to a crisp when you order, the veggies are fresh, and their cucumber yogurt is tangy and fresh. They also carry a variety of hot dogs, which you can get with standard condiments - ketchup, mustard, onion, relish. Chips and sodas are available, but nothing fancy like fries or anything. They are operating in a limited amount of space, and doing an impressive job of it. No matter what else you eat there, though, you have to finish off your lunch with their delicious baklava! Well, you don't have to, but you will be missing something good.

Located at the intersection of Lake Otis and Tudor, Zorba's doesn't look like much, but it is well worth a stop.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Orso

One of downtown Anchorage's nicer eateries is Orso - a modern Italian restaurant of the funky-chic style. Last weekend, Mr Eating Alaska and I went there for dinner to celebrate our 13th anniversary. We arrived earlier than our reservation time, but they had no problem seating us a bit early. We had a short wait, though, which we passed in the bar. Mr EA had a Cuba Libre and I had a gin Martini, both of which were very tasty and reasonably priced.
We started dinner with a cheese plate, which consisted of well-chosen cheeses artfully presented, and Orso's signature appetizer of bread and very garlicky hummous. Mr EA's entree was a steak, mashed potatoes and crisp-fried onion strips. His steak was perfectly done and very tasty, as were his accompaniments. I had pasta with a sort of minimalist sauce, which was also very good. I challenged the waiter a bit by asking for wine and letting him bring whatever he thought would complement the dish. I know virtually nothing about wine and find that sometimes this approach brings decent results (of course, some times it results in hideous disasters, but you pays your money and you takes your chances.) In this case I was rewarded for my trust - the wine he brought went perfectly with my pasta. Mr EA says "They put on a good show."

Then by strange chance, I went there with a group of coworkers for lunch today - it was my boss's birthday - so I had a chance to sample a few more of their things. We ordered appetizers of Caprese salad and calamari to share. I tried the calamari, which made me feel very brave, and found it pretty good. It did not have a lot of taste, but I am told it is a texture food - it was quite tender and not rubbery at all. The Caprese salad was delicious - although I have trouble imagining how it could possibly be screwed up. Then for actual lunch I had a sandwich of more fresh mozzarella and some prosciutto, which was OK but not stunning, and a curry pea soup which was delicious.
This second visit confirmed my initial opinion, which is that Orso is has great atmosphere, great service, good food and reasonable prices for this level of restaurant. All in all, a good bet for a nice meal.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sugar Spoon

Wherever you go, there's a coffee shop.
In this case, a shop with coffee and all the associated hot beverages, and some of the best pastries and desserts I have ever tasted! Anchorage has a plethora of this type of place - independent little beverage and sweet shops that range from darling to funky to utilitarian. This place is of the funky variety, with sort of modern takes on classical deserts.
I knew I would like the place as soon as I saw the menu. Thank God, their drink sizes are "small" "medium" and "large". It irks me beyond all sense and reason when places have these nonsense size names - it's just pretentious. And they insist on using their terms, like a toddler who has to tell you about how he went potty all by himself. If you say "small coffee", the cashier will smirk at you, and say "Did you mean a venti?" I want whatever one is the small one. You go ahead and call it whatever makes you happy.
Well, anyway, now that the rant is out of my system - back to the Sugar Spoon. My visit there was part of a "girl day" I had with some ladies from work. We went to the Anchorage Museum to see a bead show, and then went for coffee and desserts. We all got the beverage of our choice, then buzzed between our menus and the showcase up front, trying to decide what we wanted. Everything looked so good and so interesting! (As indeed it all proved to be, but I am getting ahead of myself.) We decided to each get something different and then share bites with each other. I got a stonefruit tart, which was a slice of plum in a ground almond filling inside a buttery puff pastry casing, with a red wine reduction and candied almonds. It may sound like there were too many things going on there, but it was incredibly delicious. The rich ground almonds played against the crispy crust and the crunchy whole almonds, and the wine sauce added a bit of tartness that cut the rich flavors of the rest of the dish. Another lady in our group got a slice of a lemon cake and cream thing that was very tart and sweet, and basically tasted like sunshine. A third member of our party got black rice pudding, which was forbidden black rice cooked in coconut milk and cardamom with stawberry lime sauce - which was very tropical and delicious too. The fourth lady in the group got a chocolate mochaccino creme pie slice, which had layers of chocolate, coffee, and white chocolate creme and a chocolate crumb crust. That too was delicious. I don't have fuller descriptions of the other ladies' desserts, because I had a bite of each, which is not enough to fully consider the wholes.
We did tell our waitress that they could make a mint (which, by the way, they have mint chocolate pots du creme that I intend to try on my next visit!) by offering sample plates with little bites of a selection of their desserts. She just said "We don't do that." We know, but we wish you did. Well, guess I'll just have to go back!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Aladdin's - Guess the nationality!

