Monday, October 14, 2013

Chair 5 - Go ahead, take a seat

One of my hobbies is scuba diving.  Most diving enthusiasts from Anchorage do a majority of their local dives in Whittier, AK.  There are a couple of good eateries between Whittier and Anchorage and one of the best is Chair 5 Restaurant in Girdwood, AK.

Girdwood sits at the bottom of the slopes of Alyeska, a world class ski resort.  Whether you are driving back from a day of diving in Whittier, fishing in Seward, or skiing in Girdwood, Chair 5 can satisfy your appetite with a variety of burgers, pizzas, salads, and appetizers.

I have enjoyed several of their pizzas, which are prepared on a tasty crust, but most recently I went with a calamari appetizer and a Kodiak burger.

The calamari wasn't flashy, but it was great.  It was served with the classic marinara dipping sauce, and each piece was lightly breaded and perfectly fried.  It was tender and delicious.

The Kodiak burger features elk meat (ground nearby at Indian Valley meats).  I honestly could not detect a major difference in the flavor profile between elk and buffalo.  It is lean, but was still moist when served.  It can be tricky to cook lean game meat without drying it out.  The Chair 5 cooks did a great job.

About the only problem I have with Chair 5, is that it has a great menu of beers, wines, single malt scotches, and over 50 tequilas.  I happen to appreciate all of these, but I always have to drive home!  I guess I will just have to plan to spend the night in Girdwood at some point.

Chair 5 Restaurant:

Address - 5 Lindblad Ave, Girdwood, AK 99587

Phone - 

Website -

Overall Recommendation:  Hearty food with a creative flair.  Great place to satisfy your appetite after a day of recreation.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Little Richard's Family Diner - Timeless North Pole Classic

My latest swim meet road trip was great for three reasons: my swimmers did well, I got to visit my parents, and I got to eat breakfast Little Richard's Family Diner.

Just off the Richardson Highway, in North Pole, is a great little restaurant that harkens back to what I think of as the classic american diner.  Stainless steel and chrome fixtures, a black and white tile floor, table seating, counter seating, period decor, super friendly service, and most of all really good food!  I love this place.

I took a seat at the counter and ordered the Meat Lover's Omelette with hash browns and sourdough toast.  It was fun to watch from the counter as my breakfast was prepared.  The counter is all that separates the kitchen from the dining area, which is great because the cooks are amiable guys and fun to watch as they work smoothly with each other and the wait staff.

The omelette was stuffed (and I mean stuffed) with bacon, ham, reindeer sausage, buffalo sausage, hot links, and cheese.  The hash browns are great, and can be ordered extra crispy.  The portions are so generous, that it would be easy to share a breakfast like this...I could only eat about two thirds of what was served.  

I loved breakfast, but I think that the charm of the restaurant augments the overall experience.  As I mentioned, the decor and service is great, there is something more.  Maybe it is the music that is being piped in (Roger Miller, Glen Campbell, etc).  Maybe it is the small town clientele.  Whatever it is, it just seems like the perfect place to take the family, or just belly up to the counter.  I look forward to going back soon.

Little Richard's Family Diner:

Address - 
2698 Hurst Rd, North PoleAK 99705

Phone - 

Overall Recommendation:  If you are down with a classic diner and classic diner food, then you have to give Little Richard's a try.  If you are in the greater Fairbanks/North Pole area, then this is well worth the stop.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Alaska Greek Festival - Opa!!!

For the last few years I have been curious to go to this huge event just up the street from my neighborhood.  I first took notice when I was inconvenienced by all the traffic.  This year I actually made a note in my iPhone calendar to remind me to go.

The Alaska Greek Festival is kind of like St. Patty's day.  Everyone is Irish on St Patty's day, and everyone at the Alaska Greek Festival is spirit anyway.  There is wonderful shopping, raffles, activities, music, silent auctions, and yes...even a beer/wine garden.  There is no gate or entry fee, but the food and drink does cost.  All of the proceeds go to the church.  This is a wonderful place to bring the family, and get a bit of the Greek culture and, most importantly, some Greek flavor.

My wife, my friend, and I walked to this year's festival.  This turned out to be good for two reasons.  First, we did not have to hassle with parking.  This is a huge event, and parking is a bit of an issue...although not a major one.  Second, we didn't have to feel as guilty about indulging in the great food.

First, we all tried the Loukoumades.  These are divine!  From the [From the website "In ancient Greece, these heavenly, hot honey puffs, sprinkled with cinnamon and nuts, were awarded to top athletes at religious festivals."]  I would have worked my fanny off if these were the prizes.  Good thing I can just go to the festival and buy them.

After a couple of beers, my wife and I shared the Lamb Dinner [Roast Leg of lamb, yiouvetsi (Greek pasta in sauce), tiropita, dolma, fasolakia (green beans), Greek salad & bread] and the Moussaka Dinner [Layers of eggplant and potatoes, flavorful meat sauce and cheese, topped with bechamel sauce, served with tiropita, Greek salad and bread].

The Lamb Dinner must have come fresh off the spit (yes, they have the legs on a spit out back).  It was succulent and juicy!  The tiropita was flaky, rich, and delicious.  The dolma had the perfect citrus and olive oil balance.  All in all, the Lamb Dinnner was terrific.

The Moussaka Dinner came with same delicious tiropita.  The Moussaka itself was better than I have had in most restaurants (except Little Italy in Anchorage, read my April 2011 post).  I love eggplant, and the layers of richness in this dish are wonderful.  The meat, cheese, and beschamel all play very well together...without overwhelming the palate.

On the way out of the festival, we stopped and picked up Baklava Sundae.  If flakey file, nuts, spices, and fruity honey syrup just aren't enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, try it on rich and creamy vanilla ice cream.  This may have been a bit over indulgent, but you know how the saying goes..."When in Greece!"  

I can't wait to go back next year and give a few more dishes a spin!  Opa!

Annual Alaska Greek Festival:

Address - Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church, 2800 O'Malley Road, Anchorage

Website -
Overall Recommendation:  Get ready to party Greek style.  This is a family event, so take the kids.  It only happens three days each August, so keep checking the website to find out when next year's event will be.  Don't miss it!