Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Taking Care of a Twisted Ankle

My adorable pup and I decided to take advantage of the good weather and went for a quick hike after work.  Anchorage has the benefit of having some really great trails right here in town.  Most of them make you quickly forget that you are in town and in an area that still has cell coverage.

We decided to check out the Spencer Loop system off the Campbell Airstrip Road.  It's a series of loops that you can decide how many you are going to do or just the outside perimeter.  Charlie and I made it about 1/3 of the way through the first loop when I fell, twisting my ankle. Oh my goodness, the pain was immense.  I tried to gather myself as quickly as I could and access how bad it was.  I was having pain shooting through when I stepped down, but thankfully had not heard a snap or pop.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to go through even one loop with my ankle in this way.  So, we headed back the way we came.  I was really trying to take it as easy as possible, even with trying to keep hold of my dog and uneven terrain. I ended up having my ankle give out twice on my way back.

I got to my house and put the dog inside.  Thankfully only three agonizing stairs. Even today, the day after, stairs are not my friend.  I grabbed my first aid kit and started to get to work on my ankle.  I should mention that I do have a first aid kit in my day pack for hiking, but was not prepared for an ankle strain, which I usually have a kit for my backpacking.  Guess I learned my lesson.  An up side, during the time that I was delving into a little Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I came across Herbal Ice (San Huang San) and picked some up from the Herbal Shop.  I got the pre-made mix so it was easy to toss into my backpack, but I suppose the powder can be kept longer.  I slathered this gel on pretty thickly as it told me to do.  Now the bad part... Where the heck was my gauze and ace bandage?  I ended carefully putting a men's sock over it and then covered it with another.  These were socks that I never planned to see again in case they were going to get stained.  I got an ankle brace from my husband (Thanks Hun!) which hurt like heck to put on.  Then I got my foot propped up on a pillow and stayed off of it.  I slept with the pillow under my foot as well.

I totally didn't even think that I could have wrapped my ankle with plastic wrap.  If this ever happens again I know what to do.  Also, if I didn't have my Herbal Ice, you are "supposed" to go back and forth from hot to cold therapy and keep your ankle elevated. (DISCLAIMER: Yes, we all have to have one.  In no way am I giving anyone medical advice.  I am simply posting what I did for myself.  If you are injured you may wish to seek a professional, which I am not.)  My Herbal Ice container states that it relieves pain and reduces swelling of bruises, contusions, sprains, strains, muscle pulls or any type of injury where you would normally use ice.

Next morning, the pain was still there but not as bad.  I used my trekking pole to help me get around, and took my Herbal Ice to work with me.  I nabbed some gauze and self stick wrap from the office first aid kit.  When checking out my ankle prior to re-wrapping it, I noticed that the discoloration wasn't too bad and not as swollen as it could have been.  I slathered on more Herbal Ice and wrapped my foot in gauze then the wrap.  I didn't put on the brace though.  I've also stayed off my feet as much as possible.

After a couple of days, I will start doing some stretches for the ankle and then after a couple more days I will start to try to strengthen the ankle.  I am pretty sure that I will not be hiking for at least a couple of weeks.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chicken Paprika Goulash

Chicken goulash, as my family calls it, also goes by chicken paprika or chicken paprikash.  It has been a family recipe that has been handed down to me from my father who was taught by his mother.  This recipe is so simple and tasty, and not to mention budget friendly.

I have tried adapting a couple of things, but mostly I have always stuck to the original.  My parents told me that you usually choose between potatoes and ganadle, but I do both.  I have also tried sweet potato.  The flavor was great and I will try it again, but with the long cooking time, the sweet potatoes disintegrated.  So they will have to go in later.

Ganadle is a Hungarian egg noodle that is spoon dropped into your soup like a dumpling.  I'm sure it goes by several different names, but this is what I have always known it as.

