Alaska News

Dining: Places to warm up to during Fur Rondy

If you love a parade -- or runners in costume, snow sculptures, carnival rides and mobile outhouses -- then downtown Anchorage is the place to be this weekend.

The opening weekend of the Fur Rendezvous means a lot of reasons to hang out downtown. You could spend the entire day wandering from Fourth Avenue festivities down to the snow sculptures at Ship Creek and back up to the carnival rides.

Even if the temperature crests in the 30s, at some point your toes will go numb and your kids will get cranky. You'll realize you've been walking around for hours. It isn't just cold but also simple fatigue.

Don't go home! Instead, step indoors for a hot drink and maybe a quick snack. This should fortify you enough to stand around some more. After all, the outhouse race comes but once a year.

Check out these places for hot beverages and sweet treats. Your toes will thank you.

Alaska Cake Studio, 608 W. Fourth Ave.: Coffee drinks, hot cider (not from a mix) and house special cocoa (steamed milk mixed with site-made ganache). Among the special pastries will be cannolis and bacon cinnamon rolls.

Brown Bag Sandwich Co., 400 D St.: Cocoa for the kids; for the parents, there's coffee, tea, fresh-pressed juice, local microbrews and -- just for Rondy -- a hot mead special.

Dark Horse Coffee, 646 F St.: Heritage Coffee (roasted in Juneau), loose-leaf teas and hot chocolate, plus cookies and pastries from Café Europa and Illusions Food Co.

Fur Rendezvous Shop, Fourth Ave. and D St.: The Caffe d'Arte stand serves coffee, cocoa, chai and tea, plus baked goods. Note: If you plan to watch the parade (10:30 a.m. Saturday) this is also your chance to buy a Rondy pin or button. Without one, you run the risk of having Rondy Kops throw you into a mobile jail.

Kaladi Bros. Coffee, 621 W. Sixth Ave. (in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts): Coffee, of course, plus Indigo Tea brews and cocoa; cookies, pastries and other snacks, too.

Kobuk Coffee Co., 504 W. Fifth Ave.: Free samples of samovar tea are available as soon as you walk in the door of this historic building. In the rear of the store is the Kobuk Café, with coffee, tea and fresh doughnuts, cakes and cookies all baked on-site.

Midnight Sun Café, 245 W. Fifth Ave. (below Fifth Avenue parking garage): Free hot chocolate for kids from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28; K-Bay Coffee (roasted in Homer) and loose-leaf tea from Summit Spice Co. for the adults. Cookies are a big deal at the café, especially the flourless peanut butter and "monster" varieties.

Moose a la Mode, 1001 W. Fourth Ave.: The same menu as Midnight Sun Café, except they also sell Umpqua ice cream for the stout-hearted. Walking around downtown with an ice-cream cone during Rondy makes you look tough.

Snow City Café, 1034 W. Fourth Ave.: Kaladi Bros. coffees, Mighty Leaf teas and hot chocolate; although the restaurant stops serving at 3 p.m., you can get coffee to go until 4 p.m. Muffins, breads and other baked goods baked on-site.

Teavana, 320 W. Fifth Ave. (in the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall): Free samples are available. The store sells 98 kinds of tea and will also blend more than one together if you like. Note: If you do a teabag tea, you can bring the cup back for a free refill of hot water. Re-steeping is the frugal way to go.

Pioneer Bar 739 W. Fourth Ave.: If after a day downtown you're looking for some caffeine with a kick, head down to the Pioneer on Sunday for a coffee cocktail party. The Sawbuck, a traveling bar, is teaming up with Cafe Del Mundo Coffee Company for a menu of five coffee-influenced cocktails, from Irish coffee to a "Columbian Flip." 21 and over.

Donna Freedman

Freelance writer Donna Freedman is a veteran Alaska journalist who has written for the Anchorage Daily News and many other publications.