We had three days in Anchorage to stuff as much adventure in as possible, unfortunately I was working during these days. Our afternoon flights into Anchorage (Mine from the north slope and the girls’ from Seattle) arrived within an hour of each other so I waited inside the gate and didn’t pass security. This gave me the unique opportunity to greet Lori and Amelia as they came out of the gate! It was an experience right out of childhood and before modern airport security, when our image of travel and family was one of rushing up the ramp into waiting arms.
First priority was feeding this hungry toddler.Every trip we seem to have at least one meal we call our ‘Throw-away’ meal. It’s that meal that has no foodie pretensions. You’re hangry, or trying to ward off a meltdown from your kid and whatever is close by gets your business. We try to reserve this inevitable feature of travel for dire necessity, but by the time we had our rental car and were on the road we were looking for the first place we could find that wasn’t fast food. Thankfully our least planned meal at Sea Galley was pretty good, with snow crabs and Alaska bay oysters. The oysters were similar in texture to gulf oysters, meaty, with a deeper cup and briny flavor. I love the scalloped edges!
The top choice for hotel in Anchorage is the iconic Captain Cook Hotel. Named after the British naval explorer James Cook whose third voyage took him to the pacific northwest and beyond the Bering Straight. The Captain Cook feels like old luxury, dark wooden panels, expansive murals and artifacts from long ago. Wander the halls and check your kids expression to share in the sense of wonder, it won’t disappoint.
The Captain Cook has two restaurants, one mid-scale and one up-scale, the Crow’s Nest, and they serve a great breakfast that features reindeer sausage! There’s also a bar called the Whale Tail (innuendo is intended) which doesn’t allow children but had a mouthwatering selection of cocktails that we didn’t get to try.
For lunch I have two suggestions. The first is Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse. If you sense a theme with the names in Alaska, you’re not alone. I think they get lonely in winter. Whatever you do, skip everything else and go for the Ale Battered Halibut Fish and Chips. It’s pricey, even the lunch portion, but worth it.
Second suggestion is 49th State Brewery. They have upscale pub food but really, you’re there for the beer. Here we sampled Burried Copper, a medium colored Belgian style ale with a name inspired by WWII Belgian brewers who buried their brewing equipment under the ground rather than see them taken by the German. Lori went for the Wet Hop Citra, which used expensive wet hops shipped to Alaska overnight to make a wheat pilsner with a strong citrus flavor. The beers were great. Somehow the glasses pictured here ended up in our cupboard, I think they tripped and fell in Lori’s purse and continue to serve their function in our kitchen.
For dinner we had a quandary. Exemplary fine dining in Anchorage starts and seemingly ends at the Crows Nest, the dinner-only top floor restaurant atop the Captain Cook. There is where we have to dig deep and say “Go!” because dragging your 2 year old to a fancy french restaurant can spell trouble. We dug into our airplane stash of coloring books and crayons. To our delight they had coloring pages at the ready and between the extra cocktail straws, amuse bouche, and a walk around the restaurant or two, the meal was successful for all involved.
By the time my meetings were finished on Thursday Lori had us packed and ready to begin our drive up to Talkeetna, a historic village in the shade of Denali, and the next stage of our adventure.