Your finished chicken goulash should end up spicy with a thinish broth and chicken falling off the bone.  The spice level depends on your taste.  Before I got married and moved out of my parents house, there were three of us in and out of the kitchen altering the spice level.  My dad liked his to burn your lips off (we normally serve buttered bread with the meal to help with this).  My mother liked hers so mild that you were wondering if she ran out of the paprika and decided to make the dish anyways.  Mine is kind of a medium hot.  I like it spicy with flavor and no crying.

Another note, is to look at what paprika you're using.  We use a Hungarian sweet paprika, not the generic crap you get at Costco or store brand whooy.  So important is paprika, that when I moved out of my parents house, I stole the paprika. I know, I know.  Most kids take furniture or whatever, but no, not me.  And so important is this paprika, that I showed it to my husband and told him he could use it, but if there was only a little left not to touch it unless he saw a replacement behind it. I then gave him the idea that there would be a terrible threat to his life if he took the last of the paprika.  Such is the importance of this divine spice.  I should also note that for my husband, I went ahead and got him some Costco paprika so he could cook his little heart out, without fear.

Chicken Goulash
1 bag of frozen cut up chicken
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 med potatoes, peeled and large chunk
1 - 4 T paprika (to taste)- start at 1 and work your way up
1 1/2 t salt

Saute onion in 2 T olive oil until it starts to turn translucent.  Add the salt and paprika, stir, then add chicken and potatoes.  Cover with water about 2 inches.  Bring to boil, then put on a low simmer for 90 minutes.  Taste occasionally and season to taste.  Usually we keep adding paprika and only a bit of salt.  If making ganadle, you can make it at about 75 minutes.

Ganadle
1 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 t salt
1-2 T of milk
couple of dashes of paprika (optional)

Mix together and add to goulash in drops.  Use the side of a spoon to scoop about 1-2 teaspoons out and use another spoon to help "roll" it out of the first spoon. Drop these all over the pot so they don't stick together.  They will float to the top shortly and you can simmer them there until done and they soak up some of the juice.

If you have leftovers of this recipe, the sauce will thicken due to the potatoes and the ganadle.  If you are making this as part of a pot luck or similar, you can make ganadle and spoon them out after they float and re-add them later.  This recipe can be put into the slow cooker on low without the ganadle.  I usually just do the 6 hours and keep warm until I get home from work.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lose Weight Stay in Shape Week 4 Sara Fennell Review

It is the beginning of the fourth week, and stuff is hitting the fan all around me.  How does this happen?  It's like a giant sign that goes on.   With everything going on with my business and personal life at the same time, I feel stretched too thin.  I haven't been able to workout to the intensity that I like, and had started to wane, but thankfully picked it back up again.

Eating has been difficult, also with everything going on and all of my obligations.  It's not like your meetings are going to stop because you need to eat your apple, almond butter, and rice crackers.  Which by the way, is not the easiest meal to eat at once.  I ended up making a almond butter sandwhich and eating the apple on the side.  And of course when you need rice crackers, suddenly there is a shortage. WTF!!!!

Okay, so the sad news.  I will not be able to continue on this path with the Lose weight Stay in Shape with Sara Fennell.  There are a couple of reasons for this.

1) money
2) website
3) interaction

I think that Sara Fennell in general is excellent.  She knows what she is doing, but it is definitely a business for her.  I didn't get that feeling of "warmth" that I would expect trying to work one on one.  I tried to find a lot out about her before I started and with some of her videos online, it looked like after her crossfit workout and paleo diet, she maintained the paleo diet.  I was kind of surprised when I started and it was not the paleo diet, when I thought that was what she was doing.

I still went with the meal plan.  Not bad, and it did get me back into the habit of eating every 3 hours.  This is the first time that I've ever eaten rye bread, and it wasn't bad.  My brain still screamed at me that I was eating bread!  Everything else was good.  It got a bit rough eating the same meals every day for 2 weeks, but at the beginning of the program she tells you what you can switch out so that the meal program doesn't become boring.  In that sense, she gives you a general and expects you to come up with it.

