Sunday, 4 December 2011
Yes, it's true. There is no dollar menu at MacDonalds in Anchorage Alaska.
Most items on the dollar menu are $1.50.
That might not seem like a big deal, but here is a little break down.
MacDouble (the burger)
in Alaska the same 3 items together run for $4.50.
The bill increases by 33%.
MacDonalds locations are everywhere in Anchorage. It is by far the most commonly found restaurant. Burger King and Wendy's are hard to track down.
Some of my favorite cheap combinations at MacDonalds.
1 MacDouble + 1 Small Fries = $3.00
Apple Dippers + 1 Apple Pie = $1.50
1 Black Coffee + 2 Apple Pies = $2.50
Other tips at MacDonalds go for any fast food restaurant.
***If you can get free refills, never get any size other than the smallest. You can get just as much for the cheaper price...only exception would be if say you really wanted to make a meal a LARGE meal.
These days I take that one to a different level.
When I go for value meal food, I don't order drinks. I can just bring my water bottle into MacDonalds, and it doesn't seem to be a problem.
A $4.50 lunch just became a $3.00 lunch. It's a 33% savings.
MacDonalds is one of my favorite companies in any industry, for they have made some smart business decisions. One of the best ones is including wifi in their locations. I almost always pick MacDonalds over other fast food restaurants solely for the internet. However, they are getting rid of plugs fast.
NOTE: The Wal-Mart on Old Seward Highway has a MacDonalds without Wifi....Repeat. The Wal-Mart at the Dimond Center has no wifi.
However, there is a MacDonalds right across the street (literally) with wifi. As I said, MacDonalds is the most commonly found restaurant in Anchorage.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
During one of my first weeks in Anchorage, I was stuck outside waiting, and I wandered across the street to a place that was advertising lunch specials. It was a convenience mart, but the back was a small restaurant.
It looked almost dismal. The floors were a little dirty. The chairs were all black and metallic, and the tables were plain and rickety. There was only one other customer, a person that wasn't eating anything for some reason.
However, I looked at the menu on their counter wall, and I saw that they offered a Beef and Noddle Lunch special (identical to the one in the picture), so I decided to give that a shot. After all, it was only $7.99.
First, there was an appetizer setting, and I was offered the choice of a salad or KemChi, a korean spice leaf. In addition to that, the server brought me a steamed bun and more vegetables as an appetizer. Then, the server brought the beef and noodles, and I almost had a jaw dropping moment. The portions were enormous. I actually had to confirm with the server that the entire lunch was only $7.99. They were still not done with their generosity. At the end, they brought me some of their homemade dessert that was not a normal item on the menu. They just had extra of their own food, and they decided to share it with me.
As far as their sign reads, they only carry a lunch service.
Beef and Noodles - Enormous Portions of Food for $7.99
Sushi -- 24 Sushi Rolls for $6.99
Much Lower than any grocery store.
Teriyaki Chicken -- Chicken and Rice $9.99
I was told this one was a favorite, and I decided to try it once. However,it was only chicken,rice, and sauce. I thought it was such a great deal to get the beef and noodles, that it became a regular lunch spot for me.
I went so often, my natural awkwardness and lack of basic social interaction skills began to make the staff uncomfortable, so I had to cut back on my visits.
The atmosphere isn't very welcoming, but the food tastes amazing, and the portions are enormous for the prices.
This place sometimes offers free coffee as well.
I connected to a network not owned by Evergreen Market. It was called "Dlink," and it can be found at certain places in Anchorage.
Evergreen Market is at
The Corner of Fireweed Ln and Spenard
2401 Spenard Rd.
It is available on Bus Lines 7 and 3.
Checkout the No. 1 Best Dining Service in Anchorage page tab here :)
This one was in a close running for my No. 1 Best Service Experience in Anchorage AK.
Cafe Vivachi, located on Dimond Blvd across the street from the Fed Ex Office, is an awesome cafe. The atmosphere is pleasant, and of course they have a couch and tv as well as both indoor and outdoor seating and a drive thru.
What really makes this place stand out over other cafes is the quality of service. The baristas are friendly, yet they do not go overboard with peppiness, nor do they seem like they are only interacting with you because they get paid to do it and a supervisor is watching them.
They seem genuinely friendly, and that is a quality that is harder to find than one would think.
