Building community and a healthy food system, one bite at a time.

The Dish on Dish Crawl

By Bernice Nisbett & Heather McIntyre

On a cold, dreary Tuesday night in early April, downtown Anchorage would not usually be considered a “happening spot.”   People are still recovering after the most recent spring dump of snow, snuggled back inside for one last hibernation round before summer.  As a passerby peers east and west, the streets are practically deserted.  Except for a few small groups of two or three people rushing from one place to the next, all one sees is blowing snow, dry leaves, and discarded paper in the wind tunnel of Fifth Avenue.

Then suddenly a door swings open and a crowd spills onto the street.  People are laughing, shouting, and smiling.  Their bellies are full, their faces alight, and the once still air is now filled with the conversation of a crowd drawn together by one similar passion – food.  There are two, five, fifteen, now FORTY people, identified as a group by their cheerful camaraderie and the name tags clinging to their wool or down coats.  A spectator steps forward and asks, “What are you guys with?  A convention?”  “One of the jocular crew pauses and responds, “No!  We are with Dishcrawl.”

Imagine a gaggle of empty-bellied strangers congregating over new foods and conversing on their likes and dislikes.  This is exactly what happened on the second leg of Anchorage’s new social event called Dishcrawl.  Angel Howard, Anchorage Dishcrawl’s Ambassador (Dishcrawl.com/anchorage), did her very first nomadic food adventure in February, selling out just a few days after the release of the online tickets.  Forty hungry and curious Anchorage-folk bought tickets to unknowingly nosh foods from Tap Root, Yak & Yeti, Ray’s Place, and Sugar Spoon.  The second time around, SubZero, Ginger, The Gumbo House, and Cake hosted a mix of Dishcrawl veterans and novices to eat their way around a familiar part of Anchorage with a variety of unfamiliar people.

Found in cities in nearly all 50 states and Canada, the Dishcrawl scene is becoming a source of fun and excitement for all walks of people.  The goal of Dishcrawl is to bring communities together through good food and company.  Attendees travel from four different restaurants, all a secret up until the day of the event.  At the first three restaurants, they are treated to appetizers and entrees selected by the chef.  At the fourth they savor dessert.  This is a social event where crawlers meet new people, eat samples of food, and get some exercise in the process.

Dishcrawlers are genuinely open to experience something new, crazy about food (who cares about their expertise), and are even more excited to share this novel experience with their friends.  At every table, people are engaged in conversations over the dollop of whipped avocado painted with a strip of Sriracha sauce and a hint of lemon sitting ever so tastefully on a crisp wonton cracker, concealing the fresh Ahi underneath.  In case you’re a steak-and-potatoes kind of guy or gal, don’t fret, Anchorage is becoming quite the food-hub, and there’s a dish to explore for every finicky eater.  Dishcrawl is a cultural experience that’s been popping up nation wide, and Anchorage is about to join the ranks.  Strolling from one restaurant to another is an inexpensive way to get people up and out and eating differently.  It’s also a new way to experience Anchorage, even if you’ve already been to some of the restaurants.  All you need is an empty stomach, an adventurous mouth, and an open mind.  Currently, Dishcrawl is all that has been offered in Alaska so far.  However, with the success of the first two events, it can’t be long before more events start to follow.  Who knows, in the future there may be more than one crawl!

ellipsis

Bernice Nisbett

Bernice Nisbett, Contributor

This girl eats for two, don’t let her small build mislead you. At the resilient age of 26, Bernice has eaten her way through several countries; having romance after romance with foods that one shouldn’t live without. Her most cherished memories of traveling are the meals she ate and the people she ate them with. Conceived in Puerto Rico and cultivated on the island of Kodiak, Bernice is most at home nestled amongst foodie-folks and cuisines prepared by hand and heart. Her zeal for food comes from her family’s fusion of their Caribbean-Asian culture, and her gratitude for life can be attributed to her eternal quest to discover and revel in the exquisiteness of the outdoors.