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Food Finds in the Last Frontier

June 21, 2016 Dining No Comments Email Email

Wild, grand and bursting with local flavor – Anchorage’s dining scene is a feast for all senses. From exquisite seafood to pasta, ethnic varieties to wild game, fare runs the gamut with sophisticated zest.

Alaksa, Anchorage.  Aerial view of the city taken from a helicopter during the summer.  Body of water behind is Cook Inlet.

With nearly 100 languages spoken in the city, this cosmopolitan metropolis provides a fusion of culinary possibilities with a frontier twist.

Find Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Mexican and Greek cuisine among the numerous international eateries interspersed across the city. Small, ethnic restaurants and markets take full advantage of the abundant bounty of seasonal fresh herbs, monster vegetables and wild Alaska seafood.

Enjoy a reindeer hotdog spiced with local lore from one of the downtown sidewalk vendors. Savor succulent salmon and an award-winning view from a mountain-top restaurant. Sip “Glacier Silt” from a hotel rooftop deck with majestic Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) providing a picturesque backdrop. Enjoy local art at a bustling downtown café as you delight in a delicious snow crab omelet. Anchorage’s essence adds its own special seasoning to every tasty experience.

Chef Pizzazz

Have an appetite for something on the wild side? Local “chef” restaurants create one-of-a-kind sensations prepared with gusto! Their unique combinations of fresh, locally harvested ingredients make it an experience to relish. Local fine-dining favorites include Marx Bros., Jens’, Kincaid Grill, Seven Glaciers and the Crows Nest to name a few.

Want to learn from the best? Try a culinary vacation! Many local restaurants and chefs, as well as the University of Alaska and Allen & Petersen’s offer exquisite cooking classes – some combined with getaway weekends at remote, luxury lodges.

Wild Alaska Seafood

Wild Alaska salmon, whitefish and shellfish are revered around the world for their superior flavor and texture. Naturally, fresh, wild Alaska seafood often takes pride of place in Anchorage eateries, from halibut tacos at a roadside canteen to simple, but scrumptious, alder-roasted salmon at a casual fine-dining restaurant.

Take home a taste of Alaska; local processors can clean, pack and ship sportfish, or recommend commercially caught seafood to send home.

Smokin’ Good

The Alaska Native people traditionally dried and smoked fish as part of a subsistence lifestyle that many still practice. Today, it is a savory delicacy. Smoked fish, particularly salmon, has a very distinctive flavor, and is excellent for pastas, chowders and dips. Of the five Pacific salmon, king, red, silver and chum are best for smoking.

Wild Brews & Spirits

Not only does Alaska have the best seafood available in the world, it is home to several award-winning microbrews. There are 27 breweries spread across the state. Local favorites include Bore Tide Nut Brown, Camp Robber Rye, Big Woody Barley Wine and Alpenglow Amber.

Here in Anchorage, there are eight breweries. Take a tour at the Midnight Sun Brewing Company and, if over 21, sample the beer on Thursday evenings. Sample in-house brews while enjoying a mouth-watering meal at Glacier BrewHouse, Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, and 49th State Brewery. Don’t miss the annual Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival in January or the Alaska Craft Beer & Music Festival in May.

Several distilleries have cropped up in the Last Frontier, including the Anchorage Distillery, making vodka, gin, and moonshine from locally sourced water, grains and berries for the flavored varieties. Tours and tastings are on Thursday evenings.

Berry Alaska

Alaska’s abundant daylight, clean air and rich mountainous soil produce giant, juicy blueberries. Find these succulent morsels in jellies and jams, candy, syrups, muffins, desserts, salad and occasionally a main course. They’re ripe for picking and eating in late August and early September.

Salmonberries, raspberries, loganberries and huckleberries are among other Alaska berries dipped in rich, homemade chocolate at Alaska Wild Berry Products. Take a candy-making tour to see how these tasty treats are made. Be sure to try the delicious and sweet birch syrup!

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