The coffee is great. I only went for the house brew coffee, which was priced at $1.50 the last time I was there. Anything more than $1.50 for a cup of brewed coffee in Anchorage is not worth it. It should be easy to forget Starbucks as their coffee is horrible, and it costs more anyway.
One time near the end of the shift, the pot of house brew coffee was empty, so the barista quickly made me a Cafe Americano at no charge. When I go to restaurants, I remember things like that, and it makes me come back.
WIFI? : OH YES
There is wifi through a private Cafe Vivachi network, and the "Fed Ex Office Guest" wifi from across the street was picked up as well. It works fast, and there are plugs all along the wall, so really you can stay until 5PM when they close.
But what puts this place over the edge is the excellent service, and it doesn't hurt that all the baristas are extremely attractive women....doesn't hurt one bit.
If you are interested
Cafe Vivachi is at
223 E Dimond Blvd
It is available on the 7 and 9 Bus Lines.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
I am a person that gets hungry and frequently desires savory snack food. I often found myself going to MacDonalds and getting a sandwich for $1.50. However, MacDonalds food can get rather boring over and over again.
Thank the graces of fortune that I discovered "Charlie's Bakery and Chinese Restaurant." This place sells steamed buns almost identical to the ones in the picture, except Charlie's buns are a little large.
It's 50 cents more for Charlie's Bun than for a MacDouble Sandwich, but I love buying local as long as it's a similar price and the quality is better.
The dough is soft and almost wet (as it has been steamed). A thick layer of dough tops encloses around the rich hearty meat filling. Charlie's Steamed Buns are available with either chicken or pork. I choose Chicken. The way the steamed bun is cooked each bite releases the flavor into your mouth. First you taste the dampened soft dough, and then, you get all the Asiatic flavors unleashing their magic.
It's worth the extra $0.50 more than a MacDonald's sandwich, and it's the same size as a MacDonald's sandwich.
But this is for quick snack food.
If you'd ever want to visit Charlie's Bakery and Chinese Restaurant, it's available at 2729 C Street and on Bus Lines 2 and 75.
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
In Anchorage I frequently took the 9 Bus between the Downtown Transit Center and the Dimond Mall in South Anchorage, and each day I would pass Pho Jula.
It seemed like a rather knew restaurant that offered Thai and Exotic Chinese Cuisine (so their sign read), and it stood out to me above all the others on that bus line.
I had to try it.
But how did it range among prices?
I've noticed one of the most difficult parts of living in Anchorage is finding a sit-down restaurant that can give you a meal for under $20, that includes drinks and a tip and an appetizer if you so choose.
First noticeable characteristic about Pho Jula.
The restaurant is small, quaint, and petite.
The first plus was free hot tea, an essential good start to any Asian Cuisine restaurant.
I ordered an Appetizer, but first, I'll begin with the entree. It was a mixed meat and pepper soup, and overall, the color was not that appealing. However, the taste was phenomenal.
Very well-cooked and savory.
Although, you can see the red peppers in the meaty soup, this was not a dish that overpowers the spice at all. It could have had a little more kick in the spice. In fact, when I order spicy food with the red pepper on the menu, I look for something that gives you a mouthwatering spicy urge. This soup was not that powerful, but it was still delicious, and it was served with the veggies in the top image and a lime wedge.
Now, the first thing I got to try in Pho Jula I wanted to reveal last.
This was something that I had never tried before, and I am so glad I ordered it.
This was Pho Jula's take on Vegetarian Spring Rolls. They are served in a crystalline dough with smooth even tastes of cucumbers and vegetables. The sauce was a perfect dip. I even used some in my soup. I had never eaten one like this before, and both the plating and the taste were excellent.
I don't often order appetizers because they jack up the price. However, this one was worth it. Overall, Pho Jula is a great restaurant. It was a good experience, but aside from the not so peppery soup, one thing that stood out to me was the word "exotic." This is a restaurant that advertises on their sign "Exotic Chinese Cuisine," yet there was nothing super out of the ordinary on the menu. It all seemed like very basic and simple Asian American Ingredients.
$9.99 for a lunch special was one of the lower ones on the menu.
$4.99 for the perfect spring roll appetizer was definitely worth it.
Great Food, but I would go back only for the tea and spring rolls to truly get the best of the deal.
If you'd like to try Pho Jula, it is located at the corner of Arctic Blvd and Airport International Rd. It is accessible on Bus Route 9.