15 Hours in Anchorage pt. 1

Snow City Cafe

“My clothes are fine!” I announced, inspecting my previously spray-soaked items. I grabbed a sweater that had been at the forefront in the line of fire, and inhaled a huge whiff. “They only barely smell like hair spray now.”

Megan raised an eyebrow and turned the palms of her hands over as if to say, “See?” or maybe, “See? You over-dramatic moron.” And ducked into the bathroom.

It was around 8:00 am Alaska time, which meant it was about noon Virginia time. Miraculously, we had slept in until 7:00. We were collecting the items that we had scattered around our Air BnB from the night before (okay, I was collecting my items), and packing up to explore Anchorage a little before we had to catch our connecting flight to Cordova at 2:55. We had three primary things on our agenda: Snow City Cafe for breakfast, Alaska Public Lands Center for National Parks Stamps, and 49th State Brewing Company for beer.

All of our luggage in tow, we lumped everything into the rental car and took off for downtown. Even with the somewhat overcast weather, the mountain crests peaked above the fog and encapsulated us from every view. Breathtaking doesn’t do Alaska justice.

Snow City Cafe was located downtown, so we found a nearby parking garage and walked over to the restaurant.

“You don’t think it’ll be too crowded, do you?” I asked, surveying the inside as we walked up to the doors. “It’s still pretty early, right?”

It was only about 8:45 when we got there, but there was already a collection of people inside, and there was already a forty-five minute wait. Not entirely dejected by this time frame, we agreed to put our names on the list and decided to venture around outside as we waited.

Across the street was a little waterfront area titled “Resolution Park” made up of a circular platform with a z-shaped staircase that extended toward the water. In the center of the platform stood a statue of “Captain Cook” who explored the inlet that subsequently took his namesake. All I could think about was Breaking Bad.

The view was obscured slightly by the fog so we decided to walk closer to the water to see if a different angle enhanced the view. It didn’t. However, we did notice from the bottom of the deck looking up that the lower-portion had been slathered in graffiti.

“Know your limits, or be limitless,” I read, pointing to once of the vandalized portions of the park. “I kind of like that.”

“That can be our motto for the brewery,” Megan threw back at me.

We left The Capn’s Quarters and headed back toward town, with around 15 minutes until our anticipated table opened up. In the distance, we could see a narrow mountain framed by two buildings. I tried to take a picture. It didn’t look the same.

We headed back to Snow City Cafe, in which I noticed a small serve-yourself-coffee-while-you-wait station littered with an array of eclectic mugs. I was enamored with this, and selected one with a yawning bulldog wearing glasses that read “I would quit this job, but I need the sleep.” Just as I finished pouring myself a cup, they called us for our table and we were seated just around the corner from the kitchen. Menu’s in hand, we began to peruse our options.

We were both struggling with our selection.

“What should I get?” Megan asked. “I mean I kind of just want the eggs Benedict but I feel like I have to actually get something different since we’re in Alaska.”

My eyes kept hopping back between the crabby omelette, and the deadliest catch, a dish that combined two other seafood and egg combinations containing crab and salmon. But also did I want pancakes? But also there was reindeer sausage. Our waitress came by. We looked up at her anxiously. She knew we weren’t ready. She refilled my coffee cup and offered to come back.

“I think I’m going to do it,” Megan stated, bold faced. “I think I’m gonna order something different. Everyone will be so proud of me.”

We both settled on the Deadliest Catch dish, and I also ordered a side of reindeer sausage.

“I have to tell Sarah I ordered this,” Megan continued, referencing her boss. Megan was notorious at the office for eating pretty standard foods and not branching out often. I wondered if she was hesitant about her decision and was trying to mentally reinforce herself for her meal.

We started talking about our goals for this trip again, and I rolled my mug between my palms as a spoke. “I’ll probably end up buying a growler, and a bunch of mugs,” I said, defeated. “I’m such a sucker for merch.” A nearby waiter overheard me and interjected; “Well then,” he said, pointing toward the front of the restaurant. “You should buy one of our mugs. Or a t-shirt.” I smiled and shook my head. “Damnit. Don’t do this to me.” I didn’t end up buying a mug. It would be my only moment of self-restraint that weekend.

Our food arrived a few minutes later, and we dug into platefuls of english muffins adorned with crab and salmon, poached eggs, housemade hollandaise, and hash browns. It was phenomenal. I sliced into my side of reindeer sausage and sampled it. It was a little tough, but in a thick-cut way. It was also phenomenal.

“Want to try some?” I asked Megan, gesturing to the reindeer.

“Sure!” She responded willingly. She really was branching out today.

We finished our meals and headed out, thoroughly stuffed and ready for the long day ahead of us.

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