If you were to ask my children what they remember most about our trips to Anchorage, they will tell you that it was always filled with soccer first, and then traditional activities: eating out at restaurants, and shopping.
We’d drive the 6 hours down from Fairbanks, the RV packed with soccer gear and all the necessities needed for a weekend or week long tournaments. Our schedule consisted of the games, and the possibilities of making the semi-finals and with great hope, the finals. In between those games, we were often found fitting in some time eating at a new restaurant. My three children grew up with the awareness of how to behave when sitting in a restaurant–except for when the grandpas are along for the trip and every now and then, one of the grandpas will tempt them into burping or farting at the table.
The restaurants we visited were always family friendly: Chilis, Red Robin, etc. But, every now and then, I remember taking them to the Glacier Brewhouse, or Orzo. My husband and I were very adamant about teaching the kids the fundamentals of a good palate–but, we were very fortunate that they were always open to trying new things. As they got older, we made sure that whenever we visited a city, we’d try out a new restaurant.
Anchorage, Alaska is a gem when it comes to discovering new places to eat. Every time we come to visit my brother JB and his family, without a doubt–there is always a new place to try out–the new place may not be new to the Anchorage residents, but most definitely new to us.
Of course, being creatures of habit, we have our typical favorites. They are often places where we brought the kids each year that we visit, and the places hold sentimental memories of the us eating there.
One of the stops in our tradition repertoire is definitely The Moose’s Tooth located on Old Seward Highway, this is the local favorite for all things pizza, and beer. We’ve had soccer team dinners here, and family night outs when no one felt like going on an adventure to try something new. We decided to have dinner here the first night we flew into town.
The next day, my husband was told by a co-worker of Charlie’s Bakery and Chinese Restaurant an eatery that features dim-sum and Chinese traditional baked goods (there’s the red bean bun, and pork buns). The menu consists of photos on the walls–Mongolian beef, shrimp shumai, sesame seed balls, taro root dumplings–among others. The taro dumplings were only available on Saturdays–so we returned to make sure I grabbed me a few to drink with the soju that my brother was bringing over to our hotel.
I overlooked in mentioning that part of the reason we traveled down to Anchorage was to also celebrate my baby brother’s 32nd birthday. It’s the last birthday that I will get to spend with him since he will be moving to China to teach Kindergarten at a school in a gated community. His wife, Becka, and their two boys will also be moving abroad for a new adventure. He arrived at the hotel with a bottle of soju which we cheered to with a side dish of shiso leaves and leftover steak from Texas Roadhouse–and most importantly, the taro dumpling.
The celebration continued with breakfast at the Spenard Roadhouse which used to be placed called “Hogg Brothers”–we used to eat breakfast there prior to any morning soccer games. However, with it now being Spenard Roadhouse, the menu is very hip, and gluten-free friendly. The super tots is worth it.
We ended the birthday celebration breakfast walking out of Spenard Roadhouse satisfied, and full. Of course, not without me taking a quick sneaky photo shot of my brother’s fashionable Dad outfit of the day.
That very same day, one of the places we tried out for the first time for dinner is the Rustic Goat which featured the best nachos I have ever come across. The secret was the candied jalapenos–which I have never tasted before–and am planning on recreating. Not the nachos—just the candied jalapenos! For the main course, I decided to tackle the evening with something “light”–as in a no meat dish, and the butternut squash ravioli was simple–yet lightly decadent.
On our last day in Anchorage, we decided to try one last place that my sister in-law Becka’s brother Zach suggested. And, it was completely unplanned (surprisingly enough). My brother met us at Pangea Restaurant and Lounge right in the heart of downtown Anchorage. Zach had mentioned that their chicken and waffles is the best.
The kid was not wrong.
Pangea’s chicken and waffle was topped with sweet corn ice cream (the likes in which I’ve tasted growing up since this flavor ice cream is a Filipino tradition), and sriracha drizzle. What! Yep, it sure was! So, to not feel so guilty about ordering the chicken and waffle–I also ordered the grapefruit brulee. I felt not too guilty.
I even got the baby brother to do a pogi pose for me as we waited for our food.
Overall, the trip was an amazing one. We had stopped by the places that never gets old (Wild Scoops for ice cream, of course!) where my daughter decided to pose, and reflect on the gigantic ice cream scoop she just consumed to the usual Texas Roadhouse for some good ol’ steak.
Most importantly, our focus, as always, was on family. I got to see my brother, my beautiful nephews who I can’t stop spoiling, and watching my sister in-law tackle the super mom thing always reminds me how awesome mothering can be–but, also quite depleting of energy.
And, it’s truly not a vacation in Anchorage–if you don’t come across a moose or two. One was gingerly eating up the rare vegetation at front of our hotel.