This evening, Mr Eating Alaska and I tried out one of Anchorage's ...yes, you guessed it! Middle Eastern restaurants. They are trying more for your fine-dining-although-we-are-in-a-strip-mall atmosphere, which means it is not too Middle Eastern. Even if it is.

When we walked in, the music playing was something wretched of indeterminate origin, and we spent a good portion of our non-eating time trying to figure out what it was. Algerian cabaret? German tavern music? Yugoslavian pop? In the end, we could not really pin it down, though we amused ourselves trying. The decor was very bland, which is unfortunate. There is one picture of the sphinx on a wall, and one decorative hookah stuck up on the wall over the cash register. I like to see a place a little jazzed up, but not everyone loves the hoke, I suppose. Also, when the waitress told us the specials, they were Southwestern corn chowder, something about salmon, and halibut something. I honestly wasn't listening because I had geared myself up for middle eastern food, and did not want southwestern anything. But then we opened our menus and all was right with the world again.

I had a sampler platter, as I dislike choosing and would rather have a little of a lot of different stuff, and Mr Eating Alaska had lamb kefte. Both meals were absolutely delicious! The sample platter had a little cup of hummus, a kibbe patty, 2 dolmades, tzazaki sauce, and 2 falafel in a spicy sauce. My dolmades were kind of gross - way overcooked until they were mush and not much flavor, but everything else was delicious. The falafel was much lighter and more flavorful than it normally is, and the tzazaki and hummus were garlicy and chunky - not as processed or bland as they sometimes are. Mr. EA's lamb was delicious - juicy and flavorful - he was very happy with his choice. Both portions were ample without being ridiculous. We were planning on having baklava, but the mom and daughter at the next table got into an Ophrah-level emotional exchange, so we just left.

That leads me to a side remark about Alaska. This is not a shy state. People will just come right out in public with stuff that people in the northeast would at the very least save for a private moment, and in the most extreme case, internalize and carry unexpressed to their graves. I am not saying one method is healthier or better than another. The Alaskan way probably leads to fewer ulcers. I am just saying that for a person who lived in Pennsylvania for 40 years, it is a bit jarring. You simply don't know what to do. Should I pretend I can't hear them? I mean, I can hear them - you can't help it. They emit the sound waves, which bounce off my eardrums, and then my brain interprets the signals. Physics and biology have conspired to make this the way it works. I don't want to hear it, but there it is. Should I just go ahead and join in their conversation? You just don't know where to look. Oh, it's all very well to say "Just ignore it." But you try just ignoring a full-strength emotional scene going on 2 feet from you head. Can't be done.

But anyway, that is not the Aladdin's fault. In spite of their minimalist decor and annoying mood music, they have great food and possibly the most attentive staff in Anchorage. Go there. You won't be sorry!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thai Village - Eh

I had an actual food-based lunch today in defiance of the delicious shake regime that is ruining my life. Tragically, I was not well rewarded.

I will admit right up front that I do not have a lot of experience with Thai food, and what I have had has been somewhat uneven. I have loved about half of it, and been left underwhelmed by the rest. Today I had some kind of beef curry thing. It came with a sweetish cucumber salad that was pretty good. The curry sauce/soup was OK, but the beef chunks that were swimming in it were kind of greasy and bland. There were also mushy potatoes and a few swollen pasty things that kind of freaked me out until I realized they were peanuts. It wasn't horrible or upsetting. I'm sure it provided nutrients and possibly some trace minerals to my body. It just wasn't good. Maybe I was missing some subtle artistry, or possibly I got the one thing on the menu you don't want, but overall, I doubt I'll go back. Anchorage has far too many great places to eat to waste time and money on mediocre ones.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brief Hiatus hopefully over

Well, our eating experiments have been somewhat curtailed of late for a few reasons:

1) We are trying to lose some weight. While we are not circus-freak level fat, both Mr Eating Alaska and I could drop 20-30 pounds each. The problem? We like food (a lot) and are both extremely lazy. So we are trying to acheive our aim via the Slim Fast method. We are enjoying delicious shakes, which were surely engineered by someone who hates all that is good and holy in this world, for breakfast and lunch. And then having a sensible dinner. Now, for me, a sensible dinner after a day of SlimFast is about 2 normal meals worth of dinner. But that is counterproductive, so I am trying to keep it to an actually sensible dinner and then maybe some carrot sticks or pickles or something. It is slow going, but we are gradually losing inches. This has short-circuited our attempts to eat all of AK by cutting out food-based lunching.

