My reasons for not wanting a dog were numerous: the expense, the unappealing prospect of having to housebreak the little furball, the loss of freedom that comes with being a pet-owner, the necessary commitment to everything from walks to vet visits On the other hand, Fondy’s argument for getting a dog was equally compelling: she really wanted one. My sister had tipped her off to a pug for sale at a local pet shop and, after an animated discussion, I agreed to accompany her to the Alexis Nihon Plaza. It was, we agreed beforehand, to be nothing more than a fact-finding mission. There would be no dog purchases on this day. Absolutely, positively, no way! I had steeled myself mentally and was prepared to stick to my guns.
We brought the puppy home that afternoon and Fondy named her Jelly after Joe Vitelli’s character in Analyze This.
She was tiny. So tiny, in fact, that when we returned home after one Saturday afternoon outing and couldn’t find her, we actually feared she’d been eaten by one of the cats. As it turned out, she’d been nestled under a fold in the living room couch, oblivious to our panicked search, sound asleep the whole time. I also remember her being a bundle of energy that first day, tearing around the house, terrorizing the cats. Even though she’s mellowed somewhat with age, given to more lounging than bounding, Jelly still possesses that trademark dominance and obstinacy characteristic of the breed – bossing around the big dogs at doggy daycare, demonstrating selective deafness, and generally doing as she damn well pleases. Not unlike a certain someone…
Speaking of which – we went back to Fuel last night as Fondy’s weekend-long birthday celebrations drew to a close. They’ve changed up the menu and tweaked some of the standing items. Thankfully, the pumpkin soup is still around. Poured over a plump, grilled scallop and crystallized sunflower seeds, the velvety soup was great, but for some reason lacked the more inviting sweetness of previous visits. I was going to ask about any changes in its preparation but never got around to it. Prior to our mains, we were served four inventive little amuse-bouches, one for each of us. Unfortunately, owing to my sieve-like memory, I’m unable to recall the particulars but I believe mine was an albacore tuna mousse in what may have been a beef broth. Steve had the diced tuna with a blood orange compote. Jodi had a very nice shitake mushroom chawanmushi. And Fondy had and awesome foie-gras parsnip parfait.
For my main course, I had the crispy-skinned rainbow trout which I had sampled on my last visit with Marty G. It was perfectly cooked, served with swiss chard and a heavenly hazelnut-brown butter emulsion. Since our first visit to Fuel, Fondy has never strayed from her go-to main: the AAA ribeye. Formerly served in a Bordelaise sauce with gnocchi and broccoli rabe, the latest version is now served with a parsley-parsnip accompaniment and roasted bone marrow. While she loved the bone marrow, Fondy definitely did miss the Bordelaise sauce. We were informed that the chef had one rack of venison remaining as a feature item and ended up ordering it “for the table” so as not to miss out. Served medium-rare (leaning decidedly toward rare), it was delicious, not a hint of gaminess. For dessert, Fondy went with her favorite – the banana tart – while I tried one of the new menu items: the Chocolate Financier. Surprisingly decadent, it was accompanied by a pleasantly intense peanut ice cream. We also ordered an extra dessert “for the table” – the chestnut cake with a Guinness foam I’d found a tad too tart on my last visit. Since then, they’ve redressed the balance of the pear juice and Guinness and I’m happy to report that this new, improved version was a real winner.
Peter writes: “Do you guys, as in the writers, have any plans for the 100th episode of Atlantis?”
Answer: No plans yet but I’m sure we’ll be doing something extra special. I was thinking cake.
Shawna writes: “Any chance of any of the good guys getting (temporarily, I’d imagine) turned into a wraith, probably using some kind of backwards version of the wraith retrovirus?”
Answer: Hmmmmm. An intriguing possibility.
Anonymous #1 writes: “I challenge you to eat at a vegetarian or vegan restaurant.”
Answer: Oooh, them’s fighting words.
Anonymous #2 writes: “Wondering if you still make your own ice cream. If so, any new flavors you’ve made? If not, why not then?”
Answer: I’ll be resuming my ice cream-making ways in June. Upcoming flavors will include peanut-butter caramel, Crunchie, pumpkin pie, cinnamon roll, and Bourbon Bananas Foster.
Vaberella writes: “Ni hao ma?”
Answer: Ho ho. Nay ne?
Vaberella also writes: “Will we see Teyla sparring with John, Ronon, Wraith, or Zelenka?! (…) What does your magical eight ball say about asking Claudia Christian(Commander Ivanova: B5) to guest star in an ep?”
Answer: Teyla will do plenty of sparring in season four. As for Claudia Christian doing a guest spot, Magic 8 Ball says “Cannot predict now.”
