I’ll be the first to admit that Alaska is pretty far to go for a weekend trip from the East Coast. 9 hours flights on either direction and a 4 hour time difference left me a little bit befuddled during my three full days in the 49th state. Luckily I did manage to fit in quite a bit in that small window of time.
Fortunately, for me at least, you only need one day to fully explore downtown Anchorage. Even though half of the population of Alaska lives in the Anchorage metropolitan area, it’s still a fairly small place, at least for this city girl. The downtown is tiny- maybe 6 streets, and consists mostly of gift shops and bars with a couple museums sprinkled in. The weather was rainy and dreary (such a shame after the brilliant summer day we’d been treated to for glacier hiking).
Instead of spending the day inside, Liz and I decided to explore Anchorage the best way I know how: with our taste buds.
So here’s what I found to eat:
We started our day with breakfast at our hosts, The Hilton Garden Inn. This was actually a pretty spectacular breakfast as hotel meals go and it feature reindeer sausage omelets. Yes, as my mom said, I ate Rudolph.
I’d never had reindeer before but it may be my new favorite meat. It’s spicy and savory- the sausage was similar to kielbasa, so it actually took me awhile to figure out it was reindeer. I doubt I can find reindeer here in DC, but I would definitely eat it again.
Chocolate, Birch Syrup and More
After breakfast we headed downtown to the weekend market, where I found all sorts of sweet things to try. From homemade chocolate with sea salt to authentic Alaskan birch syrup (verdict: maybe tastier than maple!).
Then there were a whole strip of restaurant booths selling everything from salmon spring rolls to Russian pierogis (non-authentic according to Moscow-born Liz). I made sure to try a little of everything- FOR SCIENCE! I loudly exclaimed.
After sampling nearly everything in the market, including a few things that probably weren’t actually samples, I settled on a buffalo bratwurst. I’ve had buffalo burgers before and they are pretty delicious. The bratwurst was tasty as well, particularly with some spicy mustard.
Pizza and Beer
Not Alaskan you say! Well, maybe not, but when I asked Twitter and Facebook for Anchorage suggestions, one establishment came up again and again: The Moose’s Tooth. After about the 6th recommendation I knew this place needed to be checked out.
One thing is for certain: this place is really, really popular. I think about half of anchorage was crammed into the restaurant on this stormy Sunday night. The pizza was tasty- but not tasty enough to explain the huge number of patrons. The answer (isn’t it always the answer) was the beer. The Moose’s Tooth brews their own beer and had almost a dozen unique brews on tap that night. Needless to say, I was in heaven. If you even make the pilgrimage my top picks: Hard Apple Ale, Wild Country Rasberry Wheat and the Northern Lights Amber. If I’d been in town any longer I would have gotten a growler to go!
After that full day of stuffing my face I had to go lay down and rub my belly for awhile. I even forego the tempting looking Beer Brittle for sale in the lobby- there just wasn’t room. Still there was always tomorrow and the promise of yet another reindeer omelette…
Special Thanks to the Hilton Garden Inn Anchorage for sponsoring my trip to Alaska.