2) Various social obligations and activities have somewhat cramped our style in terms of being able to go out to try new restaurants, but we are getting back on schedule.

Somewhat off topic, but still kind of fun:
We recently bought Jane and Michael Stern's Chili Nation, and decided, more or less on a whim, to try a different chili once a week. We're eating our way around the USA! In chili! Before I get too deep in this, I should point out that there's not much here for an actual chili purist. If you have strong feelings regarding what exactly constitutes chili, move along. Also, some of these recipes were made up by the Sterns based on the sort of foods that are popular or local "signature" foods of an area. But we don't care, having grown up in the northeast, so we think it's kind of fun. We started, of course, with Alaska's chili - Line Camp Chili and Biscuits. This is Alaskan by virtue of having a lot of root veggies and beef chunks and good thick sauce - hearty and good for winter weather!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

City Diner

The City Diner, co-owned by two big names in the Anchorage food world, is this city's answer to the Retro Craze. As far as I know, there are no actual diners here, and possibly never have been. However, Anchorage has as much a fondness for plain old regular non-gourmet food as any town I have ever been in, so this restaurant is a natural fit.

It has a good version of the diner look, with lots of chrome and glass brick and neon, as well as a discreet smattering of kitch. The menu covers two sides of an 11 x 17 menu sheet and consists of basic diner chow. Breakfasts, a few burgers, sandwiches, and a few entrees of the meatloaf variety. Prices are a little high, but are sometimes worth it. Mr. Eating Alaska and I shared an order of Bleu Cheese chips as an appetizer, then split a BLT and a toasted cheese sandwich. The sandwiches each came with a side - he got a cup of corn chowder and I got pineapple cole slaw.
The Bleu Cheese Chips were absolutely delicious - that kind of delicious where you involuntarily moan when you taste it. The dish consists of fresh fried chips covered with cheese sauce, smoky bacon bits, bleu cheese chunks, and chives. It is astoundingly good. Just have some - I insist.
mmmmmmmmm!

The sandwiches were well executed version of the standards. My toasted cheese was crisp and buttery without being sodden. The cheese was good, flavorful mild cheddar. Mr. EA's BLT was also very good. The bacon was crisp and full of smoky flavor. The tomatoes were fresh, as was the lettuce, though there was too much greenery for his taste. So in general, well done but neither was a standout. My pineapple cole slaw was a bit sweet for me, and also a bit liquid-y, although there wasn't much left when I was done. The corn chowder, though, was delicious! It consisted of corn, potato, roasted red pepper and smoky bacon bit (again - they make the world taste good!) and what we think may have been some cilantro.
So it's a little uneven. However, we will be back again, if only for those chips. Although while we are having the chips...some of those burgers looked pretty good. We'll be back.
Mr EA Commentary: We had to wait for seating but not overly long and it was well worth it. The wait staff had the perfect balance of attentiveness & what I like to call "leave-us-alone-ness". The Unimaginatively named "City Diner" is located at the corner of Minnesota & Benson. Even if you're only in town a day or two, make this one of your stops....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Arctic Roadrunner

This past weekend we went to a local restaurant known variously as Local Burgerman and Arctic Roadrunner. This is, as you might expect, a burger restaurant. Which is local. The menu consists of a few different kinds of burgers, various sandwiches (toasted cheese, ham, BLTs), fries and onion rings, and various other burger restaurant style sides and accessories.

The burger were very good - flavorful and juicy, no special quirks or anything, just good solid burgers. Where this place really stands out is its atmosphere. The interior is decorated log-cabin style, and the walls are covered with pictures and biographies of customers, as well as random Alaskiana. The place has been open since sometime in the 60's, so there are a lot of stories and pictures. It gives you something interesting to look at and read while you are eating, which is always nice. The prices were very reasonable, and it was a good overall burger experience.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Carnival Pleasures









It's Alaska State Fair time, which means lots of deep fried things, lots of things on sticks, and lots of good eating!





We went to the fair on the last Saturday, the 30th, after gathering much advice from locals. There were so many recommendations that we decided to just graze, getting small portions of everything that looked good and sharing them. By use of this tactic and by pacing ourselves, we managed to sample a good portion of what was available.



