Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our First Evening At Denali Park

Well, we weren't actually in the park, that doesn't come until tomorrow. And we didn't exactly go out exploring the Alaskan wilderness. Instead we settled in to my first couple of Maker's Mark Manhattans. The small, informal restaurant that wraps around the bar and extends out to the deck has some very good food. We ate there a couple of times.

Nice Views, Good Food

But on our first night we decided to take a little shuttle to a place down the road that had a good reputation.

The 49th State

Both our guide and the bartender said we should try it, as did a couple of people at the bar. So how could we resist. And it was worthy of the praise.

Typical Bar Interior

But this really gladdened my heart,

A Brewery In The Back

Fortified with the knowledge that I would be delivered to my cabin's door by a series of shuttle buses and therefore would not have to actually walk on any potentially dangerous paths, I partook of a few of their brews. Sadly, I remember little about them except that they were very good. I think one of them used pine buds instead of or in addition to the hops.

And for an appetizer, well I couldn't pass up on their version of a Scotch egg. Instead of using pork-sausage they use reindeer sausage. For those of you who don't know, you make these by wrapping a hard-boiled egg in a sausage and, well, fat of some sort. When I make my own I fry up a pound of bacon and use the bacon fat. Then you deep-fry the thing until the outside starts to crisp up. Quite delicious, in my opinion.

A Scotch Reindeer Egg

I can't remember what the Mysterious Chinese Woman had for dinner, but I know she liked it. I had a steak and it was great. Good piece of meat and done to perfection.

No Leftovers Either

Now what wondrous view could elicit such a reaction from the Mysterious Chinese Woman?

Oh, Look, It's A...

Well, to be fair, it was a mighty damn fine piece of pie. Made with wild blueberries that were as flavorful as any that I have ever eaten, and I have eaten my share. And the crust was just perfect. We did something we very seldom do, we ordered a second piece to take home for breakfast.

I don't know how many of you saw "Into The Wild." It was about this guy who goes off to live in a school-bus in Alaska and ends up dying. Anyway, The 49th State has the school-bus that was used in the movie. Not the actual one, mind you, just the reproduction.

Not The Real Bus

And for those of you who might worry about having to eat that strange Alaskan food, take heart. There are alternatives available.

Available Alternatives To Alaskan

Okay, my next post should include more exciting scenery and wildlife pictures, mostly shot from the inside of a bus.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Alaskan Train Ride

I figured I better get some more stuff out here about Alaska. The Mysterious Chinese Woman relies upon my posts to remember our trips. Sometimes I post stuff that never happened just to mess with her. She still thinks we had a wonderful time at the Canne's Film Festival, all thanks to Photoshop.

Anyway, not too much narrative here because it is just shots from the train as we traveled from Fairbanks to Denali Park. So sit back and enjoy the scenery.


And The Trip Was Worth It

You can see the look of concentration on the bartender's face as she makes the Maker's Mark Manhattan to my detailed instructions. It turned out deliciously. And I had another one of those discussions about bitters in your Manhattan. All recipes that I am aware of it call for its inclusion and that is the way I prefer them. The bartender knew this but still said she usually makes them without the bitters. Go figure, it isn't as though they didn't have any.

Speaking of bitters, although my liquor store carries a small, and getting smaller, section, Stinky Cheese on Smith Street near me has, in addition to a fine selection of cheeses and beer, a very interesting selection of bitters, some of which I had never heard of. I will have to go back and check them out and, perhaps, add to my rather extensive selection. I bought some cheese, bread and a bottle of Brooklyn BAMBoozle beer. A mighty fine beer by, of course, Brooklyn Brewery. It was released to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and a portion of the profits from the sale of the beer is donated to them. It was a very good Belgian style, at least in my opinion, beer that was crisp and had some nice spicy overtones. Nothing overpowering and very drinkable. I will let you read what Brooklyn Brewery had to say:

"BAMBoozle features a large addition of wildflower honey from the New York family apiary Tremblay Farms – we pick up the honey from Alan Tremblay at the Greenmarket. Blended with golden malts, it is fermented to a dry complexity by our Belgian yeast strain, and then re-fermented in the bottle like Champagne. When the cork pops, the beer shows a shimmering effervescence, a beautifully floral, honeyed nose, and a fresh light zing on the palate that belies its underlying strength. You have not had a beer like this, and neither have we. You can enjoy it now, but it will also age very nicely. Like BAM and like Brooklyn, BAMBoozle is in a class of its own."

 More on Alaska tomorrow, I promise. Otherwise I will start to forget and think, perhaps, we were really in Cannes.