Friday, July 11, 2008

Alaska Day 9: Juneau

I got up all excited this morning because today is supposed to be the day of our helicopter-dogsledding excursion on Mendelhall Glacier! It turned out to be one heck of a disappointing day! It was rainy and too foggy for the helicopter to land safely on the glacier, so the entire excursion got cancelled. This was THE thing to do in Alaska, and it just so happens that we can't do it!

Damn you, fog!

We decided to use our free time to shop for some food items to bring back to Texas. Here's a quick lesson on salmon. There are 5 types of salmon: Chum (called "Dog" salmon because it's crap), Sockeye "Red", King "Chinook", Silver "Coho", and Pink "Humpy". The best tasting one is Sockeye. We went to Taku Smokeries for a couple of small purchases.
I'm saving my money for Ketchikan, the "Salmon Capitol."

I read online that the best place to have a king crab meal is at Tracy's King Crab Shack (356 S. Franklin This was my food highlight of the trip, and it eased the pain of not being able to go on my dogsled excursion. We had the $50 Crab Shack Combo for 2, which consists of an order of all the items the shack has to offer: a king crab leg and claw, half a dungeness crab, one order of crab cakes, one order of crab bisque, and garlic rolls. Those crab cakes were chockfull of crab with no sign of that crappy stuffing-like gunk most restaurants put in the cakes. The bisque was spicy, creamy but thin, with nothing masking the seafood ingredients. It was honest food.

Tracy's King Crab Shack

Tracy working in the shack

The secret recipe bisque

Best crab cakes

King crab legs and half a dungeness

Juicy king crab meat

After lunch we roamed around Juneau some more. I can't say much about the place because it was just one souvenir shop after another. It got old really quickly. So we headed back to the ship to get ready for our last formal evening.

My farewell formal dinner started off with a medley of rainbow fruits splashed with banana liqueur and sprinkled with coconut shavings. This was so fun to eat. Next, I had a normal shrimp cocktail because I didn't feel like eating the minestrone, gold rush soup, apricot soup, or the Boston lettuce salad with caramalized pear. I then had the roast veal tenderloin brushed with Pommery mustard and sprinkled with fresh basil, served with a Merlot and porcini reduction, sauteed snow peas and pimentos, maple glazed butter squash and a saffron rice timbale. Phew! That's a bunch of stuff packed onto one plate! The veal was tender, juicy, and flavorful. Very nicely done. I ended my meal with a cheese platter again. This was a hit. I loved pairing each bite of cheese with the adorning fruits, nuts, and granola on the plate! I much prefer these accessories over olives.

Mom's dinner consisted of escargots in red wine ragout, shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and a lobster tail with herb garlic butter on a porcini risotto cake with sauteed vegetables, and bread pudding with wild berries. Everything from the shrimp cocktail onwards was excellent.

After dinner, I watched "Mad Money" at the Wajang Theatre while mom played the slots. Later that night, we went to the piano bar, where it was "Broadway Forever" sing along with Man Randall. It was funny how I was the only person under 55 there, and yet I still blended in as I sang along Tin Pan Alley hits. Some may think this is sad...and I will kinda agree.

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