Bill finds a nice respite for coffee at the Flying Squirrel Bakery Café in Alaska’s quaint village of Talkeetna.
By Bill Walsh
I find great joy in finding and exploring new places, especially if that new place holds some serious character. Places like the Bay Area (San Fran) and Bozeman, MT with their unique magic set my heart ablaze and my mind into hyperdrive.
But of all of the places I’ve been in the States, one the most interesting has to be Talkeetna, Alaska. Built as a railroad hub (the town only in the past decade got a paved road leading to it from the highway), the town has served as a place for fishermen and mountain climbers to set up a base of operations since the early 1900s. Much of the beautifully quaint town is historic and also offers grand places to eat such as the Talkeetna Roadhouse (there I had the most amazing breakfast) and the West Rib Cafe and Pub.
To complete any gem of a town, one needs a good coffeehouse. Sadly, there was no place trumpeted by locals or coffee geeks, but upon some further research, it seemed that the Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe right outside town was my best bet for a good cup. Serving K-Bay Coffee from Homer, a coffee I had yet to sample, I had my fingers crossed that it would be worth my time. I made my way over, pulling off the the access road into their unpaved parking lot and beheld the log cabin that is the cafe. Inside, there’s a massive kitchen as well as a healthy seating area full of random tables, a vaulted ceiling, paper lanterns and warm colors.
I ordered an espresso of their espresso blend (I failed to get a name) and a drip infusion of a blend mixed of a K-Bay coffee and a Silverhook coffee (also no specific name that I found). The drip produced a cup with a heavy body, dotted with notes of minestrone, romaine, tea biscuit, clove and vanilla. The brew was a bit too dark and a tad stale, but overall it was tasty.
The espresso, pulled short/medium with a brownish crema, held flavors of bitter cocoa, fig bar, ginger, basil and a bit of lemon on the back end. Also a fairly palatable extraction, but not too stellar. It should also be noted that they sell alcohol and have a gorgeous ever-changing menu.
While the town of Talkeetna blew me away with its character, I found the Flying Squirrel to be less impressive in regards to their coffee and espresso (the food I had was top notch). All that seems needed for stellar would be just a little more attention to detail with the espresso and maybe a different coffee (on the lighter side) for the drip. Nonetheless, still glide into Flying Squirrel if you’re passing through for a decent cup.