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Let’s Talk Tastings – V’s Cellar Door

V’s Cellar Door offers a unique dining experience for Juneau visitors and locals. V’s is owned and operated by Venietia Santana, who hails from the East Coast originally. She has lived in Juneau more than 20 years, which in our book makes her a local. We in town know her as “V” and we absolutely adore her food.

V is first generation American. Her father is Sicilian and her mother is Irish.  The combined ethnic backgrounds of her parents started V on a unique culinary journey.

V came to Juneau to attend the University of Alaska Southeast. After graduation, she realized how much she loved Southeast Alaska and decided to make it her permanent home. She worked at various jobs including employment with the state. After a career of crunching numbers and helping others define their careers, V experienced a change in her own career path.

She spent some time visiting her sister in Northern California. There she was introduced to the world of food trucks. V had an epiphany and she returned home with a suit case filled with spices and flavors of her favorite food truck, an Asian taco truck.

V purchased her own food truck and started out with simple submarine sandwiches, or as folks from back east call them, grinders. She wanted only the freshest ingredients and did quite well.  Unfortunately, she had to learn a hard lesson. Food trucks in the winter in Alaska weren’t as prosperous as they were in the summer. They’re poorly insulated and she determined she didn’t want to be a “popsicle” so she opted for an indoor job.

Not one to be dissuaded from fulfilling a goal, V continue to gather resources and find opportunities to open her own restaurant. In 2015, she purchased a well-known local Mexican restaurant and created her own menu with her special flare.

V’s Cellar Door is a fusion restaurant that combines the earthy and spicy influences of Mexico with the exotic and unique influences of Korea. Her dishes are rich and subtle, sweet and savory, and have levels of complex flavors that has diners saying, “I don’t know what that is, but I love it!”

The signature dish at V’s are her fusion nachos. We call them life-changing because once you’ve had them no other nacho will ever measure up.  Our tasting for the tour is a small sampling of V’s halibut fusion nachos, which are exclusive to Juneau Food Tours. The dish features a cilantro aioli, avocado aioli, her secret fusion sauce, as well as an onion relish.

“Our guests truly enjoy this tasting and love going to a little “hole in the wall” place they might not have found without the tour”, says Midgi Moore, Juneau Food Tours owner.

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