Eastern Treats: No, not a sweet shop as the name implies, but a new Bulgarian-inspired Eastern joint, located in the Co-Op building downtown, where a long-time diner used to be. This is the second food establishment for these Bulgarian owners, the first being the Creperie, a popular lunch, coffee and indulgence stop also located in the 2nd Street Co-Op building. These owners met each other in Alaska, after having been among the many European recruits to come work for the Holland America/Princess machine. Finding they loved Alaska and wanting to be restauranteurs, they forged a life here at Latitude 65 with hands-off-yet-professional service, yummy food, and an appreciation for us locals who applaud their efforts. One of the owners is still working nights at Lowe's to pull it all off. Wow, impressive. Hats off to these guys, and the moussaka is delicious!
Alaska Cheesesteak Factory: I tried my first ever cheesesteak this week in this joint that occupies the former Loose Moose Cafe on Airport Drive. So.....I guess I didn't know what a cheesesteak is supposed to be, so I can't properly evaluate this. Definitely a good vibe with the patrons, a mix of the Fairbanks working folks, some military fatigues, a solo dude with rainbow-colored hair with a t-shirt promoting bacon, and us. It was Collin's second visit, so he knew to ramp things up by ordering the jalapeno version. I can only hope that the added fire helps break down some of the gooey cheese and the whitest of white-flour hoagie bread as it all goes down! The scenery from the window is like a little brush with gratitude: across the street is the sad-looking Klondike Hotel, a place I'm happy to not be sleeping in tonight!
BikeShare: Yes, Fairbanks has gotten into the bike thing. (And if you don't know what that is, I suggest you move or visit somewhere a bit more progressive.) We've seen the success of this program in Denver and other cities, albeit with slicker, more modern rental stands and delivery mechanisms. But hey, it's Fairbanks!
Lavelle's Tap Room: Giving Hoodoo Brewery a run as the locals' favorite beer drinking spot, this modern establishment downtown boasts many large screens in order to follow your favorite hockey event and up to 30 different beers on tap, depending on the day.
Fay Translation/Interpretation Service: Oh, that's right--I did NOT start this business! Yet you wouldn't know it from the past few weeks. Due to events that are far too lengthy to describe here, I have recently found myself serving as a police and legal interpreter, and the translator of probate correspondence and, even more significant, a petition for political asylum for an immigrant family. I have to say, the latter was absolutely, positively the hardest thing I've ever worked in this area. It was about 25, single-spaced pages detailing the harrowing life and events that led to a family of five to flee Central America. Yet another flash of gratitude, this time two-fold: 1) that I've never lived with fear like theirs, and 2) that the stars aligned so that I would meet and help them.
Fay Flight Instruction: Oh that's right. We didn't actually throw out the shingle for that one, either! But alas, what's a CFI to do when a couple smokejumpers approach to him to teach them to fly in the "club plane." That gig is officially up today--fire season has begun, and Collin ships out soon!