The website isn't the worst that I have seen.  There is food tracking and workout tracking.  It tells you when your workouts are and you are able to print them off from there.  You will also get them emailed to you on what seems to be an automatic system.  You are not expected to track on the website but can do so if you choose.  I found that tracking my meals was easier on Livestrong or the Daily Burn.  The calendar on the site also tells you your weigh in day, and you also give you measurements and email your photos.

The workouts themselves are pretty good.  You can get a pretty nice burn going, and I have the guys at the gym telling me that I am doing a good job, which is nice.  For some of the time, I would like to workout at home.  It's not just an easy thing sometimes to fit in a gym, but I can do it at home when needed.

I felt like the interaction was very minimal.  The emails that I got seemed quite generic and lost that personal touch.  You email with Sara once every two weeks, but you can email her with questions, but you need to try and keep all of your questions together so she can answer them at once (this was not actually a problem for me but it would be for some people.) There are no other email that you can really expect from Sara beyond this.  This is where I say that it really doesn't have that warmth feeling.

So with looking at the money... I was unable to do a money transfer from out of Canada, so  I had to pay extra to do the PayPal.  Conversion was a pain in the tuckas too.  If you look at the money broken down by week for a personal trainer, it really doesn't seem to cost much.  If you are like me and looking for a manageable program that doesn't break the bank, not so much.  For the amount for 4 weeks (about 150.00) you can get a program that includes forums, tracking, etc.  It is really about what you are looking for.  If I had the money, and I trained with Sara here at my gym, I would be all over this. I would find the money. But with the small things together, I found that this was not the right plan for me.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jook, Congee, Rice Porridge Recipes

Oh how I love jook.  I found this out when I bought my Instant Pot and it had a congee button on it.  I figured I had to try it out as it was on my new toy.  Little did I know that I would stubble upon what was to be one of my favorite food dishes.

Jook, which is the common Chinese term for congee, has such a long history, that when reading up on traditional Chinese medicine, it is in every one of the books.  This item is cheap to prepare, is easy on the digestive system, great for a diet, good for old people, and is down right tasty.

You usually use water or broth and if possible the broth should be homemade.  Not all of us have that luxury, but if I make a whole chicken in my Instant Pot, I then have the meat and the broth.  The broth can be used right away or frozen for later.  And if you make your jook at the beginning of the week, it will stay good for about a week, if it lasts, in the fridge.

Depending on what region you are coming from, jook is made either with rice or millet.  You can make jook with almost every variety of grain and can mix for better flavor. I use cal rose rice, mostly because that is normally what I have on hand.  You could make a fragrant jook using jasmine!

I like to also finish mine off with some black sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil. There are many common condiments that are served with jook. If you are making this for friends or family, these can be set on the table for people to pick and choose from.  Of course the list is general and you can always add you own favorites.

Condiments:
sesame oil
finely chopped green onions
white pepper
sweet cucumbers chopped fine
cilantro
chopped peanuts
toasted sesame seeds
chicken meat
hot sauce

I will list some recipes below for you to try.  If any of the recipes are good for a certain ailment, I will put that with it.  For all of the recipes, the way that I make it, is to have 2 cups of rice (or millet) to 8-10 cups of water or broth.  I, as stated above use an electric pressure cooker which has a button for jook so its pre timed.  If you are using brown rice instead of white, use 10 cups of water and adjust the cooking time longer.  I add 5 minutes on my pressure cooker.

Scallion and Rice Jook (Good for cold and flu)
5 scallions
1 small knob of ginger
2 cups of rice

Rinse rice once or twice. chop scallions and add white parts along with grated ginger to the rice. Add broth or water (broth is preferable in this dish).  Cook jook in pressure cooker, or cook in electric rice cooker.   You may have to cook twice.  After jook is ready, you may want to use a hand blender to smooth out the jook.  Then add a small amount of fresh ginger and greens of scallions.  You may add cooked and shredded chicken meat to the jook and let it warm up if you want.

