Sunday morning breakfast at Prospect House – yes breakfast, not brunch. Something I’m not all that familiar with. When on my own, I try to sleep past breakfast and move straight to brunch. In Vancouver, I often walked over to my favourite restaurant to eat brunch at The Wild Garlic. Luckily I was in Vancouver in March 2012 and enjoyed a couple of brunches with friends and dinner out with some good friends who were also regulars. It was a small, friendly restaurant where the people who worked there were always happy to see you arrive. Big hello’s, how are you doing?, and even some hugs when I had to say goodbye. Little did I know that the restaurant would later close. Sad news indeed. This little café served the best breakfast in the City. Perfect basted eggs, perfect fried potatoes, some grilled Italian sausage, perfect toast and a damn good cup of coffee, bottomless. And the price couldn’t be beat. When I first went, the price was unbelievably cheap at $3.50 and over several years the final price was $6.00. The quality stayed the same and even at that price, it was a good deal. The menu also offered eggs benedict, French Toast, omelettes – most items had a hint of garlic and sometimes a nod to Sandy, the owner’s Hong Kong heritage, with barbequed pork or bok choy. I wonder what she is doing now that the restaurant is closed.
It was my go-to place where I would take my friends and family, but most often I went on my own, read The Georgia Straight, a section of The Globe & Mail or The Vancouver Sun and sometimes I’d take one of my novels. As much as I enjoyed taking my friends, I truly enjoyed going on my own. I never felt lonely or sad to be eating by myself because I always had someone to talk with. It was an open-style kitchen so I got to know the chefs too. In the morning it was an older Chinese woman and later the young male chef would arrive to start prepping for the dinner crowd. The waitresses were friendly – always smiling and very efficient. But I digress, as this post is about my Sunday morning breakfast at Prospect House.
These musings didn’t start as a post, but instead it was an email that I sent to a friend. This is what I told her about my early Sunday morning: “Up, too bright and early for me. I’m working at Prospect House, so I’m cooking breakfast. There’s only one resident this morning, Norman, and myself. I should have asked him if he wanted to sleep in this morning, because he seems to be doing just that. It’s 8:10 and he’s not down yet. Usually, the residents show up right on time for meals. Oh well, the coffee is ready, the bacon is keeping warm on the stove and I have time for an email.”
And there I go, and digress again. Back to Sunday morning breakfast at Prospect House. My email continued: “Well Norm is downstairs for breakfast – a little sleepy, but he’s having his first cup of coffee and I’m about to fry up some eggs. As the cobwebs cleared from his head we had a nice chat over breakfast. I was much more awake than him because I had now been up since 7:30 am, cooked breakfast and had finished one cup of coffee.
I tried to hold back my chatter – I was wide awake and anxious to talk. I asked Norm if he knew the term ‘full bifter’ or ‘half-bifter’? Or does it have two ‘f’s’ and spelled ‘biffter’?. He did not. This is a term I’ve used for some time and found out it was also in use by my Scottish friend Ronnie. We tried to find out the origin of the word and I think Ronnie even asked a librarian friend all to no avail. I use the term to mean something like ‘everything on it’ as in a pizza, the full bifter would mean the pizza had every possible topping. A full English breakfast or fry-up could also be called a full bifter when it has eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, fried potatoes and toast. A half-bifter might only be several of those items. I think this was too much information for Norm while he was still trying to wake up so I went back to eating my breakfast.”
Now as I’m writing this post, I have a sick feeling about the word ‘full bifter’. We used to call the toilet or outhouse ‘the biffy’. I hope ‘full bifter’ isn’t related to this term. I leave it to your imagination to figure out how those two terms could be related. But again I digress.
As I write this, I’m half listening to Michael Enright on The Sunday Edition on CBC 1 that plays from 9 am to 12 noon. Right now there is a feature about MS focussing on the question of whether it is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D? It seems to mostly affect people of European ancestry which includes many of us that live in Canada. Is it the northern climate? Is it a white persons’ disease? In Canada 133 people get MS while in India only 1 person will get the disease. India is a Vitamin D rich country and is a different ethnicity. The show is also featuring interviews with people considering the ‘Liberation Therapy’. Time to stop writing and listen to this interesting program.
It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. There is a deep blanket of pristine white snow which fell through the night and most of the day on Friday. There are some snowflakes fluttering out of the sky. It’s a perfect day.