Archive for the ‘Cuisine’ Category

There’s definitely something to be said for the warmth of a cozy, family-owned neighborhood restaurant. A place where you can find hearty portions of soulful comfort food, prepared with care by the owner and served by an attentive staff. Here in Anchorage, Little Italy Restaurante has been filling that role by crafting traditional – and a few non-traditional – Greek and Italian dishes for 30 years.

Warm tones and lighting at Little Italy

Warm tones and lighting  provide a comfortable setting at Little Italy

In a town like Anchorage, where restaurants breeze in and out like the blustery Chinook winds, family-owned Little Italy’s longevity speaks volumes about camaraderie and customer loyalty. Guests appreciate the care owner Spiros Gialopsos and his staff put into the ample plates of food – and also the attentiveness of the staff under the guidance of P.J. in the front of the house.

This is a place to go to enjoy the types of food that you might be too intimidated to try cooking at home. For me, that means diving into a large appetizer of spanakopita made with fresh sautéed spinach dotted with tangy feta, seasoned with herbs and onions, then (more…)


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I had the opportunity to dine at Le Cirque during a recent trip to Las Vegas. This New York City fine dining outpost is located in the lovely 5-star Bellagio Hotel and Resort, and is one of the cornerstones of the hotel’s dining experiences. My expectations for the restaurant were quite high, but both the floor staff and kitchen fully delivered with an amazing meal and a very memorable evening.

My recommendation is to definitely go with the Le Cirque dégustation menu rather than ordering a la carte, and certainly do opt for the lovely wine pairings. You will not be disappointed. Unlike some tasting menus, you will have an element of control in the selection of your dishes while still experiencing the full range of what the chef and his staff can create. The exemplary service from the wait staff and sommelier at Le Cirque is professional and attentive without feeling at all intrusive.

Amuse bouche - uni 'ice cream' with ginger-lemon grass gelee -- Le Cirque Restaurant

An amuse bouche of uni with caviar – Le Cirque

Although I ordered the snow crab as my starter, I was surprised when the waiter brought a lovely amuse bouche of uni with lemon grass gelée and a fennel puree. It was sublime, as was my actual starter of snow crab with turnip, apple, avocado and pomegranate.

Sautéed foie gras with pear confit – and a salty caramel sauce – did not disappoint. It was delicate and (more…)

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One of my favorite local appetizers is Sashimi Hali’imaile, a dish that explodes with flavors that are as vivid and crisp as the pleasing colors that meet the eye.

A bed of crisp greens and julienne vegetables provides the foundation for Napoleon-like layers of smoked salmon, crispy wontons and ahi, all topped with a dollop of caviar. Sesame seeds and capers dot the dish.

This appetizer may draw its inspiration from Hawaii, but it is the creation of the Danish-born Alaskan chef, Jens Hansen, owner of Jens’ Restaurant in Anchorage. A colorful, bright plate that bursts with flavor is just the ticket when winter lasts for 7 often dreary months. Locals who are unable to escape to Hawaii can instead sidle up to the bar in the bustling little bodega at Jens’, sip a glass of wine from the extensive list, and imagine a tropical paradise while savoring a bit of fresh sashimi.

Insider Tip: Timing is important. You don’t want to be in the middle of your meal and miss the tradition. Each night at precisely 10 PM the music switches to Eric Clapton’s “Layla” — and dancing is encouraged.

Sashimi Hali'imaile from Jens' Restaurant

Jens’ Restaurant
701 West 36th Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
(907) 561-5367
Jens’ Restaurant Website

Jens' on Urbanspoon

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If you missed our Oscar’s evening buffet, you missed a chance to sample these juicy – but dainty – pork tenderloin sandwiches, each draped provocatively in feta aioli. But unlike the luxurious Oscar gowns adorning the red carpet, these luxe little creations can easily be replicated in the privacy of your own home.