Mustard Jook (Good for cough with phlegm)
One small bunch mustard greens
2 cups of rice

Rince rice once or twice.  Chop up mustard greens.  Add 10 cups of water.  Cook in pressure cooker, rice cooker (May need twice), or on stove top.  Bring to boil then simmer low with cover until super tender.  You can use a hand blender to smooth this out and also use broth for the flavor.  Mustard greens may taste bitter.

Village Jook (This recipe comes from the Chinese Village Cookbook, a practical guide to cantonese country cooking)

1 cup long grain rice
5 quarts chicken stock
1 lb. ground pork
1 T dark soy sauce
1 t salt
2 stalks green onions
12 water chestnuts

Rinse rice 2-3 times. soak overnight. mince green onion and water chestnuts. mix with pork, soy sauce, and salt.
Bring stock and rice to boil, Simmer 2-3 hours until soup becomes thick and creamy and rice is breaking down. Turn up heat. Form pork into small balls and drop into soup.  Cook about 5 minutes or until pork is done.





Monday, May 19, 2014

Lose Weight Get in Shape with Sara Fennell 1 Week Check In

It's been a whole week so far!

I'm liking the workouts, but would like to workout more.  I hate cardio.  Did I say that I hate cardio? Yes. Yes I did. Thankfully that is limited to mornings (optional) and after lifting.

The food is going well for the most part.  I have the hardest time during the weekends when my husband wants to go out.  For him, it's better not to eat for a long time and then get some crap food.  Apparently, my need for a structured eating program is something I'm going to have to fight for.  He also likes to go out and buy wine.  How awesome.

No, I haven't been an angel about drinking.  I have limited it, but during the weekend, when my husband brings me wine, is a different story.  I need to just say no.

My water intake varies from day to day, but I'm doing a ton better.  If I am truly lacking I will go ahead and add some flavoring.  I know its a no-no, but sometimes it's worth it.

So.........first week check in.  I have lost 2 pounds in this first week.  Not bad for seemingly to be continually stuffing my face with food.  I know that if I can tighten up on my bad stuff this will happen quickly.  So, hopefully next week is better.

FYI - you check in every 2 weeks with Sara, officially.  You can always email her if you have questions.

Till later

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lose Weight Get in Shape with Sara Fennell First Week

Okay, I'm on day three.  In so far.... I like the workouts.  A couple of things I have to improvise on because my gym doesn't have a couple of pieces of equipment, but is otherwise completely doable.  I'm doing supersets and a couple of singular movements and then abs.  I'm working out Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  She gave me a supplement suggestion, and I have to get a couple of things shipped.

I normally go to bodybuilding.com to order my supplements because they usually have the best prices and ship super fast.  They also have great customer service.

I have some bread products in my meal plan for these two weeks, and that is a little different to get used to.  Not bad though.  The rest of the food I like as well and eating every 2-3 hours.  Pretty clean eating.  I'm trying my best to drink my allotted water and not my coffee as I normally do.  I've also premade a bunch of food and have some of the steam bag veggies ready.

I've also not had a glass of wine in three days.  I normally would drink a bottle of wine a night, and I have found it hard to get over the urge to drink.  Therefore, I also have not bought any wine to let it be available to myself.

There are a couple of impediments coming up.  I have dinners to go to tonight and tomorrow.  The restaurant tonight shouldn't be a problem as I can order pretty easily and its made to order. Tomorrow is at a new restaurant and I have to try my best.  If I don't do well with these, I'm going to cancel all dinners out for a while.  I will also say that I could use my cheat meal if necessary and Sara gives some tips on eating out.

There is no weight loss yet, but I have notices some changes.  My skin and eyes look clearer (lack of wine, me thinks). I can feel my arm muscles already (2nd day burn). And a much different change is my sleep.  I've been sleeping a couple hours longer at night.  I usually can only sleep 5 hours, not depending on when I get to sleep.  So if I go to bed at 12 I get up at 5, if I go to bed at 9:30, I am up at about 3.  Now, I feel tired a bit earlier and I sleep until my 2nd alarm at 5:30.

