Saturday morning, with newspapers and coffee.
Beast: What’s up with this new lounge wear you’ve been sporting?
Foodie (looking down): What, this?
Foodie: It’s my new home-time uniform. This sweatshirt is so soft!
Beast: It’s really nice, don’t get me wrong. But do you know what you kind of look like, sitting there with your wet hair and cut-off sweat top?
Beast: You look a bit like white trash.
Foodie: I do! Don’t I!
Beast: “Billy Bob! Don’t you go fishing in that there crick no more, now! Go on! Get out of that there crick!”
Foodie (laughing hysterically): I do look like that! I do! I do!!! Oh boy. That was a good one.
Beast: You look like Danny McBride’s trashy sister.
Foodie (more laughing): Holy shit! That’s totally true! (Pause) Can we go for brunch now?
And there sure is no shortage of places for us to choose from in our west-end neighbourhood. There are old classics, like Aris and Mitzi’s, plus a whole whack of new places, including the Ace, the Westerly and Barque. Many people, including the media, have come to affectionately refer to Roncesvalles Street, the main thoroughfare in the area, as “Roncy”. And the term “Roncy” really bothers the Beast.
Foodie (walking along “Roncy”): Look it this! What a beautiful day and every one is out and about enjoying it. Fuck man, you just gotta love Roncy! You know what I mean?
Beast: You know what? We should start using it as a verb, like, “We’re having such a great ronce today, just roncing along the avenue.”
Foodie: Yeah! Roncing! To ronce! Like, “Hey man, you wanna ronce tonight, or what?” Totally. That’s totally hilarious. Hey man, do you want to try out the Ace for brunch? Erinn and I had such a nice dinner there last week.
Beast (rolling his eyes and sighing): I guess so.
The Ace used to be the Ace Chinese Restaurant but it’s been boarded up for over 20 years! When the new co-owners (one of whom is that cute Maggie of Dakota Tavern fame) came on board, they found a nearly perfectly preserved 1950s style diner covered in several inches of dust. Not only did they manage to do a beautiful job at bringing the place back to life, but they also serve really tasty comfort food that’s classed and sassed up a bit, and the servers are really friendly. The Beast, however, isn’t as enchanted with the place.
Foodie: Isn’t it just lovely? And listen! They’re playing old timey music. You love old music! Who is this? Louis Armstrong?
Beast: No. And it’s okay, I guess.
Foodie: What are being so cynical about this place, man?
Beast: Well, for starters, I just feel like it’s another place that caters to a cynical type of phony hipsterism. It creates an aura of false authenticity by hinting at this throwback to the 50s–an era that’s already tinged with irony.
Foodie: Oh. (Pause) But aren’t you over-thinking it just a bit? If you dissected everything that much you would never be able to just enjoy anything ever again?
Foodie: Oh! Everything looks so good on the menu. I should probably have the oatmeal but I’m going to go with the huevos rancheros. Oh! Did you see that they have cheese biscuits with scrambled eggs topped with white pork gravy? Isn’t that that the kind of gravy you like? Like they serve at Cracker Barrels in the US?
Beast: Yes it is. And I’m getting it.
We drank our delicious drip coffee from nice white porcelain diner cups and before we knew it, brunch arrived, on vintage mismatched dishware.
Foodie: Maybe I’ll just take a photo of this.
Beast: For FATB?
Foodie: Oh, I don’t know.
Beast: Hey listen. You know you don’t have to end it, right?
Foodie: I know.
Beast: Are you having second thoughts?
Foodie: I don’t know.
Beast: You don’t have to listen to me, you know that, right? Keep doing it!
Foodie: I know. I don’t know.
Beast: It makes you happy, right?
Foodie: Ever since I said it was going to end, I’ve just felt like maybe it doesn’t have to. I’m just nervous about starting a new job and not having time to dedicate to doing FATB properly, or with any sort of regularity. Maybe there could just be special editions?
Beast: Listen, you’ve done an amazing thing; you stuck with doing something creative, that you didn’t get paid for, for nearly four years, which is more than a lot of people manage to do. And you’ve built yourself an audience. (Pause) You might not realize this, but you owe a little bit to FATB for landing you your new job.
Foodie: You think so?
Beast: Of course! It made you write regularly! That means you were always practicing and improving. Listen, maybe you just hit a rut because we were never going out to eat. We basically spent a year at home, eating the same things and fighting a lot. What if you tried to limit FATB to the sort of experience that we’re having right now? We’re eating out and we’re talking.
Foodie: That’s a good idea. But will people think I was just trying to get attention by saying it was all over? Do you know how many nice things people said about FATB?
Beast: Don’t worry, the people that know you, will know that although you do love attention, this was not a ploy to receive it.
Foodie: How’s the white gravy?
Beast: A bit thin. How’s yours?
Foodie: It’s so good! Just the perfect size. (Pause) Thanks for talking to me about all this. You’ve been really supportive and it means a lot.
Beast: You’re welcome.
Foodie (pointing to her head): Io non ricordo.
Beast: I don’t get it.
Foodie: From the Godfather Part II? You know, when young Vito Corleone has to leave the grocery store job because the Don’s shitty little nephew needs that job and he wants his boss, who looked after him since he got off the boat, to know that he won’t forget his kindness. That’s what I’m saying to you. (Pause) You know what the best part of today is?
Foodie: We can burn off brunch by roncing our asses off!
Footnote: More details about the new job will follow. And if you’re wondering where we were going to go for the last FATB dinner, when it was decided that FATB was ready to be retired, you’ll have to wait because it’ll make for a nice bookend to this thing, someday.