When in Anchorage, do not forget to visit the Glacier Brewhouse. The best restaurant in city. Expect a long wait to get in and that's always a good sign. This is where we headed on a Saturday right after our visit to the Saturday market.
This is what I ordered - Spicy fish, salsa and rice.
We are huge fans of NPR that we get our inspiration for Thanksgiving dinner menu from the news channel. My husband heard the story of a chef learning to make his Nana's sweet potato pie. The setting is somewhere in Georgia. We need no additional convincing. Guess what made it to our list of pies this year.
My latest obsession is Trader Joe. I'm there every week and have possibly tried all their products. This Thanksgiving, most of my menu is from there. Round 1 is melted brie, toasted sourdough bread, cheese with lavender and cranberry sauce.
As my finals are fast approaching, I took a few short cuts this time. Store bought cranberry sauce. Well, not any store, it's Trader Joe's Cranberry sauce. I got this recipe from a fellow shopper while I was trying chose the cheese for the Thanksgiving dinner.
Step 1. I prepped olive oil by mixing it with crushed garlic cloves and red chilies. Left it overnight for the favors to blend in.
Step 2. Melted the Brie in the oven for a few minutes
Step 3. Drizzled some flavored olive oil on top of the sourdough bread and toasted it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 7 - 8 minutes.
Step 4. Dip the bread in the melted cheese, or spread it with the cranberry sauce or orange marmalade. The choices are plenty.
You can always replace Sourdough with French. My family prefers sourdough over any other kind of bread. Stay tuned for the rest of the recipes.
A Very Happy Thanksgiving From My Family to Yours!!!
Alaska is an RV state. If there's one place you want to try RV'ing for the first time, I would do it in Alaska. We flew into Anchorage and used the opportunity to explore the city. we literally walked up and down the streets.
You can take a flight to Mt McKinney and do a real dog sledge down the slopes. For those who can't the rangers in Denali will walk you through a dog sledge. If you as the kids, they will tell you this was one of their favorite things to do.
I was amazed to see the dogs exited and were begging the rangers to pick them for the ride. That was one misconception I always had. The dogs love it and are really not forced into it.
For those of you connected to me via Linkedin, know what I up to. I started my exec MBA with UT Austin. A lot of studying moved blogging to the bottom my priorities. Well, it's nice to track simple pleasures on this blog. You are bound to see many post from me to today and again I'll go on a hiatus until my finals.
We were in Alaska when I found out I got into UT Austin. Memorable place!!!
A 6 million sqft national park !!! we camped in the camp grounds in an RV. You so have to reserve a spot way ahead of time. If you plan to hike here, beware the mosquitoes in Summer. Cover yourself head to toe.
Be it fly fishing or the old fashioned fishing, Alaska is a haven for fishermen, one and all. On a cruise, you are bound to see fishing boats reeling in fish in abundance. We roamed around in an RV, which meant that we cooked most of our meals during the trip. But when in Alaska, savoring some local fresh fish is a must do, if you are a meat/fish eater.
We had an evening to kill in Anchorage and chose Kincaid park to cook dinner in the RV and if "mosquito free" head for a gentle walk. The Kincaid park was the chosen location for Winter Olympics. You can see the ski slopes in the park and in the Winter, the entire park turns into a Winter Sports Arena. We saw a couple of moose in the park. The younger one had absolutely no inhibitions of the human presence and was sitting close to the trail on the grass.
The hike to the Portage pass takes you up to the snow in the mountains. A great hike and the view from the pass was fabulous. Not sure if its appealing factor increased immensely due to all the effort we put in to get high up in the mountain. This was one of the hikes we did without the kids. After our hike we took the kids to the starting point of where the snow/ice began so they could play with the snow for a bit.
A great view of Whittney, Alaska, a popular port destination for cruises.
I highly doubt if anybody comes out of Alaska with out an Ulu knife. It looks something like your cilantro/parsley chopper but can be used to cut anything that you would other wise use a regular knife for. We bought a couple of those ... yet to put it to use.
You can buy the knife anywhere in Alaska for $8 in Walmart to $17 in a National Park gift shop to one with the chopping board, knife et al from the Ulu factory for close to $50. We went to the Ulu factory, where you get to see how the knife is made.
Our first destination on this vacation was Anchorage, Alaska. On the way to Whittney, we stopped in Gridwood to peek inside the old mine. Panning for teeny-tiny pieces of gold is still a popular past time in Alaska. You can see quite a bit of gold panning type reality shows on T.V too. We used the RV rest area in the Crow Creek Mine. A whole another post is waiting on RV, so I will leave the details on this.
We woke the following day and walked down the trail to the creek, where people were panning for gold. To go on a hike in Alaska, you do not have to look too far and it does not matter where you are. Another hike and we were out of Gridwood.
The mine is family owned and have retained the houses and some part of the mine to how it was very many years ago.
My dad is turning 70 this year, so the entire family met to celebrate his birthday a tad bit earlier. His cake was from Paris Baguette. Located at Palo Alto, downtown, this baked goods chain offers not-too-sweet-cakes. We stopped over here after our trip to Stanford.
Nothing too fancy, but the coffee bun & coffee were my favorites !!!
Me and my sister-in-laws sneaked out on our own while the men and the kids were happy to browse through the Apple store near by. No points for guessing what we did - window shopping !!!
This place needs no write up. Every time we visit California, we usually visit a university or two. We went to Berkeley on our previous visit. Don't you sometimes wish people slowed down and took the time to built architecturally appealing and intricate designs as these.
Looking for a nice farmers-market-type eatery with lots of good choices? Ox Bow Public Market in Napa Valley is a good place to get something to eat after all the wine tasting. You can find anything ranging from cheeses, wines, olive oils to spices, tea and some good coffee.
The "Poor House", certainly caught my attention. Vintage style home furnishings with lots of character and I hear most of the products sold there are designed by the lady who owns the store.
Three hikes in a day were all worth it. The easiest hike was to the Mirror Lake. I was expecting a huge lake, but surprisingly it's a small lake with little water, but the water is so clear with absolutely no disturbances that it reflects everything around it. We saw a deer near the Mirror lake. Also this trail is paved, good for folks with strollers and such. Below is the equestrian trail that we took on our way to the lake. This trail could be smelly for obvious reasons, the paved trail is better way to reach the Mirror lake.
Vernal Falls hike was a good one, a moderate to slightly strenuous hike. You hike up to the waterfalls to get a good view of it. The kids hiked with us, no points for guessing the one who not panting or huffing was my daughter and my brother. Below is a picture of the falls.
We also saw a beautiful blue bird near the falls.
I do not do hikes well, if you have to go down first and then climb back up. This hike down the mountains led us to these giant sequoia.