So, back in October when we were in a city that feels like it’s poised on the edge of the earth, I had one big question on my mind:
What y’all got to eat?
I’m happy to report the food scene in Anchorage is as vibrant as the Northern Lights. Maybe it’s the fresh mountain air. Maybe it’s the fact that, during the darker, colder months, there’s not much to do but eat. Whatever the reason: if you’re in Anchorage, you won’t go hungry … and, with a little poking around, you can eat very well.
On a gloomy Saturday afternoon, we kicked things off at the Glacier Brewhouse. The streets outside were deserted, but inside the brewhouse, the fireplace and the diners were roaring:
In the land of salmon and king crab, you’ll think our appetizer choice was an odd one — but as a Southern-born connoisseur of yard birds, I just couldn’t pass up the twice-fried chicken wings, slathered with spicy Asian pepper sauce:
Best. Wings. Ever. And I don’t say such things lightly. And it breaks my heart, because these succulent, juicy, spicy, savory wings are a minimum 9-hour flight away from the city I call home.
We washed ’em down with the locally-brewed Blonde ale. Meh.
Jack Sprat Restaurant
North of town (Girdwood, to be exact), we snagged breakfast at Jack Sprat. It gets high marks for its vegan options, but, always one to buck a trend, I ordered the most vicious dish on the brunch menu: the reindeer sausage.
Not even the locals eat Rudolph straight up; instead, they mix him with a little pork to offset the gamey flavor and slightly chewy texture of Santa’s little helper.
As adventure food goes, I’m glad I can say I had link or two. Would I order it again? Maybe around Christmas.
Anchorage Brewing Company
Another way to pass those long northern nights? Brewing beer — and lots of it, from the number of microbreweries you’ll find on every corner.
On a local’s recommendation, we pulled over and gave the Anchorage Brewing Company a try. Their Galaxy White IPA proved to be tasty, especially when paired with artesian cheese and (what else?) reindeer sausage:
For dinner Saturday night, we hiked down the street to the bear-themed Orso. Locals adore it, saying it “really understands its clientele.”
It’s hard to argue with a meal that starts with a lobster corn dog:
For my tastes, though, the fantasy of a lobster corn dog proved superior to the reality, which tasted more of grease and tempura than lobster.
I felt better about the seafood mac and cheese, which combines the creaminess of comfort food with lobster cream sauce and crab.
The browned, bubbly pan of seafood, cheese, and pasta contained about a metric ton of food — and set us back twenty-six bucks. Clyde’s wild Alaskan halibut? A serving this size:
set us back thirty-six dollars! (And Clyde, who likes just about everything, wasn’t wild about the beet puree.)
We liked Orso — but in the end, we thought the food didn’t live up to the (significant) price.
Snow City Cafe
The winner of the Great Alaskan Food Pageant? Definitely Snow City Cafe — a lively, funky, urban breakfast joint that packs in locals and tourists alike.
I loved it from the moment we were greeted by a young man in a jersey labeled “Queen.” And I loved it even more when they brought my breakfast burrito drenched in green chile sauce:
We enjoyed breakfast here so much we came back the next morning — and enjoyed our eggs benedict and french toast special, too. For the morning meal, Snow City Cafe is definitely your “don’t miss” option when staying in Anchorage.
Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria
It’s crazy that the number one restaurant in Anchorage — according to TripAdvisor.com, anyway — is a pizza joint. But I gotta say few pizzerias match the energetic vibe of the Moose’s Tooth.
As pies go, the pizzas are big and fat and buried under a thick layer of generous toppings.
Had I been hungrier, I could have done some real damage here.
When in Anchorage, you can’t go wrong with Snow City Cafe for breakfast, Glacier Brewhouse for lunch, and the Moose’s Tooth for dinner. If you’re on an expense account or celebrating a special occasion, Orso will do — just raid your piggy bank first.