For 25 years, Tom Douglas has been at the epicenter of Seattle’s restaurant scene. Now, this three-time James Beard award-winning chef is partnering with Alaska Airlines to bring his iconic flavors to Alaska Airlines customers.

Beginning earlier this month, Alaska customers flying from our Seattle hub will be treated to a rotating selection of Tom Douglas signature items. The iconic chef and his team work to bring a flavor ‘punch’ to each item in his 15 Seattle restaurants and knew whatever they brought to the table would need to have that same punch of flavor.

The partnership kicks off with a smoky brisket chili – tender chunks of brisket in an ancho-chile-tomato sauce, topped with melted cheddar and a charred pepper, and served over a baked Yukon Gold potato.

In the coming months, Douglas also plans to weave a new element into the items he and his team develop: a spotlight on a cool northwest seasonal ingredient: the cranberry.

“We had kind of forgotten about the lovely cranberry until recently we were reminded of their perky brightness by a farmer in Longview who has a big harvest to sell. She asked that we think of more ways to use this fruit than just a condiment one day a year,” says Douglas.

Right now, Douglas and team are testing a cranberry chocolate chunk cookie that Alaska will be sharing with customers in various ways this holiday season – beginning this morning, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

And now to kick off the holidays, Tom Douglas offers these simple tweaks to take your holiday meal to the next level.

Tom Douglas’s holiday cooking tips:

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A businessman flags down a cab for a ride to the airport.  As the lethargic cabbie asks ‘what airline,’ and learns it’s Alaska, a high-speed chase ensues, while the businessman, sliding back and forth as the cab hugs the turns, yells, “but airlines never leave on time!” Arriving at the airport, the flight has already left.

Alaska Airlines seized upon the humor of travel pains in its TV ads from the 1980s, and if you’re in the Seattle area , you may see a throwback to what the airline called its ‘Atrocities’ campaign, re-airing on TV this winter.

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When the powerful Category 3 Hurricane Odile hit Mexico’s Baja Peninsula on Sept. 14, Alaska Airlines responded immediately.

Through a series of humanitarian relief flights dubbed Operation Ayuda – “help” in Spanish – Alaska evacuated more than 2,000 people.

This video is a tribute to the more than 1,000 Alaska and Horizon employees who offered their skills, their expertise and their compassion in Los Cabos, Mazatlan, Loreto and in the United States.

Thank you for showing the world what it means to say, “I am Alaska.”

washington-monument-DC

The District of Columbia – it’s a city of history, culture and fabulous dining. There’s so much to do that a first-time visitor might not know where to start. For help, we turned to Ginny Carruthers, Alaska’s District of Columbia-based director of government affairs. She’s been with Alaska for 27 years, the past 10 of which have been in the District, and offers these insider tips to Washington D.C.

Why do you love this city?

The District is our nation’s capital; the seat of our government. I never tire of seeing the Capitol dome, the White House, and all of the spectacular monuments in between. During the school year I love to see the excitement of eighth-grade students visit Washington from all over the country.

The Washington, D.C. area boasts very diverse/ethnic restaurants; outstanding museums that for the most part are free of charge; a cultural center with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, just a quick 30 minutes from D.C. and an absolute must. There is just so much to see and do in D.C. that is both fun and enlightening!

So what should I do if I’m visiting D.C. for the first time?

Take one of the city bus tours to get the lay of the land and a good historical overview from the tour guides. After that, buy a Metro Card (D.C.’s subway system) and visit the monuments yourself, including Arlington Cemetery (less than 10 minutes on the Metro from Reagan National Airport). Take the Metro to Eastern Market which is always bustling on Saturday and Sunday.

If you were taking a visitor out for dinner or drinks, where are a few places you might go?

Right now, the hot neighborhood in D.C. is called the 14th Street Corridor. You will find fabulous restaurants and bars in all price ranges, as well as a variety of ethnic food options, art galleries to explore and boutiques to browse. Le Diplomate, Ghibellina and Cork Wine Bar are some of my favorite restaurants.

In Penn Quarter, try Proof, Tosca, Central Michel Richard and SEI Restaurant.

Capitol Hill is popular at night, with good restaurants and bars.

Out-of-towners will especially enjoy POV, the W Hotel’s rooftop terrace bar that boasts spectacular views of the White House.

If you’re in the mood for something off the beaten path, don’t miss Ben’s Chili Bowl. It is known for its “half smokes” and has been visited by presidents, vice presidents and other dignitaries. Just this year, a branch location was opened at none other than Reagan National Airport in the pre-security area. Everyone should try Ben’s Chili Bowl.

What are your favorite museums/sights in D.C.?

D.C. is truly blessed with a group of museums under the Smithsonian umbrella. Admission to any Smithsonian museum is free, which is hard to find anywhere else in the country and they are all spectacular. I personally love the National Gallery of Art, but any of the museums is terrific.

Other museums worth seeing that may not be as well-known are:

  • The National Postal Museum, which is an interesting postal history that is well worth seeing;
  • The National Building Museum, which is really architecturally beautiful inside. Tickets run from $5-8; and
  • The International Spy Museum which is really becoming popular. Tickets run from $14.95-21.95, and children age 6 and under are free.
  • Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Its events and collections change almost every month. It hosts the most comprehensive collection of Russian art outside of Russia. The Gardens are beautiful and it is a must-see museum.
  • The O Street Mansion. I just learned about this museum not too long ago and it is hard to describe but definitely different – very eclectic. I don’t think it is mentioned in many tour guides of D.C. and is definitely an off-the-beaten path museum to see.

