Alaska, the 49 state, the artic, 24 hours of sun, 24 hours of darkness, long winters, cruise ship heaven, no matter what you say about it, nothing prepares you for the vast open beauty that seems to surround you. I was lucky enough to make it Juneau Alaska because of attending a conference this summer. 90% of the time when you tell people you are going to Alaska you get the comment “On a cruise”? They give you a puzzled look when you tell them you are going for the food and the sights.
I was attending a food conference and decided since we were flying all this way I added some extra days to explore the surrounding areas. We loved what little extra time we did spend in Alaska and didn’t want to come home.
First and foremost, the food. Juneau is becoming quiet a foodie lovers town. Juneau is the second largest city in the US, just by shear size. I’m not sure that I thought of Juneau becoming a nationally recognized food town but it is. You can now find numerous articles on the food scene written about Juneau. I was able to find a list for the top places to eat in Juneau from Thrillist magazine Best Restaurants Juneau, Alaska.
List in hand we started our search for those foods that make Juneau a place that you want to spend time in exploring.
Taking a food tour from Juneau Food Tours led by Midgi Moore certainly helped. You are introduced to the local scene. We hit most of them during our extra days. Juneau is the second largest city in the US. Size yes population no. Juneau has 32,000 permanent residents. During the summer when the cruise ships come in it gets a little crowded and lines can get long. Up to seven ship can be docked and tendered in one day. So it can be overwhelming at times. With the sun setting at 10:30PM it seemed strange that most of the stores close up at 8PM.
The food truck Pucker Wilson’s was our first stop we had burgers and fries, but next time I’m getting the brisket. Tracy’s Crab Shack – king crab, bisque, Dungeness crab sandwich. She has two locations one downtown right on the dock and one a short walk from downtown and also on the water. Its a great place to sit and watch the cruise ships sail in and out.
There are TWO national seafood cookoff winners have restaurants in Juneau and they are next to each other Salt and In Bocca de Lupo. In Bocca de Lupo the wood fires pizza are exceptional, fresh ingredients. Herbs are grown right out front. We came for the Thunderdome. It’s a show stopper. Hot out of the oven served with garlic butter and out of this world parmesan cream, I could have eaten the whole dish by myself.
There are certainly many places to find breakfasts. If you get up early enough the streets are quiet and empty. T.K Mcquires for the reindeer skillet breakfast, pancakes as big as your head at the Sandpiper Café. The Rookery was a popular breakfast spot with the locals as it looked like most of the state workers came here. Big slices of ham or crispy bacon to accompany your eggs. Don’t the experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day? A good hearty breakfast checks all the boxes.
Just like any big metropolitan city Juneau has food trucks they are off the main road and there is the main, albeit a temporary, spot for a few food trucks. You will find Deckhand Dave’s for fish tacos and slutty fries, Coppa Ice Cream Rhubarb sorbet, candied salmon, spruce tip and fresh hot and just as good as Paris Crepe Escape for sweet and savory crepes.
Breweries Alaska a few miles out of town they pick you up at their flagship store, Devils Cup and Barnaby Brewery down town. When you think of Alaska you really don’t immediately think hot. But the sun is very intense and at 73 degrees it was hot! So after two days of the sun and warmth it was perfect ending to a hot day to pop in Amalga Gin Distillery for a Spruce Tip Collins (it’s a thing in Alaska). Good thing the distillery was across the street from our hotel.
On the main street you will be drawn into Alaska Fudge Company by the sweet enticing aromas of chocolate and melting sugar. Fudge makes a great souvenir. There are lots of choices of flavors. Too many choices and sizes of boxes, that it can become overwhelming. We chose the 3 pack. The perfect size to take home and slice of piece by piece. Just don’t be surprised when your bag is pulled aside and searched by TSA.
Of course they have Alaska beer!! How fun, never tried it (or seen it anywhere really…)
Also, yeah, cruise ships are the worse. I remember in San Juan it’d be so nice and peaceful and then all of the sudden boat comes in and it’s a nightmare ….