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Alaska Trip Report

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Just came back from a wonderful trip to Alaska and thought I'd give an update on the food scene.

Anchorage:

We had a wonderful, but very rich meal at Simon and Seaforts, which has a great view of Cook Inlet. Their stuffed halibut is to die for! Good wine list as well. Our go-to spot in Anchorage.

The White Spot is a tiny greasy spoon in downtown Anchorage that has a wonderful fried halibut sandwich. It's everything a fish sandwich should be and their fries and coleslaw (surprisingly made with a squirt of Sriracha) were fantastic too. Great locals atmosphere.

10th and M Seafoods is the perfect place to pick up some jars of smoked salmon to bring home. They also have lots of varieties of frozen smoked fishes, including smoked scallops, which I can't wait to eat. They're really great about packaging things up with ice for the trip home. You can also mail order from them.

The Glacier Brewhouse is a very popular restaurant also downtown. It's a good place for a late night dinner. Their beers are good and their food is pretty good, but not great.

The Moose's Tooth is another brewery that is located somewhat near the airport. They specialize in pizzas and beer. Their brews are really good and the pizzas were pretty good (very unique) and I say that as a New Yorker :-)

Talkeetna (cutest little town on Earth!):

Since we were in Talkeetna in winter during the off-season most of the restaurants were not open. However, of the few that were open, Talkeetna Roadhouse was soooo good. Their baked goods, including sourdough pullmans, scones and their "famous" gooey cinnamon buns are so good and moist. They are great for brunch as well. Delicious biscuits and gravy made with venison, I believe, and their sourdough pancake specials are tasty.

West Rib Inn is sort of a tourist friendly locals bar with a decent Alaskan and Pacific Northwest microbrews. Their hamburgers are pretty good as well and they have some really great Denali climbing memorabilia.

Mountain High Pizza Pie was ok. We had pizza with reindeer sausage, which was tasty, but the pizza was a bit soggy and not too flavorful. Given the limited options in Talkeetna this time of year it was an inexpensive and filling meal.

Our flightseeing pilot said Wildflower Inn was a great place for dinner. However, we tried to go on a Sunday and they were closed, but it's supposed to be good.

Cubby's Grocery, which is located on Parks Hwy just before the Talkeetna Spur Rd. is a great place to pick up a few things for cooking in your cabin. I was amazed to find things like Hoisin Sauce and grapefruits in a tiny town in Alaska. We bought provisions for a nice Cassoulet with buffalo sausage.

Fairbanks:
Two Rivers Lodge is about 45min. outside Fairbanks on Chena Hot Springs Rd. It's a great place for an upscale dinner and the view is beautiful. We even saw the Northern Lights on the drive back to Fairbanks. Everything we ate at Two Rivers was delicious including the reasonably priced (for Alaska) King Crab Legs.

Silver Gulch Brewery in Fox just outside of Fairbanks was also good. The beers, especially the Epicenter Ale, are excellent and the food was good. The service was atrociously slow, but the great beer made up for it.

Sam's Sourdough Cafe near the University is a good locals brunch spot. Their sourdough pancakes were really sour and good. Also, the reindeer sausage was cooked up like kielbasa and it was really good.

College Coffeehouse also near the University has great espresso. In fact, all the espresso I had in Fairbanks, including the little drive-thru espresso huts all over town, were really good. No need for sugar in that latte!

Gambardella's Italian Restaurant downtown was a nice place for lunch. They are known for their lasagna, which was delicious. My friend in Fairbanks says it's better for lunch than for dinner.

Ichiban Noodles is a weird little Asian restaurant that is open til midnight. They have all sorts of Asian dishes including Bibimbop and lots of noodle bowls. The food was kind of meh, but if you're looking for late night food in Fairbanks this is probably your best bet. Apparently Fairbanks has some good Thai food, lots of Thai restaurants around town, but we didn't have time to go to any of them. I'm slightly skeptical about Thai in Alaska, but you never know.

Chena Hot Springs Resort was definitely worth visiting for the actual hot spring and for the ice museum, but the food and accommodations are a total rip off. Their mangy, old restaurant had king crab legs for $50 and the sandwiches that we ordered (knowing that the food would be awful and not wanting to pay too much) were $15 for a lousy sandwich with cold cuts on a spongy croissant. If you're going to stay overnight there (rooms are quite threadbare), just stay for one night and bring your own sandwiches and snacks. Or you can get some ramen noodles at the little cafe there. Since there are a lot of Japanese tourists there the cafe carries a few unexpected items, but it's still a major ripoff.

The Great Alaska Bowl Company in Fairbanks sells handmade wood bowls that are beautiful. Their big salad bowls are expensive, though. They also have things like Alaskan Fireweed Jelly (delicious!) and reindeer and salmon jerky.

Well, I think that covers everything.

We encountered some really great food in Alaska if you know where to look.
I will say though that every restaurant that served salmon and halibut served it with some type of cream sauce, which is fine, but I would've liked to have seen some simpler preparations of such great fish. I guess the whole great ingredients, simple preparation gourmet food thing hasn't made it to Alaska yet. I'd be much happier with a very precisely cooked piece of Alaskan salmon with hardly anything on it than a slightly overcooked piece with an albeit tasty, but much too rich sauce. Alaska certainly has the whole hearty food thing going. It was nice to be someplace with good local beers!

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  1. That is a great trip report - you definately hit some of my favorite places. Just an update - Sam's Sourdough Cafe in Fairbanks burned this week. :-(

    And yes, we do have good Thai in Alaska - usually located in some little out of the way place in a strip mall.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AlaskaChick

      I can't believe they just had a huge fire! I ate there only a week ago! Well, hopefully they'll rebuild because those sour pancakes are great.