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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Some further thoughts on Seward's Ice Box:

Salmon, carrots, kale and purple potatoes from the farmer's market
I wouldn't have thought of AK as a culinary destination, but come to find out that one can eat quite well there. We were near the end of the salmon run, so that was a priority, and halibut was peaking. Let me tell you about fresh Alaska halibut: it might be the best fish I've ever eaten. Recommended in Seward: Chinooks. We just lucked into the place, and each had something different each time. The Fisherman's Stew was the best thing, I think. There was a brewpub downtown that we went to for lunch, but because it was nearing the end of the season their selection was limited, so I had the Glacier IPA, which is pretty ubiquitous (and pretty good).

Crispy Fish
Back in Anchorage the Glacier Brewhouse was an attractive spot. I had the cod sandwich, and would have it again. I mentioned the Snow City Cafe already: the perfect breakfast place after whatever Alaska endeavor you got dressed like that to do. We also liked the Spenard Roadhouse, and recommend the Arctic Roadrunner, a classic Roadfood-style burger joint with walls covered in taxidermy and photos of the hunters and fishermen who bagged it.

Alaskans are proud of their local produce, which sounds odd, but isn't. Because of the short, intense growing season root vegetables-- potatoes, parsnips, carrots, rutabagas and the like-- all grow fast and are far sweeter and less starchy than their Lower 48 cousins. I was surprised by this-- Alaskan terroir?-- but it's worth ordering chowder just for the spuds.

Finally,  do not miss the Northern Lights Brewery, which I liked a great deal. I'd groused to CLA about the probable unavailability of a decent pastrami sandwich in Anchorage, and was proven wrong at this establishment, which also featured four different brewed in-house IPAs. Weird Alaska law limits the number of pours per visit because it is classified as a brewery, but I took a six pack of the Chinook Red IPA home, and was pleased that I did so.

Actually, I'd have to say that Alaska is a pretty good beer state. It makes a certain sort of sense: when everything gets shipped in why not ship wheat and hops instead of Budweiser, and add your own water on site? I don't imagine that much gets exported: where would you ship it? Washington and Oregon and California have plenty of good beer already.






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