Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Eating Around in Anchorage

I had the pleasure of going to Anchorage for a once-every-ten-years Alaska Arts Conference this past weekend.

The weather was wonderful - crisply clear most days - 9 F is warmer in Anchorage than 23 F in Juneau - fluffy snow, no wind.

Lunch at Snow City, a fun bustling diner next door to the Captain Cook, where we were staying (the hotel is wonderful and all the meals they prepared for the conference were quite good.) was a Tabouli Salad with feta, tons of olives, and grilled chicken. Very good! Excellent freshly brewed iced tea. Fast, good service, comfortable for a single person.

The opening reception at the Anchorage Performing Arts Center was catered by Ginger: Really quite nice, flavorful, interesting and wine selection looks like Specialty Imports has a good working relationship with the group.

The first evening we ate at Orso, a restaurant that I've enjoyed in the past, but this evening pretty much of a disappointment. Ordered the Wild Mushroom Ravioli, which might have been tasty except they were watery and a little bland. Service was erratic and just not up to it. I think we were a big table full, maybe that had something to do with it. I would have had another glass of wine.....At my end of the table were two independent bookstore owners (Tom from Babbling Book, and the gentleman from Palmer), and Jack Lew, one of the keynote speakers, a digital animation expert. conversation at the end of dinner (while waiting endlessly for the check, I hate having to go ask for it but a girl has to do what a girl has to do) got out of hand when several of us whipped out our iPhones and started comparing the apps we have installed. Awkwardly, Mr. Lew has "Classics" installed on his, an app that cost $2.99 and allows him to read all sorts of books on his iPhone. Hello iPhone, goodbye bookstores.

Friday night, we went to Sacks, and a delight it was. Excellent service, wonderful wine (Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc), wonderful meal (Scallops on udon with light sauce, a chiffonade of lettuce and black beans). Conversation wafted around contemplation of the digital media world, and wondering about the effect of the violence depicted in the games on our collective community. One interesting note from Mr. Lew's presentation was a comparison of the range of "safe" territory children have and how it has shrunk to next to nothing for our current generation: Great-grandparents had a range of about 8 miles to ramble around in, grandparents had about half that, to now today's children have 1/2 a block or about 300 yards. Exactly how did that happen, and what are we afraid of? Certainly there were significant dangers for children in the 8 miles of yesterday?

Saturday night, dinner at a modest Japanese restaurant Kumaguro, before heading to the The General accompanied by the Anchorage Symphony, which was great fun. (I note that they have $2.50 fee on top of the ticket fee for "roof". Perhaps we need to do that at the JACC.) Atmosphere casual/diner style, service was friendly and attentive. Wine selection nothing to write home about (selection?). Chicken teriyaki, enough to feed a small starving African country, on top of a melange of somewhat overcooked veggies. Seemed a little expensive, but, it was adequate.

The Symphony was swell, and I especially liked the part where, as we were wondering if we had time to swill a glass of wine prior to the concert, the bartender told us they take preorders for intermission - pay for it now, and it will be sitting on the table with our name on it when we come into the lobby. YES! Yalumba unoaked chardonnay for me please!

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