Why don’t more residents know about Anchorage’s flag?

Alaska, Audio, News, Uncategorized

Originally published on Alaska Public Media.

It’s bright yellow and only flown in only a couple spots around the city. Few people have probably seen Anchorage’s municipal flag, but it plays an important role in the city’s symbolism. Victoria Petersen has the story.

At Anchorage’s public library, the geese are returning from winter, and people are shuffling in and out of the newly renovated building. Abigail Ash comes here two, to three times a week, always passing by the library’s three large flagpoles.

“I noticed the flag, but I didn’t know what it stood for. My daughter’s even come here and they’re like ‘what’s that?’ It’s like ‘I have no clue’,”

Ash is referring to the municipal flag, which flies next to the U.S. flag and the state flag at the library.

Most people don’t notice it, or know what it stands for. Don Burgman also frequents the library about twice a week.

“I look at the flags, all three of them, and occasionally I notice they’re at half mast and I’m curious about why. But I never noticed it was the city flag. Now that I know that I’ll appreciate it,”

The library and museum are among the few places in Anchorage where you can see the flag flying in the wind. Both Burgman and Ash agree that Anchorage needs a city flag, and that they’d like to see it around more.

“Oh yeah sure, we need a flag,”

“It stands for us,”

The flag features the municipal seal, designed with Captain Cook’s ship the Resolution, a nod to the explorer’s history with Anchorage. It has a large anchor and a small airplane to symbolize Anchorage as a port and as the air crossroads of the world. The seal sits on a field of bright yellow, and the words Anchorage, Alaska adorn the top and the bottom of the seal.

Ted Kaye is a vexillologist, which means he studies the design of flags. Kaye lives in Portland and is the secretary for the North American Vexillological Association He says poorly designed city flags are flown less. Which may explain why few Anchorage residents recognize their flag.

“I like to say that in every bad flag design, there’s a good flag design trying to get out. Anchorage’s flag is no exception. It has great imagery, an anchor for Anchorage is just super. But writing the words Anchorage, Alaska on the flag, in a sense, shows that Anchorage is insecure about its symbolism.”

Kaye has written numerous books about flag design, including one about the history and design of 150 different city flags across the nation. He says his researchers found nearly nothing gathering information about Anchorage’s flag page.

“We know what the design represents, but we didn’t know who had designed it or exactly when. That was just not available to our researchers when we contacted Anchorage.”

After reaching out to the museum, the Mayor’s office and the library, it was discovered that Anchorage artist Joan Kimura was the original designer. A long time artist in Anchorage, Kimura taught art at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and formerly the Anchorage Community College from 1973 to 1994. The UAA Kimura Art Gallery is named in her family’s honor.

Kimura submitted an acrylic painting of her flag design for a contest the city was having in 1973. It’s almost exactly the same as the flag flying at the museum and the library today.

In 1975, in a Anchorage Assembly resolution, the seal design from the flag was adopted as the official seal for the city of Anchorage, the same seal the municipality uses today.

Thorne Bay, Wrangell, Wasilla, Homer, Houston and Ketchikan are a handful of other cities in Alaska that have official flags. North Pole features Santa Claus on their flag. Seward’s flag was chosen in 2016 from a contest that featured art from over 350 schoolchildren.

Some might ask why a city flag is important. Kaye says flags can be used for people to identify with and to rally around.

“City flags look both inward and outward. Inward they create a sense of identity to tie the residents together and help define who they are. Outward a flag creates a brand to represent the city to the outside world.

Residents see the municipal seal everywhere, from liquor licenses, to ballots, to the sides of municipal vehicles. However, spotting it flying is far rarer.

In Anchorage, I’m Victoria Petersen

Back to the roots: A short history of Mountain View

Alaska, News, Print, Uncategorized

Originally published in Mt. View

Michael Dougherty and his family first moved to Mountain View in 1950, when he was only three years old and the city of Anchorage had only two paved streets, one stoplight on Fourth Avenue and a brand new high school: Anchorage High School.


“We lived in a small mobile home park in Mountain View,” Dougherty said. “Years later, my wife’s sister bought a house there, and in her backyard was the concrete pad from one of the mobile home sites.”

An appropriate name, Mountain View offers views of the Chugach Mountains. The name was first recorded being used by the Army Map Service in 1941. Homesteaders and construction workers for Elmendorf Air Force Base were the residents of Mountain View in the 1940s.

Consisting of mostly cabins and small houses, the neighborhood was rezoned to allow the construction of multi-family housing in 1965.

