Midgi Moore is food writer and blogger living in Juneau, Alaska. She owns
Juneau Food Tours, a culinary walking tour highlighting wild Alaskan seafood.
1. What foods is your city known for?
Juneau is a small, land-locked city. With the ocean to the west and the mountains to the east, we have an abundance of delicious food offerings. We are most known for our wild Alaskan seafood. In the southeast Alaska area, we have all five species of salmon, dungeness crab, rockfish, halibut, spot prawns, and the luxurious sable fish. Diners in Juneau are treated to some of the best seafood one can imagine, prepared by gifted and creative chefs.
2. What is the best time of year to visit your city?
Typically summer is the most popular time to visit Juneau. Our visitor season is May – September, when many of the attractions are ope for example, sport fishing, whale watching, and flight seeing. Juneau Food Tours operates a walking tour during this time, with six tasting locations and eight tastings total. We focus on the seafood, but also include locally produced charcuterie, as well as locally brewed beer. We also offer a winter option from mid-December to the end of March. This is a progressive dinner with a prohibition theme. It has three courses, each at a different location, and three cocktails, because it’s prohibition! Most of our popular restaurants are open year-round, so finding a great meal isn’t too difficult. Juneau is only a two hour flight from Seattle, so any time of year is a great time to visit.
3. Who are some of the chefs in your city that we should keep an eye on?
We are so proud of our local chefs. Chef Lionel Uddipa, chef de cuisine at SALT is a local boy who has lived here since he was two years old. He studied at Cordon Bleu in Atlanta. From there he honed his craft interning (stodging as it’s known in the restaurant world) in James Beard award winning restaurants such as Tru and Next in Chicago and the three-star Michelin rated Alinea, also in Chicago. He brings a sophisticated avant garde flare to the dining scene and we are fortunate to have him. SALT is favorite stop on our summer and winter tours. Another chef on the rise is Chef Beau Schooler, who, with his business partner, Travis Smith, owns and operates four eateries: The Rookery Cafe, Taqueriea, In Boca al Lupo, and Panhandle Provisions, which is featured on our summer tour. Chef Beau is creative talent in the kitchen and has been nominated twice for James Beard Rising Star. He is a nose-to-tail chef, which means he uses all of the animal. In 2015, Chef Beau won the Great American Seafood Cook-Off with his nose-to-tail salmon. This dish included a salt made from the ground fish bones, as well as his trademark salmon chorizo. if you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience, The Rookery is the place to go. The third chef to keep an eye on is Vienetia Santana of V’s Cellar Door. V is a fusion chef who blends earthy flavors of Latin and Mexican food with spicy and rich flavors of the Asian and Korean cultures. Her must have dish is her fusion nachos, which blends these two flavor profiles into one amazing dining experience. For our summer tour, V provides halibut fusion nachos. They are a guest and a local favorite.
4. What can people expect on your food tours?
People can expect the best of Alaskan food and Juneau. We pair the tasty side of Juneau with the fun and colorful side through sharing history and fun facts. The walk isn’t too far, only 1.2 miles because all the great places are close to one another. We don’t feel like you need to walk all over town to get great food and to experience Juneau. Each tour is guided by a local resident, who lives in Juneau year-round. Our tour isn’t a “touristy” tour, we take you where we go, where we eat, where we have a beer with our friends. It’s off the beaten path of where most visitors tread.