Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria

August 3, 2014 – I’ve not kept it a secret that I’m fond of the Broken Tooth Brewing Company in Anchorage.  My son David is lead brewer.  He brews great beer.

Rod Hancock and Matt Jones started the brewery to supply their restaurants.  They’re still supplying the restaurants but the beer is so good and so popular it stands on its own reputation.

I’ve written about the Bear Tooth Grill and the Bear Tooth Theater Pub.  But where it all started was Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria.  Rod and Matt opened Moose’s Tooth in 1996 and it was immediately successful.  A decade and a half into a new century it’s become legendary.

Every table in Moose’s Tooth is filled every day.  Come early.  You will be waiting for a table.  You might wait as long as 45 minutes.  You won’t begrudge the wait.  The food, and the beer, is that good.

My wife and I were meeting David, his wife Amber, and my grandchildren, seven year old Quinn and three year old Remy, on a late Sunday afternoon.  A warm, sunny afternoon.  We arrived first.  We got our names on the list and were given a buzzer that would let us know when they had a table ready for us.  Then we went outside to sit in the sunshine.  We both grew up in Anchorage.  We know that when it’s summer and it’s warm and there’s sunshine in Alaska you sit in it.  There will be many days when it won’t be warm and sunny.

The buzzer went off shortly after David and Amber arrived.  We were shown to a table in a corner alcove.  About as secluded as it gets in Moose’s Tooth.  The room was buzzing.  In a good way.  Buzzing with energy.  People enjoying themselves.

My wife and I followed David’s advice and tried the apple ale.  It’s one of Broken Tooth’s most popular products.  I’ve had  it before and knew it was good.  My wife found it delightful.  Deliciously crisp and apple-y.

Moose’s Tooth is not just any pizza parlor.  Sure, they have the old standards.  But if you can think of it, they put it on a pizza.  And if they haven’t thought of it yet they’ll probably try it if you think of it.

We decided to order two pizzas and let each adult choose a half.   Quinn and Remy were happy with their small cheese and pepperonis.  Pizza family style.

For her half, my wife chose Spicy Chicken Picante.  The topping of blackened chicken was spiced with jalapenos and dried chili flakes, and rested on a cream cheese base.    Yes, cream cheese on a pizza.  Who knew?

Amber went with the Avalanche.  Sort of an adventurous diversion from the standard pizza.  There was pepperoni and blackened chicken but also bacon.  Cheddar cheese was added to the usual pizza mix of mozzarella and provolone.  And barbeque sauce took the place of marinara.

David chose the Meatball Parmesan.  A meatball sandwich on a pizza.  Moose’s Tooth excellent marinara support the meatballs and accompanying black olives, green peppers and basil.  Parmesan is added to the mozzarella and provolone.  A touch of garlic oil adds a little zip.  Pizza  or sandwich.  Meatballs with tomato sauce and garlic are hard to beat.

I was least adventurous of the group, opting for the All American.  Meat eaters special. A marinara sauce covered with pepperoni, ground beef and lots of mushrooms.  Criminis.  At my request the kitchen was happy to leave off the olives and replace them with jalapenos.

It was a tasting party with everyone trying everyone else’s chosen pizza.  Hard to say which was best.  They were all good.  Better than good.

My wife summed it up.  “This is the best pizza in Alaska.”

The best.

 

 

 

 

 

Rustic Goat

August 1, 2014 – The Kaladi Brothers have scored again.  Added to their string of coffee houses scattered around southcentral Alaska (and one in Seattle) is now the full service restaurant quirkily named the Rustic Goat.

The goat part of the name comes from the company.  It’s long  been a symbol of Kaladi Brothers.  I’ll explain that but first, to fully understand anything related to the Kaladi Brothers you have to know that there aren’t any.

According to company legend there was once a goat herder named Kaladi who noticed that one of his goats was acting weird.  He was all jumpy.  Full of energy.  He watched the goat and discovered that he was eating a certain berry from bushes that grew along the path.

Kaladi decided to try some of the berries himself.  He discovered he, too, was full of energy after eating the berries.  Well, one thing led to another and wouldn’t you know it?  Coffee!  So the next time its six a.m. and you’re hoping that first cup will get your eyes wide open, thank Kaladi.  Or his goat.

Instead of brothers the Kaladi Brothers company started out with a few guys operating a portable stand selling coffee in a downtown Anchorage park back in 1986.  Today two of that group, Tim Gravel and Brad Bigelow, run Kaladi Brothers.  They’ve turned it into one of Alaska’s best loved and well run locally owned companies.

The restaurant is located in an old warehouse that has been beautifully converted using a lot of glass.  Hence, the “rustic” part.  But there’s nothing truly rustic about the place  Both floors feature glass walls that let in lots of light.  A long bar dominates the first floor with tall bar tables scattered throughout the room.

Dining tables are on the second floor, reachable either by a set of rather steep stairs or a thoughtfully provided elevator.  A balcony stretching down the west side of the building provides outdoor dining.  Though it was a day of bright sunshine it was a bit windy and cool.  We opted to enjoy the best of two worlds by selecting an indoor table by one of the glass walls.

I love hot dogs.  Especially when they’re spicy.  I couldn’t resist the Rustic Goat’s “Educated Dog.”  A Louisiana hot link made by the Alaska Sausage Company served on a challah roll, slathered with a tomatillo chutney and stone ground mustard.  Deliciously messy!

The accompanying fries were salted after they came out of the hot oil when they are most receptive to seasoning and then were sprinkled with grated parmesan.  My wife declared them the best fries she has ever eaten.  It was all I could do to save a few for myself.

In fairness she did give me one of the tacos she ordered.  Soft corn tortillas wrapped around pulled pork.  The pork rested on a dollop of mole bean puree and was decorated with candied jalapeno, roasted corn salsa, chopped fresh cilantro and green chili sour cream.   Outstanding!  Simply outstanding!

Hot dogs and tacos.   Old standards presented in delightfully innovative style.  And all thanks to a mythical, coffee loving goat.  An amazing world in which we live!