Cowpants writes: “1) How many times do you eat out a week? You seem to do it all the time. Doesn’t that get expensive? 2) What is your favorite type of cheese? 3) Do the actors and actresses ever come to the writers and offer up plot suggestions? More importantly, do you ever follow the suggestions?”
Answer: 1) We eat out about 5 times a week. 2) I’m a Camembert man. 3) Yup. We’re receptive to input from the cast. Jason just came by the office today and tossed out some ideas. As it turns out, one of the ideas he was pitching was very close to the episode, Reunion, which will be episode #3 of season 4.
Pilgrim writes: “Will we be seeing more of the dark side of Atlantis, and it’s characters, this year?”
Answer: That’s a definite yes. There will be some decidedly dark developments in the back half of season 3 and into season 4.
Mimi writes: “You’ve mentioned foodnetwork, a book on chocolate and searching for restaurant reviews online. Can you share with us some of the shows and websites that you like? Do you read any other food blogs? Any particular books on food, chefs or cookbooks you’ve enjoyed reading?”
Answer: I’m not familiar with any food blogs and don’t frequent that many food-related websites. However, I do watch a lot of food network shows (Ace of Cakes, Iron Chef, Iron Chef America, Nigella, and Top 5 to name a few), and read the occasional food-related book (I’m a big fan of Anthony Bourdain’s writing).
Etta writes: “Have you planned doing some ‘last episode special’ for the last SG1 episode?”
Answer: Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok has already put something together to commemorate the event.
Nichole writes: “How far is Whistler from Vancouver?”
Answer: Whistler to Vancouver is about a 2 hour drive (approximately 75 miles).
Lily writes: “In Trinity we learned that there were other Satedan survivors. Will we see any more of them?”
Answer: Check out Reunion.
Anonymous #3 writes: “You were surprised Atlantis skewed more male? How come? I ask, because I think it’s fairly obvious that Atlantis tries to appeal more to the young male demographic.”
Answer: Actually, there was never a conscious effort to attempt to skew Atlantis more male.
Anonymous #3 also writes: “SG-1 has based much more heavily on internal character relationships, complex stories based in mythology, and is, by and large, a much more people-focused show. It’s not so much about the flash, but more about the characters’ place in the story. For those reasons I’d guess that SG-1 would appeal more to females and to an older audience in general.”
Answer: So you’re inferring that younger or male viewers are less intelligent? I don’t know if I agree with that. Furthermore, SG-1 has had many more years to establish their mythology, characters, and the various relationships between them. In time, I’m sure Atlantis will become just as “older/female-audience worthy”.
Pitbull writes: “I was wanting to know if you have ever been down to MONTEREY CALI?”
Answer: No. Is this an invitation?
Anonymous #4 writes: “I’ve noticed that, while many of the populations that the teams meet appear to be “farmers” or “hunters”, you never see any animals in the scenes. […] I often wondered why and thought that I would ask.”
Answer: We have included animals whenever possible (the llama in Crusade comes to mind), but rarely make use of them unless they’re integral to the story. Or unless the director is a glutton for punishment. W.C. Fields once said: “Never work with kids and animals”. He knew what he was talking about.
Redtwin writes: “I just watched “First Strike” and loved seeing Shepherd with a much more commanding demeanor very similar to how he was in “the Storm”. Will we see more of this side to him in season 4? What are your thoughts on Droste chocolate?”
Answer: Re: commanding Sheppard – we’ll see the many sides of John in season 4. Re: Droste chocolates – I’m not familiar with them. Do tell.
Anonymous #5 writes: “Since you’re just getting started on production, can you tell us the directors for the first few episodes?”
Answer: Sure. Rob Cooper is directing Doppelganger. Martin Wood is directing the season opener, Adrift, and the follow-up, Lifeline.
Minigeek writes: “P.S. Dolby is a cutey.Yeah, your three are pretty darn adorable too. But don’t think that makes us pals or anything. Me giving my life to save yours in a blaze of antiheroic glory… ay carumba.”
Answer: Deal. I promise not to save you either – BUT I WILL give orphaned Dolby a fun and loving home.
Jenny Robin writes: “The Terror (or just plain Terror as we call it in da biz)–on page 76 of 766. I need to pick up the pace, as does the story. What page have you reached?”
Answer: I’m on page 324. It’s a slow build and I would agree that it could be a little tighter, but I find the description of the frozen climate both fascinating and unsettling.
Carolina writes: “Your favorite chocolate comes from a very beautiful area from my country… it’s surrounded of amazing beaches and it’s in the middle of a XVI century plantation La Hacienda Chuao, it is an experience to go and visit.”
Answer: I’d love to. The taste of Chuao bars are very distinct, possessed of almost a burnt caramel finish. Also, do you know anything about the porcelana bean?