Alaska- under our noses (21)

We’d passed it at least 4 times, but the Carr’s grocery store right next to McDOnald’s had a big sign with orange letters

OPEN 24

So, we pulled into the parking lot and went inside to find some food.

Carr’s grocery stores was an Alaskan chain. Safeway (known as Von’s in L.A. where we live) moved up to alaska I don’t know when. But as long as I could remember, Carr’s worked their butts off to make their grocery stores a dream of what a grocery store could be.

Deli counters and in-store bakeries are de riguer now, but those were always part of Carr’s, even back in the 80s. Plus, a full service espresso bar, and an ice cream counter.  They had a HUGE produce section, which for Alaska is no small feat. There was also a large, several aisles worth of health food selections, sort of like a Whole Foods–Gluten-Free, Carob, granola, what have you.

Pretty much anything you could imagine that a grocery store might possibly have, they had. Because they wanted to run Safeway into the ground. The standard for grocery stores in Alaska was very high.

After I moved away, Safeway bought Carr’s. End of an era.

So I expected that the quality would have also fallen. Maybe they wouldn’t be 24 hours anymore. Maybe they would have shut down the ice cream counter or the espresso bar.

The people who told me that Safeway owned Carr’s sounded sad and disgusted with the situation.

But the store was even BIGGER. I know for sure it was bigger because I remember that part of the strip mall being a fabric store. Now the grocery store had taken over that space.

There was a whole long aisle of nothing but all varieties of chips. My grocery store here in L.A. has maybe a half aisle.

I was happy to avail myself of their bathroom, a  welcome change to a flush toilet after the outhouse earlier.

The donuts were very fresh, still being transferred from the baker’s racks to the clear-door cabnets. I took a fritter and Chris got a bagel.

Then I wanted a coffee. Alaska has the best coffee.

We went back to the car. I looked around in this familiar strip mall to see what was changed.

This surprised me:
IMG_8353

A Kaladi brothers coffee shop in Wasilla. I regretted getting my coffee from the Carr’s now. I remembered how they had brought espresso to Alaska when I was a teenager and how it was SO GOOD.

Well, a rising tide lifts all the boats. My  coffee was better than anything I’d had in California in many years.

“Did the coffee wake you up?” Chris asked.

“MMmm..it’s good. I feel better. But I still want to sleep. Maybe we could stay here?”

“It’s too crowded,” he said.

“um….Maybe we could go see Hatcher’s Pass.”

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