The website is okay, but does leave a bit to be desired.  It's also not the worst that I've seen.  You can actually track things on the site and the menu is there.  There doesn't seem to be an automatic populate for the grocery list.  I do like the workouts where they give you a video example of what to do.  Very helpful.

I think one of the downsides is that you have a check in day every other week and not every week.  I would not expect to give measurements every week, but a check in more often.  Sara does write that we are free to email any questions or whatnot whenever we need to, and she will try to get back to us within 24 hours.

Till later,

I can't wait to start seeing some results!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Where to eat in Alaska

Okay, I'm compiling a list of places that I like and recommend to people.  You may not see a place on the list.  This either means I wouldn't put it on my list of recommendations, or I haven't tried it. If you have a question about a particular restaurant here in town, just ask in the comments.  I will try to get back to you quickly.  I haven't finished the list of descriptions, but will work on it as I have time.  I will then endeavor to add links to the websites or something similar to help you find these places.


ANCHORAGE

Downtown

Alaska Cake Studio - Cake and coffee yum. Good location for while walking around.

Simon and Seaforts - Good menu, but try out the bar for quick service and the drink specials.

Orso - Brewhouse's sister.  Okay mix, not as busy as Brewhouse, Still need reservations on weekends. Food is good. Nice wine list

Glacier Brewhouse - Make a reservation.  Seriously. Good food, noisy. Popular year round with locals and tourists

Humpy's - This place can get busy.  Popular with locals. Has healthy options for food.  Excellent beer list.

Snow City Cafe - Make a reservation if they are still taking them.  This place gets super packed and is a tourist hot spot.  It's a place locals like but some stay away from during the tourist season to stay out of the crowd.  Breakfast and lunch only. Great coffee, great food, slow service.

Lucky Wishbone - Local dive, old building, fried chicken

Sack's Cafe - Yummy food, reservations on weekends usually needed, can eat at small bar. Great wine list. Good brunch, menu changes

F Street Station - Popular bar and place for lunch.  Can get dinner too, but hard to get around crowd.  Place gets packed to standing room only on weekends.

Crush - Beautiful wine list, nice dinner specials and small plate options, meat and cheese plates are high priced, but with good selection, no reservations and can get busy.  Small tables and bar with SMALL outside tables during summer months.  When packed outside, go in.  Usually very open during summer.

Marx Brothers - $$$$$ This place is expensive, but really good food.  Special occasion place with limited menu, not good for vegetarians.  Excellent to do the ceasar salad course with some friends - be prepared for a lot of drinking.

Benihana - Not as good as Kobe (Midtown) but in a fairly good location.  Good place for sushi and teppanyaki

Dami - Not my favorite place, but my friends like it.  Standard sushi restaurant and Japanese style food.

Yamaya - Japanese owned.  SMALL place that is a local gem. Almost everyone that goes here is a local regular.  They also get a lot of people from the airlines.  Food is SO good and nice to have authentic Japanese food.  Run by old couple with grandaughter serving sometimes.  Service can be slow, but well worth a visit.

Fat Ptarmigan- New pizza place that opened up, so right now it's a hot spot.  Cool vibe and worth a visit

Fletchers - Inside the Captain Cook hotel. Very masculine place. Good food, prices moderate high. Okay wines, but expect fingerprints on glassses.

Whales Tale - Inside the Captain Cook hotel. Serve yourself wine with the machines and a card you put money on. You can get other drinks and the food is pretty good. This is the place I find my favorite cheese plate.

Crow's Nest -Inside the Captain Cook hotel at the top.  Very pricey with a dress code.  Popular with the well to dos and those that want to act like it. Good food and nice service. nice choice for special occasion

Kumagoro - Japanese owned last time I checked.  Excellent sushi and Japanese food.  Love the bento here.  Odd that they add gratuity to each item.

Flat Top Pizza - Also a new pizza place and can play pool there as well.  Friends like this place.

