Today officially marks the first day of spring! Woohoo! For us “Alaskans” we are enjoying 12 long daylight hours now from 8am until 8pm. Before we know it, the midnight sun will be upon us and we’ll be forgetting to go to sleep at night. Must/Play/All/Day. ;-)
In celebration of the first day of spring, we decided to take a journey to the incredible town of Seward, Alaska. There are countless things to love about this town filled with roughly 2,700 year-round residents. We especially love the half frozen “break up” this time of year that creates beautiful natural scenes in the wild. Like this waterfall for example; absolutely gorgeous.
This time of year we usually just like to go and take in the sights, spot for some wildlife, and enjoy the peaceful town before the summer rush starts pouring in and the population grows exponentially.
A lot of area businesses are still closed for the off-season (October through April) so a long, relaxing nature drive without much on the agenda is often times the best way to play a trip to Seward on a quite spring weekday. We recommend heading out to the Lowell Point State Recreation Site for a hike during low tide.
After taking in the impeccable scenery and getting some exercise on a nearby trail, we headed to enjoy a late lunch at a restaurant that we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews on; Chinooks Bar and Grill! If you happened to make it out to the 2015 Taste of the Kenai, you likely tried just a little sample of the amazing food that gets created by their resident chef, Mr. Kevin Lane. Thank you again to the Chinooks team for supporting the Alaska’s Playground family by being a fabulous vendor!
And speaking of the Chinooks Bar & Grill family, we can recall first meeting the owners when we attended the 2014 Halibut Cove Live event. After sharing a table with them and walking away from the night not actually remembering their names, it quickly become apparent as to why. Although there were introductions, the owners of Chinooks couldn’t stop raving about the success of the restaurant being highly attributed to Chef Kevin Lane. When you arrive at Chinooks, the first think you will find near the entrance is a beautiful display that tells you a little bit more about Chef Kevin Lane including a list of his incredible accomplishments, some well deserved press, and his philosophy on how he “Cooks Alaska!” From the sound of it, we were in for a real treat.
Anytime you are greeted by a sign that condones day drinking, you know you’ve found a great place. Hey, you’re on vacation (or wait, maybe just a day trip?). It’s totally acceptable. ;-)
The décor continued on the with the “captain/pirate” nautical theme as we continued to make our way through the entrance.
The glass artwork throughout the facility was absolutely stunning. A very gorgeous touch to the warm and inviting atmosphere that was felt throughout.
And even the bathrooms are adorable and perfectly decorated to match the theme. It’s hard not to appreciate when establishments pay close attention to every detail from top to bottom. So cool!
Making our way through the bar area to our table we were impressed by how clean everything was and how friendly and outgoing the service was.
Now on to the good stuff, try choosing a table when this is your view! Too many options. All of which are excellent however.
We quickly found a seat with the best view in town. If the food is a good as the view, this might just be the perfect slice of paradise!
As if snow capped mountains and ocean views weren’t enough, quickly after we sat down this little guy came swimming by. Just a happy harbor seal putting on the best show in town.
The menu came and we got straight to work. Fresh wild Alaska seafood, delcious steaks, hearty soups, and creative appetizers. Deciding from lots of amazing options is not an easy task. But hey, there is no better kind of work that this! ;-) YUM!
Flip to the other side and you have hand crafted cocktails, Alaska brews, sinless sodas, and bottled beers.
Although not originally planning to, we decided to start with a couple of drinks since they all looked so creative and delicious. Pictured below is the “Winter is Coming” which has Applejack Brandy, Makers Mark Bourbon, Apple Cider, Lemon Juice, and Thyme Syrup. You wouldn’t think to have a “Winter is Coming” on the first day of spring, but with temps below 10 degrees, it just felt right. The result = delish! Like that view? Talk about a win/win situation!
We also tried a “Ginger Snap” which is made of Ginger Vodka, Muddled Orange, Lemon and Ginger, St Germain, and Ginger Ale all on the rocks. And enjoyed by the fire. Can’t get better ambiance than this.
We started off with a couple of salads. First up is this Southwest Caesar Salad (half portion). Made with crisp romaine, poblano dressing, queso fesco, spiced pepitas and picked onions.
And a delicious House Salad made with fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, cranberries, croutons and a choice of their housemade dressing. We opted for the Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette. It was fabulous!
For our main meal we wanted to try everything, so at the spared expense of our waistbands we decided to just get three appetizers to split. First up was the Alaskan Halibut Cheeks which were made with Tarragon Beurre Blanc, Tomato, and Fried Capers. Words can’t really even describe how good these were. Halibut cheeks were good to perfection and not overdone at all. The ingredients all blended together perfectly for a light yet flavorful starter. Oh and the bread was soft and warm and felt like it had just come out of the over.
Next up was these two fabulous Lamb Burg-inis. Lame Sliders with Rosemary Aioli, Caramelized Onions and Smoked Mozzarella. So good, we wished we would have ordered another plate. But again, our waistbands were thanking us. ;-)
And last but certainly not least were these sinfully delicious Risotto Balls. Filled with Mozzarella and served with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce. A perfect combination of flavor, filling, and zest.
Just as we were finishing up, we noticed 6-8 harbor seals all ganged up together out our window. We weren’t exactly sure what they were doing, but they were certainly giving us the show of our lives. How many heads do you count in the photo below?
Chinooks Bar and Grill was incredibly clean as well as very warm and inviting. The ambiance was perfectly fitting for the small fishing town that Seward is so infamously known for. The service was laid back and very hospitable. The drinks were refreshing and creative. The food exceeded our expectations from start to finish. Everything was just simply perfect. We recommend Chinooks to the moon and back and we (personally) can’t wait to dine there again!