After seeing the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, we indulged a recurring joy of travel: local food specialities. We enjoyed excellent halibut fish and chips at a no-name dive bar, drank beer at a brewery and searched for Alaskan king crab legs.
Near the Juneau airport, following directions on our phone, we turned onto Industrial Road, stopped at a red, barn-like building with no sign, and parked in the dirt out front. We ordered a beer and fish and chips at the counter. The fish was excellent — big chunks of Alaskan halibut, crispy on outside and moist on the inside — some of the best we’ve ever had. Sand Bar and Grill is the name; just don’t look for a sign.
During our three-week Alaskan vacation, we usually drank beer from the Alaskan Brewing Company. We imbibed more at their tasting room at the Juneau brewery. Nice! The brewery’s next door, but you can only see the bottling line through a window, shown above. I put the camera lens close to the window and spread my hand to cover up the reflection of the parking lot, but I failed to cover the entire reflection, so the picture shows the bottling line inside and the parking lot outside. This trick of covering a reflection came from a bird in Botswana — it hunts in shallow water, spreading its wings with black underside so it can see beneath the water.
From their parking lot, clouds swirl against a steep, tree-covered hillside. Juneau has many steep hillsides, and Mendenhall Glacier is close by. Perhaps the steep hills of Juneau were carved by glaciers.
That’s our red rental car. We had trouble finding the brewery because street signs and streets aren’t great in this industrial area. We finally spotted some tall tanks higher than the buildings and headed for them, and that’s how we found the brewery.
The next day, waiting to meet our ship, we checked out places selling Alaskan king crab legs. Being from San Francisco, we prefer our dungeness crabs, but when in Alaska, we wanted to try Alaskan king crab legs again.
We wandered through the waterfront, a mass of shops with massive cruise ships docked. Tracy’s Crab House gets great reviews. We tried a sample of their crab bisque, for which they’re justifiably famous. But they only offered seating under a tent on the wharf, not attractive on a gray and drizzly day.
A local person told us Tracy also owns Salt, a downtown restaurant serving king crab and bisque. Salt is a fine dining restaurant far enough from the wharf to be out of the tourist shops. We had lunch there, and the crab bisque and Alaskan beer were excellent.
Alaskan king crab is found in the far north, and the king crab served in the summer has been frozen. Even in Alaska, king crab is expensive. We tried to find really good king crab legs, but we still prefer the flavor of dungeness crab.
After lunch we waited at the Juneau library, located on the water front. The library was warm and dry, and they offer free internet. Our small-boat, cruise company said there’d be no internet and cell coverage during our one-week cruise.