The Good Friday Earthquake

As the state population and infrastructure grew rapidly in the 50s and 60s, the Good Friday earthquake brought a brief halt to the development.

When he was 13, Larry Cline’s family home suffered little damage during the 9.2 magnitude earthquake that lasted for nearly five minutes. However, just a block away at a playground behind Mountain View Elementary, the earthquake left a huge crack in the asphalt, Cline said.

“School was out, being Good Friday, and I was home watching TV… Things just started going crazy. The ground was rocking and there was a low roar the whole time. I moved to stand at the front door and my mom stepped outside. She immediately fell on her butt in the snow,” Cline said. “I stayed in the doorway and braced myself.”

Cline said he watched his family’s ‘56 Chevrolet four-door station wagon rocking back and forth until all four wheels were off the ground at the same time.

“It didn’t last but a few minutes, as I recall, but I remember wondering if it was going to go on forever,” Cline said.

From pigs to lions, Mountain View was a wild place

Born and raised on Bragaw Street, Paula Shaw Vincent lived across from what is now the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School in an area that used to be an 80-acre pig farm. The farm was run in Mountain View from 1942 to 1951 by John Vanover, who homesteaded in the area in 1940.

For decades two domesticated lions, Timbo and Princess, also called Mountain View home. They lived in modified trucking trailers that allowed the cats access to views of Mountain View Drive. The trailers were placed between Leon and Lois Brown’s A&W Drive-in and their electric business, Brown’s Electric. Leon — whose late brother George owned the popular Anchorage eatery, The Lucky Wishbone — helped take care of the lions from the late 50s until the late 70s. The lions were then mounted and put on display in Brown’s Electric. After the electric business moved buildings, Leon donated the lions to the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature. There the lions were put on display until moved to storage. The current whereabouts of the lions are unknown. The Alaska Museum could not confirm if the lions were on site.

A diverse history

Today, Mountain View is America’s most diverse neighborhood, according to U.S. Census data research conducted by University of Alaska Anchorage professor Chad Farrell in 2013. The majority of Mountain View’s diverse population came in the late 90s and early 2000s, but since the beginning it was a place for people from all walks of life.

“It was a very diverse neighborhood even back then. Mostly black, white and Native though. Not quite the mix it has now. [There was also] lots of military [people],” said Terri Floyd, who lived in Mountain View from 1956 to 1974. “I think Anchorage as a whole changed a lot with the pipeline. Small neighborhood stores went away, larger grocery stores and malls opening changed the face of Anchorage.”

The neighborhood has seen its fair share of changes since it was annexed to Anchorage in 1954.

Georgiana Criswell Gooch lived in the basement of her church located at 403 N. Hoyt St. At the age of 17, she left home to take a job at Sears in 1970. During this time Gooch lived in a small house across the street from her church.

“It was like a nice urban area where you could see the mountains really well. It was a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, kind of like a small town,” Gooch said.

Gooch left Alaska in 1974 and came back in 2006. Her brother, who lived in Anchorage at the time, told her to stay away from the neighborhood they once called home.

“I was shocked at how small the buildings seemed and how worn down everything had become. The post office was gone. The sports store wasn’t the nice place I recall,” Gooch said. “My brother… got really upset with me when he found out I had driven to Mountain View to look at the old neighborhood. He told me, ‘Don’t ever go back there again. If you must, take someone with a gun. Better yet, just stay away.’ I couldn’t have been more surprised.”

For some, Mountain View has changed for the worse. For others, it hasn’t changed at all.

“Mountain View is not the scary place people think it is,” said Tisha Smith, a current neighborhood resident.

Smith, who grew up in south Mountain View in the 1970s, bought her childhood home from her mother a few years ago. When it was built in 1963, Smith said, her home was part of a pretty nice and new neighborhood, and that pocket of Mountain View has hardly changed at all.


This story appears in the Winter 2018 issue of Mountain View Post magazine: Find copies — including more stories, photos and recipes from Mountain View — at the Mountain View Neighborhood Library and select local businesses.

Meet the teens running a Midtown Anchorage bakery

Alaska, food, News, Print, Uncategorized

Originally published in Anchorage Daily News

When 18-year-old Alisa Louangaphay took ownership of the Midtown Anchorage bakery A Pie Stop in March, she wanted to surround herself with people who were as passionate about baking as she was. So she hired three other teenagers.

