Cheers and all the best, Zita
Highlights from Juneau Alaska from All the Best with Zita Keeley. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!
More to come: Icy Strait Point, Sitka, Anchorage, Kodiak, Homer, Alaska and Victoria, BC
The biggest bears in the world are in Kodiak, Alaska. There are more than 3,500 of these brown bears in the town of little over 6,000 people. While my few hours there were to explore the food I couldn’t help but anticipate and actually expect to see one of these giants. (From a distance of course).
I’d arranged to meet with Chef Joel Chenet, a Frenchman, who settled in Kodiak some years ago. He was excited to share some local recipes with me but first took me on a drive around to show me some highlights of the very small town.
Needing some ingredients, we stopped at one of his friend’s houses and walked through her garden picking herbs and lettuce. From there we went down to the beach to forage for some edible greens that are regularly used here like beach greens and sea lettuce. I found out that there are so many edible plants all growing along the shore line. After that, it was to a nearby field to pick more interesting plants and wild greens. It just can’t get fresher than this.
We drove back to his house with our collection of goodies where his lovely wife, Martine, had arranged a full table of scones and tea for our visit. Chef Joel went straight to his kitchen to start preparing an interesting dish with a smoked salmon ravioli and a type of pesto made with nettles and seal oil. I had wondered if I’d get to taste anything unusual on this visit and so seal oil would be it. Other than a slight fishy after taste like when you have a fish oil capsule, the flavor was quite soft and not unlike olive oil.
There was a dish with halibut that Joel was quite excited to showcase. He filled a clay pot with sea water and then lowered hot rocks (usually heated over an open fire but he heated them in his oven here) into the water followed by the halibut filets. It was quite a presentation and the fish turned out delicious.
With only a short time before having to get back to the ship, Joel and Martine insisted on taking us to the Monks Rock Coffeehouse and bookstore they described as a local gem. We were greeted by the friendliest people who are all student volunteers from St. Innocent’s Academy and who immediately made me feel at home. The place is quaint with one side set up as the café and the other a shop with all kinds of Russian do-dads. They also have a thrift store upstairs that I didn’t get to see. While we sipped our delicious coffees and nibbled on an amazing Reuben sandwich, we were suddenly being serenaded with some Georgian folk song by this amazing group of people. It was an unusual yet very moving experience.
Back at the port, Chef Joel tried to give me some remaining halibut to take on board but sadly, the security people there refused to let me. It would have been so great to have the Executive Chef of the ship cook that up. Oh well.
I still can’t believe I never saw any bears in Kodiak, but maybe next time.
Cheers and all the best,
Well here I am back from another amazing expedition for our show, “All the Best with Zita Keeley”. Starting and ending in Seattle we cruised through the inside passage of Alaska with some amazing stops in Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Sitka and Victoria BC. Not to mention, the beautiful Tracy Arm Glacier and Hubbard Glaciers.
I have so many photos to sort through (over 3000) and stories to write about so keep a look out. At this time, I want to shout out to all my wonderful new friends on the other side of the USA for their unbelievable generosity, kindness, fun, time and delicious food. I will acknowledge each of you in my individual blog posts. I also want to thank Holland America Line and all the staff of the MS Amsterdam who helped us along the way.
Cheers and all the best,