I’m lazy about packing a lunch for work, so tend to eat out for lunch most days of the week. Over the seven years I’ve been working between Downtown and Midtwon (16th Avenue between A and C Streets) a rotating cast of favorite spots for a quick lunch for one has developed. The following list includes the eight nine restaurants that I most commonly lunch at.
Some time ago, my lady friend and I were at The Bear Tooth for brunch, where a menu item called The Spenard Starter caught my eye. I love polenta dishes, especially at good restaurants, so I ordered it without hesitation. When it arrived, we were blown away by the decadence: A thick slab of polenta, covered with and surrounded by shrimps, chorizo, and grilled tomatoes. All topped off with a spicy Béchamel and two fried eggs. Savory and delicious, it now ranks as my favorite breakfast in Anchorage (supplanting the German Apple Cake at Cafe Amsterdam).
I was immediately taken with a desire to recreate this meal at home. My first attempt ended up tasty, if not quite as good as they do at the restaurant. What follows is my first pass at the recipe (a work in progress):
A Damn Good Bowl of Soup at Pho Lena
My first experience at Pho Lena was in 2008, shortly after the space was vacated by the Hen (if you’ve been in Anchorage for a while you know what I’m talking about). I ordered some sort of Thai chicken curry because I didn’t know any better and hadn’t realized yet how wonderful Vietnamese and Lao food are. The best and worst things I can say about that curry was that I remember little else about it.
The next meal I had at Pho Lena was a bowl of a classic pho combo with tripe, thinly-sliced beef, and meatballs. This was in the course of a personal quest to identify the best bowl of pho in Anchorage. Unfortunately, the bowl I had at Pho Lena was not even in my top three in town (number one for me is currently Pho Vietnam on Denali Street). As a result, I didn’t visit this restaurant again for another couple years