Dean Pollak's favorite restaurant of 2014 is the Saltry, on a tiny slip of an island, Halibut Cove, (population 30) off Homer, Alaska. She's been wondering how to get herself back to the coolest spot on the most western tip of the United States to relive an extraordinary July day feasting, boating, and hanging out with the Hotes Foundation gang. Today's NYTimes Dining Section came close to the rescue with a lovely profile of Saltry and its owner, Marian Beck. The Times photos capture the spirit of the restaurant, sitting on stilts overhanging Halibut Cove.
Maybe because Marian Beck grew up on Halibut Cove, she had to learn how to do EVERYTHING. Cook, bake bread and pies, grow vegetables and flowers, preserve moose plus berries, catch salmon, halibut and cod, paint, fillet fish (I watched her fillet a giant salmon with the ease that I chop cabbage), greet customers and make the world's most extraordinary chocolate cheesecake. So Academy fans won't feel left out, we've copied Marian's cheesecake recipe below, from her fabulous cookbook, Salmon Patties & Rosehip Pie.
A Saltry Classic; Saltry Restaurant, Halibut Cove, Alaska
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 pounds cream cheese, softened
2 cups sour cream
1 pound high-quality semisweet chocolate (Marian Beck: top quality European chocolate)
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Prepare a 12-inch springform pan by cutting baking paper in a circle to fit the bottom. Mix graham crackers, 1/2 cup sugar, and butter together and press against the bottom and sides of pan, keeping the top edge uniform so it will be attractive when sliced.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, 2 at a time, and sour cream, mixing all the while. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, and when it's completely melted and silky in texture, add it slowly to the cream cheese mixture, beating constantly. Pour into the pan and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Watch it carefully; you don't want it to crack or the edges to puff up too much.
4. Serve with a drizzle of chocolate and whipped cream.