From Great Alaskan Food Adventure, we got a pork chop on a stick and fried cheese curds. The pork chop was absolutely delicious, tender and salty and smoky. I would guess it had been brined, but have nothing to back that up but the moistness and flavor. Their fried cheese curds were also great. The batter was light and crispy and the cheese had a rich, creamy flavor.





Then from Denali Cream Puffs, we had a - well, a cream puff. You can get them topped with chocolate, mixed berries, or caramel pecan. We got the caramel, and it was really good. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the treat for you. The cream puff itself was good - the puff had a nice light flavor and good structural integrity, and the cream was very rich and tasty. The caramel sauce, which was what pushed it over the top, was sweet and rich and had a lot of nuts in it.


A little while later, Mr. Eating Alaska got a bacon-wrapped scallop kabob, which he said was pretty good but could have been cooked a little longer for him.


Then a while after that, we got fresh cooked garlic potato chips. The chips where a hair thicker than you would get from a bag, but they were fresh and hot and crisp. They were liberally treated with parmesan, parsley, and garlic - a sure recipe for dragon breath, but worth it!




Then I got brave and had a salmon kabob. The reason this took bravery on my part is that I am not a seafood fan. Not even a little bit. However, since this is Alaska, and salmon is the big thing, I decided I better try it and give it another chance. Hence, kabob. Well, it was pretty good. Savory chunks of salmon were interspersed with onion, green and bell peppers, and corn-on-the-cob wheels, all cooked just right with a little bit of grilling char. Well, it's not my new favorite food, but it was definitely pretty good.



Since no fair experience is complete without a french fry component, we went to the Alaska Grown produce stand and got the deep fried peanut potatoes, which are small fingerling potatoes fried up crispy. They were served with a little cup of bacon ranch dressing! I really shouldn't need say any more. MMMMM!!!!



Then, on to the Hawaiian Shave Ice stand, which for those of you on the east coast, is a sno-cone. As advertised, they are shaved ice, and you can indeed get Hawaiian flavors, such as pineapple. Sweet and refreshing - good stuff!


We finished out the day with an Alaskan treat from our friends at Indian Valley Meat - a caribou steak sandwich! This was not a Philly-style steak sandwich, but rather a rectangular steak of caribou meat, served on a firm roll with some stewed onions and peppers and some cheese. The meat is kind of Slim-Jim flavored, but not quite as peppery. It was very tasty, and was a good end to our great Alaska Fair eating adventure.











Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the spirit of the Olympics...

Yep, another Chinese restaurant. We visited the midtown branch of China Garden, which appears to be a local chain for lunch on Monday. This is of the ornately-decorated, gold-and-red, big-gold-lion-dogs-by-the-door school of Chinese restaurant. They have a pretty ecumenical panAsian menu with a good variety to choose from. I had Bul Go Kee beef and Mr Eating Alaska had Sesame Chicken, which is one of his benchmarks. My beef was a bit gristly, but had a good flavor. It came with a side of tempura carrots and celery, which had a slightly odd texture, but tasted good. However, like many other batter fried things, you need to eat it pretty quick, lest it become soggy and oily. When I started the veggies, they were pretty good, but they got icky by the end of the meal. The Sesame Chicken had a good sweet and sour sauce which was not as thick and sticky as it normally is. Overall, it is a passable restaurant.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Straight Out of Philly!

Straight Out of Philly is at 210 E. Fireweed in Anchorage. As those of us hailing from eastern Pennsylvania know, there are many pretenders to steak sandwich greatness. Many places say they have authentic Philly cheesesteaks, but sadly, they do not. To be completely fair, this issue is a bit compounded by a certain amount of quarreling among natives as to what constitutes a real steak sandwich. Most participants in the quarrel are not willing to admit deviation, and consider any who oppose them not only wrong, but also dangerously insane and of poor moral character to boot. I am not that strong on the subject, but I do need to see a steak sandwich conform to at least certain guidelines. The meat has to be actual beef, very thinly sliced, and then fried. An actual steak, such as might be used to advertise the concept of grilling, stuck in some bread, does not make a steak sandwich. Chicken does not make a steak sandwich. Beef, thinly sliced. I prefer onions, and if possible, green peppers. As long as the cheese is some basic sort of American or provolone variant, I am fine with whatever. The bread component has to be some sort of semi-firm white bread roll, not sliced plain bread or a croissant or whole wheat anything.