What’s the best outdoor activity in or around D.C.?

  • Walking or bicycling through Rock Creek Park in the heart of D.C., and
  • Hiking or bicycling the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Towpath.

Rock Creek Park is a must.

What’s the one thing you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting the area?

The monuments at night. They are spectacular and provide a different perspective than during the day. In particular, the Korean War Memorial is so much more eerie and breathtaking at night.

Alaska Airlines will soon add more flying to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, with a daily roundtrip flight from Seattle to Dulles International Airport beginning March 11. Alaska currently flies nonstop from Seattle to Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Reagan National Airport. With the Dulles flight, travelers will enjoy six daily roundtrips between the West Coast and “The DMV” – The District, Maryland and Virgina. Book your flight today.

What are your favorite DC-area hangouts?

Alaska Airlines wrapped chicken banh mi sandwich

Fresh, spicy, delicious. Three words you might not necessarily associate with airplane food – unless, of course, you’ve been flying Alaska Airlines.

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mariachi-band-los-cabos

Nearly 10 weeks after Hurricane Odile hit Los Cabos, Alaska Airlines will return to full, scheduled service to the region – plus some.

On Nov. 20, Alaska launches a brand-new, seasonal nonstop flight from Portland, Oregon, to Los Cabos four times per week.

The hurricane damaged buildings and the airport, and thousands of tourists were stranded. Led by Alaska, several airlines were able to operate a limited number of relief flights to transport stranded passengers home while local authorities worked to reopen the airport.

But now, Los Cabos is back in action. The airport reopened to commercial air service in early October, and since then Alaska has been ramping back up to full, scheduled service.

Beginning Nov. 20, Alaska will operate multiple daily and weekly roundtrip flights between Los Cabos and San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Portland.

Alaska Airlines began flying to Mexico a quarter century ago and now operates more than 240 flights a week during the winter between the West Coast and Mexico—more than any other carrier. Alaska flies an average of 1.5 million passengers a year to seven Mexico beach destinations—Cancun, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Loreto, Los Cabos, Manzanillo, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta—in addition to Guadalajara and Mexico City.

Customers with tickets to Los Cabos between Sept. 14 and Nov. 20, 2014 have a variety of options to rebook their travel or request a refund. To learn more, visit our travel advisories page at alaskaair.com. Tickets for future travel to Los Cabos are available at alaskaair.com.

The first verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner” echoed through Oriole Park at Camden Yards – the traditional opening to sporting events across America. But here in Baltimore, the national anthem carries added significance. Three miles away is Fort McHenry, site of the battle that inspired the song’s words exactly 200 years ago.

“And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

That connection wasn’t lost on my 7-year-old son. Visits to the battlefield and then the ballpark tightened the strings between past and present. The anthem was tangible – he had touched the cannons and explored the bunkers. Overhead in a breezy blue September sky, our flag really was still there.

Making history come alive is one of the things that Baltimore does best. Here are five places we enjoyed during our visit after Alaska Airlines launched daily nonstop service between Seattle and Baltimore.

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airport-jobs

Students take notes at an Airport University class. Photo courtesy Don Wilson, Port of Seattle.


Connie Aguilar is nothing if not ambitious. She works full-time at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where she’s tackling the added responsibility of a recent promotion, takes college-credit classes through a special program for airport workers, has two grown children, spends her day off volunteering back at the airport to help travelers, and is planning to go back to school to get a second bachelor’s degree in accounting.

She is also a fierce advocate for her fellow airport workers, encouraging them to take advantage of the resources available to them through Port Jobs, a nonprofit committed to preparing workers for the Port of Seattle economy.

“If I can do it, anyone can,” Aguilar repeats like a mantra.

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ANSEP-middle-school-academy

Going to college can be scary.

Going to college on an urban, 14,000-student campus when you’ve spent your whole life in a rural community of several hundred can be even scarier.

“For me, it was a challenge,” says Michael Bourdukofsky, chief operations officer for the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP), an organization with the mission of providing native Alaskan students with the support they need to be successful in higher education and in science and engineering careers.

Bourdukofsky grew up on windy, remote St. Paul Island, one of five volcanic islands that make up the Bering Sea’s Pribilof Islands. The tiny island community hosts about 500 residents. He participated in ANSEP’s University Success program in the late 90s and says it was essential to his success in college.

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Skillet-grilled-cheese-bacon-jam

Back in 2007, before the explosion of the street food movement, a single vintage Airstream trailer roamed the streets of Seattle, serving tasty, innovative food from fresh, local ingredients. Each day, Skillet Street Food would send an email update to its hungry customers, letting them know where they could find Skillet’s signature lunch fare that day.

“The idea of street food is something that really resonated. It just immediately took off,” says Greg Petrillo, Skillet’s chief financial officer. “The amount of attention Skillet got was just amazing.”

Today the company has grown up, with three sit-down dining locations and two Airstream trailers, a catering business and a booming side business selling their famous Bacon Jam and Pumpkin Ketchup. And this month, thanks to the sharp eyes and discerning taste buds of Alaska Airlines’ onboard food and beverage product manager Kirsten Robinett, Skillet got its wings.
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