Restaurant Road Trip: Eating our way through Harrison Hot Springs

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    Road trip: A short drive from South Snohomish County is Harrison Hot Springs, which is also the “world famous centre” (yes, a deliberate “re” — after all this is from Canada) for Sasquatch activity! Read more about Sasquatch below.

    Bonus! The exchange rate between the U.S. and Canadian dollar of 0.75 is like going to a great sale at our local department store, but it applies to everything. (Hum along with me… Everyday only at the Bon Marche…)

    Between long lovely soaks in one of the many pools at the hot springs, we had to forage for food. Fortunately, good old Sasquatch was there to guide the way.

    Sasquatch footprints lead the way.

    Culinary adventure began at the monument outside the hotel.

    Sasquatch statue

    Gigantic yeti-sized steps in the boardwalk cement led us to breakfast our first morning — Muddy Waters Café.

    This place is “as local as it gets.” Salad greens from local farmers. Locally sourced eggs and coffee roaster.

    Salad at Muddy Waters

    The Back Porch not only supplies great cuppa coffee to Muddy Waters diners, but a short road trip to nearby 6116 Golf Road Agassiz BC revealed crafted stoneware pottery, traditional willow baskets, antiques and collectibles, in addition to flame-roasted coffee. Lots of mini road trips happened on this visit.

    Muddy Waters cappucino features coffee from Back Porch roasters.

    Back to the Muddy Waters breakfast table, tea service is teabags, but a great brand-Two Leaves and a Bud, and served up a very generous mug.

    Pastry includes a gigantic blueberry muffin that almost dwarfs the coffee mug, and is easily shared by two, maybe three.

    Blueberry muffin

    Then there are cookies. “Looks like a hockey puck.” I laughed as the travel partner who’d uttered that comment made his half of the puck disappear in short order. Delicious! The chocolate chip cookies join scones, brownies, even vegan and gluten-free choices.

    Chocolate chip cookie

    The “main event”: breakfast items. Great choices made it difficult to decide.

    Breakfast Bun: fluffy eggs served on a flaky fresh Portuguese roll. Tucked in are thin slices of red onion, tomato, and ham. Melted into the mix is good old cheddar — the Canadian kind! Yum!

    Breakfast bun

    Breakfast wrap: a vegetarian option contained the locally farmed scrambled eggs, aged local cheddar, mushrooms, bell pepper and salsa wrapped into a fresh, warm whole-wheat tortilla. A side of sour cream accompanied.

    Breakfast wrap

    English muffin could be ordered topped off with wild smoked salmon lox. Mediterranean yogurt with hand-made granola was accompanied by Cob’s toast — yup, it’s from a local bakery.

    Plate presentations all included a fresh fruit garnish, which were beautiful and appealing, and took quality and satisfaction up another notch.

    Lunch and dinner selection are equally amazing — again “local all the way” is the theme for menu ingredients, for grown-ups and kids menus.

    Sadly, staff says the only association with Blues great Muddy Waters was a performance in 2012 and subsequent décor of vintage Muddy Waters posters… which were removed for a recent renovation. 

    Cali Burger at Browns Social House.

    Wrinkled fingers meant it was time to hop out of the steamy waters and hit the road. Browns Social House is know for its diverse offering of cuisine with an emphasis on local produce and grass-fed Canadian beef. It seemed like a great lunch spot.

    Chilliwack has its very own Browns Social House. Located in the Eagle Landing Shopping Centre, this was just a short trip.

    Hand-tossed pizza, handhelds and bowls…where to begin? A Cali Burger satisfied my appetite, Angus beef grilled perfectly was topped with jack cheese, crisp slabs of bacon, shredded iceberg lettuce, thin slices of tomato and smashed avocado — tucked into a brioche bun dressed with chipotle aioli.

    My companion chose the “most popular item on the menu” — a two-piece fish and chips accompanied by coleslaw, suggested by our perky waitress. Fish was flaky, chips were crisp, and the coleslaw made me wish I’d opted for that as a side.

    Two-piece fish and chips.

    “It’s a new recipe.” said our server. “What do you think?”

    Tangy horseradish and cilantro in the dressing took an ordinary dish of shredded cabbage to new heights. “Yum.” My companion managed to get this out between mouthfuls.

    My own burger was accompanied by a mix of vegetables, greens, even feta cheese — a totally awesome side, whose forkfuls provided good barter for a few of the crisp potatoes and a fork of that slaw.

    Pho Ho beef bowl

    Soaking sure seemed to use up lots of energy. Hungry again, we veered off the main boardwalk to check out the local hot soup spot- Pho Ho. Located at 168 Lillooet Rd, a three minute walk from Harrison Hot Springs resort, they serve up super bowls of Vietnamese Pho and other sides like fresh spring rolls and a variety of noodle dishes as well.

    I went with my “usual” round eye beef, and hubby chose the veggie bowl. In short order both bowls were presented along with the fresh basil and bean sprouts.  My thin sliced beef, while accompanied by plenty of noodles, was scarcely fortified by additional spices or fresh herbs…I was a bit envious of the plethora of vegetables in hubby’s bowl. ( insert pic Pho Ho)  What can I say? We’ve been spoiled by the Than Brothers’ excellent Pho.

    Veggie pho

    Our last morning was a splurge.  We feasted on local and organic fare at Morgan’s Bistro — just steps ( yes about 10 of those Yeti steps) away from the hotel at 160 Esplanade Avenue in Harrison Hot Springs.

    Morgans interior bar

    The menu features organic vegetables and eggs from both This Little Farm and Local Harvest Farm. Breakfast meats include a house-roasted mango and rosemary-glazed Canadian ham, double-smoked bacon, and award-winning German bratwurst sausage.

    Hard choices: A classic breakfast included a rustic scramble with French fries, hmmm.  Roasted tomatoes with scrambled eggs and toast, cheese herb omelet, Belgian waffles with organic berry and pure Maple syrup… we were in Canada after all. Eggs Benedict served up on a French croissant rather than the traditional English muffin tempted my hubby.

    Morgan’s Farmers Breakfast

    The Farmer’s Breakfast fit the bill for my last meal in Harrison, before heading home. The egg count was at three, and could come poached or sunny side up, in addition to scrambled preparations. Best of all, included a good taste of all of the meat options: one juicy bratwurst, two slices of thick crisp bacon and a substantial but not overwhelming portion of their wonderful mango-glazed ham. I requested my eggs “sunny” and the bright orange yolks were perfect dip for dry-roasted potatoes  and a sop for the toasty wedges of scone.

    Tea and scone.

    A rustic scone that accompanied the dish oozed butter with every bite, but I needed a bit of sweet. My request resulted in a petite dish of raspberry coulee, much nicer than a package jam. Tea came in a pretty pot, alas another tea bag, but this was not the Empress, so what could I say?

    Great vintage décor, fresh flowers, and some of my favorite Sara a McLaughlin tunes played softly. Morgan’s Bistro was a nice ending to our Harrison Hot Springs stay and enjoyment of its culinary offerings.

    — Story and photos by Kathy Passage

    Kathy Passage

    Former Restaurant News writer Kathy Passage enjoys submitting occasional columns on her road trip eating adventures.

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