Mike's Reindeer dog stand - This is one of the stands along 4th Avenue. You will know which one this is because of the long line.  Pia's is usually across the street down the block.  Word to the wise...Do not be on your phone when you reach the front, he will kick you out of line.  Know what you want to order and be ready to pay.  Locals swear by him.

Sullivan's - Restaurant has good food.  It's on the pricey side and seems dark inside.  The bar area is nice and bright and heavy pour drinks.  Great bar menu too makes this area a great place to stop off.

Ginger - This is a great Asian American place to go.  Moderate pricing and modern decor, large bar on one side.  I really like the menu, but they need to freshen it up with some changes.  Great fries and chicken lettuce wraps.

MIDTOWN

Mooses Tooth - This is the pizza place.  This is also very popular with locals and tourists alike.  All of my visitors and family ask to go here.  They make awesome beers and have a short wine list.  Also homemade root beer.  Don't try asking for a bud.  The pizza is tasty and so are the salads.  Parking is the big issue here. They have a good size lot, but it's slim pickings due to the busyness of it.  Expect a wait and have a beer while you do it.

Jens - This is a nice upscale European menu place.  Great food high money.  Closed Sunday and Monday.  This is a great place at night because they close the restaurant and leave open the bar area.  Loud music and appetizers after 9 or 10.  The crowd is usually in the 30 on up. Beautiful wine list.  Sadly Jens died, but the restaurant continues.  I wish you all could have met him.

Serranos - Great inexpensive place to go.  A kind of mix between fast food and diner.  Food is great though.

Middle Way Cafe - Very popular with the locals. Hip fresh vibe and a wide audience.  Good amount of choices for vegetarian.  Breakfast is better than lunch. Coffee is excellent. Fresh made juices and smoothies too.  If you are eating in on a weekend, try to get here before 10.  After that, good luck on getting a table.

Spenard Road House - Refurb'd restaurant. Very fun hip place.  Has became busy, but the food is worth it. Also an excellent place to go for lunch dinner and drinks.  Parking can be a hassle.

Sweet Basil Cafe - This place moved from downtown to mid town and they stopped being open for breakfast.  Lunch is however very good.  This place has delicious sandwiches and soups, and you can pick up an enormous cookie.  My mother and husband always love to go to this place and leave full.  Only downside is that you practically need to beg for a refill on your coffee.

City Diner - Old time looking diner.  Very diner. The food is what it is supposed to be, but the portions are large and the service is friendly.  Worth a go to if you just need breakfast without the rest of the hoopla.  Lots of parking.

Tommy's Burger Stop - VERY small place tucked away on northern lights.  But its good.  There are only a couple tables inside but outdoor seating is available for summer months.  Or you can just take out.  Chicken philly is tasty.  All side items are separate orders.  Prices are good.  This is not a place that tourists are usually found.

Kinley's - This restaurant is next to Mooses Tooth and offers a lovely menu at $$ prices.  Food is super good, and a good wine list.  An excellent place to go for special occasions or for a girls night.  Service can be good or bad.

Organic Oasis - This place is a regulars spot with fairly plain decor.  The food is like it sounds from the name.  Great veggie options, and also options for high protein and smoothies/juices.  This place can offer live music and beer and wine too.  I enjoy this spot, but its like yanking my friends teeth out sometimes to get them here.  Love the spirulina tarragon salad dressing and the soup options.

I Luv Sushi - The location on Spenard is the new one.  This used to be Tempura Kitchen.  They completely cleaned and restored this place.  They offer sushi, japanese, fusion, and shabu shabu, Korean BBQ.  If you need to add or subtract anything just let them know.  They will work with whatever you need. I've even had them come up with completely different items to suit my diet just to make me happy.  Who can't love that?

Maxine's Fireweed Bistro - This place used to be located in Girdwood and I kept telling myself to try them out, but never did.  Then they moved to Anchorage, and I could kick myself for having let this gem escape me for so long.  Love the food.  Small place. Good wine list.  Very much worth a visit.  Because it is small and popular, I suggest a reservation to be sure (open table), especially on a  weekend. I haven't taken anyone here that has walked away disappointed.

