This Easy Pasta Salad recipe is a great go-to side dish when you’re short on time, but still want something tasty for a barbecue or picnic. This pasta salad is simple and can be put together in about 20 minutes or less. It is also easy to customize, or just to put together with the vegetables that you have on hand. After the pasta is cooked, it is a great recipe that your kids can help you make, too!
When I first made this Sweet & Spicy Tilapia recipe, my son went on and on about how delicious he thought it was. I was really surprised that a 5-year old would be so excited to eat fish. He ate seconds, and I think if we would have had more, he would have had thirds!
I spent this past week in beautiful Anchorage, Alaska. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and if I had been there to sight see, it would have been amazing! However, I was there for work, so we were arms deep in workshop tasks during the core business hours of the day. On the plus side, lunch and dinner were on our own every day I was there, so I had the opportunity to try lots of delicious meals! I like to try to eat things that I couldn’t get at home. If you will be dining out in Anchorage, AK, here’s where I visited and what I thought about it! All of these pictures were snapped with my phone, so the quality of the photo isn’t what I would hope for, but it helps give you an idea of the meal!
This was a great stop for my first lunch in Anchorage. F Street Station is a small bar & grill, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t seat more than 40-50 people. There was a line when I got there, and as soon as one group got up, the next group in line would seat themselves at the vacated table or spot at the bar. The halibut was very fresh, lightly breaded, and cooked just right. The tartar sauce was nice, and in fact I also dipped my fries in it. The fries were just OK– they were not crisp enough for my taste.
Order: Italian Stromboli (I forgot to snap a pic before I dove in, so this is missing several bites of stromboli, salad, and chips. Oops!), and a Glacier Brewhouse Raspberry Wheat (not pictured)
My boss thought calzones sounded good for dinner, so we found this place on our walk toward the Captain Cook monument. I thought I would give the stromboli a try, and I was not disappointed. It was delicious. The stromboli was little on the greasy side, but I expected that given the cured meats involved The house dressing (which they served on the side of the romaine salad) was also good. I thought about this sandwich several times this past week, and almost went back to have it again. It was that good! The beer I ordered was also very good, but it was very fruity, too. You definitely have to like raspberries to enjoy the beer. The Glacier Brewhouse restaurant is around the corner from this pizza place, and I hear it’s often very crowded and is a favorite place for visitors and locals alike.
Order: Slice of Triple Blackberry Cake
I don’t usually do dessert when dining out, but I was curious about this little place when we walked by, so we stopped in for a treat. The blackberry cake was decent. The cake was overbaked and the frosting was too sweet for my taste. But, the parts of the cake in the center were pretty tasty When I asked for water, they pointed me to a small water cooler and a stack of the little Dixie cups that hold about 3-4 oz, so I think they want most people to order a drink, too. I did not think the cake was really worth what I paid for it, but you never know until you try!
Order: Single Halibut Taco (another partially-eaten dish; sorry!)
I’m sad to say that this was the most disappointing meal I had in Anchorage. A group of teachers from Alaska that I had the pleasure to work with suggested that we all eat here. Several of us ordered the halibut tacos, and every single one of us (locals included!) was pretty unimpressed. The halibut was incredibly fishy tasting (and because I had amazing halibut the day before, it was very apparent), and it just wasn’t anything all that amazing. The fish wasn’t breaded or anything; it was just cooked and crumbled at the bottom of the tortilla. I hate to have such a “downer” of a review, but I really just don’t have much praise for it
Order: Mee Krob (again I took a bite before remembering to snap a pic…)
I am going to start looking for recipes for this dish. I finished just about every last bite of this dish, because the flavor was incredible! There were pieces of chicken, pork, and a few shrimp along with noodles and peppers. It had just the right amount of heat to bring out the falvors in the dish without overwhelming them. Very good, and I would order this again if I had the chance to go back. I really need to find out how to make it!
Order: Zeus panini on multigrain bread (completely forgot to snap a pic because I had it “to go”)
This was a tasty sandwich. I could tell this was a place with a loyal local crowd, as they addressed several customers by name when they walked in. My sandwich was pretty delicious, and they offered a choice of kettle chips or baby carrots as a side. Had I more room in my stomach, their “spiced blueberry” smoothie sounded interesting!
Order: Fresh Alaska Copper River Red Salmon
Sack’s prints a new menu every day. So, when they say “Fresh”, they mean it. This salmon was incredible. It was cooked perfectly. The “deconstructed spring roll” was flavorful and didn’t overpower the fish. They did serve bread before the meal with balasamic vinegar and olive oil, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. The salmon on the other hand? Amazing. I really can’t say too much about it other than it was cooked just right, and the “sides” were just enough to bring out the incredible flavors of this fish. A very nice preparation of a delicious fish.
Order: Reindeer Pizza (and sampled a meatball)
Yes, I said reindeer. This pizza featured reindeer sausage, black olives, and green onion. (Sidenote: there are multiple hot dog stands downtown that sell “reindeer dogs”, and had I not tried this pizza, I would probably have tried one myself out of curiousity ) I took off some of the green onion, as I thought it was a little much, but the reindeer sausage was nice. It reminded me of a smoked sausage like kielbasa. Fat Ptarmigan’s wood-fired pizza oven was right across from the table where we were seated, so it was cool to watch the staff toss the dough, and then watch how they kept pizzas rotating in the giant flame-filled oven. The crust was pretty good, and I hear that this pizza can compete with Moose’s Tooth (which was too far away for me to visit, but is supposed to be “the best” in the region/state). The meatball that I sampled was good, and I would maybe order it for an appetizer if I was really hungry and needing a protein boost.
Order: Salmon Cakes and Sweet Potato Fries (both happy hour specials) and 49er Amber Ale
This was our last restaurant stop in Anchorage, and it was a good one. We caught the happy hour (and I was still pretty full of pizza!), so I ordered a few happy hour appetizers as my meal. The sweet potato fries were nice and crispy, as were the salmon cakes. The inside of cakes were not dried out at all, though. They were served atop some dressed salad that was a nice touch. The beer was good, and I wish I knew more about beer to be able to say something sophisticated about it
Unfortunately, I did not get to visit every place that I would have liked to, so I have a list going for “visit next time” already! Have you been to (or do you live in) Anchorage, AK? What are you favorite places to eat?
And as a side question that I would love for you to answer, what did you think about reading these reviews? Is it something interesting to you? A waste of time to read? I took pictures and wrote notes mostly for my own memory (in case I get to go back!), but I wondered if this was something others were interested in… I am interested in hearing what you think!