Tag Archives: Anchorage

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159. La Potato Restaurant in Spenard.

We’ve been taking a week-long break at our cabin in McCarthy, and this morning I rose before daylight at 7:30 AM here in the Wrangell Mountains.  We have been doing some fat biking around the roads and trails that connect key places in the Kennicott Valley.  On our ride from our cabin south of McCarthy to the town of Kennicott, the glaciers and mountains were spectacular, Mt. Blackburn looming in the evaporating clouds, and the Root and Gates glaciers glistening in the distance like diamond encrusted jewels.  Our route took us past the new and ever popular The Potato Restaurant in McCarthy.  It is slumbering like all the bears out here with a “Closed for the Season” sign and all the picnic tables put away for the winter.  Meanwhile in the big city of (Los) Anchorage, a new hipster hangout has popped up like a mushroom in the sun after a fall rain shower.  La Bodega teamed up with McCarthy’s Potato crew to make a pop-up restaurant called La Potato, located in Mr. Whitekey’s old haunt, the Fly By Night Club.  If you are newer to town you might know this place as the Taproot, or the most recent, and briefest occupant, Route 33. 

Pamela Hatzis, the proprietor of La Bodega, the cool liquor store where you can get boutique wines and by-the-bottle beers, wanted to have a place of her own where she could host tasting events.  She has been doing a righteous job running the ever popular liquor store with two new locations springing up in the last four years, one in Girdwood and a second Anchorage location at the Northern Lights Center Mall.  Rebecca Bard, one of the owners of the McCarthy and Valdez Potato restaurants has been wintering in Anchorage and working for Pamela at La Bodega for a while.  She has endeavored to school the Bodega team on how to run a successful restaurant.  The end result is a spectacular success with the pop up restaurant everyone is raging about, La Potato.  Raging is the word.  Maria and I attempted to go there on Saturday late afternoon, on the second day in business, and the parking lot was overflowing like Moose’s Tooth during a First Tap event.  We came back when we thought it would be less busy Thursday last week.  We easily found parking and came in to find a lovely draft menu, as well as great canned and bottled beer offerings.  I am sure there was some good wine and saké offerings as well, I just neglected to search them out.  I ordered some rosemary garlic fries and the duck egg kimchi plate, and I recommend both.  Watch out though, the garlic fries are a litmus test for how much your date really likes you…  Better if you both consume that much garlic in one sitting.  I ordered My 85th Rodeo IPA from Woodland Empire Ale Craft in Idaho (pictured in this painting in front of the iconic Spenard sign that hangs next to the stage) and a Solid Gold from Founder’s Brewing Co.  I exited right before a secret show began featuring The Lucky Chops, because I didn’t bring hearing protection, and I’m just too old to handle loud music at this point.  The place went from being modestly busy to teeming with people for the music.  It’s like Anchorage has been starved for a hangout that isn’t a bar and people are finally finding their fix.  We have Koot’s and Van’s Dive Bar, and even the newly revamped Carousel Lounge, but La Potato is different because it is a restaurant first. 

As I pack up my bags tonight and make the grueling drive back to the big city tomorrow, I am not sorry to leave, because the fun is in Spenard where the spirit of McCarthy is alive and well.  I will pass the slumbering Roadside Potato as I drive out and will look forward to its glory in the summer months, but this winter is all about Ancho“RAGE,”!

Cheers to Pamela and Rebecca’s brainchild that is rocking the socks off the block in Spenard!

Only one original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159.  My 85th Rodeo by Woodland Empire Ale Craft, pictured at La Potato in Spenard, Anchorage, AK. 6"x12", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159. My 85th Rodeo by Woodland Empire Ale Craft, pictured at La Potato in Spenard, Anchorage, AK. 6″x12″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

   

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May First Friday Art Walk | Open Studio Mode vs. Work Mode

~ by Maria Benner

This Friday, May 4 is the first Friday of the month, which means that most local art galleries will have new art shows and will be hosting receptions.  The artists are normally present at these events, and often there is live music and complimentary refreshments.  Most of the action happens downtown, but there are many venues around town that host First Friday events.  The Anchorage Press is a good source for event listings.  Scott and I usually open our studio to the public for First Friday Art Walk, but not every month.  This one in May will be the last one we’ll host at the studio until October.  Scott will have an art opening in June, but it will be at Midnight Sun Brewing Company.  In preparation for an open studio event, we always have to do quite a bit of cleaning and rearranging of paintings and studio equipment.  Work mode and open studio mode are very different.  We completely clear my desk to make room for prints and greeting cards, put away all the painting stuff and scrub the floor.  Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what the studio looks like in work mode, versus how we make it look for visitors during open studio events.  We hope you’ll stop by this First Friday from 5:00 – 7:30 pm.  We’ll have cookies that Scott will bake from scratch, and new paintings that have never been shown before.  The address is 333 W 4th Avenue, Suite 4 (inside the 4th Avenue Market Place).

Work mode

Work mode

Work mode

Open studio mode

Open studio mode

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #133. Day Old White Beer by Anchorage Brewing Co.

What do you do with some day-old bread… besides eat it?  If you are Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop, or Anchorage Brewing Company, you make an avant-garde Belgian wit-bier with it.  Some 130 pounds of day-old sourdough bread from the delicious Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop were added to Anchorage Brewing’s mash tun to make this untraditional wheat beer.  Wit-bier by definition is a Belgian-style wheat beer with as much as 50% wheat in the mash.  It is spiced with coriander and orange peel.  The world’s most famous wit-bier, Hoegaarden, made in a huge factory in Hoegaarden, Belgium makes the whole town smell like SweeTARTS candy.  ABC’s Day Old White Beer is a good representation of the style despite its unique addition of whole loaves of Alaskan sourdough bread.  I thought I would taste some sour notes, or funk, but I guess that was all killed in the boil.  Delicious beer made by one of my favorite breweries and tied to my favorite neighborhood bakery!  If you haven’t had some baked goods from Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop, you are due to take a field trip there and get some goodness!  Also get in to ABC to pick up a four pack of some of the last remaining cans of Day Old White Beer, as this is probably a one of a kind batch.
Cheers to Anchorage making some artisanal goodies!

The original oil painting was a commission, but 52 limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #133. Day Old Wheat Beer by Anchorage Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #133. Day Old Wheat Beer by Anchorage Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

A thank you note to our local community

Scott and I just got back from a two-week trip to Washington and Oregon where we visited many of our wonderful friends and family.  We had an amazing trip, but are glad to be back in Anchorage, where the pace of life is slower, and life seems easier in general.  We don’t have to structure our daily schedule around peak traffic times, there are fewer people competing for the same things, and the scenery is breathtaking.

On the first day back in Anchorage we drove around to replenish our supplies, and almost everywhere we went, we knew someone.  The best part is that several people told us they needed to meet about a painting, or a stickers order, or help with graphics.  That’s when we realized that our local community is the reason that we are able to survive on the income from our little art business.  Without long-standing relationships in our home town where we have lived for over 20 years, our business wouldn’t be possible.  So, thank you to all of you who choose to buy locally!!!  That really does make a difference!  We feel the love, Anchorage, and we can’t think of a better place to live and work!

~ Scott and Maria

Thank you note to Anchorage, Alaska

Year of Beer 07.27. Thank You German Hefeweizen by Anchorage Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.