Destination: San Juan Island

Brunch Means Bibimbap at Friday Harbor House

Come for the seasonal fare and Korean fusion, stay for the revamped patio.

By Allison Williams August 14, 2018 Published in the September 2018 issue of Seattle Met

Breakfast bibimbap with a view.

Image: Amber Fouts

Is Jason Aldous allergic to the mainland? First came a two-year stint as Willows Inn sous chef on Lummi, then a year at Camano Island Waterfront Inn before he washed ashore at Friday Harbor House in the heart of San Juan Island in 2016. The bluff-top resort barely betrays its quarter-century age thanks to sleek design and regular nips and tucks, including this spring’s patio rebuild and kitchen extension, which made room for a Bellingham-made Wood Stone oven; now Aldous’s team can bake sourdough pizzas and finish steaks in a 700-degree wood fire.

Anxious locals were relieved to find the beloved bibimbap survived the renovation. The brunch favorite tops a crispy rice crust with braised pork belly, a poached egg, and fresh vegetables. Gochujang sauce adds kick, as does housemade kimchi; since the kitchen tosses any greenery on hand into the kimchi every time the seasonal menu shifts—pea tendrils here, kale there—the Korean classic becomes a kind a scrapbook of the season just past.

Score a pair of kitschy white sunglasses from the server if you’ve underestimated morning sun, then savor while ferries inch into the harbor below. Admit it, Aldous’s island addiction is catching.

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