If you ask my family, I’ve never been too shy to say what needs to be said. I won’t sugarcoat it — I have found the best doughnuts in Anchorage.
As I write, there is sugar coursing through my veins. Some people talk about being able to feel adrenaline move through your body, but I think I can feel the sucrose pumping its way from my heart to my hands.
The red vinyl covering the seat of the booth groaned as I reached for my yellow mug of diner coffee. Suddenly, my weekend morning (OK, early afternoon) was interrupted by a wave of recollection: driving in a white Jeep on a road that hugged the ocean, windows down and music up.
Much to the dismay of my mother, I have now lived in both of the outlying states in the U.S.: Hawaii and Alaska. As a senior in high school, my rural upbringing and craving for adventure spurred my decision to apply to a university on the island of Oahu.
A few months later, I learned that I got in. With some finagling, faith, and financial aid, I boarded a plane alone and left everything I knew behind. When I landed, I had to figure out how to catch a city bus.
In Honolulu, a city of a million souls, I saw for the first time what it looked like for people to live on top of one another — on the ranch our nearest neighbor was a mile away. I became aware of new cultures each accompanied by their own sights, smells and tastes.
Our sense of smell is intricately linked to our sense of taste — and to memory. So as I reached for that Fiestaware mug, it was the smell of the Kava’s Pancake House breakfast fried rice that transported me to that day years ago when my friends and I were driving to the North Shore of Oahu.
A three-part harmony, a good burger and a cold milkshake are part of what made America great. Not so common anymore, diners call us back to a time of bobby socks, a good jukebox and leather-topped stools where one could belly up for some grub.
My grandfather used to tell me that as a bachelor, he would go to a diner every Thanksgiving to get a turkey dinner. The image has had a Norman Rockwell-esque staying power in my mind since I was small.
That, along with a hangover, drew me to City Diner in Anchorage.
Sometimes a place isn’t so much about geography or what’s inside. Its significance lies in the people who are there.
We sat beneath a chandelier made of wine bottles in the middle of the bar. I was eagerly awaiting our eight-course feast. I was skeptical. The tickets sport a $110 price tag, yet I reserved judgment.
My dining partner and fellow writer, Wanderer and I were inside Crush, a wine bistro in downtown Anchorage, but our reservation was for an entirely different restaurant — Harvest.
Harvest restaurant is a pop-up, which by nature is temporary. It’s part of a worldwide dining trend that focuses on exclusive offerings from seasoned chefs, who cook up unique cuisine to tell stories that highlight the best of the harvest at that time.
There's no doubt about it, in multiple cultures all around the world, winter is soup season.
My counterpart had the same notion-plus an elephantine amount more ambition-to procure a big, steaming bowl of ramen to battle the dark days of winter ("Momofuk'in good," Zack Fields, Dec. 10). While he smoked, simmered and boiled his own batch of Momofuku-style ramen, I went to Naruto.
Growing up, I had a friend with dark hair and espresso-colored eyes whose skin turned a deep shade of copper in the sun. Her brother was flame-haired, fair-skinned and freckled. (Yes, I’m positive he wasn’t adopted.) While they both shared the same roots of an Irish father and a Native American mother, their characteristics couldn’t have been more different.
Much is the same with Italian and Italian-American food.
Lackluster Italian at Romano’s
Romano’s has been the cool kid in Anchorage’s Italian food scene for quite some time. Locally-owned, the place is a dated darling that boasts being Anchorage’s favorite Italian restaurant for an eight-year run, but it’s easy to see why they’ve come up short for the title recently.
The local staple is trying to keep things fresh in their home-style restaurant and cuisine. A visit to their website gives the impression that the atmosphere is lively and the floor plan open, with hip twists on Italian favorites, promising an “eruption of magical tastes in your month [sic] with every bite of food you take.”
In reality, the place is strikingly different from the stock photography used to build their site. Take for instance, the photo of a beautifully-plated caprese salad—that’s not on the menu.
Read all of Jessica's writing on Muck Rack