Category Archives: Wine & Food

Skipping Ahead — Anchorage, Glacier Brewhouse, and the Road to Talkeetna


Road to Talkeetna

Road to Talkeetna

Starting next week we’ll be taking a look at the glaciers of Alaska, including some stunning video of gigantic chunks of ice calving off glacier walls and crashing into the chilled Alaskan waters below.  But first I’m going to skip ahead a bit to our trip after we departed the Norwegian Sun.

Anchorage

Anchorage

Anchorage

Anchorage

I’ve done blog posts on Anchorage before, as you can see here (link to: Anchorage).  As such, I’m going concentrate instead on our favorite Anchorage eating establishment, Glacier Brewhouse, which I’ll review toward the end.  Before that, I’m going to briefly share some sights we encountered on the road toward Talkeetna, which we took on our way the Mount McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge for a quick look at Denali (formerly Mount McKinley).  Ursula has been desperate to see Denali every trip we take to Alaska, and we’ve been thwarted each and every time save for a brief glimpse of the 20,308-foot/6,190-meter mountain.  Alas, this trip was no better.  Denali remained hidden to us for our entire stay at the resort.

Here are a couple of views along the way, along with the photo at the top of this post:

Road to Talkeetna

Road to Talkeetna

Here you can see the devastation that resulted from the massive 2015 “Sockeye” wildfire north of Anchorage:

Road to Talkeetna

Road to Talkeetna

Now for a tasty treat.  I’ve reviewed Glacier Brewhouse before, and we dined there twice again this trip.  The first time was with our friends Lisa and Al Fittipaldi.  The second was after we went separate ways (they to Wrangell–St. Elias, and we to our failed attempt at seeing Denali).  Upon our return from the Princess Wilderness Lodge and before our red-eye flight back to the Lower 48, we stopped once again.

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse

 

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse

The Glacier Brewhouse is a charming, yet very large establishment.  If it lacks anything it would be intimacy and quiet, because the Brewhouse gets extremely crowded and a bit noisy.

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse

Expect a wait unless you have reservations.  To reduce the wait, make sure you arrive before 5:00 P.M.

Glacier Brewhouse — brewery behind the glass

Glacier Brewhouse — brewery behind the glass

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse brew not only their own beers, but also brew house-made root beer and cream soda.

House-brewed Root Beer (also cream soda)

House-brewed Root Beer (also cream soda)

No trip to this establishment is complete without at least a taste of their incredible Alaskan seafood chowder, which can be had by the cup or in a dinner-sized bowl.  It is, quite simply, the best seafood chowder I’ve had anywhere.

Alaskan Seafood Chowder — Alaskan seafood, roasted corn, shaved fennel, sweet red peppers, crisp bacon, creamy crab broth, splash of dry sherry

On this trip Ursula was tasty for something light in preparation for our night flight.  She chose the Brewhouse Blue salad.

Brewhouse Blue salad — Seasonal mixed greens, red flame grapes, caramelized pecans, blue cheese crumbl

Brewhouse Blue salad — Seasonal mixed greens, red flame grapes, caramelized pecans, blue cheese crumbles

I, on the other hand, am a sucker for their artisan pizzas.

Zoe’s spicy coppa and pepperoni, Italian and Andouille sausage, crisp bacon and fresh mozzarella with house made marinara

Zoe’s spicy coppa and pepperoni, Italian and Andouille
sausage, crisp bacon and fresh mozzarella with house made
marinara

On your way out take a look behind the counter:

Pizza Oven at Glacier Brewhouse

Pizza Oven at Glacier Brewhouse

Awaiting delivery at the Glacier Brewhouse

Awaiting delivery at the Glacier Brewhouse

Next week begins:  The Glaciers of Alaska

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Super Bowl Repeat — Cheese Crisp: Quick, Fun, and Tasty


Now this is a fun Super Bowl snack, or even a late night snack or a quick lunch.  It’s tasty, spicy, and you can even add other ingredients such as leftover chicken, pepperoni, or even bacon bits.

What you’ll need:

  • Flour tortillas—good, fresh, preferably large
  • Pickled jalapeño slices—finely chopped
  • Cheese—your choice, but for the pictures taken below I used Tillamook mild cheddar, Mission Jack, and aged mozzerela
  • The Kitchen Sinkget creative with the toppings

Preheat your oven to 400°.  While the oven heats, assemble your crisps.  Lay out the flour tortillas.