So, with my critical basis right out in the open, I think Straight Out of Philly makes authentic, and more importantly, absolutely great tasting cheesesteaks. The meat is very thinly sliced, very flavorful and perfectly cooked. The tasty beef is accented with lightly fried onions and green peppers and gooey melted American cheese all in a good firm roll. Their fries are delicious too, floury inside and crispy outside - perfect! Although they have a variety of different ways you can get your steak served ( mushrooms, A-1 sauce, marinara, etc) we stuck to the basic for this first visit.
The menu also has a variety of wings, burgers, sandwiches and appetizers, so there are plenty of options. There is even a minimal nod to Philly in the decor, which consists of a pennant from each of Philly's sports teams hung on the wall.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Gang of Four Chinese Restaurant reviews

OK. Back to restaurants for now. (Sourdough will be back! Still collating information.) We have eaten out a bunch of times for lunch over the last week or so for a variety of reasons, and it is almost always Chinese. So here is the report:

Teriyaki Box at 4th and I in Anchorage. This place has a variety of teriyaki "boxes" which if you are eating there are served on regular plates, but still. Appetizers include fresh and fried spring rolls and dumplings. Mr. Eating Alaska had a Beef Box, which included teriyaki beef, a fried vegetable mix and fried rice. I had the Vegetable Box, which was the same thing without the beef. We also had an appetizer of fresh spring rolls, which came with a delicious peanut chili sauce. While I'm on that, a word about the condiments - they have teriyaki, soy and sricha chili sauce on the tables, and a variety of chili sauces and vinegars up front. The rolls were very refreshing, and contained imitation crabmeat, cabbage, carrot, and cilantro. The restaurant itself is an interesting hybrid...it seems like the building was originally the home of a cabin-oriented business. There is a strong log cabinny vibe to the building and the decor - even the tables are massive, heavily lacquered chunks of tree. But there is veneer of orientalness overlaying it all. Weird look, good food.

Chinese Kitchen in the Sears Mall. This is a Chinese stand in the mall's food court, and has a somewhat limited but basic menu. I had Mongolian beef, which was very tasty and tender beef in a nice sweet-salty sauce. It came with fried rice and a dumpling, both of which were passble but not really outstanding. Mr. Eating Alaska had Sesame chicken, which was really really good. The chicken was all well-cooked in a crispy coating with a delicious sweet sour sauce and the same side dishes. It is very basic but decent Chinese food if you are in a hurry.

Because he eats at the following places much more frequently than I do, Mr. Eating Alaska will be doing the next two reviews:
Panda Restaurant is at Northern Lights & Gambell sts. Once awarded one of the "Top 10 Places in the US to Eat" as per USA today. It deserves this award! Great Chinese food in a great atmosphere. And only half a block from my office! The mongolian beef is great and the teriyaki beef is especially tasty. The place is small, always busy but never crowded.
Yen King is at the north end of the Old Seward Highway. It's the first place I ate at when I landed in Anchorage. The decor is really nice and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. I had the Ma Po Tofu (one of my favorites) and it was the best I ever had! The owner made me feel very welcome which was nice for my first night in town. I've been there two other times; the second time was as good but the third time I had the lunch buffet and was disappointed. I still highly recommend Yen King, just order a meal from the menu and give the buffet a miss.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bored? Try sourdough!

I have been unemployed for about a week now. In that time, I have sent out roughly a hundred resumes a day, cleaned the apartment as much as I plan to, and caught up on some reading and crafts. There will, of course, be more of these things on a daily basis, but I need a project, something to really grit my teeth over. So, naturally, I thought of sourdough.

I tried it once before, years ago, and it was not pretty. I wound up with a bowlful of pink, stinky slime, which I promptly threw out. (Our house at the time was in the woods and I threw it out the back door into the woods. Wild animals wouldn't even touch it. It laid there, stinking, until it finally decomposed about a month later.) Anyway, this time will be different! I am living in one of America's two hotbeds of sourdough - the other being San Francisco - so for some reason I think that will make a difference. There's some thing about frontier gold rush locations that brings out the need for fermented bread products.

I plan to approach this project in steps. First step - info gathering! Next will be resource gathering. Then I will actually try to produce some sourdough sponge. Then I will attempt to make some actual food based on the sourdough. So this should keep me out of trouble for a week or so - if anything can. Stay tuned, gentle reader, for the next installment of The Sourdough Chronicles

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Alaskan Jerky!

When we visited the Ulu factory ( of earlier post fame), Mr Eating Alaska was drawn to a display of various types of jerky, as often happens. As this is Alaska, there was no beef jerky. (You can find standards in the stores, but this is a tourist place.) He bought and eagerly consumed venison, caribou, buffalo, and salmon -yes, salmon - jerky.

