There you have it. I think most people would add this to their “cute facts about me” list, but not me. I’m too much of a badass. I was the bad cop with my kids and barely flinched. I broke a leg and walked on it for nine days before I thought I should go see a doctor. I come from a long line of awesome Irish women. Needless to say I don’t cry at movies.
Old Yeller– dog was put out of his misery.
Marley and Me– that dog was a handful.
It’s a Wonderful Life– Ya, it is.
Steel Magnolias– Disease happens.
Toy Story– Um…they aren’t real people; they’re toys.
But sports movies? Yes, this girl cries. Sometimes she ugly cries. It could be We Are Marshal and I cry because the team dies in a plane crash, and the new team overcomes everything and I cry again. It could also be Miracle where I cry because of the fabulous win at the Olympics. And don’t even get me started on Rudy. (Remembering major scenes and biting my knuckle now.)
Worse is no one my family is the same. They cry at those other movies I mentioned and make me feel bad about not crying. Then when I cry, they stare at me as though I have the strangest soul on Earth.
I think it’s cool to appreciate a beautiful workout montage or painful team building scenarios including burpees. Don’t you?
I share this information sparingly, until now, to insure my “street cred”. I had to share it now because I love a challenge… no correlation to sport movie worship, I’m sure.
Hello dear readers. This is an easy one. “The Sunken Cake” stems from my ability to do most things incorrectly and with lots of laughter. I’m super awkward and lack basic coordination so even if I’ve successfully done something before, that doesn’t mean I’ll do it right again…ever. There’s no telling with me.
So…I bake fairly well. I also get a sunken cake every now and again that needs a little extra icing to be presentable. But then, don’t we all need a little extra icing sometimes?
Day two is here and so am I. I’m a blogging success already! I will proceed with the 20 facts shortly, but first a home-building rant.
Everyone is smarter than me but somehow dumber than each other. Our general contractor, who has a tendency to “require” fancy finishes, says we need XYZ to pass inspection. Our sub-contractor says we only need ABC to pass. I’m going to have to call the municipality, and my gut says they’ll want XAYC. This project has really stressed my firm “work humbly with smart people” rule.
Thanks dear readers. I needed to get that out. Now for the facts you came for:
So why am I introducing myself when I have a perfectly good “About Me” page AND my blog isn’t new? I fell off the blog wagon and it sucked because writing and sharing adventures make me pretty damned happy.
The solution? A 31-day blog challenge! (Shout out to Baby J & Little A.) That’s right, I’m going to go from slow, inconsistent posts to every single day posts. I’m sure there’s a successful blogger somewhere who just got goosebumps and a sense of something very very ominous.
I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.
Oh well. This girl’s gotta do something. To make things even better, I’m building a house and preparing to move. Stress and boxed up blogging tools are helpful. (Say it like a mantra.)
I can’t promise great content, but I can promise this Stella is working on getting her groove back.
Welcome to Charlou‘s soft opening! As a La Bodega club member, I was invited to enjoy the evening of discounted food in return for reviewing my experience afterward. Being me, I jumped at the chance to bring Derek on a different kind of date night.
Same Place, Different Place
The location will be familiar to Alaskans as it has housed many restaurants in the past. Most recently, La Potato. Most memorable, The Fly by Night Club. Parking was a breeze due to the large parking lot on site. After a quick walk, we were greeted by the hostess warmly and pointed to the bar because the kitchen was running behind schedule. We took our seats on the bright red leather stools and took in the comfortable, bright atmosphere. The remodel was welcome as it wasn’t too loud or a bit dark and sketchy as in previous incarnations. Children would definitely be welcome and some were already there. A quick glance at customers behind us revealed familiar La Bodega faces, and two open tables. Due to this observation, I made the assumption the owners wanted some feedback from the bar and therefore recommended our seating as such.
A Bit Behind…
Our bartender greeted us with a friendly introduction and we were told a second time the kitchen was running behind, but she was quick to offer wine tastings. I always find this to be a nice, upscale touch. After making a wine decision, I took the time to peruse the menu. Even though it was limited, everything available had delicious descriptions. Derek ordered the AK Bacon Burger, and I ordered the Hot AK Halibut Sandwich.
