Posts Tagged ‘Anchorage’

Lately it seems to be a rare event for me to eat out while I’m in my home city of Anchorage. These days, most of my dining seems to be done on planes or at mediocre airport hotels due to work and leisure travel that’s consumed me over the past two years. There will be more on the topic of travel to come in future posts, but for now let us focus on food.

Recently a friend and I had a wonderful dinner at Maxine’s Fireweed Bistro. We ended up sharing all of the dishes – with minimal bickering, I should point out – at least minimal bickering in regard to the food.

Our starter was tempura pork belly that was light and crunchy outside while bursting with juicy pork inside – all without a hint of grease.

Tempura Pork Belly Appetizer

Tempura pork belly appetizer

Both entrees were equally good in their own ways. The evening’s Bistro Steak was local elk loin seared medium rare, served with fiddlehead ferns and (more…)

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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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ORSO Restaurant has weekly specials based on the owner’s philosophy, “a great bottle of wine doesn’t need to cost more than a dinner.” Each week they offer one case of wine at an incredible value that won’t break the bank. But like any great promotion, there’s a catch: There’s only one case – 12 bottles – and it’s first come, first served.

This week’s the Case of the Week takes you to Tuscany, quite fitting given ORSO’s culinary influences from the region.

Ruffino Chianti Superiore

The Sangiovese notes are dominated by violets and ripe cherries which are well integrated with the spicy scents of vanilla and, lightly, of cloves. On the finish the fruity sensations become riper and reveal elegantly toasted sentors of plum jam. Tasting profile: Very smooth, yet fresh and lively. The mature tannins are sustained by the harmonious fruity structure, where alcohol and acidity reach an ideal balance. The long aftertaste leaves notes of mature cherries.

Recommended ORSO Menu Pairings:
Antipasto, Grilled Ribeye, Osso Buco, Alaskan Salmon, or ORSO’s Traditional Chicken Parmesan
75% Sangiovese and 25% other red varieties admitted by Chianti Superiore code production (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Canaiolo).
Please visit ORSO soon to claim your wine special!

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The best deal in Anchorage dining is the $39 3-course dinner at Simon & Seafort’s. This isn’t an ‘early-bird’ or tasting menu. Portions are full size and include some of Simon’s most popular dishes.
Start with their red king crab and artichoke dip, move on to rock salt roasted prime rib, finish with vanilla burnt cream — or enjoy your own combination from the selection of restaurant favorites. Simon’s special deal is available through March 31, so don’t miss out. Make your reservations today and take advantage of 4 star dining at 2 star prices.

Simon & Seafort's Restaurant March Trio Menu

Simon & Seafort’s March Trio (AKA “March Madness”) Menu: 

First Course

Oven Roasted Red King Crab and Artichoke Dip
Flash-Seared Teriyaki Tenderloins  (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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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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Events | Indigo Tea Lounge

I find there is something seductive about little tea sandwiches. Dainty and elegant, crustless, and often with improbable fillings, they seem rather out of place here in the rugged Last Frontier. Perhaps that’s why they are so attractive to me — they speak to a sense of refinement, providing a brief bit of respite from the chaos of everyday life.

Is it even possible to feel harried while nibbling a triangle of cucumber, dill, and crème fraiche on soft white bread, sipping tea with two lumps and a spot of lemon? I think not.

An escape for a spot of high tea used to require a flight to Seattle or Vancouver, but times have changed.  Indigo Tea Lounge in Anchorage now provides a bit of respite for bustling downtown shoppers and anyone else who wants to experience a bit of refined tea culture.

This week Indigo Tea Lounge is featuring a romantic tea service that will be perfect for a bit of afternoon delight. Fresh baked scones (with Devonshire cream, I hope), assorted sweets, lovely tea sandwiches, and pots of tea will combine to sooth your spirit. Drop by and relax.

High Tea at the Indigo Tea Lounge

Indigo Tea Lounge
“A New Take on Old Traditions”
221 E. 5th Ave
Anchorage, AK, 99501
(907) 222-1619

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