Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I was recently talking with a New York native, and she was raving about the baked ziti at Nino's. She claimed that Nino's baked ziti was better than any she had tasted back east. I was intrigued, and it wasn't long before I found myself seated in the Nino's dining room.
I also tried the sautéed spinach with garlic and oil. The balance of garlic and spinach flavors was spot on. I enjoyed the fresh flavor of the spinach cutting through the appetizer. It would be easy for the garlic to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the spinach.
I love eggplant, so I went with the Baked Ziti with eggplant. I was served a generous dish of gooey, cheesy, and delicious pasta. The eggplant had been thinly sliced, breaded, and cooked perfectly. The pasta was just a touch overcooked, but the cheese and marinara helped overcome that slight error. I could have easily eaten the entire dish, but I knew if I ate all of the dish, as rich as it was, I would pay later. I also knew I would enjoy it just as much as a leftover at home...little did I know that my wife would finish it for me :)
I have to say I really enjoyed the contrast in textures between the pasta, cheese, and eggplant. They came together very well, and I have not had any other pasta dish like it in Anchorage. I can imagine being served this dish in New York City's Little Italy.
Nino's Italian Eatery:
Address - 831 E 36th, Anchorage, 99503
Phone - 907.336.NINO
Website - ninositalianeatery.com
Reservations - None. They do cater and you can call in for carry out.
Overall Recommendation: There are some good Italian restaurants in Anchorage. Nino's lacks a bit in ambiance, as it reminds me a bit of a cafeteria. However, I think that Nino's is among the best when it comes to pasta dishes. Come with an appetite!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
On our way out we see Dahl Sheep (this is why we brought the camera, just in case) and then pass by this building (see picture to the right). I told my wife that we would have to stop on the way back home...boy am I glad we did.
The Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ is just outside Anchorage, in a place called Indian. It has a drive thru window, and about 7 or so tables for inside dining. That said, it looks like there will be plenty of outside seating once summer hits. The menu offers pulled pork, brisket, baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs, and a variety of sides. Every order comes with sides of very tasty baked beans and a vinegar based slaw.
I have actually been craving brisket, so I ordered some sliced brisket, while my wife ordered a brisket sandwich. We ordered fried pickles and fried okra to round out our meal.
The pickles and okra came first. The pickles are thin sliced, battered and then fried. The okra is cut in about 1/4 inch slices, battered and fried. They both come with a tasty dipping sauce that seems to be the perfect compliment. I had to hold myself back a bit, so that I could enjoy my brisket.
The brisket was delivered sliced, juicy, and delicious to our table. I can honestly say, that I have never had a better brisket. Words can not describe how tender each slice was, or just how juicy. I was over whelmed. It would have been perfect without any BBQ sauce, but the Turnagain Arm Pit has three house sauces: their original house BBQ sauce (excellent), a tangy Mustard Sauce (even better), and their new spicy BBQ sauce (perfect). I tried each sauce 2-3 times, and I was please with each, although the new spicy sauce was my favorite.
I have to say, that I was also very impressed with the beans and slaw that was served with the brisket. The beans are a special 6 bean recipe, packed with plenty of flavor. The slaw is a vinegar based slaw (no mayonaise), which is a perfect accent to what could be a heavy meal. I think both compliment the BBQ very well. The beans deepen your BBQ flavor experience, while the slaw is light, and serves to cleanse your palate. These sides are perfect.
My hat is off to Pit Master Jack Goodsell (aka Goodsmell). I will be back.
Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ:
Location - Milepost 103.5 Seward Hwy, Indian Alaska. About 17 miles south of Anchorage and 12 miles north of Girdwood.
Phone - 907.653.1953
Website - www.turnagainarmpit.com
Reservations - None. But they do cater.
Overall Recommendation: I can't believe you are still sitting there reading this review. Go! Now!