As time passed without food we were checked on not just by our bartender, but by owners and servers alike, and there was genuine concern in everyone’s voices. At one point, about an hour into our wait, the bartender apologetically said, “I have no idea when your food is coming.” I saw this as a plus because at least it was honest. Although I have to admit an offer of a free appetizer would have gone a long way. It’s important to note we weren’t upset in the least. We knew what to expect from a soft opening and the staff was excellent. A snack just would have been a nice gesture.
During our wait, it was clear the staff was very concerned about getting things right despite the struggles they were facing in the kitchen. Derek and I had reservations at 7:30 and we received food at 9:47. That taken into account, I’d still call the team on deck that night superheroes.
The star of the show was the Hot AK Halibut. It was the perfect amount of sweet and spicy, and the portion of halibut was almost too large for the sandwich. Most Alaskans get perturbed if their serving of fish is too small- it was not the case here. The bread struggled to keep things together, but it was so delicious I didn’t mind the “fork to face” situation.
Derek left satisfied with his burger, and though he was a bit worried about the beet ketchup, he ended up enjoying it a lot. Sadly, he didn’t have any over-the-top review for this burger. To be forthcoming, he happens to have a favorite burger in town that nothing has surpassed so far… tough standard.
Final service lacked a bit as all hands were not “on deck” for water and plate clean up. We saw employees look at plates which were clearly “finished” and walk away without picking them up. Although I think this could be easily remedied.
We will be back- it’s hard to beat and Alaskan Chef is using locally sourced food.
July 18, 2019
We’re back for dinner with friends! Our group of four opted to sit outside this time, and there was no trouble due to the lack of customers. (Pause for “uh oh”.) We were greeted with a smile and quickly visited by our server, Ty. The group was offered samples of drink choices before commitment was required- a welcome carry-over from the soft opening. Also, it should be noted that Ty wasn’t afraid to say he needed to check with “smarter” people about possible drink pairings. I considered this a major positive at a restaurant owned by a very formidable local liquor store.
All of the menus had increased in variety of options as expected. I opted for a Rose’ as Derek was going to order beer. Ty was attentive and both selections were enjoyed and refilled promptly.
I want to take time to discuss Charlou’s small plate selection. It’s quite varied and enticed two of us to order only those for dinner. We each ordered two small plates. I will focus on my choices, the Halibut Ceviche and the dressed Oysters in vodka with watermelon.
First, the negative. For small plates, that were actually small, the price was a bit high: $7-$12. Second, the positive. The presentation was beautiful and the flavors were awesome! My ceviche was light and fresh with a little kick of heat, and my oysters (which I usually enjoy plain and raw) were a delight in my mouth as the watermelon snapped crispy and juicy between my teeth. It was a hot day and both of my plates satisfied.
I don’t want to spend much time on what the boys ordered because they matched what our order was at the soft opening. Derek had the AK Bacon Burger, and our guest had the Hot AK Halibut. Both stood out as meals they would reorder. The only difference I noted this visit was the addition of homemade chips. Very tasty.
Good Luck & Cheers!
It’s easy to say that Charlou has more than potential, but it’s a hard market in Alaska. I highly recommend going for after work drinks and small plates. Hungry for more? Stop in for one of their main courses. You’ll love the staff and the food, and please ask them about their wine, sake, and beer offerings. They are one heck of a knowledgeable crew.
Today I partook in Arkose Amber Earth ESB. It poured medium gold, and was actually a lot like the print on the bottle. It’s small amount of head gave way to a yeasty, ordinary beer “non-smell”. Think Coors or Bud. (Don’t be upset Arkose!) I was a bit hesitant to take the first sip, but was met pleasantly by effervescence and a wonderful barley-yeast-hop combination.
I felt a little embarrassed by my hesitation because I should have known better. This is Arkose and they rock beer. They are a very consistent brewery.
A note on the hop bitterness- it was only slightly bitter. Online, the description shays “light hop bitterness” and I would agree. I wish it was a warmer day because it was very easy to drink and refreshing, but it still hit the spot overall.
I have to admit to drinking this without my husband. In my defense, he was having a beer with his buddy without me at the same time. I was a woman scorned. (I saved him a taster. I’m not an animal.)
