Posts Tagged ‘fine dining’

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…)


Read Full Post »

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…)

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

Heading to Denali National Park this summer? If you’ll be anywhere near the Park, make time for dinner at this special spot — it is definitely the place for a memorable meal. A semi-secret hideaway, 229 Parks is located just 8 miles south of the cacophonous area we refer to as “Glitter Gulch.” While you can find sustenance in Glitter Gulch – and more than a few coach-loads of tourists – there is little to be found in the way of inspired cuisine in that congested corridor. Instead, head down the road to mile 229.7 along the Parks Highway for innovative tavern fare along with unpretentious fine dining.

Chef Laura Cole’s seasonal menus feature the freshest ingredients, sourced from local producers whenever possible. One recent offering was fresh troll-caught Alaska salmon, pan seared with herbs and topped with nicoise olive tapenade, served with delicate haricots vert and fingerling potatoes. Fragrant and flavorful basil aioli brought another dimension to the dish. I worried that the tapenade might overpower the salmon, but instead the olives were a lovely compliment to the richness of the fish.

Wild Alaskan King Salmon with Nicoise Tapenade and Haricot Verts

While I savored the salmon, other diners enjoyed fresh halibut bouillabaisse with herbed tomato broth, spot prawns, lemon pasta, and saffron aioli crisps. The cracked peppercorn beef tenderloin with herb truffle butter and thyme mache salad won high praise from – of all people – a couple from Texas. Ranchers from the second-largest state, the couple proclaimed the tenderloin was (more…)

Read Full Post »