The various game meats were...well, they were gamy. Descriptive words that come to mind are meaty, jerked - pretty much exactly what you would expect. They were, like the reindeer dogs (of earlier post fame), kind of like beef in texture, but not in flavor. I took a bite of each, and particularly liked the caribou. It had the most distinctive flavor of the bunch - very savory. Of course, it's hard to tell how much of that was the jerk flavor and how much was caribou itself.

So...the salmon jerky. It was different from the other jerkies. First off, the texture was different. It flaked apart when bitten, where the game meats had to be torn off, like beef does. Second, it was oilier. This is not a bad thing, it wasn't greasy, there's just an intrisic oiliness to it. Third, it definitely smells like fish. There is more of fish smell than a taste. It tasted more of the jerky than salmon itself. On the balance, it was interesting - not bad, but not great either. Although I am sure there are people who absolutely love the stuff, it seemed more of a curiousity to me than something I would eat on a regular basis.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shaka Ulu


No, no restaurant review today. Instead, I present...the Ulu!


The what? The Ulu is a special Alaskan style of knife, or anyway cutting implement. According to the literature, these were originally made of slate, then various types of bone. I have heard stories about them being cut from circular saw blades in the early days of metal ulus. Anyway, as near as I can tell, they are unique to Alaska. I never heard about them before I got here; however, once you do get here, they're pretty impossible to ignore. Tourist brochures urge you to take the tour of the factory, and of course, buy at least an ulu, though there is much, much more to purchase.
The Ulu factory is so eager to draw in the tourists that they run a free trolley to and from several stops downtown. Once you get to the place, what there is to do basically is shop. Now, the ordinary experience may well be more dynamic, because we were there on a Sunday. We asked the girl behind the counter about the tour and she said "Well, there's only one guy working today." She gestured over to a big window that showed a guy, alone as advertised, applying a sander to a bunch of wood bowls. "You can watch him if you want..." Then she wandered off to 'help' other shoppers. That said, it is an impressive shopping experience. Besides many, many different sizes and styles of ulu and bowls, as well as ulu instructional videos and recipe books, there are a lot of different other things to buy. Everything from syrup and candy to earrings to Alaska videos. We purchased some foodstuffs about which I will be posting in the near future.
So how does the Ulu work? Once you get the hang of it, pretty darn well. We did not purchase a video, because although I am a sucker for tourist nonsense, even I have my limits. Your first instict is to grab that handle and chop straight down. This will work, because the thing is SHARP. Razors envy the edge on these suckers. However, the best bet is to sort of stroke with it, or rock. It really does work well with the bowl, as it keeps the things being chopped contained. This doesn't work so well with things you are just slicing, as I found that sliced items just sort of roll to the center. Possibly there is a technique to get around this - if so it was probably detailed on the video. :) However, for things you are dicing or mincing, it works extremely well. Will it displace knives as we know them? Probably not, but ours works pretty well, and we have already used it a number of times for chopping up veggies.
Ulu! Don't forget it!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Moose's Tooth Brew Pub and Pizzaria

Ever since he moved up here, Mr. Eating Alaska has been hearing from his coworkers that the Moose's Tooth has the best pizza in Alaska, and also that it is not unusual to wait 45 minutes for a table. Indeed, every time he drives past the place - lunch, dinner, weekdays, weekends - the parking lot is overflowing and a line snakes out into the overflowing parking lot. However, we had a mission in midtown this past Saturday, and drove by just on a chance. As it was about 15 minutes before lunchtime opening, there were only a few people waiting to get in, so we joined the gathering throng.
It is an agreeably funky place with an overwhelming decor theme is "wood" with strong overtones of moose. The menu is pretty much in line with the general upscale pizzaria theme. As you might expect for a brew pub, there are a lot of beer options, and quite a few wine choices as well. However, we did not get into the beers, as though the sun was over the yardarm somewhere, where we were it was only noon.

We had an incredibly delicious appetizer, roasted garlic. It is, as you would expect, a head of roasted garlic which is served with some bread, chopped tomatoes, oil and garlic, and gorgonzola-basil spread which was perfect with the garlic. There are other appetizers on the menu that we intend to try in the future, but I don't know how we are going to pass up that garlic. For an entree, we split a 5 cheese pizza, which was also very, very good. For those of you playing along at home, the cheeses are mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, gruyere, and (yet more) gorgonzola. For the less adventurous, you can eliminate the gorgonzola and/or gruyere. We thought the last two cheeses gave it a nifty tanginess that really made it stand out.