VIP - This is probably the best Korean restaurant that we have in town.  No, it's not fancy, but so tasty.  There are english menus, so you shouldn't have a problem as long as you read.  Very popular with asian locals.

Home Town Korean - This is another Korean restaurant, which is located by the City Diner.  This one almost didn't make the list, but I decided to go ahead.  The food is very tasty, and the place is clean.  The problem I have with this place is that I order a spicy Korean dish (twice), and I acknowledge how spicy it is, and they still order it not spicy for me because I'm white. I only say this, because they admitted it to me.  I gave them a second chance, but they still did it.  I would go here again, but not with my sights set on yummy SPICY Korean food.

Naruto - Somewhat a newer place, this place has the niche market for ramen.  It's really good ramen too.  Very worth a visit.  This place had a slow start but is now getting a locals following.  The downside to this place is getting in and out of it.  It's on one side of the Minnesota, so you have to work with it and the neighborhood behind it.

Cafe Amseterdam - Very good food located in the Metro Mall.  Homemade salad dressings and beautiful hollandaise sauce. Very popular with locals, and can be hard to get into for brunch.  Stays open for dinner and has a nice little pub area, great beer selection and good wine selection.

Yamoto Ya - This place moved from its old location next to midtown New Sagaya to over by the Mooses Tooth.  This place can look like its closed, but its not.  Most of the food hasn't changed, even though the owners did.  They do a nice oyakudon, and the sushi is good too.

Steam Dot - Located in the Sears mall.  This is by far my favorite coffee in Anchorage. I usually go to the south side location. You can get small tidbits here, but I had to put it on for the coffee.

Charlie's Bakery - Do you like Chinese food? No. Real Chinese food.  This is as close as you're going to get in town Alaska. It is a bakery too, but very popular for the food and serves dim sum on Saturdays.  Worth even stopping by for a pork bun on the go.

Taco King - Not my usual type of place, but tasty.  Do not expect any diet food here.  Nice little salsa bar, and a lot of people swear by this place.  Multiple locations and delivery. Excellent prices. I like to stop by for a horchata.

Pho Lena - This place has gotten a quick following in town.  A lot of business people from downtown like to come here for a bowl of pho.  Worth the visit to this super little place.

SOUTHSIDE

Seward's Folly - Great service.  Other than that, food is so-so, but there are slim picking on the south side, so here it is.

Southside Bistro - One of my favorite south side places. Lovely wines, good food.  Nice for a date or to sit in the bar for a glass of wine.

Long Branch Saloon - Okay, you have to get over eating in a bar for this one, but it's really not bad.  Prices are good, and it didn't get terribly busy while I was there.  Only tried the cheeseburger.

Suite 100 - Very popular place at Dimond and Old Seward. Larger than it looks from the outside. Good drink selection and food made well.  It can get crowded here, so I suggest a reservation.  You're wait could otherwise be quite long.  There are a couple of tables that they shoved in there which can be very cramped.  Trust me, if it looks it, it is.  Just ask for another table. It's worth the little bit of an extra wait.

Perfect Cup - This place is located in the Dimond Mall on the 2nd floor.  This is the only place I know of that serves iced earl gray tea. Divine. The sandwiches are good with a nice portion.  Can get busy, but a local gem.

Southside Grill - This is a diner a bit further south side than a lot of people go.  So, it's locals.  Nothing fancy here, and you either like it or you don't.  It's not one of my fav's but some friends do, so I went ahead.

I Luv Sushi - This is the original location.  The new one is on Spenard.  I loved this place since they opened.  I do prefer to go to the Spenard location now, because Brandon is there.  Great sushi and Japanese fusion, but the prices get steep.

Terra Bella - Cute little coffee shop on Dimond next to Bed Bath and Beyond.  Super great coffee and some good food options.  This place is a great place to hang out with your book or a girls lunch.

