When we last went on the Pizza Quest in Anchorage, we found okay pizza.
The latest recommendation was Olympia Pizza. Yes, another Greek joint that also serves Italian. We had a Turkish waitress who recommended we get their X-tra large pizza which was like the 11 dial on the amplifiers for Spinal Tap - truly 1 size larger than most traditional X-tra larges - maybe 20 inches in diameter. Thatsa lotta pizza.
Now I have to confess - and don't make fun of me: I love cheese pizza. Just cheese as a topping, none of that other crap that distracts from the dough, tomato sauce and cheese.
But my hubby loves everything on it including the kitchen sink and fridge. So we had a bunch of stuff on it, and it was just okay. I even did my fun and daring pizza trick - adding anchovies. That makes everyone at the table usually cringe with disgust, but I actually like anchovies a lot. Still, the pizza was just okay.
I'm searching for the La Famiglia style pizza that you can get on any block in Manhattan with real testy Italian men tossing dough into the air and shoving wood paddles into the oven to pull out your pizza. I'm looking for the thinnest of crusts that are still thick enough to support the mozerella. I'm looking to grab a bunch of napkins to press against the cheese to sop up the excess oil. Then, and only then, is the pizza PERFECT.
A few more photos from June 2005, just illustrating
the night-time sun again. I got an email from a
girlfriend recently commenting that until she
saw my photos of what it means to have sun at night, she didn't really know what it
This photo was taken holding my camera
behind my head and accidentally upside down.
I was trying to capture a picture of the sun
at 9:30pm without looking at it. Topsy turvy
but still an interesting pic.
I was walking with my handsome hubby who
had our Lab Ebb as well as his buddy Nightro
in tow. This photo was taken moments after
the sun photo. Note the brightness but also
the long shadows. I just find this to be so surreal.
And here is a photo taken a little while later
of the Alaska state flower - the Forget-Me-Not.
You can see why people are out gardening
at 9:30pm! Plenty of daylight to do plenty of
I have to admit I am dreading the darkness though.
Even with 19-plus hours of daylight now, I'm feeling
anxiety about the dwindling light while I'm still
feeling the frantic buzz of long days.
I'm catching up on posting some photos from
June 2005. Here is a nice series of shots taken
in our next door neighbor's back yard.
I was using a bit of zoom, but this young bull
moose was pretty close. Have no fear - hubby
and wildlife biologist/outdoorsman extraordinaire
was also close by.
Hello, Moose. One of the local moose took a liking
to my neighbor's tulip garden. One day she had
beautiful red tulips, the next day half were headless.
The day after, they were all sans flower.
This gives a better perspective of the actual distance
between human and moose on this evening. Actually,
it was close to 9pm at night and I had pulled my
mom out of bed so she could take photos on her
last night in Anchorage. Don't worry Mom, I won't
spill the beans that you were in your jammies
during our moose sighting. It is just our little
secret. No one will ever have to know...
Yes, the time has come to begin the search for good pizza.
In Cheyenne, Wyoming, it was Mondello's. In Lander, the gourmet taste of the Gannett Grill. In Laramie, another gourmet pizza joint called Grand Avenue Pizza.
Here in Anchorage, there are a lot of places from which to choose. When my mom was here the first week we arrived, we did a taste comparison. First we went into Sorrentos on Dimond.
"Do you serve slices?"
"No slices. Full pizzas."
"Where are you from? You don't sound Italian?"
"Well, we're looking for the best pizza in town."
"This is it. We have the best pizza in town."
"Okay, well, we're going down the street to
Little Italy to see what they have."
"Their pizza isn't as good as ours."
"Okay, well, we'll be back to try it sometime."
So we headed to Little Italy (and Greek) Restaurant
in search of a slice. They only sold pizza pies, too.
We were starving so we got one, half cheese,
It was okay. Not bad, but not GREAT.
Of course, my wonderful husband who proudly
discovered Papa Murphy's bake-it-yourself
pizzas and enjoys them thought that the
Little Italy pizza was fine. This being after my
mother ripped the Papa Murphy's pizza to
shreds with comments like "This isn't pizza
dough crust" and "The sauce isn't very good."
