With Shana Roberson
The Northern Light’s “Anchorage Food Quest” has moved on to breakfast foods in this installment of the six-part series. Five local joints had their breakfast platters put to the test; each dish sampled included scrambled eggs, bacon and a side dish, other egg options and meat options are available for each dish as well. All were rather large, and good for sharing with at least one other person.
1. Judy’s Cafe – French Toast Platter ($8.25): While the top two locations were essentially equal in meal quality, Judy’s Cafe snatches the win with their fantastic service. The scrambled eggs in their French toast platter were light and fluffy, and actually had flavor; it was the only egg that wasn’t completely bland. The French toast was thick, had a slight crunch to the crust and was cooked all the way through; it wasn’t soggy in the slightest. The bacon was also fairly good; it wasn’t as salty as the other locations and (unusually) had more of a bacon flavor than grease flavor. Unfortunately, it was just a smidgeon over-cooked for our personal tastes, but if you like crunchy bacon, you’ll love it. And the service? The restaurant was completely full, and yet never once was TNL in need of anything. The waitresses there were good at what they did, friendly and full of personality; tip them well. Judy’s Café is located on Old Seward near Klatt Road.
2. Peggy’s Restaurant – Country Breakfast ($8.50): This platter may not have gotten first place, but TNL will definitely be back for more of Peggy’s bacon. The slices were large, chewy, fully cooked- and heavenly. The eggs were also enjoyable, just shy of perfectly cooked. Unfortunately, they were a little on the watery side, and bland (like most eggs without salt and pepper). The biscuits in their biscuits and gravy side weren’t risen all the way, and so sat heavier and were tougher than desirable. The gravy, however, was the best that TNL sampled. It had a thick consistency, but was surprisingly smooth; it also had an abundance of sausage chunks mixed in as opposed to slivers of it. The gravy’s flavor was bland at first, but a small dash of salt and pepper turned it terrific. The service wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t extraordinary either. Peggy’s is located on 5th Avenue near the Concrete Street.
3. Gwennie’s – Breakfast Special ($8.25): Two huge pancakes were the bulk of the meal here. They were beautifully cooked, fluffy and completely done. No doughy batter left in the centers, no blackened outsides, just perfectly done. That being said, while the pancakes were gorgeous specimens of cooked batter, they took up most of the meal. There were two small slices of bacon, which were slightly under cooked for TNL’s taste, but definitely weren’t raw. There was also a moderately sized serving of eggs, which were overdone and somewhat heavy. None of the food was bad by any stretch, but it just wasn’t perfect. Gwennie’s is a great place to have breakfast, and ordering an entire carafe of coffee for only $2.25 is one of many reasons to go. Gwennie’s is located on Spenard, near Forest Road.
4. Kriner’s Diner – All American ($12.99): While this platter was the most expensive one sampled, it also had the most food, enough to feed three or four people depending on their appetites. The bacon was a bit overdone for TNL preferences, and a bit too greasy, but not terribly so. The two samplers were divided on the large portion of hash browns; one could only taste grease while the other enjoyed the potato flavor, but both agreed that they were well cooked (crispy and brown on the outside, and soft and buttery on the inside). The eggs included were topped with melted cheese, and while it was tasty, TNL couldn’t tell if it was the grease from the cheese that made the eggs taste and appear a little undercooked, or if the eggs themselves actually were. The biscuits in their biscuits and gravy were to die for – the best TNL sampled. Massive, fluffy, and perfectly cooked, they were definitely the highlight of the meal.
The gravy, which was served in a bowl to the side, was less than desirable. In fact, completely ignore the bland gravy (it was filled with ground pepper, so why TNL couldn’t taste it is a mystery) and put some butter and jam on the biscuit; you’ll enjoy it so much more. Kriner’s is located on C St near Fireweed Lane.
5. Jackie’s Place – Country Breakfast ($9.50): As is the trend, the bacon here was also a bit too well-done, as well as a bit bland and generic, but not bad. The eggs were also bland, but were properly cooked through and fluffy. The biscuits and gravy were far, far too peppery. The gravy had lumps of flour in it and the biscuits were doughy in the center. The service was good, and the food arrived quickly, but the cooks at Jackie’s Place appear to sacrifice quality for speed. If they slowed down and took their time a bit more instead of cranking out their orders, the food quality could benefit immensely. Jackie’s Place is located on Spenard, in the blue strip malls across from Beartooth Theatre Pub & Grill.