Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Little Mermaid; One of the Best Restaurants in Homer

The last time we were in Homer, we tried to get into The Mermaid, which was near the Driftwood Inn, but it was full, and worse – fully reserved. We had not made reservations. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake this year, but as they do, things had changed, The Mermaid was under new management and the people who had created it’s huge success were at another restaurant, The Little Mermaid. So we made a reservation at The Little Mermaid and hoped for the best.

Oh my.

It is about as opposite to Captain Patties as can be. While both emphasize great fresh seafood, The Little Mermaid is more experimental.

We were really glad we had made reservations. There is a bar, very small, and then there are like four booths and maybe three more bar stools at a counter in the room to the right.

This is the exterior:

This is the blackboard, posted to the left as you enter, actually in the bar area which overlooks the harbor:

And this is a view into the kitchen:

A view of the interior where the booths are:

Our appetizer, Halibut Balls with Teriyaki Sauce. This was absolutely delicious, and I have never seen halibut presented this way before:


Now the sad part. When our meals came, I forgot to take any more photos. AdventureMan had Kodiak Scallops, which were very simple and absolutely delicious. I had a Brazilian Stone Bowl, a big (stone) bowl of Alaskan seafood in a coconut milk liquid, boiling hot and it stayed hot; it was novel and unforgettable and delicious. As we were waiting for our meals, the waitress came and asked me if we could wait just a couple minutes more; they had a fresh batch of mussels in and would like to throw a few into my dish, would I mind waiting?

We had seen the man walk from the harbor into the restaurant, carrying a big bag of freshly caught mussels. Of course I would wait!

For me, this was one of our best meals of the trip, and if you go to Homer, be sure to make a reservation at The Little Mermaid, out on Homer Spit. This is also where the locals go; it is a very popular place, deservedly.

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Alaska, Cooking, Cultural, Food, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pratt Museum: A Gem in Homer, AK

It’s our last day in Homer, and we are going to the Pratt Museum

  • . AdventureMan has wanted to go there forever, it’s one of the highlights of Homer. I have wanted to go ever since I saw the book on Pratt Museum Quilts; they are incorporated throughout the museum.

    The Pratt Museum is a WOW. It is beautiful, for one thing, all woods and stone, a beautifully crafted, cared for museum. We happened in at a relatively quiet time and had time to talk with the volunteer at the desk, who sold me several raffle tickets for this year’s quilts. I really want to win it; it has blueberries all over it. I suppose I could do a blueberry quilt, but this one is already done!

    They also have a super gift shop, with lots of gift ideas, many locally produced by local artists. You know how it is with tourists, there are a lot of places that sell schlock. When you want a step up, go to a museum gift shop. I used to buy my blank cards at the Tarek Rajab museum in Kuwait, beautiful cards with silver bedouin and Arabic jewelry, or doors of old Kuwait, old Oman, etc. Lovely, artistic cards.

    This is one of the permanent exhibit quilts. It may have been on the bottom floor, with the marine exhibits. Things got crazy after our quiet visit with the volunteer; a large group of students came in, maybe eighth grade, with all the chaos and laughter kids that age engender. We hurried ahead of them to the exhibits, and there are a LOT of exhibits.

    This was a map of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, from which Alaska is still recovering. We learned something interesting, and that is that as horrible as the spill has been for the environment, it put Alaska on the map, raised awareness, and that is when the tourists really started pouring in, maybe like to see the splendors of Alaska before they are destroyed by oil spills or climate change.


    These are some of the Alaska birds you can see on the Kenai peninsula, including, I think, a puffin 🙂


    The Pratt has so many clever and original exhibits. I loved the film presentation on how the First Nation peoples catch, smoke and store salmon. If there is ever a zombie apocolypse and I have to survive, now I know how to prepare and keep salmon over long stretches of time by smoking it and drying it in strips. And protecting it from bears, who love salmon.

