Food, Drinks, and Flights (Alaska Part 4)

One of the most important parts of the travel experience for me is experiencing local food and drinks. We were lucky that our Fairbanks friends, Andre and Margaret, had over 5 years of experience testing different restaurants and bars so that we could taste the best.

I should note up front that I’ve only eaten in one restaurant since the pandemic began (my father’s funeral reception in January). But we decided to take the calculated risk to fully enjoy Alaskan culinary culture, and we tried to go during off-hours, sit far away from other tables, and wear masks when we weren’t eating/drinking. I find it hard to believe that we weren’t exposed to something during the trip, but we’re both vaccinated/boosted, we’ve had no symptoms, our home tests both came up negative.

Let’s start with some of the food highlights. In downtown Fairbanks alone (which is not very big), we had delicious meals at The Crepery and a Moldovan restaurant. The latter’s beet soup was so delicious (beets are far from my tuber of choice):

We also ate at the iconic Pump House restaurant, a place where the cozy “Alaskan Applebees” décor would outweigh the food, but the food was actually quite good!

Of course there was plenty of tasty dessert food, including ice cream from Hot Licks. At both the Fudge Pot and the North Pole I bought some fudge–for some reason fudge is what I want when vacationing in the US:

I also tried these Alaskan-made, Alaskan-flavored chocolate bars. Kelp and cayenne, as it turns out, isn’t my flavor, but the dark chocolate sea salt was delicious.

We don’t drink much at home, but there were so many interesting drinks to try in Alaska. We grabbed a jug of beer at the Hoodoo brewery, and these flights from local brewery Latitude 65 were tasty (I’d recommend their zesty pale ale):

We showed up at Lavelle’s Taphouse as soon as they opened; they had a really cool digital system of seeing different beers and ciders (I went with a cider). Apparently the Golden Eagle is a local favorite, and the grizzly bartender didn’t even blink when three of us ordered hot toddies.

In fact, warm alcoholic drinks may have been the theme of the trip–if you haven’t tried them, go someplace cold and you’ll know how good they can be. Some of my favorites were from the lodge at Chena Hot Springs–I had one that was essentially a spiked hot chocolate and another that was full of rum and hot cider:

Before I wrap up, I have one other dining experience worth mentioning: The food on the flight! I’ve never paid to fly first class, but I decided to splurge for this trip in the hopes of countering the discomfort of wearing masks for 12 hours each way (flights plus airport time) and the odd flight times (we arrived after midnight and departed after midnight).

For many reasons, I feel like the expense was worth every penny. In addition to the obviously bigger seats/legroom, being able to walk through the priority check-in line, the priority security line, and being seated first removed a lot of the anxiety from traveling (e.g., will I find space for my bag?). We could also check up to 4 total bags for free, something we generally avoid, but with boots and puffy pants/coats, it was really nice to bring a free extra bag with us to Alaska.

Last, the airplane food in first class is actually quite good! On both trips I opted for the vegetarian meal, while Megan choose chees and fruit. And the warm nuts! Who knew that simply warming salty nuts would make them so good?!

Of the food and drinks we consumed, which do you most want to try? And if you’ve ever flown first class, how was your experience?

1 thought on “Food, Drinks, and Flights (Alaska Part 4)”

  1. Not sure which drink that is in the photo. I’m going to assume the cider. Either way it looks amazing. Never flown first class. In fact when I went to Alaska for work I was supposed to fly from Anchorage to Fairbanks but the weather was a little sketchy for my taste. I rented a jeep and drove it. I have had three people that I have known personally, die in three separate small plane crashes as well. One was the owner of the company I was there doing the work for. Loved that job. Worked in every state except North Dakota. After he passed lost a big contract every year. I was nervous because I don’t think I was supposed to take the jeep out of Anchorage it didn’t have an engine block heater on it. Luckily it made it just fine. We saw numerous moose and some amazing views. I tried some Salmon jerky because I thought, ” Hey it has to be amazing in Alaska.” It was not, and it funked up the car for days. 😁 Always a pleasure reading your journey’s. Moral of my post. Don’t try and get your pilots license Jamey!

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