Ken Smith/Turnagain Times
Crystal, a bartender at the Aurora lounge, serves an Alyeska Martini.
By Paddy Notar
Turnagain Times Correspondent
Let’s start with the biggy event of the summer in Girdwood – The Forest Fair, July 1,2, and 3 (Friday through Sunday).
Booths open at 11 a.m. And something new this year – the parade will start at 10 a.m. NOT 11 a.m. as it has in the past. So, Saturday, July 2 parade participants are meeting at the Daylodge at 9:30 a.m. and the parade commences at 10 a.m. and to accommodate the parade, Alyeska Highway will be closed to road traffic from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
So, if you are planning to go to The Hotel Alyeska or drive in and out of Girdwood, do so before 10 a.m. The goal is to alleviate traffic conflicts with the parade and spectators and have a safe and fun beginning to the day.
Any and all other information regarding Forest Fair hours and live entertainment venues at the Fair can be found at the website: GirdwoodForestFair.com.
Now on to other affairs. Posted inside a hotel in southern France, there’s a quote that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote. It says, “Having a drink at the Belles Rives is one of those transitory times in life when everything seems okay.” That’s how I felt when I entered the Aurora bar at The Hotel Alyeska. Josh, the bartender, poured me a cucumber mojito – the kind of drink Hemingway would have had while writing “Old Man and the Sea.” It was perfect and tasted like the Alaska summer we always dream for.
The Aurora also serves a garlic-infused vodka martini with a blue cheese stuffed olive and a piece of hickory smoked bacon. It’s definitely not a drink to have if you’re on a first date, but it is good if you’re alone. Another specialty drink Josh makes is the Black Cat Martini that reminds me of a savory chocolate mousse with a touch of your favorite elixir. This guy is good, and he prides himself on being a master mixologist.
There is a medley of exotic and just great cocktails served at the Aurora. Another one we so pleasantly tasted was the Vesper, it is for all intents and purposes, the martini that James Bond preferred, of course, shaken not stirred. It’s made with Lillet Blanc, Absolut vodka and Gin, and in this writer’s opinion – the perfect martini. Not to be outdone is the signature cocktail – the Alyeska Martini – Absolut vanilla vodka, Crème Decacao, Blue Curacao and milk. What makes this drink really smokin’ good is the fact that it does actually smoke when they serve it, courtesy of the dry ice cube placed in the bottom of the martini glass. Then when the liquid mix is poured over, it creates a smoky effect. It’s safe to drink, I assure you.
You’d be crazy not to go to the Aurora and try some of the best cocktails in Alaska. Well done, Josh.
When I got done with my final tasting of a cocktail – the Sangria, made with dried, fruit-infused brandied cherries with red wine and club soda, I headed over to the Sakura Sushi Bar. Shane, who has been working at Alyeska Resort for 17 years, and trained under the master sushi chef Tako, has his own style of doing things. He keeps it simple, fresh, and delicious.
I love Ahi tuna and Shane combines it with a soft horseradish mixture instead of the clump of pasty wasabi that most restaurants serve. It was great and the tuna was the freshest I’ve had in a long time. The resort gets their fish shipped to them twice a week, and it’s of the highest quality.
Speaking of the best, the Wagyu beef is also incredible. This meat is in a league of its own, being about three times higher than prime. Therefore, the only way to order it is rare and the sauce that accompanies it is the perfect complement. In addition, Sakura has some delicious basics like beef or chicken teriyaki. We also enjoyed seaweed hand rolled little scallops, creamy, but not too creamy, with a subtle sweetness that you can only get from fresh seafood.
Speaking of rare and prime, the resort is having another one of their great wine tastings on June 22 at the Seven Glaciers. Charles Back, who is owner and winemaker for Fairview, Spice Route, and Goats do Roam wineries, will be there to discuss the tasting. Of course, a chef’s tailored menu will accompany the wines. Get your tickets early as they go quickly. They’re $140 but well worth the experience and the great view at the top of Mt. Alyeska.
Pato Banton is playing at the Daylodge on the lawn, June 25, from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $10 advance and $15 the day of the show. What I like about this guy is that he has no selected set of songs before he goes on. It all depends on what the crowd wants to hear and he’ll ask them all throughout the show. Unique.
When you finish a day of summer hiking, head to Chair 5 and gorge on a deep dish, meat lover’s pizza and a Guinness beer. You’ll sleep for two days. Don’t forget to ask Micaela for one of her famous Bloody Mary’s. She’ll spice it up, and it is sure to cure the morning pain.
If you’re heading into town get off at O’Malley and stop in to Fromaggio. They’ve got some new artisan sausages that are just excellent. One is aged in red wine and cinnamon and goes great with their aged blue cheese.
Well, Father’s Day is Sunday so act accordingly. It’s the one day out of the year that dad gets to do what he wants without being hassled so just let him be. If you have any events you want me to mention just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy the sun.