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.
It all starts with unbleached flour and a recipe?free from trans fats?that's distinguished Alaska Bagel Restaurant since its original founding in 1994. From there, the restaurant's bakers make more than two dozen varieties of their signature item, bagels, which come in flavors such as asiago cheese, pesto, apple cinnamon, and sun-dried tomato.
Those circles of fresh-baked dough are only the beginning, however. Alaska Bagel's team might top them in a walnut-raisin fruit shmear or use the more savory varieties to construct its signature Mt. McKinley bagel sandwich, which layers together cream cheese, avocado, tomato, onion, and sprouts. The chefs can also grill burgers and load plates high with chicken and waffles.
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Heavenly Cup warms windpipes and keeps stomachs stuffed 365 days a year with an extensive menu brimming with breakfast pastries, warm sandwiches and soups, and rich coffee drinks. Lattes ($2.50+), mochas ($2.75+), and chai tea ($2.50+) recharge a bodily battery drained from weeks spent with its volume turned all the way up, while bean-juice abstainers can find un-bitter bliss in a cup of hot chocolate ($1.75+). The shop's libation matadors also lure revved up Red Bull into spirited italian sodas ($5.25), and blend fruity flavors into smoothies ($3.50+) for low-fat pick-me-ups, while a beverage-on-the-move carton ($14–$22), provides 96 portable ounces of your preferred percolated pour along with a supply of cups and lids.
Snowy City Cafe's innovative brunch fare, most of which is prepped from scratch with ingredients from local vendors, has garnered the Best Breakfast award every year from the Anchorage Press since 2003 and Anchorage Daily News since 2006. Guests can sift through the Heart Attack on a Plate's medley of hash browns, bacon crumbles, cheddar cheese, and veggies, or dress tongues in a coat and mittens for treks across the Tundra Scramble omelet filled with morsels of ground reindeer sausage. The stuffed french toast suffuses a baguette with mandarin orange cream cheese and toasted walnuts before lathering on layers of syrup and raspberry butter. For a riverside take on a classic, the Ship Creek Benedict piles a toasted english muffin with poached eggs and Snow City salmon cakes that pair nicely with Kaladi drip coffee and the lilting accordion riffs of a morning sea shanty. Patrons can savor their early bird treats with additional libations, including freshly brewed iced tea and fruit juices. Popular selections from the lunch menu include the Seattle chop salad with grilled chicken, blue cheese, bacon, tomatoes, and macaroni on a bed of mixed greens with vinaigrette and the 4th Avenue Special, a turkey sandwich on marble rye with bacon, cheddar, swiss, tomatoes, sprouts and herb mayo.