While living in Hawaii, CJ and Julia von Imhof got hooked on açai bowls, colorful portions of fruits munched by surfers for a natural, vitamin-packed energy boost. The base of the bowls, açai, is a restorative fruit found in Brazilian palm trees, rumored to be a superfood for its high antioxidant content and ability to deflect bullets. The von Imhofs craved the superhealthy food when they moved to Alaska, inspiring them to open their own açai café and “healthy-lifestyle shop.”
The little restaurant brought a slice of island life to Alaska; as a food critic at the Anchorage Daily News wrote, “A distinctly Hawaiian influence was evident on my first visit; I was instantly transported to a beachfront surf shack.” The shop’s signature dish, the açai bowl, starts with a base of açai blended with dark berries and topped with a tasty variety of tropical fruits, chia seeds, chopped almonds, goji berries, spirulina, and bee pollen. The vegan-friendly bowls contain no added sugars or preservatives, yet still taste as sweet as dessert, breakfast cereal, or revenge, leading to delighted reviews by food critics from Examiner.
The Cookie Jar Restaurant's bakers expanded their cooking repertoire from making fresh cookies and pastries to grilling burgers, sautéing vegetables, and simmering sauces to populate a menu of classic American fare. Knives carve off hunks of prime rib from broiled midwestern beef and slice into a warm baked potato ($24.95), and forks poke at Bob's Favorite, taking stabs at the sliced chicken, mushrooms, and zucchini dripping in alfredo ($15.95), annihilating the dish before Bob nabs it. Hearty favorites fill stomach caverns with dishes such as the tavern-battered halibut, which is bathed in beer and escorted by a side of homemade tartar sauce ($14.95), or italian lasagna that, like a rock ballad, covers meaty substance in three kinds of cheese ($13.95). Replicas of the famous cookies that inspired the restaurant satiate sweet teeth along with house-made pies and cakes.
After years of managing other people’s restaurants, Tinker Berson realized a long-cherished dream by opening her own deli, where a menu of lunches and all-day breakfasts stuffs diners amid verdant potted plants and climbing vines. Clients opt for the simplicity of staff-conceived deli creations or engineer their own, choosing a bread base, favorite condiments, meat such as pastrami or roast beef, cheese, and veggies to match the size of their appetite or one-up a lifelong rival sandwich eater. Breakfasts beckon morning diners with similar creative possibilities as well as quick bites, such as a veggie burrito or belgian waffle drizzled with syrup and topped with strawberries. Fresh salads and real-fruit smoothies with optional Red Bull boosters infuse meals with sweet vitamins, and the onsite espresso bar jump-starts brainwaves with handcrafted caffeine hits that ready minds for Jeopardy tournaments or memorizing the dictionary. Tinker's Rainforest Deli stocks catering trays with vegetables, sandwiches, or assorted meats and cheeses that can feed up to 35 partygoers.
Fresh, housemade margaritas, not those made from a bottled mix and stale limes, cleanse palates during generously spiced meals at El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, where owner Ismael claims they are not shy about adding some kick to each dish. But rather than overload entrees with a slew of spices, like other restaurants may be wont to do, Ismael prefers to keep it simple, refining each dish with focused flavor from authentic ingredients.
The carne asada is made with new york strip steak, rather than less-substantial skirt or flank steak, and spicy chili verde smothers lean pork in green tomatillo sauce. A house special, the carnitas throw down succulent pork that gets simmered over low heat for four hours, allowing it to steep in a top-secret blend of spices that Ismael guards more effectively than a magician guards his favorite pet shop. As diners dig in, a row of hand-painted murals stand watch, featuring images from Mexico, such as a mariachi band and burros dancing around sombreros.
Named one of the United States' Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants by Health magazine, Taco Del Mar envelopes fresh ingredients and savory meats in hand-rolled tortillas, granting eager eaters a flavor-packed meal with portability. The cantina-inspired menu of customizable burritos and tacos whisks soggy Alaskans to sunny Baja with daily made salsas and guacamole, authentic wheat, flour, spinach, or tomato-basil tortillas, and fish caught in the Gulf of Alaska. The mondo burrito ($6.99) boards rice, beans, pico de gallo, and choice of meat (carne asada steak, ground beef, shredded beef, seasoned pork, braised chicken, fish, or vegetarian/vegan) on a belly-bound train, and the taco salad ($7.49), a beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, and meat-packed portion with a crispy tortilla shell, negates the need for uncomfortable steel jaw implants.
The thud of well-aimed balls precedes the satisfying crack of crashing pins, a sound that signifies victory for competitors spread across North Bowl's family-friendly lanes. A retreat for seasoned and novice bowlers alike, the alley keeps competitions balanced with lightweight balls and bumper lanes available upon request. Booming music and flashing disco lights herald a shift from open bowling to neon bowling—special sessions on Fridays and Saturdays when athletes face off or dance off in a nightclub atmosphere. Parties and leagues bond bowlers of all ages via lively recreation, and fundraisers enlist the sport to benefit worthy causes. On-site snacks and libations fuel sporty endeavors until closing time or the nachos gain self-awareness.