Arkose Brewery is a favorite of Derek’s and mine. It’s located in Palmer and has been open since 2011. It was nice to see them get a shout-out in my beer club selections from La Bodega. Included was Mandarina Moose Grapefruit IPA.
“Austin and I proceeded to knock back a couple of Ketel One and grapefruit juices, which happened to be my drink of the moment. Someone told me that grapefruit was a great detoxifier and I decided I wanted to start cleaning out my liver WHILE I was having a cocktail.” -Chelsea Handler
My husband, Derek, doesn’t care for citrus beers, so I knew I’d get the lion’s share of this one. On this particular occasion, he was out of town, so I left all beer-drinking guilt behind and popped the top of what I hoped would be a citrus treasure.
When poured, there was a lot of white, fluffy head that quickly diminished. It was such a lovely burnt orange color I had to hold it up to the sun and take the picture you’ll see below. There was a strong grapefruit smell, but the taste was not overwhelming. A bitter zing hits the back of the throat, and is balanced by a sweetness which hits the tongue and cheeks. The mouthfeel consisted of a light coating and medium carbonation. I didn’t love the finish, but it was a really solid IPA…with a twist.
Back with the boys at Bleeding Heart. Well, one of the boys- Stefan. The “place with the cows” welcomed us in the usual fashion providing kids playing in the front, people smiling, and a food truck setting up shop. Once inside the brewery, we were met with sarcasm, laughter, and an eclectic menu- also quite normal. Round One
Ojo Rojo: ABV 9.8
There was no head, only a terra cotta color. It had a good, pepper smell and the first sip was flavorful and delivered heat. It’s an extremely drinkable pepper beer.
*I disagree. I think Maui has heat without the pepper flavor.
(Derek’s) Kold Shoulder: ABV 5.5
A nice mild Kolsch, very drinkable. He thinks it would be best on a hot day with hard work just finished or in the near future. In other words, whenever you want a beer. Also, it had a low ABV for the DD.
Mixed Nuts: ABV 5.5
Stefan said they used kidney and ew. He really did list ingredients, but he lost me at “kidney”. Next time he says they will use testicles! I was concerned, but I took the risk. The things I do for you dear readers… It was unassuming in appearance with a normal light-brown color. The smell was good, but not necessarily a beer smell. The taste? Well, beer. Ha. Nothing stood out, but I haven’t eaten kidney before, and I had just drank a pepper beer.
I asked, “Who would brew with meat” and the answer I got from Stefan was, “This guy.” That was a good enough reason for me.
During our stay we met Squish, an employee’s dog. He was more than happy to greet everyone, get pet, and be fed pretzels by children. I was amazed he wasn’t 300 pounds. Maybe it’s because another employee was entertaining some of the kids with a game of hangman on the brewery’s inspiration board.
Days like the one had at BHB make me never want to leave Alaska. Where else could I have a beer with a cow, mountains in the background, and families enjoying time together? Everyone was kind and simply enjoying a beautiful Alaskan day.
Not to get political, but BHB is also a shining example of why legislation to control breweries should be scrutinized. They adhere to the current laws and provide an experience which is very non-bar. It’s what the community needs, and what so many of us are looking for.
I received this beer as part of Derek and my beer of the month subscription at La Bodega. Derek immediately assigned it to me. It was fair really as I make him take all of the barleywine type beers when we get them. Touted as a sour-gose, it started off as a “nope”, poor beer, but it needed to get a fair shake.
The smell was crisp and nice. There wasn’t a sweetness or off-putting aroma. The gose was a beautiful golden color with plenty of bubbles, but it wasn’t what I’d call clear. It was cloudy with a chance of pucker-face. The first sip was actually refreshing, but the second sip brought the sour in full force. The side of my tongue felt a tingle, my cheeks got all the peach, and my throat got the sour. If it was a little sweeter, it would be like drinking Sour Patch Kids.
I know people like sour beers. Some people also like watching “how to decoupage” videos and doing math. For what it’s worth, I did finish it. As established earlier, Derek doesn’t like sour beers but I made him try this one. Know how you drop garlic on the floor and your dog gobbles it up and then spits it out, and then continues smacking his tongue around like he can’t quite get it all out? Ya. Derek did that and then said, “No” with various inflection until the entire house knew his quote for this particular beer was “No” and would always be “No”.