Thursday, August 19, 2010

I’ll Never be Mistaken for Lana Turner . . .

but I was hoping to be discovered at the lunch counter at the Hilltop Cafe in Langley, BC.*

The Langley Visitors’ Guide describes the Hilltop Cafe as “just the place you might expect to see people sitting on the stools at the counter, eating all day breakfast. Of course this is most appealing to those in the film industry. ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,’ ‘The Butterfly Effect,’ ‘Supernatural,’ and ‘X-Files’ are among some of the shoots at this popular Aldergrove cafe...Take a look for the actors, cameras and extras, one day you may come across this movie on TV and see your car passing behind all the action.”

Hoping to be in movies, one Saturday morning Chuck and I took ourselves off looking for both breakfast and stardom. The Hilltop is the picture of a small country restaurant. From the feed caps nailed to the wall

to the "watch chickens" perched on top of the refrigerator

to the Route 66 sign, you feel transported back in time.

I particularly liked the sign that read “Fanny’s Rest Stop – Eat Here – Get Gas.” How hokey can you get?

And, of course, the short order cook was sporting the obligatory tattoos.

A chalk board above the pass-through window proclaims “hand cut fries” and “we make our own sausage.” The sign also advertises the Everest Burger – over a pound (or did the waitress say pound and a half) of hamburger patties, farmer sausage, bacon, and ham for $19.95. A smaller version, the Mountain Burger, sells for $16.95.

As you exit the front doors, a bulletin board contains the photos of all those who have managed to eat either the Everest or the Mountain. But nary a woman in the group.

The breakfast menu is what you would expect with eggs, meat, and potato combos, omelets, plate-sized pancakes, cinnamon French toast, Belgium waffles, and an extensive list of eggs Benedict. (Every menu in Canada seems to call them “Bennys” or “Bennies” or “Bennis.”)

In the Benedicts category, you could have the traditional, a Cowboy Benny with sausage instead of Canadian bacon, Cheddar Cheese Benny, a Tomato Benny, or – my choice – a Bacon Benny. Cutesy name aside, this was a very good version of the traditional eggs Benedict with thick cut smoky bacon substituting for the Canadian bacon. The whites of the poached eggs were completely cooked and the hollandaise was buttery rich with a light lemon tang.

Chuck’s choice was the ham and cheese omelet which was a gigantic portion of food loaded with good tender ham cubes. Being a fan of fluffy omelets, I thought that his was too thin and hence somewhat dry. But hey, it’s his breakfast and not mine.

Both of our plates came with a large portion of what they called hash browns. To both us, these were more like the potato pancakes our thrifty German mothers would make with leftover mashed potatoes. You know the ones – you add a little egg and a little flour as binders and fry them in butter. Or, in the case of thrifty German mothers, oleo. (Do you remember oleo? The stuff that came in a plastic bag with a color nugget and you squeezed the bag to mix the color into the stuff that looked like lard. Where did that memory come from?) Anyway, these hash browns/potato pancakes were seasoned with a little chopped scallion and were cooked until they developed a nice crust. (Obviously the cook didn’t have a German mother. Chopped scallion would be way too gourmet.)

Well, we didn’t find stardom and riches, but we did find a good solid 3.5 Addies breakfast.

*If you are under fifty, you probably have no clue as to what I mean. From the Wikipedia Web Site: “Turner's discovery at a Hollywood drug store is a show-business legend. As a sixteen-year-old student at Hollywood High School Turner skipped a typing class and bought a Coke at the Top Hat Cafe...where she was spotted by William R. Wilkerson, publisher of The Hollywood Reporter.