I don’t know about you, but I’ve always enjoyed lunching with my imaginary friends. They never sass you, they’re not expensive to feed, and they always tell you that you look mahvelous, dahling. And so it was with great anticipation that arranged to take in the swanky jazz brunch at Elixir Bistro in the Opus Hotel with two of my best friends, only one of whom is imaginary.
Can you tell which one just by looking?
Yes, right there in the heart of deepest, darkest Yaletown, Raul Pacheco and I entertained one of Vangroover’s most popular imaginary friends, Emme Rogers, everyone’s favorite poster girl for post-tomboy twentysomething singletonhoodnikism. As imaginary people go (they go anywhere they want; how could you stop them, eh? Answer me that!) Emme manifests a little more manifestly than most, as you can see from the photograph above. She manifested right on time (I, of course, was late, for entrance-making purposes and also because, well, I’m always late; hey, I was born a month late, so I figure I’m 29 days early for everything) and settled into a cozy banquette seat in the smaller, plusher room away from the main bistro floor. Sort of a posh, padded snuffbox of a room: there was velvet. There may have been ormolu. But I don’t actually know what ormolu is, so I can’t say for sure (isn’t it an endangered species?).
After a brief discussion of why everyone in the neighborhood seems to dress for cocktails when it’s still breakfast time (Pucci halters and hotpants?), we scan the menu interestedly. The coffee manifests immediately, always the sign of a quality brunch establishment to my mind, and it is, by the way, excellent. We ordered, and it was not long before I heard my favorite words.
Not, “Johnny Depp would like your number.”
No: “The chef would like to send you something special.” Why yes, YES, the chef may indeed send over a platter of amuse gueles: fried bread with vanilla-infused maple syrup, wild berries and creme fraiche, and spiced hot chocolate (one of my very favoritest things, which you can rarely get in this too-WASPY city), and all excellent.
Then the gossip is served, cold. I ask about a typical week in Emme’s life. She replies that there is typically nothing the same from one week to another in the life of an imaginary girl-about-town. Summer has been dead quiet for, as everyone knows, Vancouver shuts down in the summer; everyone is either at their cabin in the Gulf Islands/up at Whistler or pretending to be at their cabin in the Gulf Islands/up at Whistler. Emme’s looking forward to the Fall, when the parties start up again and the “duelling vacation game” stops.
“I do love the big, fancy parties,” she says, “but I can’t completely relax at those. It’s when I’m in someone’s back yard or at a great party standing at the sink, washing dishes and just chatting, that I can really relax.”
“In fact, I really enjoy downtimes with my nieces and I’m taking them out for a fancy tea. We’ll wear boas and tiaras. Oh yeah, the whole nine yards! That’s actually my big event for the season, the one I’m looking forward to most.”
Awwww. I don’t have the heart to tell her Debrett’s says you can’t wear a tiara unless you’re married. Why do I even know these things?
Brunch arrives, and is delicious. I’m a sucker for salade Nicoise, and I’ve never seen or consumed a better one than the one at Elixir. Behold:
Part II Coming Soon