I would also like to say a word about their home-brewed cream soda. That word is YUM! I have been a cream soda fan since childhood, as I grew up with the A-Treat version. (A-Treat is a local soda company based in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. Along with standard colas, they make odd sodas like Pineapple, Punch, and grapefruit. I dearly love A-Treat sodas. But anyway, I digress.) Moose's Tooth's version is very rich and has just the right level of sweetness. If their beer is anything like as good as this soda is, you will be reading about it in the future.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Taco Kings (play songs of love)

One of the things that surprised me about Anchorage is the sheer volume of ethnic restaurants. There are a profusion of Mexican, Indian, Greek, South American, Chinese, Japanese, Thai…you name it. This sort of goes with the wealth of ethnic foods in the supermarkets. I was stunned by that too. The Mexican and Asian aisles in an average Fred Meyer's or Carr's are packed with an incredible variety of foods and condiments, most of which are pretty authentic, if I'm any judge. This is stuff that was not readily available in our stores on the East Coast, so I'm double surprised to see it here. Anyway, back to today's restaurant.
Taco King is a mini-chain of about 4 locations here in Anchorage and boasts some pretty good Mexican food. I will grant you I am not Mexican, but it was good food, and seemed pretty close to what I've read about in the cookbooks. I had pozole, which was very, very good. The pork was well done, and the hominy complemented it well. The broth was very flavorful and spicy without being too hot for people who like their taste buds and want to keep them around. The vegetable accompaniments - cilantro, chopped onion and tomato, and shredded cabbage- added spice and vegetal freshness that went perfectly with the soup. I had originally planned to order a sandwich or appetizer as well, but in the end was glad I had only the pozole - it was a big portion and hearty besides. Mr Eating Alaska had carne asada dinner, which was also very good. The beef was also nicely seasoned, and well cooked - some crispy brown bits but not over-cooked or dry. Wrapped in the delicious corn tortillas, it made some excellent tortilla. The dinner came with beans and rice on the side. The beans were exceptional - less gratuitous salt than I have ever tasted in refried beans. The rice was typical - maybe a little bland. It was more like red-colored regular rice than Spanish rice.
We went to the Tudor street branch last night, and there was a steady crowd level in the branch we visited, so this does not seem to be a undiscovered jewel. The restaurant was clean and the d├ęcor gives the usual Mexican look a decent shot - with some charming eccentricity.

Even in Alaska, there are Gourmets

Yesterday we went to a great shop, Summit Spice and Tea Company. Anyone who thinks they will have a hard time finding exotic and/or unusal spices in the Anchorage area need only visit this shop to have all their fears laid to rest. They carry gourmet food items from around the world, as well as local items. Spices, condiments, regular and herbal teas, chocolate - they have it all!
Now, I like to cook. I like it a lot. As a result of this, I have a LOT of cookbooks. Several hundred of them are currently lurking in the kitchen, and in spite of my oft-repeated resolutions to lay off getting more, I just can't seem to stop. Just now I am focusing on international and American regional cookbooks. That along with subscriptions to Saveur and Gourmet and Bon Appetit means that more often than not I am looking for some non-mainstream ingredients. There were a couple of halfway decent sources for this type of thing back in PA, but mostly I had to order online or substitute for something "close enough", because eventually you simply have to get supper on the table. Even still, there are quite a few recipes I have wanted to try that I have just had to shelve, because I just couldn't get the ingredients and didn't want to try it with half measures. Well, walking in this store gave me hope for those poor abandoned recipes.
Just in the salt section alone they have everything from Mesquite salt to French sea salt to Hawaiian pink sea salt. Green, white, black and pink peppercorns and Szechuan peppercorns besides. Several different curry blends, different oreganos, cardamom in pods or decoricated or ground. The further I walked into the store the happier I got. Every spice I could imagine lined the wall, and incredible chocolates filled the islands in the center of the store. Tucked in here and there are foods from all over - a variety of British things, some hot sauces from the Caribbean. It was only by a serious act of will that I got out of the place without one of everything they have. However, I will be consulting the island of misfit recipes and I will be back. Oh yes, I will be back!
There is also a broad selection of teas - both herbal and regular tea. I didn't really focus on this area because I was overwhelmed by the other stuff, but I did notice enough to say that a tea lover would not find a trip to this store a waste of time.

