Did you ever eat at Maxine’s Bistro in Girdwood? It was kind of a staple there for about eight years and then it closed abruptly. I assumed things must not have worked out, but it turns that was only half the truth. Only the building wasn’t working out. The roof was leaking and there were other issues, so Maxine’s had to move out. Owner and chef Rob Lewis, who’s from Anchorage, couldn’t find another building in Girdwood so he moved everything, and almost all the staff, to Anchorage. His new place is in midtown, 302 W. Fireweed Lane, the name is also tweaked a bit. It’s now Maxine’s Fireweed Bistro. Lewis said he’s excited about competing in Anchorage, “with the big boys,” but he does miss Girdwood. “Food is my outlet,” Lewis said, “its in my blood, it’s the only thing I know how to do.”
On a recent visit he created the Surf and Turf for us. Lewis used a Sharpie to poke a whole through a sirloin steak, and inserted an asparagus inside. He grilled it medium rare, sliced it into five pieces and plated the meat on top of wasabi aioli, chive and chili oils, and then topped it with large dollops of crab salad. It was beautiful.
Lewis said Anchorage is a tough market with lots of competition. You can now include Maxine’s in that group.
Photos:Eric Sowl, KTUU
Barbecue is not something to joke about. I spent a lot of my teenage years in North Carolina, where even the state is split on what is the ‘correct’ way to make barbecue. I’m partial to the Eastern North Carolina style where the sauce is made from vinegar and a few other spices. Lexington barbeque is made with ketchup.
I can imagine folks from Texas and Kansas must also be as, (how do you say this nicely, passionate, enthusiastic, crazy?), excited about their barbecue.
So I was thrilled when I met Jack Goodsell who owns the Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ, mile 103.5, on the Seward Highway– a place where you can tastes some of those different regional without leaving the Alaska.
Over the past several years Goodsell was taught how to make Barbecue from one of the masters of the craft in Illinois and about two years ago he opened what is more commonly known as ‘the Arm Pit.’
Taking on a restaurant, which includes countless hours of work, was Goodsell’s idea of retirement.
He worked in the neo natal unit at a local hospital for more than 20 years.
“When people come through the door, (at the Arm Pit) they’re happy and fortunately for me when they leave they’re happier.” Goodsell said. “This will be a nice way to close out a working career, some day.”
In the meantime enjoy the sun, the gorgeous view on the Seward Hwy, and some barbecue.
My parents always come back to Alaska for Easter. It’s become an annual tradition that I really, really, really, look forward to. This year we decided to head to Homer for a few days with them to relax. I’ve always loved Homer, it’s got this great artsy-vibe, there are always animals nearby, it’s a coastal community– Homer is perfection. And, it’s also the home of Two Sisters Bakery, with a reputation known across the country. We ordered cinnamon rolls, which you won’t see because I ate them before anyone could pull out a camera, sourdough baguettes, ciabatta and the White Trash Loaves, (we couldn’t resist the name!). Next time you’re there, you have to stop by. And pick-up some cinnamon rolls for me!
Have you met Chef Rob Kinneen, or seen his website? If you haven’t you must. He’s the brains behind fresh49.com. Besides this blog, of course, it’s one of the coolest blogs in the state. Rob travels across Alaska and makes webisodes that show how to use local ingredients in contemporary dishes. It’s shoot beautifully and I ended up wanting to try, and go everywhere, Rob did. Did you realize you could make fresh rolls from herbs and seaweed found in the state? Want to try Kaladi Bros coffee in your gravy? If it’s local, Rob’s got a recipe. I’m working on a profile about him for Channel 2. You can check it out Wednesday morning and on the 6 o’clock newscast that same day. If you make anything off Rob’s website let me know what you think!