“It does sound a bit scary. (But) we aren’t a bunch of delinquents. We all do extracurriculars. We all work hard in school. We all do our best. We try really hard to make sure every customer that leaves here is satisfied,” Louangaphay said.

Newly graduated Lily Rodriguez, 18, and her 16-year-old sister Carolyna are bakers in the shop. Christian Bowers, an 18-year-old senior at Polaris K-12 School, is the bakery’s barista. Louangaphay assists in the baking and, with the help of her grandfather, handles all the business aspects of running A Pie Stop, all while she finishes up her senior year at SAVE High School.


Together, the crew turns out 27 different kinds of pies, plus fruit turnovers, cookies, cinnamon rolls, cheesecakes, brownies, quiches and espresso. Cornish pasties – a hard-to-find meat hand pie – are a popular item, typically selling out around 2 p.m. daily. Gluten-free pies are also available by special order.

Louangaphay may still be a teenager, but she’s been baking for most of her life. She was first introduced to it by her grandfather, Steve Satterlee. When she was very young, she would help him bake at the Chokecherry Inn, a bed-and-breakfast their family owned in Fairbanks.

“She started baking pies with me when she was just 4 years old. She always wanted to help me. That’s all she’s ever wanted to be, is a baker,” Satterlee said.


Louangaphay studied at the King Career Center culinary arts program in 2016. She attended the University of Alaska Anchorage Bakery Boot Camp for several summers in a row and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Business Week, where high-school students learn about entrepreneurship.

Last spring, she spent a semester at A Pie Stop under its previous owners as part of a culinary internship. She had been working there about four months when her grandfather proposed purchasing the bakery for her.

“I was eating (at A Pie Stop) when I overheard a conversation that the shop was for sale. I made the decision to cash out some of my retirement money to make Alisa’s dream come true,” Satterlee said.

Satterlee bought the bakery in March. Both Satterlee and Louangaphay worked for two months with previous owners Dawn Kauffman and Fanny Miller, Amish and Mennonite bakers who taught Louangaphay and Satterlee their recipes. Many of those recipes are still on the menu, including whoopie pies, a traditional Amish dessert. Amish butter shipped from Ohio is also available for purchase at the bakery.

“I’ve always had that dream. I’ve always been set on this path … I wanted to prepare myself for when I got older, for when I actually got to run my dream. I didn’t think it’d happen so soon,” Louangaphay said.

It was through the King Career Center culinary program that Louangaphay met with Bowers and Lily Rodriguez.


“It’s fun working here. It’s a bunch of kids here, so we’re just baking and having fun,” said Rodriguez, who completed a year at the King Career Center culinary program and graduated from Service High School in 2017.

Rodriguez has been the shop’s head baker since August and recruited her younger sister Carolyna, a home-schooled student, to work at A Pie Stop with her in October.

“People are usually surprised to see me working here, like, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a 16-year-old work at a bakery.’ And yeah, because that really doesn’t happen that much because people don’t want to give them a chance. I got lucky,” Carolyna Rodriguez said.

Carolyna Rodriguez, Louangaphay and Bowers are all receiving school credit for their work in the bakery.

A learning curve

Starting as a new business, Satterlee says they’ve had some stumbles. Whether it’s locking down the perfect recipe for pie crust, removing or adding items to the menu or figuring out how to be efficient during the holiday rush, running the bakery how Louangaphay envisions it has been a learning experience.

“After the previous owners left, business went down. Anytime a business changes ownership, you lose some of those old, loyal customers. We have had to build a new customer base,” said Satterlee, who’s in charge of the bakery’s finances. Before Satterlee retired three years ago, he worked as a purchasing agent for Alyeska Pipeline.


But since then, Satterlee says, they’ve been able to grow their customer base with strategies like radio advertising and contests for free pies.

A recent partnership with The Magpie has also increased business. Since November, The Magpie, which operates a food truck in the summer, has rented kitchen space in A Pie Stop.


Customers can now order breakfast and lunch from The Magpie at the same counter where they get pies and pastries. Plus, Magpie owner, Amanda Cash, is an on-site mentor to the young bakers.

“Amanda is great because, you know, we haven’t been in the culinary field for very long, and if we have any questions about anything we can just ask her,” Carolyna Rodriguez said


In addition to running The Magpie, Cash spent two years as a chef in Denali and served as the executive chef of a restaurant in her home state of Indiana. She also spent several years as a cooking instructor.

Cash has some creative ideas for 2018, including a pie-of-the-month club, creating an area for live music and having pies available to take and bake at home.


