I am a creature of habit. Every second day I wake up at exactly 6:30 a.m. and run the treadmill for thirty minutes. Every night, I read for an hour before going to sleep. I drive the same route to work each morning, always check my email the second I get home, and when I find a restaurant I like, I stick to it. There’s great comfort in routine but, every so often, it’s nice to shake things up. Choosing the elliptical over the treadmill. Steel-cut Irish oatmeal over All-Bran. Kevin Newman over Bill Good and Pamela Martin. Or an unfamiliar restaurant over a long-time favorite. At best, I’ll discover something I enjoy and incorporate it into a new routine. At worst, I’ll renew my appreciation for the tried and true.

And so it was that, this past Friday, I threw caution to the wind and skipped my morning green tea in favor of oolong, took Broadway to work, and decided to try a new restaurant. I perused some online reviews, narrowed down the list of candidates, then checked out the respective menus. One in particular stood out. Foie gras torchon with duck rillette Sauterne. Saffron braised veal cheeks with wild mushrooms. Sweet pepper and goat cheese tortellini with caramelized eggplant! Usually, when I scan a restaurant‘s offerings, two or three dishes will catch my eye. In the case of Figmint Restaurant and Lounge, it was about two thirds of their entire dinner menu. Pan seared rainbow trout with kurri squash marscapone risotto. Twice baked gruyere souffle with roasted pears. For some reason, I was briefly reminded of those undercover police stings where the cops catch the bad guys by luring them in with ridiculously enticing promises of a big prize giveaway. I’d often think “How stupid could those guys be?”. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. So, was I being set up? Would the police sweep in to nab me the second I started on my duck breast with truffled quince? Well, for a menu this tempting, I was willing to risk it.

I have to admit to a less-than-enthusiastic response upon first laying eyes on the place. From the outside, it looked like an upscale cafeteria. And the fact that it appeared to be a hotel restaurant immediately lowered expectations. Coming up with inventive dishes was one thing; pulling them off something else entirely. But my initial cynicism disappeared the second our waiter arrived to welcome us to Figmint. Upbeat and charming, Claude guided us through our choices, gave us a little bio of U.K.-born Executive Chef Lee Humphries – formerly of Elixir and West before that, and even found the time to reminisce with us about our native Montreal.

Given the fact that I had spent the better part of that afternoon going over the menu, I was pretty much ready to order the second we were seated. Fondy and I both started with the Sunchoke and Riesling soup. Although not as dense as previous versions I’ve had, it was delicious nevertheless – its buttery richness complimented by white truffle oil, the whole poured over a fried “biodynamic” egg yolk, sunflower shoots, and Manchego cheese. For her main, Fondy had the Beef dish, a trio of pan roasted beef tenderloin, oven roasted bone marrow, and braised Kobe short rib. The short rib was tender and unctuously fork friendly; the tenderloin equally outstanding. Special mention should be made of Chef Humphries’ take on bone marrow – its crisp crumb cap topping a soft and savory core. I had the saffron braised veal cheeks, a generous portion of the well-marbled cheeks served with wild mushrooms, golden beet puree and pine nut butter. Fondy and I also shared a decadent wild mushroom risotto that featured meaty blue chanterelles.

We ended the meal with three desserts (I was originally planning on four but, in the end, I could barely finish the risotto). The pumpkin brulee with pumpkin seed biscotti was fairly bursting with pumpkin flavor, but could have used a touch of nutmeg to lend it some balance. The chocolate tasting, a chocolate lover’s tour-de-force, included very good white chocolate pot de crème, dark chocolate brownie, and a milk hot chocolate spiced with nutmeg and topped with a marshmallow. Finally, the appropriately named Figmint was a fig sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream and crystallized mint. While I wasn’t a fan of the mint, it was easily removed so that we could focus our full attention on the toffee pudding and ice cream – the dessert of the night.

Chef Humphries’ culinary creations reflect an imagination and talent to rival that of Vancouver’s most celebrated chefs. I haven’t been this excited about a restaurant since visiting Fuel in its fledgling week. Hopefully, in time, word will get out and Figmint Restaurant and Lounge will achieve the recognition and success it unquestionably deserves.

Time for a quick check of the mail –

Crystal writes: “Many of my favorite episodes were written by Kathryn Powers, and I’ve mourned the loss of her work ever since she left the show.”

Answer: I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, in many cases, fans bemoaning the loss of a departed writer or celebrating a given episode’s wonderful writing are, in fact, missing/applauding the uncredited contribtions of individuals still very much involved in the production.

Arctic Goddess writes: “Do you suppose Ba’al could make a guest appearance on Atlantis some time in Season 4, or 5?”

Answer: He’d be much more likely to make an appearance in one of the SG-1 movies.

Anonymous #1 writes: “By the way what does the magic eight ball say about Ford making an appearance in Season Four?”

Magic 8 Ball says: Outlook not so good.

Peter writes: “Have you heard of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”?”

Answer: I’ve heard of it, but am not familiar with the series. My anime collection is made up of almost exclusively Japanese titles. I am still watching Fighting Spirit and will be eventually moving on to Full Metal Alchemist. Paul and I are both fans of Cowboy Bebop.

Shawna writes: “I’ll shameless ask you: do you have any open positions that I might apply for?”

Answer: With only one series in production this year, our production staff has been contracted. No openings in 2007. Sorry, Shawna.

Michelle writes: “Thanks for the rec — Cheesecake Factory is good, although I was thinking more upscale.”

Answer: Daniel Boulud Brasserie and Tableau at the Wynn Hotel are great restaurants.

Anonymous #2: ” Is there anyway you can have Teyla and Dr.Kellar (together) in a situation where they both end up having to save the day while in their underwear.”

Answer: What an amazing coincidence! Carl Binder is working on just such a story.

Marsha writes: ” As persuasive as the argument might have been, shouldn’t you be more supportive of Mr. Anderson and provide your MasterCard information instead?”

Answer: In support of Mr. Anderson, I leave my wallet at home when I go out and make due with three bottle caps, six elastic bands, and a can of Fresca.

Anonymous #3 writes: “Hi Joe just wanted to ask if there was any plans on Andee Frizzell returning in season 4?”

Magic 8 Ball says: Cannot predict now.

Anonymous #3 writes: “There’s no character defining moments anymore, moments that really led to the audience understanding Jack, Sam, Daniel, and Teal’c.”

Answer: I strongly disagree. Carter’s coming to face with her own mortality in Line in the Sand, Teal’c’s conversations with his son, Daniel’s appeal to Vala at the end of Memento Mori, Vala’s fractured relationship with her father in Family Ties, Daniel’s farewell in Meridian – all strike me as very memorable character defining moments.

Anonymous #4: “I think having diversity on a writing staff is important, and that the only way to breed diversity is to have at least one female writer.”

Answer: Before Paul and I joined the show, the production auditioned a variety of different writers, a practice that has continued over the past few years. It isn’t as easy as saying we want this type of writer and then hiring them. The individual we hire not only has to be a capable writer, but capable of writing Stargate – which isn’t as easy as it may look. The show’s mythology can prove very daunting for first-timers. Finally, because we are only producing one show this year, this will be the first season we won’t be going out to freelancers.

Anonymous #5: “Joe, do you ever get tired of people using your blog as a soapbox to preach to you about stuff? Anit-ship, Anti-Carter on Atlantis, Weir, women writers, etc., etc. Do you sometimes wish people would just talk food?”

Answer: As long as they keep it polite – and hopefully brief – I don’t mind.

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Anonymous
Anonymous

I was wondering ( don’t know if you got this earlier), what chance is there of picking up Human Error for Season four? I know it wasnt’ ready for season 1. If it will truly be the first lsot ep of SGA, then could you tell us what it was about?

Crystal
Crystal

Since you appear to be answering my comment, let me say that I have worked with enough writing staffs to know that there are many uncredited contributions from the other staff writers and the showrunners — indeed showrunners can do anything from a quick polish to a total rewrite. And that what we see on the screen, as opposed to what comes out of the writers room also has varying degrees of contributions from the director, actors, studio execs and network execs.

So, if everything I love about the scripts attributed to Kathryn Powers — and I love all of them except the one broadcasted in season 4 — is due to the uncredited contributions of writers still currently on staff, then I wish that those writers still on staff would do a couple more scripts next season like they were uncredited for back then.

Crystal
Crystal

Since you brought up that you weren’t using freelancers this year because you are only doing one show, I’m curious as to the differences being that you are in Canada working on a show for an American network — are you not bound by the American television rule that says one freelance script per 13? Now I realize that freelance assignments can be satisfied by writers who are connected with your production and not on the writing staff per se, but I’ve always wondered whether you had the same requirements to satisfy as American shows do.

Crystal
Crystal

I finally got to see SG-1: Bounty and ATL: The Game. I thought that Bounty was a fun romp. I enjoyed the humor and it was great to see the characters in different contexts.

As for The Game, that episode was excellent. What a great way to do a parable without being preachy. You get the point across with the audience having fun with the characters and not feeling lectured.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe,

Is there a chance that we’ll see that lovable rogue Lucius in season 4?

Peter

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe said:
Answer: I strongly disagree. Carter’s coming to face with her own mortality in Line in the Sand, Teal’c’s conversations with his son, Daniel’s appeal to Vala at the end of Memento Mori, Vala’s fractured relationship with her father in Family Ties, Daniel’s farewell in Meridian – all strike me as very memorable character defining moments.

Actually, I was specifically thinking of the Atlantis characters and Cameron Mitchell, but I appreciate the heartfelt response, Joe. I disagree with some of the moments, of course, but your enthusiasm for your work recommends you highly. Reaching all the way back to Meridian is stretching it a bit, though, as is going to Redemption for Teal’c and Ry’ac moments. Unless, of course, Ry’ac appears in one of the last four episodes?

I admit, that would rock given how underused Teal’c has been this season. I actually think this is his worse season of the show yet. I can’t think of one spotlight episode for Teal’c yet this season, and that’s a real shame. More disappointing is that I think his overall contributions in any episode have been greatly diminished to a few scant lines or looks. Still, I look forward to seeing what’s to come for the man who should be bald.

Good luck with Season Four, and with the two SG-1 movies. And thanks for responding to our comments here. It’s part of what makes Stargate special.

Andrew Timson
Andrew Timson

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, in many cases, fans bemoaning the loss of a departed writer or celebrating a given episode’s wonderful writing are, in fact, missing/applauding the uncredited contribtions of individuals still very much involved in the production.

Obligatory dumb question from the non-television-making crowd: why aren’t they credited if they made a significant contribution to the script?

Valerie
Valerie

If you want more anime suggestions Samurai Champloo is an interesting one. It was directed by the same person that did Cowboy Bebop and is an interesting mix of Japanese history and modern culture.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Lol…okay okay I get it…no hotties in underwear to the rescue; I’ll deal.

Just thought it’d be a waist not to throw the idea out there because Kellar’s a little cutie and Teyla well she’s just smokin and the two working together ( in their Vicky Secrets ) would be stellar.

It’s cool though…I’ll stick around anyway; your show’s that good.

Jenny Robin
Jenny Robin

Crab Won-tons
Salt & Pepper Calamari
Beef Sichuan
Chengdu Spiced Lamb
Orange Peel Beef
Crispy Honey Shrimp

All these tasty fares were enjoyed by my friends and myself tonight at dinner. Even so, your dining experience sounds even better.

And though I am perfectly content to enjoy a delicious meal in a restaurant by myself, the company of good friends and great, yet sometimes questionable, conversation added spice and wit to the already energized dishes.

…and ‘unctuous’? Here’s a quarter for using that word, mister.

Insert random question regarding the Stargate universe here:__________________

Anonymous
Anonymous

It’s your own fault Joe. You guys did a whole episode for no other reason than to get Amanda Tapping in her underwear. That one was a waste of film. I guess Rachel Luttrell and Jewel Stait aren’t quite so, um, free. Good for them.

Shawna
Shawna

I figured as much. Ah, well. I’ve still got plenty more (much geekier) questions. I’ll try to limit it to one per post so as not to be a royal pain in the arse (maybe just a plebeian pain in the arse).

I’m sad to hear there’s no plans for Ford. I, personally, find Super!Ford a much more interesting character than Normal!Ford, and I had always assumed you had plans for him beyond just what we’ve seen. I think he and Michael have a lot in common, what with the good guys kind of betraying/abandoning them and all. They both add a great dimension to the show (speaking of Michael, I hope he sticks around for a long time. I still hold out hope that he’ll eventually come round to the good side).

On that note, here’s my question: will we ever see Jonas again? He was such a wonderful character and he was just kind of dumped after Daniel came back (except for that one ep in season 7). I’d love to see him pop in again, for whatever reason.

SpArkY
SpArkY

hi Joe, me again wink
Yesterday there was a chat with Amanda Tapping and there was this question :Would ever know the location of Sam’s mole mentioned in “Tin Man”?
The answer was :”The mole will remain a secret (unless Jack talks in his sleep)”
Care to explain that a bit???
:p

Lolly
Lolly

Hello
First I wanted to say thanks for answering all these wonderfull questions.
I saw your answer on a question about the audio commentary with claudia or ben and you said probably not.
What About Amanda?? It would be awsome to have her do the commentary for Line in the Sand and The Road not taken.
She is so funny on the audio commentary! crosses fingers smile

Anonymous
Anonymous

Is there any chance of Weir returning to the regular lineup? The comment from Brad Wright was that she’ll be “returning for some time in a recurring role”.

I know you’re sick of the question. I know a lot of people have asked it. We’re asking because the character is a lot more popular than TPTB seem to understand.

TheDancingArchaeologist
TheDancingArchaeologist

Shawna said “an awful lot of fans thought that Lucius deserved a lot more than he got, that his actions were more than mischievous and icky, but seriously disturbing and worthy of death and/or castration.”

I agree with this. What happened in Irresistible was akin to drugging and raping a village. But I don’t think that it’s because there are no women on the writing staff. (I remember once on Buffy, the geeks were casting love spells . The ending stuck with me, because when they were called on it, the audiences complicitness with their reprehensible actions was brought into focus). It think that this was more a case of not fully thinking it through, and it’s not necessarily a gender thing.

In general my feeling is that with SGA is that when it’s good, it’s SO good. But I think it needs a bit more consistency.

“Definitive acts of character are what’s missing these days, not a female writer. More serious, meaningful character work…” Anonymous (Feb 16th)

I agree, (and the example scenes from Need, Cor’ai, Singularity, etc, are amongst my favorites, though I do enjoy the fun stuff immensely, there is a balance needed.

And speaking of balance, I’d love to see as much done for the team (collectively and individually) this coming season as was done for Rodney in season 3 (awesome!)

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe, any plans for Brad Wright to script an episode of Atlantis during season 4? Also, are there any plans for Ken Cuperus to write a season 4 episode, perhaps a follow up to “Common Ground” that he has previously mentioned? Thanks.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe, looking back over the last year, are you happy with how the final year of SG-1 turned out? Had you had the luxury of knowing Season 10 was going to be the last season when you started out, would you like to have seen the season play out any differently? Similarly, were you happy with Season 3 of Atlantis?

Anonymous
Anonymous

I’m curious, does Teyla have any dark secrets; I ask because sometimes she comes across almost always without flaw; if, perhaps, there is something sordid from her past she’s trying to keep buried, could you make it so it comes back to haunt/torment her…almost to the point of breaking her.

Just so you know I do love the character…it’s weird I know…lol.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I have loved season 3 of Atlantis i don not think there was a bad episode, but i would like to know if Aiden ford is alive or not because you left it open ended on such a great character, is there a reason writers do this as it always happens in SG1.

Stillhere
Stillhere

To Anonymous wanting hotties in their underwear.

Do you get a copy of Christopher Judge and Michael Shanks’ women of scifi calendar? Rachel Luttrell is very lovely in that as is all the other ladies that CJ photographed.

http://www.womenofsci-fi.com

Anonymous
Anonymous

hi joe just wanted to ask if there ever will be a wraith queen that does not get killed by the atlantis team and could there be a romantic relanship with a human male and a wraith queen?

Shawna
Shawna

anonymous said:

Joe,

Is there a chance that we’ll see that lovable rogue Lucius in season 4?

Peter

Seriously? I guess one person’s “lovable rogue” is another’s “creepiest character on Stargate ever“.

Joseph
Joseph

Hi, I’m a really dedicated fan to the Stargate franchise. Please answer these two brief questions:

Is there plans for a goa’uld to take over a wraith, that would make a formidable enemy)?

How can a show enthusiat such as myself submit and episode script for consideration or is it highly unlikely?

Joseph
Joseph

Hi, I am a long-time fan of the franchise. Please answer these two brief questions:

1) Is there any plans to have a goa’uld possess a wraith? (That would be a formidable villan).

2) How can a long-time show enthusiast contribute to the show as a writer and have their work considered or is it highly unlikely?