As with all prime time events, advance planning is necessary and preparation of this dish should begin a day in advance. Don’t fret — the steps are easy and time itself will do most of the advance work for you. Scents of garlic and oregano will perfume the air while the marinade is prepared, aromas that – at least for some of us – are far more alluring than the most expensive Oscar-worthy perfumes.

Pork Tenderloin Sliders with Feta Aioli (From: Alaska Food & Wine)

Greek Inspired Pork Tenderloin Sliders


For the Pork Tenderloin:
3 lbs pork tenderloin
1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for sautéing
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (more…)

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It’s a chilly afternoon and this listless lady’s thoughts are turning to – of all things – cake. But not just any cake — I’m craving a luscious little bacon cheesecake from the Alaska Cake Studio. Yes, a cake of my very own. That is just what I need to cheer me up on this cold, windy winter day.

Bacon Cheesecake from Alaska Cake Studio

Alaska Cake Studio is a delicious spot to make a stop no matter the season or weather. During one of my Cake Studio visits the individual dessert items on display included a Madagascar Vanilla Mousse, my favorite Bacon Cheesecake, and a Mojito Truffle dessert. Cupcakes at the Alaska Cake Studio are offered in two flavors per day, and rotate on both a daily and monthly basis. Red Velvet, S’mores, and Strawberry Champagne cupcakes are popular with both visitors and locals alike.

Owner Will McDonald and his staff at Alaska Cake Studio have been bringing sweetness and light to Downtown Anchorage and 4th Avenue since December 2009. But why locate the shop on 4th Avenue, an area of town that has foot traffic but little in the way of parking? As it turns out, a storefront was just what he was looking for, as McDonald revealed during our conversation.

“You get people with the smell, the scent of baking,” he confided. “I wanted to bring something to Anchorage that we didn’t have … a shop with a warm, comforting feel where people can browse, sample pastries and cakes, or purchase specialty items.”

He’s quick to add, “It’s all about the cake. I believe the cake should stand alone — frosting is just an accessory.”

The warm and very inviting interior of the Alaska Cake Studio

There are many delectables available in addition to cakes made on the premises. You’ll also find a wide selection of gourmet sugars and pearls for decorating your own confections; specialty sugars such as Demerara, (more…)

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Lavelle’s Bistro is pleased to present guest Chef Mimi Houston on Sunday, February 27th for a spectacular night of French fusion cuisine.

Chef Houston’s culinary aspirations took her to New York for training at the French Culinary Institute. While working under celebrated chefs such as Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Master Chef & Chocolatier Jacques Torres, Mimi further refined her signature style of Mediterranean and Southeast Asian Cuisine while incorporating strong, clean French flavors. 

Mimi’s love for cooking and food began as a young girl growing up in Vietnam. Between helping with the family dessert cart business and following her mother around the kitchen she developed a passion for cooking and (more…)

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Views from Seven Glaciers Restaurant are superb, as is the cuisine, so when you add fantastic wines from Kenwood Vineyards the result is a trifecta that is certain to create a memorable evening.

Seven Glaciers is the premiere restaurant at the Alyeska Resort, located just south of Anchorage in the skiing mecca of Girdwood. A tram whisks diners to the top of the mountain where a well known restaurant myth is shattered — here the quality of the dining experience is NOT inversely proportional to the view.

The next Seven Glaciers wine dinner will be held February 27, 2011. It features Kenwood Vineyards along with their fantastic Jack London collection, with wines paired with a special tasting menu prepared by Seven Glaciers Executive Chef Jason Porter.

Kenwood Vineyards creates wines from the very best vineyards in Sonoma County and they are also the exclusive producer of wines from the lava-terraced vineyards of the historic Jack London Ranch. Award-winning wines from these vineyards, first planted in the late 1800’s, have a unique character. It is quite fitting that Jack London’s wolf head bookplate logo graces the label of these fine wines — and these wines will be perfect for a wine dinner in Alaska.


February 27, 2011, 7:00 PM

Crab Cake
Lime Cream, Cilantro Pesto
Valley of the Moon, Pinot Blanc, 2009 (more…)

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