I have always enjoyed the idea of a plateful of onion rings so much more than I’ve ever enjoyed eating a plateful of onion rings because the experience never quite measures up to the fantasy. I know this from years of disappointing encounters and yet, every now and then I get the itch to challenge all common sense and I’ll go for a plate of onion rings and a pint of beer in place of a Cobb salad and a spritzer knowing that the damage will be minimal. It only takes three or four real life onion rings before I can’t even fake it anymore and predictably, I pull away. That’s where the beer comes in – it helps to assuage my shame.
Yesterday the world was supposed to end (again) so I stopped for a late afternoon snack at the Bean Brothers Cafe in Kerrisdale and, on a lark, I ordered a plateful of onion rings and a pint of beer.
Sipping my beer and contemplating Nibiru, I people watched with admirable aplomb. Disappointing snacks were on their way, rational Karin knew that, even if somewhere in an abandoned corner at the back of my mind the tiny flame of hope still flickered.
A plate of surprisingly crunchy-looking golden rings soon materialized and I fought to quell my excitement. “It’s just an illusion,” I reminded myself as I popped a couple of fatties into my mouth.
The effect was immediate – a cascade of simultaneously sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy onion rings fanned out over my palate, down my beer-suffused throat, and into my bloodstream. Synapses began firing in sequence as seconds stretched into moments. Time suspended, I was released from all suffering, and from individual existence too, culminating in a state of absolute peace and blessedness because it exists! The quintessential plate of onion rings all the print menus and all the TV commercials continually promised but could never fully deliver, forget about the beer for now, exist and have been modestly carrying on for heaven knows how long at the Bean Brothers Cafe in Kerrisdale as though their noble distinction within a sea of onion ring mediocrity were nothing at all.
It was Yoda who said “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny; consume you it will,” which is both prophetic and ironic, because the more I consumed my onion rings, the more they consumed me.
I’m in love. I can’t get these treasures off of my mind! Who knew my bliss was right under my nose the whole time, on West 41st between Arbutus and and Yew, in the form of crisp, circular, deep-fried onion perfection. It’s the little things, isn’t it?