But we insisted that there was better pizza out there.
So a few days later, we went back to Sorrentos
and ordered half cheese, half Hawaiian.
They overcooked it. And if you know me, you
know I hate anything that is burnt.
I ate it anyway and despite the dark cheese on
top, I could tell that this was a better pizza than
the previous one.
"Now that's pizza crust," said my mother. "Now
that's a zesty pizza sauce."
No, my mother is not Italian. She's Mexican.
Okay, she'd tell you she is American of
Mexican descent. Whatever.
I have to say, the jury is still out on pizza in Alaska.
Everyone keeps asking how I'm doing up here.
I have to say I'm fine. I'm just trying to adjust
and network and get things done. The usual.
One thing I've noticed about driving here in
Anchorage - besides the fact that with 260,000+
people in town it is very different from, say,
Lander Wyoming with about 7000 - is that
people here drive very aggressively.
Here is what I've learned so far in my quest
to survive the roads:
The Lane Change Rule
If you signal to change lanes, be
advised that the person behind you,
no matter which lane they are in or how
far behind you they are, will speed up
immediately and try to pass you because
God forbid you change lanes and remain
in front of them.
The Turning Rule
When making a turn onto a crossroad
and there are two lanes from which to choose,
remember that no driver in town will
first turn into the near lane. They will
turn into the far lane. If you need to
then get into the far lane, good luck.
Because then you are back to the
Lane Change Rule above. They simply
will not let you into their lane, so help
The Yellow Light Rule
Yes, here the yellow light actually
means peddle to the floor, baby,
'cause I'm coming through. And if
you are the type of driver that
(shock, horrors) slows down and
stops as the yellow light turns red,
be forewarned that someone will
ride up your ass, shake a fist or finger,
then screech past you when the light
turns green, screaming obscenities
as they leave exhaust in their wake.
Why is everyone in such a hurry?
There is so much Goddamn daylight
here and plenty of time to get things
done. Maybe it is a "No Rules Apply"
attitude. But even in the Wild West
Ways of Wyoming, drivers were so
much more mellow and courteous.
I can't comment on drivers in other
parts of the state. Maybe this is just
an Anchorage thing. All I know is that
the only way to get to where you are
going without being forced to miss a
turn and take a long detour is to
signal and then gun the engine and
change lanes quickly before the drivers
behind you have time to react.
Yes, I had to come all the way up to
Alaska to find physical Proof of Sticky
Buns, believe it or not!
There, in the bakery section of Carr's
(Alaska version of Safeway), was a
box of Sticky Buns. My mom actually
pointed them out and at the same
time I learned that my mother is a
closet carb-o-holic, camping out in
the bakery sections of grocery stores,
eyeing the carb-laden selections and
falling into a hypnotic trance.
Photo Pending. Of the Sticky Buns,
not my mother jonesing for a loaf.
I have a piece of paper somewhere on my desk
with about 12 different topics to write about
regarding my 2 weeks and 2 days in Anchorage.
Can't find it and the only topic I remember
right now is to blog about the wavy roads.
So I'm driving my wonderful '97 4Runner
after the hefty drive up here and it is
wandering around the road, mostly when
breaking, but overall feeling quite misaligned.
I call Nye Toyota, deciding on taking it to
the dealer until I find an honest mechanic.
"The earliest we can see you is Sunday
morning," says the service department
Sunday? Car repair on Sunday? This is
a strange place, but hey, Sunday is
convenient for me.
So I took it in for tire rotation and to check
the brakes and alignment.
Turns out, because too many cars drive on
the roads with spiked tires even when there
isn't snow on the ground, there are deep
ruts and grooves in the roads throughout
Anchorage that make cars of a certain size
(say, a '97 Toyota 4Runner) feel like they
are wandering all over the roads. But it isn't
the car - it is a bad case of road waves.
Skeptical, I accepted the diagnosis because
it sure was cheaper than new brake pads
and an alignment. And sure enough, the more
I drive, the more I feel the waves.
Guess I found an honest dealership. They could
have gouged me for all kinds of things but
instead gave me the wavy scoop.