Friday, February 20, 2009

The general scene - Part 1

It occurs to me that I have not really ever given a general overview of Anchorage's restaurant scene. The reason this occurs to me is that a distant friend recently asked me if we didn't have any chain restaurants up here. "All you seem to write about are these little mom-and-pop operations" she said. And that's true. But it's only part of the story. There's a lot to say about the eateries in this city, so I'm going to take it in parts. Because I don't have that much time all at one go. Enjoy!
Coffee shops
While we aren't quite as infested with Starbucks as a lot of your more populous cities, we certainly have quite a few of them. The other semi-big chain here (also based in Seattle, I think) is Kaladi Brothers coffee. They have more of a focus on coffee (as opposed to coffee based confectionary beverages) and a funkier vibe. There are also a lot of indie coffe shops - some upscale, some not so much. Some of those places seem to sell coffee mainly to keep the art and poetry rebels who are hanging around there awake, and in others the coffee is the point. Depending on your mood and your personal goals at the time, either type can be fun. Another very prominent feature of the coffee landscape is the plethora of little stands (of earlier post fame) all over the place. For those of you who have never seen one of these, they are a small trailer - probably about the size of a horse trailer - from which food or beverages are sold. They are kept open in all weathers, in the face of all logic and sense. Many of them are long-established businesses with loyal clientelle. They are usually excellent in their wares and their service ethics. Or else they quickly go out of business, so you are usually pretty safe. I have read that people in far norther climates drink the most coffee, which makes a great deal of sense when you think about it. Just judging on the coffee-shop-to-population ratio, I would say Anchorage supports that theory. In short, if you enjoy hot caffeinated beverages, you will not find a dearth of options in Anchorage.

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