    This presentation was like a table, but the movie was on the table. There were foods, and it was like we were the people eating. Someone would pass a dish and explain a little about what it was, like whale blubber or seaweed something. As much as I like to try new things, some of what they had on the table was stuff I would cut into very tiny pieces and push around the plate so it looked like I had tried some but I didn’t. I loved the presentation; so interactive.


    Although there were a lot of really good exhibits, we sort of hurried through once the crowd arrived. We did spend a good amount of time in the garden outside, where I laughed at myself. I learned a lot about myself this trip, why I love the colors I love (mostly greens – blues – purples and why I don’t like a lot of yellow or red in a garden. Almost everything in this garden was blue -purple – fuchsia with just a smattering of tiny yellow flowers, not a speck of red, except muted in some of the foliage, which was mostly shades of green. AdventureMan laughed, too, as it is the bane of his gardening existence that I want the bright red Turk’s Heads and the big yellow Cassia where I can’t see them.









  • July 11, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Cultural, Photos, Road Trips, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

    Maura’s in Homer, AK

    Maura’s is across the street from the Driftwood Inn, and is only open for breakfast and lunch. I had lunch there the day AdventureMan was out bear hunting, and then we had lunch there together the next day.


    Inside Mauras – it’s not very big; many people order to take out


    This salad was full of happy surprises – lots of avocado, a marinated shredded cabbage, a pickled beet, it was continually surprising and delicious:


    Tom Yom Gai with a twist – a lot of kale, which worked. This was the healthiest, tastiest Tom Yom Gai ever:


    As I said, it was so good AdventureMan wanted to try it the next day. They were very busy, we ordered out to eat back at our house, but we were so hungry that I totally forgot to take photos. Both days, delicious.

    July 2, 2014 Posted by | Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Food, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

    Dawn Sunrise in Homer, Alaska

    Our first morning in Homer is a flashback to the perfect weather we had there last August, a total change from the previous drizzly day. This is what sunrise looks like in Homer:


    Those mountains and glaciers thrill my heart.

    AdventureMan was instructed to have a good breakfast; they won’t be back until late afternoon, so we head to Dunken Inn, where we had such a good breakfast last year. We get there just in time – there is no line, and there is a table waiting for us, but five minutes later, there is a line.


    AdventureMan has stick-to-your-ribs-while-bear-hunting biscuits and gravy:

    And I have the 2 – 2 – 1, which is two eggs, two slices bacon and one blueberry pancake. I don’t even really like pancakes, but these blueberry pancakes are SO good 🙂

    We drove around a little until drop off time; AdventureMan spotted a Sandhill Crane and this wonderful local yard art:



    July 2, 2014 Posted by | Alaska, Cultural, Customer Service, Food, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

    When Salmon Jerky and Japanese Crackers are Fine Dining

    It’s a small thing, but just goes to show how much faith we put in planning, and how little control we really have. We’ve just settled in to our nice room at the Driftwood Inn, and a little after four, we get a call from the nice lady at Captain Patti’s, the restaurant where we have reservations for dinner.

    We have no power, she tells us, and adds that the power is out on the entire Homer spit. They are closing for the night. Hmmm. We will have to find someplace else. We have some ideas, so we get in the car and head out, but it gets worse. The stoplights are out. The stores are all closing because they can’t run their cash registers, or run a credit card. The restaurants aren’t opening for dinner at all. The electricity is not just out on the spit, it is out in Homer, too. We briefly consider driving up to Soldatna to see if we can get a bite to eat there, but AdventureMan checks in the office at the Inn, and is told that the electricity is down on the entire Kenai peninsula. Holy tamole!

    No food available, no food for sale. We have a package of Japanese crackers, which we love, and some salmon jerky, which AdventureMan is surprised to find that he likes, too. We have some breakfast cereal if we really need it, and milk in the refrigerator downstairs, so it’s not like we’re going to starve.

