Since we have some down time, and the dealer gave us a beater loaner (complete with cracked windshield), Anne and I drove down to Anchorage yesterday. My friend Jeff sent a link to a local food truck, so we decided to check it and the town out.
We missed the Babycakes truck. Either I read the schedule wrong, or they couldn’t make it. Instead we ordered a Cuban sandwich from one of the other vendors. With a slice of ham, a slice of pork, cheese and zesty pickle on a pressed Panini bun, it was tasty. There was a second truck selling baked good, so we indulged in a cupcake parfait; that’s where they alternate layers of cake with icing. We needed a good walk after that.
I wanted to check out the street made famous during the 1964 earthquake. The newspapers and TV showed how one side of the street sunk a full story. There was far worse damage elsewhere, but that image remained with me. The area affected was along 4th Avenue between C Street and E Street.
While we walked the sidewalk, I remarked that this part of town reminded me of the road next to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It’s at the edge of downtown, nearer to the port. It had all the trinket shops and the cruise ships sent busloads of tourists as part of the tour. But I didn’t see a single place to eat seafood. There were plenty of bars, but no salmon, no crab, not even a sushi restaurant. Evidently, Anchorage knows that this is high on the sightseeing list, because the Hard Rock Cafe is at the end of the block, but it needs more local seafood.
The other observation that I made was the street had a split personality directly related to the earthquake. The south side of the street has the original buildings, a mix of old storefronts, bars, with an occasional log building here and there. The north side buildings that sustained most of the damage were replaced with two reinforced concrete structures designed in the 60’s. They act as a shopping mall, but there are few tenants. The owners painted the west building bright yellow, while the east one is purple. Inside of the west building we found the walls plastered with news clips and explanations of what and how the earthquake damaged the surrounding areas. Since the epicenter was in Valdez (an unknown little fishing village at the time), it will be interesting to see how it recovered.