Reindeer Sausage - Yep, we're in Alaska

One of the first places we ate out here was called either Big Al's or a Taste of Russia (there were signs that said both things) in Downtown Anchorage. It is possible that the hot dog cart is Big Al's and the deli it is attached to is A Taste of Russia. We had gotten the tip that the hot dog carts downtown were not to be missed, and decided to combine trying one or more of them out with another mission that took us to the downtown region of the city. It seemed that everyone else got the same tip, because the carts were all swarmed. There are quite a few carts out in this area, and they are hard to resist. They send a smoky, meaty perfume into the air that makes even hardened vegetarians hungry. The one we finally settled on was out front of a deli in a little strip mall. It is staffed by Al, an extremely friendly man who is a former paratrooper. If you stop by, thank Al folr serving in the armed forces! His wife, also very pleasant, is inside running the deli part of the business. They trade condiments and rolls back and forth, and generally keep a running conversation going through the front door of the deli.
The grill menu is pretty limited - hot dogs and reindeer sausages. However, that's really all they need to have. We decided - what the hell - reindeer. I had a few bites, then ceded the balance of my half to Mr. Eating Alaska, who is a bit more of a carnivore than I am. Not that it was bad, not at all. But it was very, very meaty. The sausage is a coarser grind than a standard sausage, and is more mildly spiced. It was not very different in flavor from beef - maybe a bit gamier. This is one of those situations where there is really no easy way to describe the flavor of something. It tastes kind of like a couple of other things, but really not like anything but itself. Try some if you get the chance, then you'll see what I mean. If you like meat in general, you won't be sorry!
The Taste of Russia part remains something of a puzzle. The sole Russian-ness in the place comes from some souvenirs which they also sell along with food. Russians did have the first European settlement in Alaska and their influence, though faint, is pervasive. Even today, there is a small but steady trade in matrushka dolls and similar items. The deli menu consists of standard sandwiches and accompaniments, which is good for those who would like to try the reindeer but are accompanied by people who are kind of freaked out by the whole notion.

Bear Tooth Brew Pub and Theater

The neatest eating experience we have had here in Anchorage has to be the Bear Tooth Theater Pub. It appears to be an Anchorage institution, and I can already tell we will be going there as often as we can manage it.
The Bear Tooth is a movie theater that shows a variety of different movies each week from 2nd run mainstream movies to kids movies to classics to arthouse flicks. Movie ticket prices are $3 each for adults (no idea what kid's tickets cost). But here's the great part. At the lobby concession stand, you can order an actual meal. Some of the options are bar-style appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches and wraps, and that sort of thing. We split an order of Wonderful Little Garlic Treats and a margherita pizza. The appetizers were very good - very flavorful but not so garlic-y that we needed to avoid all human contact until they wore off. The pizza was pretty standard - tasty and well done. As an added bonus, the Bear Tooth is attached to a local craft brewery, so you can buy good beer and wine in the theater as well!
So how it works is, you place your order and receive a mini-construction cone with a number on it. You go in the theater and pick out your seats. Seats are in rows with a rectangular table in front of each row. You go get your beer or wine. A server brings your order in to you when it is ready and takes your cone. You watch the movie and eat. Enjoy!

First Meal in Alaska

My first meal in Alaska took place shortly after I got off the plane. I had flown in from Pennsylvania (and boy were my arms tired!) and had basically had some breath mints and a small bag of pretzels to eat over the past 18 hours, due to a series of misadventures. Anyway, my blood sugar was low and I had roughly one molecule of patience left when my husband picked me up from the airport. Realizing I was not fit to be seen in public, he whisked me off to our new home, where he ordered us a pizza.
Now, I know what you are probably thinking. Pizza. First meal in Alaska, big deal, actually bothering to write a review of home delivery pizza. BUT...let me explain to you why this was such a very big deal, and noteworthy, to me at least. In our last two homes in eastern Pennsylvania-both of which were in suburban areas, I might add-we were totally unable to have pizza delivered to our house. Could not find a pizza restautant that would send a pie to our house. So the fact that we moved to Alaska, purportedly the wilds, the end of the earth, and were able to get pizza delivered right to our door, absolutely dumbfounded me.
Anyway, we ordered from Sicilys Pizza - so even in Alaska the "Italian" meme is intact. Not only did we order a delivery pizza, but we ordered it online! Advanced! Their pizza options are really wide. You can get thick or thin crust, a wide variety of toppings including standards like pepperoni and peppers and some different things like gyro meat and feta cheese. Also, you get a little cup of garlic butter dipping sauce. We got a fairly standard pizza-pepperoni and green peppers, which duly appeared at our house about 1/2 hour later. It was pretty good!