By Paddy Notar
Turnagain Times Correspondent
Paddy Notar/Turnagain Times
Justin Persons, co-owner of the Double Musky Inn restaurant in Girdwood, stands in his state-of-the-art wine room that stores award winning wines from around the world. The room is visible to patrons through glass windows as they enter the front door.
It's coming soon to Indian. The festival to end all festivals. Forget Woodstock or Anderson. This is the one to go to. It's the Brown Bear Summer Festival and the only place where the port-a-potties work better than the regular toilets.
The Brown Bear Summer Festival is where lovers come to break up while listening to great music and enjoying good times. Check out Matty as he ignores the grill and can't tell the difference between a burger and a charcoal briquette. Watch Sara as she dances with her main squeeze and forgets that she's working. It makes no difference, though. It's the Brown Bear Summer Fest 2010 on June 26 with music beginning at 4 p.m. and goes on forever. Four bands will play outside until 10 p.m. and then everything moves indoors until 2 a.m.
From bluegrass to reggae, the Brown Bear will have it all. The cover is $13 and includes burgers, hot dogs and six bands. There's no better party for the price. There's also a free shuttle from Gird to Bird that will be running all night so feel free to let loose. I'll see you there.
A mountain of fun is also going on at Alyeska with the Fiddlehead Festival this weekend at the Day Lodge. Bands include Melissa Mitchell as well as the leftover from Leftover Salmon. Music goes from noon to mid-night and the cover is $35.
Justin Persons has been running the Double Musky in Girdwood for some time now as his mother and father have semi-retired to Louisiana. The Musky has won more awards than any restaurant I've ever been to. The bill of fare has barely changed since 1981 but Justin told me that he found an old menu from that same year in a storage room. On it was poached halibut with pistachio butter as well as beef crepes. He said it might be fun to have those as specials during the week.
When you think of the Double Musky you think of food that celebrates life. It's incredibly fulfilling on every level. From the lobster tails, steaming in their own juices and covered in a nutty brown butter sauce to the baked potatoes that are loaded with crisp bacon, sour cream, butter, and chives. The filet is worth walking in the snow for two miles to get to. Just a perfect medium rare and a béarnaise sauce that you could eat with a spoon.
I had their Osso Bucco not too long ago. Lamb shanks braised for hours in a rich demi and tomato broth. Delicious! The meat just falls off the bone and the homemade jalapeno cheddar bread does its job at soaking up everything on the plate that might try and drip away.
Justin has accomplished becoming a level two Sommelier and it shows with the Musky's award winning wine selection. They've won the Wine Spectator award of excellence for four years in a row, the Wine Enthusiast award of distinction for four years in a row and are constantly on the look out to find the next great palate pleaser. If you haven't been to the Double Musky then you haven't experienced how great hearty food with a Cajun twist, can be. They're open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Get there early as they're usually mobbed with hungry customers and they don't take reservations.
If you're out and about, check out Perpetual Stuff in Girdwood. Deb Pfeiffer is the proprietor and they have everything. Yes, everything. One-dollar gadgets to $500 collectibles. Antiques, dolls, and vintage stuff. I found my prom date in one of her bins. Perpetual Stuff is located at 237 Main Street in old town Girdwood. They're open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday's and Saturday's only
Heading into town? Check out the Fire Tap Ale House restaurant on Old Seward and O'Malley. The meatball sub is really good and the former owner of Coast Pizza in Girdwood runs the kitchen. There is nothing like a brick oven meal.
And of course the Bradley House down the street from Firetap heading towards Huffman has a steak appetizer that continues to be a great deal and Amy, one of their superb bartenders, serves a lot of them. This place is one of those stand by's that will always be good. It's like a supper club. Ask Scott, one of their other consummate professional bartenders, to make you an Irish Coffee. The presentation and taste is just perfect with an old Irish recipe shared with them by an Irishman transplanted in Anchorage.
If you really want to get your money's worth for a great meal check out Casa Del Sol in Girdwood. They have a beef burrito that rivals any I've ever had. It's filled with shredded, juicy beef, spicy rice, and cheese. Then they top it off with more cheese and an enchilada sauce. They also have chicken, pork, and ground beef. There are about 30 different hot sauces to choose from to spice it up even more. Jess and Corey only use the freshest organic ingredients and can make it vegetarian for you as well. Just ask. Wine and beer are also available so try a nice Chardonnay with their famous Ceviche while you wait for your laundry to dry next door. You won't be disappointed.
The next issue will cover more of the summer festivals and local acts. It's like pulling teeth to get the local band info. Also, an in-depth look at Chair 5 and the new chef in the kitchen. I haven't forgotten, Gretchen. See you on the lawn behind the Brown Bear. Enjoy.