Dinner the first night was a lazy stroll from our hotel to Pike's Landing. (We were tired.) It was what you'd expect in the way of bar food. The steamed clams were good - garlicky broth, though about 1/4 of them hadn't opened. The halibut burger was okay but seemed like a waste of a nice piece of halibut. The halibut fish and chips were also merely okay - they could have been crisper. The french fries were good. The draft beers were excellent. Alaska Coffee Roasters was great. World class espresso and latte, great baked goods. I wish there was somewhere just like it near my house in Los Angeles. Lunchat the Chowder House was local and amusing if not a whole lot more. The smoked salmon chowder was good, the clam chowder merely okay, the fresh baked bread was sort of a fresh baked small loaf of Wonder Bread but what the heck. The place did have a nice atmosphere and if I lived in Fairbanks I'd probably go there from time to time. Dinner the second night was at Gambardella's. Sure is a big place. It's pretty much standard issue red sauce Italian and was fine. The eggplant parmigiana was the stand out of all of our dishes - surprisingly light and fresh tasting. The salads were good, though near drowning in dressing. We then went up to Coldfoot at the base of the Brooks Range for several days of aurora viewing and general exploration. The food at the truckstop at Coldfoot Camp was surprisingly better than it had to be - considering it's the only dining option for perhaps 125 miles or so in any direction. Great onion rings, excellent breakfasts (especially pancakes and reindeer sausage,) huge tasty sandwiches - especially the BLT. Very good soups. (Though the chili was too bland.) Excellent pies. Nothing more in the way of variety than you'd expect from a truck stop, but good. - Continued in part 2.