Work Like a Captain, Play Like a Pirate at Chinooks Bar and Grill in Seward, AK

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. 😉

Seward Alaska

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.

waterfall seward alaska

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.

train and mtns

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.

lowell point

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!

Chinooks Bar and Grill

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.

Chef Kevin Lane

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. 😉

Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Alaska

The dĂ©cor continued on the with the “captain/pirate” nautical theme as we continued to make our way through the entrance.

Chinooks Bar and Grill

The glass artwork throughout the facility was absolutely stunning. A very gorgeous touch to the warm and inviting atmosphere that was felt throughout.

Chinooks Restaurant

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!

Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Alaska

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.

Chinooks Bar Seward Alaska

Now on to the good stuff, try choosing a table when this is your view! Too many options. All of which are excellent however.

Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Alaska

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!

Chinooks Restaurant Seward Alaska

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.

Harbor Seal Seward Alaska at Chinooks

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!

Chinooks Bar and Grill Menu

Flip to the other side and you have hand crafted cocktails, Alaska brews, sinless sodas, and bottled beers.

Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Menu

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!

winter is coming chinooks bar and grill seward ak

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.

ginger snap chinooks restaurant seward alaska

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.

southwest caesar salad chinooks bar and grill seward alaska

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!

house salad chinooks restaurant seward alaska

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.

halibut cheeks Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Alaska

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. 😉

lamb burg-inis chinooks seward alaska

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.

risotto balls chinooks restaurant seward alaska

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?

harbor seal group Chinooks Restaurant Seward Alaska

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!

me pic seward

Happy faces all around! Thank you to the Chinooks Bar & Grill team from all of your friends on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!

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Two Swans a Swimming in Moose Pass, Alaska

 

Experiencing moments of magic on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is something that, believe it or not, happens quite often. But when you are living day in & day out on countryside that is filled with glacier-covered mountains,  loads of incredible wildlife, more species of fish than you can count, and some of the best sunsets in the world… this might not come as such a surprise after all. And on that note, please see exhibit (a) shown below. A perfect moment caught on a gorgeous (chilly) spring day in March while driving through Moose Pass, Alaska.

swans perfect

Two swans a swimming on Trail Lakes, which the town of Moose Pass, Alaska is nestled upon. To just pull to the side of the road and experience such a beautiful wildlife viewing right in front of your eyes is absolutely magical. Did you know that swans mate for life? So romantic. 😉 We think that these two have a pretty great life ahead of them swimming happily on Alaska’s Playground.

swan up close 2

Those moments of magic are in fact what The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground has become so famous for delivering time and time again. Moose Pass is a very special place. On the way from Anchorage heading down to Seward, Moose Pass is surrounded by towering mountains and is known for having some of the warmest hospitality that Alaska’s Playground has to offer. From the moment you begin to enter Moose Pass, you can’t help but to be stopped in your tracks by the undying beauty. Warning; it makes it hard to concentrate on the road! Stay. Focused. 😉

coming in!

The community includes numerous bed and breakfast establishments, guide services, flight-seeing, a restaurant and shops.  Moose Pass will help you enjoy a vacation whether you are a sportsman, photographer, explorer, pilot, or hammock-bound book lover!

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Moose Pass is an unincorporated community of just over two hundred people on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Small, yet charming and perfect in so many ways.

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This picturesque town 30 miles outside of Seward got its name, in part, in 1903 when a moose got in the way of a mail carrier’s dog team. This is one of the few theories that the locals have on exactly how the name came about.

moose-pass-summit-lake-lodge

Even the views from (either side of) the train tracks are breathtaking. The Alaska Railroad never disappoints, no matter where it goes!

railroad

Moose Pass is a great home base for visiting Seward…

Seward

Or the Russian River fishing area.

Russian River

But before you go anywhere, no trip to Moose Pass is complete without getting some of the BEST fudge in the world. Fittingly named the Moose Drop-In. Sure, we may be a little partial to our local chocolatier, but you have to trust us. This stuff is too good to put into words. And its homemade. Best described as “heaven on earth.” Favorite flavor (of the moment): Habanero Raspberry!

fudge

When visiting Moose Pass, you can even sharpen your best cutting tools if you have them handy. One of the locals built a giant waterwheel with a sharpening stone attached to it.

wheel

It is called Ed Estes’s wooden water wheel and sharpening stone and it is another little landmark in the quaint town of Moose Pass that holds a ton of history and tells a great story.

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From incredible vistas to jaw-dropping “once in a lifetime” wildlife viewings, there are countless reasons to put the Kenai Peninsula at the top of your Alaska bucket list.  While you’re visiting, be sure to check out Moose Pass and share some of your fun photos and adventures with us through The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground Facebook page.

sign at wheel