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.

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.