As for Louangaphay, once she graduates from high school, she plans to increase her hours and dedicate more of her time to growing her young business.

A Pie Stop

Hours: 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Location: 3020 Minnesota Drive, Suite 1

Contact: 907-677-PIES (7437) and apiestop.com

For JuliaOmalleyMedia: A Spenardian grandma’s blueberry crumble

Alaska, food, Online, Spenard, Uncategorized

Originally published on Julia O’Malley Media.

My grandmother, Sylvia Butcher, a true Spenardian and Alaskan in her own right, has been living in Alaska since the early 1960s. She met my grandfather, who grew up in Anchorage after his parents homesteaded here in 1943, in California and they started a life together in the city of Anchorage.

One of my grandmother’s favorite Alaskan pastimes is blueberry picking. She knows all the spots, from the shores of Seward to the mountainsides of Broad Pass. Of course, she would never permit to say where her favorite spot is, as that’s a heavily guarded family secret. She claims that the peninsula is the way to go. She notes that Girdwood blueberries are wormy and that Seward and Whittier are good places to explore, claiming that coastal blueberries are better in taste and easier to pick than their alpine cousins.

Don’t even think about buying blueberries for this recipe. Grandma scoffs at the mere thought of store bought blueberries, lacking in taste and authenticity.

After my grandma agreed to teach me how to make her special blueberry crumble, I visited her in her kitchen. She pulled out of a bag of frozen blueberries that was thawing in the fridge.“They have to be Alaskan blueberries, not store bought. There’s no comparison,” she said. Grandma held the bag in the air and examined it, as if checking to see if a nugget of gold was actually just pyrite. The bag, with the date “8/15″ written in sharpie on the side, was gently poured out into the baking dish. As I spread the blueberries evenly in the dish, Grandma told me about picking those berries with my mom last summer while they were in Seward.

“We picked them until we couldn’t pick anymore, brought them back to the cabin, and went out and did it all again the next day,” she said.

The recipe for blueberry crumble was given to my grandmother in a cookbook published by the women’s club of Anchorage in the late ‘50s. Today, the recipe book is near shreds, the stack of papers are held together by an old rubber band. My grandma received the cookbook from my great-grandmother, her mother-in-law, as a wedding gift. My great-grandmother was part of the women’s club and had her own recipes published in the book as well. My grandma tried the Blueberry Crunch recipe, as it’s called in the recipe book, and has been in love with it ever since.

The recipe is relatively simple, despite the delicious and crowd pleasing results it receives. Make sure to let the dessert completely cool before serving, as it’s too runny and messy if served right after it’s taken out of the oven. The perfect way to serve it — the way it’s been served to me my entire life — according to Grandma is to “warm it up and serve it with vanilla ice cream.”

Grandma’s Alaskan Blueberry Crumble


4 cups Alaskan blueberries

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the topping:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1 cup rolled oats


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Place the blueberries into a baking dish. Pour in the sugar and flour, and stir with a spatula until the blueberries are covered. Distribute evenly across the bottom of the baking dish.

3. For the topping: in a separate bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and oats. Mix until evenly combined, then spread across the top of the blueberry mixture with a spatula.

4. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

5. Let the dessert cool completely. Serve warm and with vanilla ice cream.

For TNL: The Writer’s Block and the Spenardian Renaissance

Alaska, Print, Spenard, Uncategorized

Originally published in The Northern Light.

In October of 2015, Vered Mares purchased Adults Only, a pornography shop in the Spenard area that had been in business for decades. Mares had the idea and business model of changing it into a bookstore with a full service cafe and art space. The current building, which is two trailers hooked together, will be demolished this May. After, she will begin construction on a new building twice the size of the current one.

“it’s sort of the last vestige of the Spenard old red lights district, you know, that’s what this place was back in the heyday. It was a pornography store, but I think it was also a whole lot more than that. What was once a fairly undesirable business in a neighborhood is being turned into something that can really be part of the neighborhood,” Mares said.


Spenard is known for its scandalous past as the place on the outskirts of tent city where people went to have a good time. From crack houses, rowdy bars and pornography shops, Spenard has rejuvenated itself in recent history to be known as a funky and engaging part of the Anchorage community. With the introduction of specialty shops, popular bars and restaurants the neighborhood is being transformed in a Spenardian Renaissance. Mares, her many business partners and volunteers have been working since fall of 2015 to transform what was once an element of Spenard’s less than desirable past, to something that will benefit and engage the entire community.