Don’t They Call These “Wraps” Back East?

Chop your jalapeños.

Eat the Heat, They Can’t be Beat

Spread the jalapeños over the tortillas.

Looks Green, but They’re Red Hot!

Add the cheese (or cheese blend in this case).

Cheesy Pleasy

Place directly on the wire rack in your oven.

As if the Jalapeños Weren’t Hot Enough Already

Bake until nicely browned around the edges and underneath and remove from the oven.

A Mexican Pizza?

Cut and serve.

Crispy, Crunchy, Cheesy Goodness with Heat to Spare

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Super Bowl Repeat — Carolina-style Mustard Barbecue Hash


Why am I repeating this recipe?  Simple.  I lied on Tuesday about brisket sandwiches being the best way to graze while watching the Super Bowl.  There’s an even better way to graze through all those Super Bowl food commercials.  It’s Carolina-style mustard barbecue hash piled high inside a toasted hamburger bun.

Well, I must say that looking at my blog hit counter, it appears barbecue in general and smoked pork shoulder in particular are very popular indeed.  Last Wednesday I shared with you the secret to perfectly smoked barbecue Boston butt (pork shoulder).  I also told you that I would give a recipe for that second shoulder that we still have left over after serving up the first.  This recipe is super simple, irresistibly delicious, and incredibly addictive.  I’ve had people who attended one of my barbecues almost a decade back remark how much they miss the taste of this dish.

Smoked Boston Butt (pork shoulder)

Smoked Boston Butt (pork shoulder)

What we’re going to make today is Carolina-style mustard barbecue hash — a cousin to the pulled pork that’s slathered in tomato-based barbecue sauce but instead using a tasty sauce that enhances the delicate smoked flavor of a perfectly smoked shoulder rather than disguising it beyond all recognition.  Let’s face it:  if you’re going to take your perfectly smoked shoulder and drown it in traditional barbecue sauce, then you might just have well slow-cooked that pork shoulder in the oven.

What you’ll need for the sauce:

Sauce ingredients:  Apple Cider or Distilled White Vinegar and Yellow Mustard

Sauce ingredients: Apple Cider or Distilled White Vinegar and Yellow Mustard

First, take your leftover butt and slice it into ¼ to ½ thick slabs

Half-inch-thick slices

Half-inch-thick slices

Cut those slabs lengthwise into thick strips, then into cubes.

Slices cut into strips, then cubed

Slices cut into strips, then cubed

Sautée the pork cubes until you’ve rendered out much of the fat (about thirty to forty-five minutes).

Render out most of the fat

Render out most of the fat

Once the fat pools nicely in the bottom of the pan, drain it off.

When the fat pools in the bottom, drain it

When the fat pools in the bottom, drain it

While the pork drains, mix together equal amounts of yellow mustard and either distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.  Go easy here.  You can always add more.  You cannot, however, remove too much vinegar and mustard from the pork once it’s in there.  If you get it too tart, you’ve blown the dish (and destroyed your delicious smoked pork).

Mix together equal parts vinegar and mustard (but don't overdo it)

Mix together equal parts vinegar and mustard (but don’t overdo it)

Mustard/Vinegar Blend

Mustard/Vinegar Blend

Pour your mustard/vinegar blend into the now fat-drained pork cubes.  Add water and simmer covered for at least thirty minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scortching and adding more water as necessary if it starts to dry out.

Mustard/Vinegar Blend goes into Pork Cubes; add water as well

Mustard/Vinegar Blend goes into Pork Cubes; add water as well

The cubes will begin to break apart into a hash-like consistency.  Don’t overdo it, however.  You still want some cube-like texture for interest and as little bursts of smokey flavor.

Simmer, adding water as necessary.

Simmer, adding water as necessary

The completed dish should be only slightly tangy, with neither mustard nor vinegar overpowering the pork and its delicate smokey flavor.  Traditionally, this is served over buttered long-grain rice, but it also works very well on toasted hamburger buns in a unique take on the ubiquitous (but vastly inferior) pulled pork sandwich.

Serve over buttered long-grain rice or on toasted hamburger buns

Serve over buttered long-grain rice or on toasted hamburger buns

 

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