Local meteorologists may have thrown in the towel, but Anchorage chefs and bartenders are determined to give us great tastes of summer. You don't need us to tell you that the fresh shines through at Anchorage restaurants now, in an annual frenzy of king salmon, halibut, rockfish, fiddlehead ferns, just-gathered morels and rhubarb mead.
After sipping and nibbling through two formal wine dinners recently -- and reading Wine for Dummies cover to cover -- my senses were tweaked by last week's beer dinner at Kinley's Restaurant. It wasn't exactly a Hillary Clinton moment -- no Bud Light, no Frito pie, no bowling, and both the food and beer were distinctly high-end.
If you've been missing the warm aroma of sweet red bean pastry in the morning lately, it's time to change your commute slightly. Yummy Bakery, the Korean bakery formerly on Fireweed Lane that fired up at 2:30 a.m. to produce such delights, has reopened in a larger space on 36th Avenue just west of Spenard Road.
The spices can be unexpected, the heart-pumping music videos a little racier than you might expect in a Middle Eastern restaurant, and the service a little bumpy. If Turkish is your frame of reference for Middle Eastern food, this Palestinian couple from Israel is ready to change your expectations. "I want people to know the food we have in our homes and in my country," Nisrin says.
Visit this eatery on a holiday like Mother's Day, and it's clear that you're stepping into a local institution. If you came to Johann's early on this Sunday -- or after the rush, catching the last hour of service between 2 and 3 p.m. -- you might walk right to a table. In between, you could wait for 40 minutes or so.
Those sublime avocado melts are back. Ditto the wheat-gluten-free muffins and the familiarly holistic menu. Middle Way Cafe has reopened on Northern Lights Boulevard, a few doors down in the same Spenard mall. We dropped in to check out the big new space and chat with owner Jonathan Campabello recently.