Sorry about the lack of recent postings. I’m not dead, just traveling. And freezing. I’m in Anchorage, where my husband keeps telling me the temperature and I keep going, Huh?, because it’s in single digits and I’m just not used to the concept that a temperature can be expressed that way..

Foodwise, it’s been an interesting trip. I’m on a muffin search for another blog I work with (; please go check it out) and have been sampling lots of muffins. Going to a place tomorrow called the Muffin Man. We’ll see. My conclusion so far is that most coffee bar muffins aren’t worth the calories. If they’re not fresh from the oven and still warm, forget it.

We’re here, in part, because our daughter and son-in-law live here and, since she works at a popular restaurant called Bear Tooth Grill, we had to eat there first.

We were meeting her for lunch and got there early so had the chips with salsa sampler (despite it’s name, it’s a kind of southwest-Latino place) and knew right away there is a reason why have to wait in line for a table here. None of the three salsas was the usual tomato-jalapeno glop: There was a crunchy fresh green chili and onion, a smooth-textured spicy red and — sound of bomb going off! — a black bean and grilled corn thing.

The corn is grilled enough to caramelize and even blacken the kernels and the beans are cooked to just the right softeness, so the salsa is sweet, smoky, creamy and crunchy with just a hint of fire. I could easily eat this as a salad, with maybe some grilled fish or some chunks of feta cheese. I’m going to recreate this one.

When our very pregnant (with twins!) daughter arrived and the hugs had been shared, we ordered lunch. Something drew me immediately to the chicken rice bowl. Both our daughter and the waitress enthusiastically endorsed my choice. (Anything corn, anything rice is my motto.)

A shallow wide bowl appeared, filled with long grain rice and pieces of spice-flecked chicken bathed in a thin, red sauce. First bite. Mmmmmm. What a delicious sauce: spicy, citrusy and yet buttery. Second bite, with chicken. MMMMMMMMM. How do they get the chicken so tender? Third bite, the bear in me starts to stir. I become protective of my bowl, ready to growl and show a fang or claw to anyone who comes near. (Alaska is having an effect on me.)

Meanwhile, Husband is looking rather bear-like himself, slurping oysters out of his own bowl of red with noisy abandon. Turns out the lime chili beurre blanc in my rice dish is the same sauce, with more liquid, in which is oysters have been steamed. (Later, the chef tells us that they used to do mussels but haven’t been able to find good ones of late. It’s killer with mussels, she says, and I can imagine it would be.)

The next day, we return for breakfast and I order the sausage gravy with biscuits (served only on weekends). I wasn’t feeling very well and couldn’t eat much, which bummed me out because the biscuits were homemade, buttery, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside; the gravy was thin and not the usual over-floury, over-thick stuff, the spiciness of the crumbled sausage was just right. I carefully packed up the leftovers for eating later. And forgot them at the table. Talk about bummed. When everyone else was still full at lunchtime, I was getting hungry and I couldn’t find my sausage gravy!!!! I wanted to go back there today (Sunday) but we’re going to our kids’ house for my son-in-law’s killer chicken enchiladas.

I am sorely tempted to go by Bear Tooth on the way, and order a sausage and biscuit to go.

Bear Tooth Theatre Pub & Grill: 1230 W. 27th Ave. (just a few blocks on the airport side of downtown, right off Minnesota St., a main north-south drag).

PS: If you make it to Anchorage, there’s a great new-and-used, marked-down bookstore, Title Wave, just a block from Bear’s Tooth, 136o W. Northern Lights Blvd. (Northern Lights is the next street airport side of W. 27th).