In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
Shepherd's Asian Bistro & Grill evolved from an Asian market into a hotspot for authentic Filipino fare in May. Like a malfunctioning hula-hoop, the lunch and dinner menu rotates daily, and diners can pair the combo plates' two scoops of rice with a single ($6.99), double ($7.99), or triple ($8.99) offering from the day's nine choices. Mondays tantalize maws with saucy pork adobo, and pork combined with pimento and peas and authentic kare kare stew help guests launch into the weekend on Fridays. The breakfast menu, which was favorably reviewed by the Anchorage Daily News, showcases hearty eats such as bacsilog with bacon, egg, and garlic fried rice ($8.99/meal; $7.65 à la carte) or breakfast sandwiches, such as the pan de melt loaded with house-made tuna and cheese ($4.95). The Hawaiian-inspired Hula Girl plate accrues enough edible real estate to become the nation's 51st state, filling plate space with portuguese sausage, eggs, rice, and two pieces of spam ($10.50).
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Qwik Cup Espresso has been brightening guests’ mornings with energizing coffee drinks since 1997. Besides the caffeinated cups, staffers also stir up healthy fruit-protein shakes or fill plates with breakfast sandwiches, waffles, and Illusions Bakery’s sweet baked goods. Later in the day, they keep guests fueled with a diverse menu of burgers, chimichangas, and wings served with six possible sauces, like choose-your-own-adventure books designed to be eaten at the end.
Anzilotti’s Tuscan Market imports fresh gourmet foods directly from Italy, including distinctive jarred delicacies and fine pastas. Each kit contains a carefully balanced mix of flavors for three distinctive meals, with quick preparation time to give cooks the leisure to simultaneously check pasta’s tenderness, work out their pitching arms, and make pasta wall-art. Chefs can let creativity inspire dinners, or follow the easy recipe suggestions and toss the tasty ingredients over pasta. Certified culinary experts craft all ingredients from the finest raw materials and package them using advanced systems to preserve freshness and flavor.
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.