Steam Dot - Love this coffee.  Great options, Small tidbits to eat.  Down side to this location is the parking.  During summer, the Saturday market is across the way and can make this place get packed.  There's also Firetap and the Pilates studio there, so parking can be a hassle.

Firetap - Good to get a drink at.  Food could be a lot better.  Service so so.

Lahn Pad Thai - Great Thai food.  My husbands favorite. Small place, so seats are limited.  Can get busy. Service leaves something to be desired, and if you ask for it hot, it's not really thai hot, but still pretty spicy.

Taste of Thai - Nice Thai food place that is worth a visit.  Nothing too out of the ordinary. Service is good here, and the specials worth checking out.

Bradley House - Locals place with okay food and a large bar. Service is so so but friendly.  This place gets super busy and is a locals spot.  Strange array of people.  Almost a white trash meets Bentley.

GIRDWOOD

There are not that many places to eat in Girdwood, but you can at least eat well.  I have not eaten at the Prince hotel, but I have gone for a couple of drinks and it was quite lovely.

Chair 5 - this place used to be a lot better, but then the owners changed and things haven't been quite right since. The food is now okay, unless you get a game meat burger which is quite dry.  Excellent beer selection and has a pool table.  Prices are semi reasonable.

Jack Sprat - Go to this place if you are in Girdwood.  Beer and wine selection is good but not extensive.  Food is excellent, and great for brunch.  During the summer there is some outside eating, but I suggest that you sit inside by the front where it is glassed in.  It is much less windy there, which is a constant it seems outside.  Crepes of the day and soup.  Excellent vegetarian option, and the bimbimbap is great.

Double Musky - This place is good cajun food, but generally over rated.  No reservations and the line starts early.  Otherwise, be ready for a wait, and chairs in the bar area are just as hard to get.  Many people, if they can get a table in the bar, choose to stay there instead of waiting for their "regular" table.  Beautiful wine list, excellent appetizers.  I like to just order a bunch of appetizers when we go. It saves you money and you get a taste of many things.  This place is $$.

Bake Shop - Just what it says really but some good breakfast options at good prices.  Good place to go, and used to be the go to place until Jack Sprat opened up.  This is still a go to place in my book.

HOMER

Fat Olives - Good Italian food.  I do not recommend getting an appetizer and a pizza, because its just too much food.  You would have to roll out.  Worth a go.  Prices are moderate.  Wine is good.

Two Sisters Bakery - In the historic district.  Very worth a go.  Fresh bread, sandwiches, soups, and good wine and beer list.  This place has some short hours but try to get in.

Land's End - $$$ The food was so-so.  My friends said they really liked it. Maybe I'm picky.

Cosmic Kitchen - Cute place.  I prefer the one on Pioneer, but there is also a location on the boardwalk.  Serious menu with something for everyone.  Small salsa bar and good wine and beer list.  Friendly people. One of my favorite Homer places.

Duncan House Diner - Do not leave Homer without going here.  Great cup of coffee, cute place, popular with locals.  Excellent location on Pioneer. Plenty of parking.  The biscuits and gravy were good.  My girlfriends all had a taste of mine and from then on, all of them ordered a side.  Portions are good and the money is right.  It can get packed here, but there is almost no place better to cure your hangover.

Maura's - This place is divine.  Breakfast and lunch. Tasty serve yourself coffee.  Very popular.  Food was killer.

AJ's Old Town Steakhouse - This place was a surprise.  Good cheese plate, the calamari looked like a mess but was tasty.  Drinks are excellent.  Good location across from the Driftwood. Large on the inside and gets bands on the weekend.

Wasabi's - I was told this was the fine dining place to go when in Homer.  The prices definitely tell you that, but the food was only okay.  Sushi was large, but the rice was ice cold and shaped oddly.  The mac n' cheese with scallops was over priced and bland, but the scallops were done perfectly.  Drinks were good but pricey.  They warm their sake up in the microwave.