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Oct 9, 2007 01:36 PM

Alaska must eats? Bourdain style?

What is Alaska or Anchorage known for? What must I eat or experience? I will be in Anchorage in November. I am a chowhound from Seattle. I love seafood, but the person I am visiting does not. Whenever I travel to a city or area I like to try the foods that are specific to or specialized in that location (ex. frozen custard, toasted ravioli, emo's style pizza in St, Louis). I have read about reindeer sausage and excellent seafood so far in my web query and by reading the other boards. I will be in Anchorage a Friday through a Tuesday if that helps. Dives, hidden treasures, things to bring back to Seattle, local grocery items, etc.- any suggestion works. Cheap steals to mid-upper price range ok when discussing places to eat- I am a teacher that likes splurging once in a while. Thanks in advance for the help!

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  1. As much as I hate the Bourdain attitude, I'll try ...

    Seafood is the story for the most part. Unfortunately, the best Bourdain like experience is now gone, when a local photo shop had an annual buffet of native eats. Mmmm, muktuk.

    As for things to bring back to Seattle, a high-quality ulu is great in the kitchen and makes a great gift. Just don't buy a cheesy tourist model. Another prize is a hat or scarves from the Musk Ox Co-Op.

    The Sagaya Market is a nice stop, although there's not much there that you wouldn't find in the I District.

    Two of my favorite meals were at a place that is no secret -- the venerable Double Musky. The setting is nice -- a log roadhouse in Girdwood -- and the drive there is one of the most scenic in the nation. It's crowded, noisy and they take no reservations, but the blackened red salmon and pepper-crusted NY strip are wonderful -- as is the Double Musky Pie.

    A couple of kitschy options: Gwennies, an old-school dinner-esque place for crab omelets and reindeer sausage at breakfast, and Club Paris, an oldtime steak house.

    There's a great cafe at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, run by the same folks who own Marx Brothers Cafe, one of the best high-end places in town.

    I used to love the halibut sandwiches at a hole in the wall called Mama O's, but it's been a while.

    You can also find salmon jerky in many places.

    Try to make friends with a local who just shot a moose -- fabulous.

    4 Replies
      1. re: natalie.warner

        anyone else in alaska love food and willing to give tips?

        1. re: natalie.warner

          Well I'd agree with the Double Musky - its a favorite. You might join the locals for a beer and apps at Humpys downtown. I also agree with the rec for Club Paris - have the baseball cut sirloin stuffed with blue chees - in a dark bar atmosphere. Haven't been there in a bit but Jens is a great meal - don't let the midtown srip mall location fool you. And for atomosphere, have a drink and apps while watching the sunset from Simon and Seaforts.

          1. re: natalie.warner

            watch the timimg of your trip to Double musky- Girdwood is a tourist town. The Double Musky is closed the entire month of November( as well as mondays) The Seven Glaciers is closed all or most of the month of oct and Nov as well due to tram maintence. Turnagain house reopens in February ??. If you make the drive down and can't get in try next door at Maxines they have great appetizers

      2. club paris is our best steak house,and great local restaurant. Ginger , next door is supposed to be putting out some innovative food. Haven't gotten in yet.
        Reindeer sausage tastes like sausage. Most of it is filler meat. look for reindeer chops on a menu or reindeer stew as a good represntaion of flavor.
        Red king crab is available FRESH right now. Look for crab specials. No salmon unless you see troll caught. Halibut could go either way( Fresh , frozen)
        Gweenies has ( in my opinion, please....) lost its luster years ago. Cheap diner food at expensive prices. I'd head for Jackies place for a diner breakfast.
        Suite 100 on the southside is getting rave reviews

        3 Replies
        1. re: coastie

          Gwennies had LUSTER?

          You must be a sourdough. I started going there in '84 and it was a kitschy dive then (and a lot smokier...).

          Food will never win awards. It's diner food because it's basically a diner ... never found it all that expensive, especially given the portion size.

          Somehow a Los Anchorage place like Suite 100 isn't much of an AK experience -- despite the portobello mushroom fritters -- unless the point is to emphasize how much the state's largest city desperately rties to find Lower 48 trendiness. Doesn't really fit the OP's request for a Bourdain-like experience IMHO.

          1. re: repete

            Ok gwennies is just plain gross - It used to be pretty ok.. When I was a bush kid and came into town Gwennies was pretty cool ,yes we are talking a long time ago - why do people keep going? I think the waitresses are the same ones from when I was a kid....they just got grumpier. People get really upset when I say it sucks because it is such a landmark kind of place. I was trying to be nice. It doesn't do diner well.
            suite 100 - I can't say much about I never have been - because we lack so much in the dining out dept . suite 100 is getting talked about for lack of anything else.
            what is anchorage?? artic roadrunner -New Saygoya, that kitchy salmon bake downtown - Kidding?? Bourdain would end up at someplace like the the bar side of the musky - he'd probably hook up with a local who would share real smoked salmon and maybe some moose. But really is there someplace local that is "Alaskan"??What is that??
            You're right its not any of these places but where is it?
            Simons and SEaforts Kind of qualifies but its so chainie - food consistent but not remarkable - great view. At least they competently do Alaskan seafood fresh.
            I'm born and raised here and I have a really hard time putting a finger on what is Alaskan. I look at how Hawaii markets itself and it has something fairly distinct that we all associate with tropical Hawaii - be it luau food or plate lunch we know what that is. What is Alaskan besides salmon, halibut and crab?

            1. re: repete

              My wife and I brought my grandson (14) to see Alaska. We ate at Gwennies and couldn't believe the amount of food they serve. I had a ham and cheese omelet. There must have been at least a half pound of ham. The cheese was on top and had little flavor.

              We had the reindeer sausage which was fabulous. My wife was a bit sheepish despite loving sausage. She immediately claimed the whole order.

              My grandson wanted waffles, but the server suggested the hot cakes since the waffles were outsourced and frozen. We were glad that we took her advice since the hotcakes were excellent. The eggs needed doctoring.

              My wife had the grits which she liked.

              There seemed to be no end of locals. We agree that this is a place to come if you're hungry and know what to order.

          2. I spent the summer up there on layovers and then a couple weeks with the family. My top picks were: "Humpy's" for the fish tacos (if two of you go, one order the halibut and one order the salmon and then swap one, they come two to an order and are excellent) they had burgers and stuff too, as well as a great selection of beers on tap (Midnightsun's oosik amber being my favorite). "The Glacier Brew House" always had a solid meal and again good beer. "Mooses Tooth" pizza and once again good beer. I liked the "Snow City Cafe" for breakfast it's a block west of the Captain Cook hotel on fourth. There is a seafood restaurant called Simon & Seafort's the food was good (similar to McCormick &Schmick's) but it had a nice view of the Cook inlet.
            Things I brought home were moose/elk jerky/slim jim type stuff, some coffeee (at sagaya), salmon jerky (I think some is still sitting in the fridge) and fresh fish once or twice. If the DB Musky is open it's worth the drive, if not, it's still worth the drive.
            Beer, seafood some say coffee (the beans were good they just make it weak for my taste) and the natural beauty, those were my enjoyments while I was there. Looking forward to next summer.