“This neighborhood has a history and whether we like it or not it’s part of Anchorage, it’s part of Spenard, it’s part of Alaska,” Mares said. “It wouldn’t have the same interesting and quirky flavor without that history.”

download (8)

The Spenard Renaissance is made possible by the creative people who live, work and play in the neighborhood. With boutiques, local bars and restaurants, and the introduction of Writer’s Block Bookstore and Cafe allowing a place for people in the community to come out and freely express themselves the neighborhood is changing from the inside out.

download (8)

“It’s easy to be excited with change. What’s really interesting is that the groups of artists that are engaging in these events are looking at the neighborhood on the whole as a place of creativity, as a conglomerate of creative resources. It’s easy to see what’s there. But it takes artists to see what’s more,” Sarah Davies, local artist and creator of the 100 Stones project, said

The idea for Writer’s Block Bookstore and Cafe came from Mares’ frustrations on what the community offered and didn’t offer.

download (9)

“When I first moved to Alaska, almost 10 years ago, what really irritated me was that I couldn’t get a really great cup of coffee after 8 p.m. There also weren’t any independent bookstores. These were the three things that sort of ruled my life up until they were gone,” Mares said.

The bookstore will have a full service kitchen and cafe, selling an eclectic mix of international dishes and comfort food. Mares hopes to incorporate dishes less commonly found in Anchorage while infusing foods from her Israeli and New Mexican heritage. The cafe will have a typical coffee menu as well as a sophisticated selection of coffee from around the world. The cafe will also hold a beer and wine license.

In addition to the cafe, the space will also allow a place for artists of all types to congregate and share their art. Whether it’s writing, sculpture, painting, photography or music, Writer’s Block will have a space to showcase local artists.

“We are trying to keep as much as our business as local as humanly possible, from where the food comes from to where the books come from to who we hire and how we engage in the community. Anchorage has an incredible creative community that I think is still untapped and is underrepresented,” Mares said.

With an emphasis on local artists, it is Writers Block Bookstore and Cafe’s number one priority to give preference to Alaskan authors. Mares wants to feature local writers in her bookstore, but will also provide a myriad of other literature. All books being sold will be new.

“Right now we don’t have an independent bookstore in Anchorage, there’s not really an avenue for new literature that’s not in a large corporate model that exists in Anchorage,” Mares said. “We want to engage with our local literary community first and foremost. We’ve got some amazing writers here and we want to be able to showcase them here. Some of your favorite writers might be down the street from you and you just never knew it. We want to support our local writers as much as possible.”

Before construction even begins the business is giving a place for artists to thrive. While Mares and her team are waiting for the construction to begin and the old building to be demolished, local artists were asked to occupy the building as an interactive community art piece.


Three events are taking place this month to allow the community to engage in the installation and the vision of “Transforming ADULTS ONLY,” as the series of events is being called. For three consecutive Fridays, starting April 15, the community is invited to participate in the events featuring local artists, food trucks, musicians and performers from around the city to pay homage to the past and get involved in the future of the neighborhood.

“These three events will be celebrating what Spenard once was and where it is going. As far as I know, this is really the last iconic reminder of Spenard’s past and it will be torn down in May for the Writer’s Block, a business that seems to better represent the residents and frequenters of Spenard these days, as many creative types choose this part of town for their homes and places to spend time…” Val Svancara, Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the Transforming ADULTS ONLY events, said. “In fact, many of the artists working on this event are Spenard-based.”


Many have seen Mares efforts as gentrification of the neighborhood. Mares wants Writer’s Block Bookstore and Cafe to be a place for her neighborhood to enjoy and be a part of.

“It’s not about gentrification, this term gets brought up a lot when I’ve been talking to people. It’s not about gentrifying, I don’t want to change Spenard. I want to bring more of the fun, quirky, unique elements of Spenard and bring them into a central location. This is where I live too, I don’t live in another part of town or even outside of town I live half a block off of Spenard road.” Mares said.

Mares is currently raising money through a GoFundME account (https://www.gofundme.com/pb7nl8) which has raised over $20,000. All of the proceeds of the GoFundME account will go towards construction and opening the doors of Writer’s Block Bookstore and Cafe. With certain awards offered for particular contributions patrons will receive more than just a good feeling for contributing to Mares efforts. From a cup of coffee to having a bar stool dedicated in your honor, those who donate will receive more than just a thank you.

download (7)

The series of Transforming ADULTS ONLY events will take place every Friday for the rest of April: April 15, 22, and 29 from 6-8 p.m. The events are free of charge and will provide local entertainment, lawn games, food trucks, a beer garden sponsored by Spenard Roadhouse and community involvement. The Writer’s Block Bookstore and Cafe plans on opening their doors this fall.