    AdventureMan gets a call now that his flight will be departing for the bear hunt at 11 the next morning. I guess you can’t gas up planes without electricity these days, either.

    The power came back some time close to nine, but by that time, we didn’t care to go out; crackers and jerky had done the trick.

    July 1, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant | | Leave a comment

    Two Sisters in Homer, Alaska

    Even taking it easy, we arrived in Homer too early to check in to our hotel, so we headed down the street to a perfect rainy-day hangout, Two Sisters Bakery. We had looked for Two Sisters our last time in Homer and failed to find it for breakfast, so we went right in for a little coffee, tea and sweets.

    TripAdvisor usually ranks Two Sisters one or two of all restaurants in Homer. The place was, consequently, jammed. There are goodies on display everywhere, eclairs, croissants, pies, cakes, breakfast rolls . . . I choose a Turtle Bar and a coffee, AdventureMan has soup and tea.

    Two Sisters is a very popular place, and a lot of fun.





    Even the floor is quirky – I love that it has little waves painted on the floor.


    It was the perfect place to pass a delicious half hour waiting for our hotel room.

    June 30, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Food, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

    Rainy Day on the Sterling Highway to Homer

    AdventureMan gets it. If it is not pouring rain, it is a good day. Part of this day was a good day, but we also got a lot of rain.

    The drive from Seward to Homer, AK, both on the Kenai Peninsula, is not a hard drive, only maybe 2.5 to 3 hours. Almost as soon as you join the Sterling Highway, you are on the Kenai river, and on the Kenai river, things are hopping. Specifically, salmon are hopping.

    At a couple sites, there are a lot of people, and when you look down in the river, there are people in hip boots all lined up for hundreds of yards, casting lines. I rather like fishing, but oh, no! Not like that! I’m a salmon fisher who likes to be on a boat, casting my line over the side, and waiting for a fish to bite. Stand in cold, rushing water with mosquitoes biting? (Shudder!) The thought of some amateur’s hook taking out an eye or a piece of cheek? Horrors!

    Along the route, we saw many many signs like this:


    Firefighters from all over had flown in to fight the Funny River Fire. Alaska doesn’t usually have such a dry spring; a fire this strong and this early is improbable. The fire was also remote, and hard to fight. The fire-fighters are given hero status in this area.

    Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 4.29.01 PM

    Just before we get to Soldatna, AdventureMan spots a moose and her calf alongside the road. There are a lot of moose signs, and some of them tell how many moose have been hit by cars along this stretch of the road. Sadly, it is in the 200’s. Hitting a moose is like hitting a camel. It totals out a car and it is horrible for the moose.

    About halfway to Homer, just outside Soldatna, we took a stretch break at Tom’s Horn and Antler, where we saw lots and lots of moose, deer and elk horns, and lot of stones, many from no-where around Alaska. We found some geode stones from the Atlas mountains in Morocco. At The Two Rusty Ravens, however, I found the one souvenir I bought, a very large copper salmon mold that just fits over the door between my kitchen and dining room. While it is not a Copper River Salmon, it IS a copper salmon, and it makes me smile. AdventureMan gave me a bad time; it is large, but it just fit in my suitcase. 🙂



    We had stopped at the Safeway in Seward, where they have a nice Deli with sandwiches and cookies, and we had our lunch with us. You just never know where you will be and if a restaurant is still open, or not yet open for the season. Here is where we had our lunch stop – an oversight with a view of volcanos – when you can see more than 50 feet in front of you.


    And here was a sign at the pull off. Most of the signs we saw in Alaska had shotgun holes in them, LOL.


    The drive is an easy drive, whether you are coming from Anchorage or from Seward. It barely takes half a day. There are not a lot of passing areas, and there are a lot of big slow RVs, so just take a deep breath and enjoy the experience.

    June 30, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Environment, ExPat Life, Food, Geography / Maps, Living Conditions, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment