Alaska’21: Day 2 – Anchorage (sort of)

Nothing like a phone crash to throw in a change of plans. Except we didn’t really have any plans to change so in fact it gave us something to do. But I’m getting a head of myself.

We were up about 5am and since there wasn’t coffee in the room and the coffee shop below us didn’t open until 7am, we decided to take Paul out for a short walk then see what we could find open.

The weather was pretty much like this all day, and while it wasn’t raining now, it did for most of the day in Seward and in Anchorage. That highly contributed to the “not much planned” state we were in. But notice how light it is at 5am already.

After a few false starts in the coffee search (a story better told in person), we finally got some through a little drive-thru coffee stand. We went back to the room and headed down to breakfast when the place downstairs opened at 7am.

They had just pulled fresh croissants out of the oven we decided to try one, being one of our favorite things. It was nice as a warm piece of bread but there was nothing croissant-like about it except for its shape.

But it was a nice place and we hung out for about an hour, watching quite a few people come and go. We were the first ones there but it got busy quickly.

Ash had a breakfast burrito with potatoes. I had a smoothie bowl – a bowl literally filled with cold smoothie then topped with banana, strawberry, granola, coconut. Unusual but fit my mood for something lighter and very tasty.

There were things we could have stayed in Seward to do but nothing seemed worth the price or the waiting until 10am when things started to open up, so we decided to make our way to Anchorage. My phone had been acting up since early the morning before and I was afraid that I wasn’t getting text messages, which concerned me since I’d asked my staff to reach out to me under certain conditions and was surprised I hadn’t heard more from them after an early text on Thursday morning. I had an iPhone 8 that was almost exactly 3 years old I’d been thinking about an upgrade for a few months because I’d noticed a few things becoming quirky. We found a Verizon store in Anchorage so thought – why not? (And I absolutely was missing texts and who knows what else.)

We packed up and were on the road about 9:15. With stops for gas, restroom (and bakery – blueberry fritter!), and Verizon, we made it to our hotel about 12:30pm. And I have a brand new iPhone 12.

We are staying at the Captain Cook hotel in downtown Anchorage. Ash had stayed here on his visit last summer, really enjoyed it and thought I would, too. And he’s right.

Where I’m sitting as I write this.

Above and below: the “not much to look at” views of downtown Anchorage. I’m sure the water view would be nicer in better weather, but it was a gray day all day.

We took Paul out for a walk. I’d noticed a park on the way in so we went in that direction. Now the next few photos we took with Ash’s phone since my new one was charging. He has the exact same phone – upgraded just a week ago from a 7 – but clearly settings are different than mine. They uploaded as very small images and enlarging them made them a bit blurry. Sorry about that. At any rate, the park was a very nice war memorial.

Names of people who died in Korea, Iraq, Persian Gulf and Grenada

Every war you can think of was represented – with Vietnam and World War 2 getting their own big stones, all including the names of fallen Alaskans.

This photo came out this size actually, so just left it. This was the view into the rest of the park behind the memorial.

The hotel has a very nice athletic club, so we decided to take advantage of that. Ash worked out in the gym area and I enjoyed the steam room – the only thing I miss about the gym since I quit mine 2 years ago.

Our dinner reservations weren’t until 8pm, the only time we could get for a restaurant Ash really wanted us to try. So we went to the hotel restaurant for a bite around 4:30pm. We hadn’t had lunch yet and were pretty hungry. We got bacon wrapped shrimp and a garlicy artichoke dip. Hit the spot.

Ash had a call at 6pm so I went back to the steam room while he did that.

Kincaid Grill is ranked #1 out of 515 restaurants on TripAdvisor and was about 15 minutes away in strip mall of a suburb. It was packed.

Our table wasn’t ready due to earlier diners staying long, so we waited at the bar. Ash went to the restroom and I grabbed the first selfie on my new phone, which was all set up. I gotta say, Apple does a nice job of making the transition seamless.

As you can see, the restaurant was crowded and not a mask in sight. Everywhere we’ve gone has had a “masks encouraged for the unvaccinated” policy so, honestly, it feels a little surreal. We’ve been essentially maskless since we got off the plane.

But it was a nice place and our waitress was very friendly and chatted us up quite a bit. We also noticed there were at least 2 other gay couples there which seemed both odd and refreshing for such a small, out of the way place.

We started with a Mediterranean plate, which included roasted garlic, hummus, peppers, tapenade and other things, with crostini and pita bread.

Ash took this from his phone and posted it on Facebook. He’s been checking-in various places on his own so occasionally I steal a photo from him!

Ash had a seafood fusion soup in a coconut milk based broth, I had a creamy cauliflower with a little piece of black cod.

Ash’s main was halibut with a lemon asparagus risotto.

My main was the hit of the evening, probably one of the most complex dishes I’ve had in a long time. The chef was from Alabama and there were a couple of Southern dishes on the menu, this and a fried chicken dish. This was essentially shrimp and grits, in a very rich and spicy sauce, with smoked gouda, andouille sausage and a variety of gourmet mushrooms.

When creme brulee is on the dessert menu it’s almost a guarantee that’s what we’ll get. No regrets.

We made our way back to the hotel about 10:20pm. This was a very late dinner for us but it was worth the wait. I took this photo on the way out for the sole purpose of documenting how light out it was still was this late in the evening.

Today we make our way to Talkeetna.

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