Archive for July, 2010

Please send a warm Alaska welcome to Chef Rick Moonen. He’s visiting Cordova, the Copper River Salmon capital, and is nationally known for his strong position on sustainable fishing. This isn’t Chef Rick’s first visit to Alaska – he was in the James Beard Award winning PBS Chefs’ Afield program, King of Alaska, filmed in the village of Emmonak and on the Yukon River.

Chef Rick Moonen

After graduating first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America, Moonen worked as chef and executive chef at many well known New York restaurants before becoming executive chef and partner at (more…)

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You may have noticed we’ve been posting less frequently here on the main Alaska Food & Wine site. Why? We’re down in the Pacific Northwest – specifically Bellingham, Bellevue, and Seattle – exploring restaurants and sampling the local cuisine. In addition to restaurant dining, we’re booked on an insider’s Seattle Gourmet Food Tour and will be at the “Bite of Seattle” festival is this weekend, rain or shine. (Probably shine – the weather has been fabulous!)

Once our travel and dining is complete, detailed restaurant and travel reviews will be posted. Meanwhile, you can get a taste and some small bites of what we’ve been up to by visitng the “Alaska Food & Wine” page on Facebook. We’re posting on-the-go updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy hour at John Howie Steak, a playful approach to "Bacon & Eggs"

Tempura coated Kurobuta bacon served with a maple sambal ponzu dipping sauce, and an order of truffled deviled eggs with bacon bits. Not breakfast — this is happy hour bliss at John Howie Steak, located in Bellevue at the Bravern. The bacon is so crispy and addictive that it may need to be regulated by the FDA. I suggest sampling it while it is still legal.

John Howie Steak Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Many of us have fallen out of touch with how our food is produced. We tacitly expect that when we visit a grocery store, the shelves will magically be stocked with the produce, meat, and other items that we need to feed our families. How often do you think about the obstacles faced by farmers, or consider the effort local growers put into providing us with Alaska Grown vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy products?

Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm, Alaska

The Mat-Su Farm Bureau is hosting a full-day tour of several farms on Saturday, July 31. Guests will have the opportunity to experience on a personal level where and how our local produce is grown, and will learn more about the unique aspects of farming in Alaska. During the tour stops will be made at Glacier Valley Farm, Havemeister’s Dairy, Bushes Bunches, and Pyrah’s Pioneer Peak Farm. In addition, guests will enjoy an all Alaska grown catered lunch, (more…)

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This is a very popular Southeast Alaska recipe for halibut. Local legend is that the original recipe was created back in the 1920s by a woman named Caddy Ganty, the wife of a fish packer living in the small fishing community of Pelican. Many restaurants in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest serve a variation of this dish, sometimes calling it Halibut Olympia.

Perhaps the most well known version is served at the Gustavus Inn near Glacier Bay National Park. The Inn won an “America’s Classics” award bestowed by the James Beard Foundation in 2010. I adapted this recipe from the one served by JoAnn and David Lesh, owners of the Gustavus Inn.

Halibut Caddy Ganty (AKA Halibut Olympia)


2 pounds fresh Alaskan halibut fillets, approx 1 inch thick, skinned and cut into 3 X 4 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups white wine  * (more…)

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If you detect the scent of smoke near Indian along the Seward Highway this season, don’t dial 911. Instead, slow down and watch for the red-roofed building near Mile 103. That’s where you’ll find the Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ, one of Alaska’s newest roadside eateries.

Depending on your sense of humor, the “Arm Pit” portion of the name may be either amusing or off-putting. If you fall into the second group, it may help to reframe it. Think of the Arm Pit as a casual spot for some smoky pit-style barbecue, in a scenic location along the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet. I’ll wager the Arm Pit has the best view of any BBQ shop in Alaska or the Lower 48.  During nice weather, you can enjoy your meal on the large, outside deck, taking in the views of the Chugach Mountains behind the shop and the vista of the Kenai range across the inlet.

View from the deck, the Kenai Mountains across the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet

I’d heard the Arm Pit BBQ described as Texas style, so I walked in with preconceived expectations about the menu. One glance dispelled Texas as the point of origin for the restaurant. Nary a beef rib to be found, and a Texas BBQ joint would not have pulled pork featured at the top of the menu. Giving top billing to pork is no longer considered a hanging offense in Texas, but the Arm Pit’s signature item would raise eyebrows in Longhorn country. The “Boar Tide” is a pulled pork sandwich (more…)

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