EAT YOUR WAY TO THE END OF THE ROAD

Photo by Scott Banks

ROAD TRIPPING FROM ANCHORAGE TO HOMER is 220 miles of everything Alaskan—mountains, wildlife, glaciers and good food. It’s a drive that begins in Anchorage and heads south on the Seward Highway, an official All-American Road, meaning the road itself is a destination. At the end of Turnagain Arm the highway carves through the Kenai Mountains then drops onto the Kenai Peninsula, home to world-class fishing and scenery. Split the drive over two days and overnight in Soldotna or Kenai so it’s not an eat-and-dash trip.

Stop for breakfast 23 miles out of Anchorage at Froth andForage Coffee House and Eatery, known for its take on eggs benedict with smoked fennel and honey bacon. Order the doughnuts—that’s not negotiable. If you get a late start, hit them up for dinner that features farm-to-table seasonal Alaska food.

Off the Seward Highway at Girdwood is the Double Musky, where Cajun cuisine is king. Start with the coconut shrimp appetizer and then tuck into the French Pepper Steak encrusted in cracked pepper and bathed in burgundy sauce.

Soon after taking the Sterling Highway cutoff find the Kingfisher Roadhouse in Cooper Landing. A funky polished wood and log interior belies its serious food and even more serious view of Kenai Lake with its unique aqua-blue glacial water. The turkey curry potpie with puff pastry crust is the clear favorite.

A few miles past Kingfisher, Sackett’s Kenai Grill serves ribs and pulled pork sandwiches or pizza. Weary, hungry fishing guides are regulars. An unexpected delight is the pulled pork nachos, with queso, jalapenos and salsa, big enough for two to three people. Alaska-brewed beers is in order here.

On the Kenai Peninsula in Soldotna, St. Elias Brewing Company was a hit from the day they opened. Their Neapolitan-style pizzas cover the classics like Margherita and pepperoni and branch out from there. Small batch beers vary from ales, stout and IPAs, plus seasonal brews.

The Flats Bistro, near the town of Kenai, overlooks the tidal flats at the mouth of the Kenai River. A sunny day on the deck with a Rueben Sandwich and a side of fried pickles would be a hearty lunch intermission. For a civilized dinner, sample the seafood pasta or the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin.

From Kenai or Soldotna (they are just a few miles apart), you’re a little over an hour’s drive to Homer. At Fat Olives, near the edge of town, seafood is king. They also feature Italian staples like pizza and spaghetti and meatballs. And, if you like wings (baked in the wood-fire oven), this might be your place.

Wild Honey Bistro in old-town Homer specializes in crepes, sweet and savory. It’s located a block from Bishop’s Beach, a heart-stopping destination whose scenery defines why you came to Alaska in the first place.

Two Sisters Bakery, a few blocks down the road from Wild Honey, can supply your baked goods and gourmet coffee—and they open early making it a good place to plan the rest of your day.

You must drive the Homer Spit, jutting 4.5 miles into Kachemak Bay. The chefs at La Baleine Cafe were featured at the James Beard House. Satisfy a yen for seafood and order their salmon bowl with grilled salmon, brown rice, roasted root vegetables, seasonal greens, with miso ginger dressing.

Glacier Drive In, also on the Homer Spit, is a good kid stop. Locals favor the burgers. Visitors on the lookout for Alaska seafood order the deep-fried halibut and chips.

In downtown Homer try the Cosmic Kitchen for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Order Mexican for lunch and their varied takes on halibut for dinner.

With the Seward and Sterling Highways the only way in, you can reverse course and eat at all the places you missed the first time on your way out.

Find all the information you’ll need to drive the Kenai Peninsula at travelalaska.com/Destinations/Regions/Southcentral/ Kenai-Peninsula.aspx.