College Cookbook: Aphrodisiac Alaskana

Alaska, college cookbook, food, Print, Uncategorized

Originally published in The Northern Light.

 It seems like the last thing college kids need is a list of foods that will make them horny. Aren’t our hormones rampant enough already? The desire for sex is evident across all cultures spanning over thousands of years; as has the desire to find the perfect potion to get anyone in the mood.

An aphrodisiac is considered to be any substance that’s consumed to increase libido. Popular aphrodisiacs you may have heard of before include oysters, dark chocolate and red wine. With little research on the effect of aphrodisiacs, most evidence is subjective. Whether it’s a placebo effect or the real deal, a delicious aphrodisiac inspired meal this Valentine’s Day is sure to please any date, in or out of the bedroom.

From the dangerously delicious to the down-right disgusting, aphrodisiacs vary and may even be counter-intuitive. Balut, the Filipino delicacy that is fertilized duck egg, is famous for its aphrodisiac qualities. In my travels to the Philippines, I tried Balut, and the only desire I had afterwards was to vomit. If you’re curious, or desperate, you can find Balut at the New Sagaya Midtown Market.

For an Alaskan themed Valentine’s dinner, focus on fresh seafood, especially oysters. Make your way over to the Bubbly Mermaid in downtown Anchorage where they have a monopoly on the best oysters and champagne in town, creating the perfect recipe for a romantic evening. Legend has it that Aphrodite arose from the sea in an oyster shell as the Goddess of love and fertility. Salmon is said to have aphrodisiac elements as well. For the adventurous eater, crushed up caribou antler and bear claw are sought out by the Far East as a powerful aphrodisiac. I do not recommend trying to get your hands on it, but the oosik bone — the baculum or penal bone of walruses, seals, sea lions and polar bears — is sold on the black market by Native Alaskan’s to buyers in Asia who prize the bone as an aphrodisiac, according to Jeremy Sacks, author of “Culture, Cash or Calories: Interpreting Alaska Native Subsistence Rights.”

Champagne and red wine is a Valentine’s Day classic, but don’t totally rule out the power of beer. Before beer was made with hops it was produced using gruit, a collection of herbs used to bitter and flavor beer. The use of gruit was left to the wayside when the puritan and protestant brewers wanted to phase out the, apparently, aphrodisiac qualities that gruit supposedly possess. Using hops grew in popularity and has been the norm in beer ever since. However, modern brewers are looking to this old fashioned way of making beer as a unique way of flavoring their ales. Breweries in Alaska, in fact, are venturing into the gruit world. Alaska Brewing Company’s Alaska Winter Ale, is made with a combination of gruit and hops, as is the Baranof Island Brewing Company’s Sitka Spruce Tip Ale. The aphrodisiac qualities of these specific beers are unknown, but it’s worth a shot.

Whether fact or fiction many of the above mentioned foods will make for a great dinner, snack or even conversation starter.

Inspired by a recipe I found on Pinterest, this recipe was posted on the food blog “With food+love” and was titled Pomegranate brownies with cacao nibs and sea salt. I decided to give it the college student spin and make it for myself. I used a box brownie mix and dark chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs and bought pomegranate seeds already harvested from the fruit, which made the process much simpler. I also opted out of the sea salt as I felt there was already so much going on with the brownie as is. Don’t forget to account for the ingredients needed as part of the box brownie mix. This usually includes one or two eggs and oil.

Red wine and dark chocolate brownies with pomegranates.


One box of brownie mix and ingredients that correspond with the mix (I used a dark chocolate brownie mix)

1 and 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

1 cup of red wine (I used a red blend)

1 pomegranate or 1 package of pomegranate seeds


1. Spray the baking pan with cooking oil and preheat the oven to the temperature indicated on the box.

2. Prepare the brownie mix as indicated on the box.

3. Pour one cup of the chocolate chips into the brownie batter and stir them in until mixed well.

4. Pour the entire bowl of batter into the oiled baking pan until all the batter is evenly distributed into the bowl.

5. When the oven is preheated cook the brownies for the time indicated on the box.

6. Check the brownies periodically by putting a fork in the brownies and seeing if the fork comes out clean.

7. When the brownies are done immediately sprinkle the 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips over the brownies.

8. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the brownies.

9. Let brownies cool for about 15 minutes and serve to the one you love.