If one were to list Vancouver’s top dining destinations, Vij’s would no doubt make the top 5. It’s inventive Indian cuisine at its finest, a must-go destination for any visitor to the city. My only advice: if you’re planning to check it out, get there early. Vij’s has a strict “no reservations” policy that it adheres to regardless of who is looking for a table. When we took friends last year, we were told it would be a 45 minute wait. I was inclined to go elsewhere but my friends were insistent on waiting so we had drinks at the neighboring sister restaurant, Rangoli, until a table freed up. Halfway through the meal, I glanced up and noticed Goldie Hawn walk in with her son to inquire about a seating. Then, later, as we were leaving the restaurant, I noticed Goldie and son at Rangoli’s, sitting at the very same table we’d occupied about two hours ago, having drinks, patiently awaiting their table. Rumor has it that when Harrison Ford came to town a couple of years ago, he too was made to wait. And did. The food is that good.
Since Fondy’s sister Grace was in town, we tried going Saturday night but arrived a little late – about 6:30 p.m. – and were looking at an hour and a half wait. We went Korean instead. We returned Sunday night and arrived just before the doors open at 5:30 p.m., in time to get in line for the first seating.
As we sat down and perused our menus, one of the waitresses came by with complimentary snacks including some nice cassava fries (Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the tuberous root that killed all those people last year? Well, lethal or not, it was very tasty). We kicked things off with three starters: the curried specialty chicken liver pate, the mutton kebabs with Bengali style curry, and Garam masala sautéed Portobello mushrooms in porcini cream curry. Although I wasn’t won over by the curry-liver combination, I thought the Portobello mushrooms dish was outstanding. The mutton kebabs were equally terrific, a personal favorite that have survived the frequent menu changes. When the main dishes arrived, they were accompanied by some back-up nan and fragrant basmati rice. The mains included: grilled short ribs in cinnamon and red wine curry with warm greens, Vij’s signature wine marinated lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry on spinach potatoes, and some veggie dish that Fondy insisted on ordering despite my protests (“You’ll thank me when you’re eighty,”she told me). The grilled short ribs were great – tender and incredibly fork friendly. The lamb popsicles (so named because Vij’s affable owner Vicram insists that they be eaten, bone in hand, as one would enjoy a popsicle) are wonderfully addictive. Order them once and you’ll order them again on any return visit.
For dessert, we were offered a selection of five choices and I opted for numbers two through four. The mango-pistachio ice cream topped with edible silver leaf was good but a little too crystallized for my snobbish ice cream taste. I’m not sure how to describe the second dessert – little balls of almond shortbready cookie fudge things – which were also good but not as sweet as I would have liked. Which brings us to the third dessert – Gulab Jamun: dried milk and refined flour dumplings soaked in sugar syrup. Fondy and Grace found them too sweet but I had no trouble polishing them off.
Speaking of sweet, Carl directed me to this great story about a restaurant owner so fed up with lazy parents who refuse to discipline their unruly children, that he made his restaurant a “rowdy kids-free” zone ( http://www.abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2971198&page=1 ) If I’m ever in Chicago, I’m checking out A Taste of Heaven just to show my support.
Before I forget, a big thank you to Amy Lynn for sending us her walnut cakes (pictured). They were a big hit. Apparently, they’re the perfect brain food because I went on a tear today, writing a whopping ten pages of the first part of the mid-season two-parter, stopping only to watch Ivon Bartok’s (check out him and buddy Alex taking a break from their online surfing) “Behind the Mythology” SG-1 special that will air prior to the premiere’s next Friday. Thanks, Amy Lynn. I am pleased with today’s progress, especially given that it took me well over a week to write those first twelve and a half pages. How pleased am I? So pleased that I’m revealing the working title for episode nine: Miller’s Crossing. I like it. We’ll see if it sticks.
Quick, let’s answer some questions while I’m still in a good mood.
Anonymous #1 writes: “In the past, you’ve expressed your dislike for “ships” on SGA. Is this a general dislike for writing those kind of relationships in general or just those present on SGA?”
Answer: Actually, I was referring to spaceships and, at the end of the day, not the spaceships per se but their all-too-convenient beaming technology.
Anonymous #2 writes: “ I was wondering about the ship that you said carter will come with in season 4.”
Answer: Did I say that?
My Montreal Fan writes: “Concerning the tickets for the presidents cup I understood that the unresponsive Joseph Mallozzi meant an unintrested Joseph Mallozzi so I went ahead and invited professors.”
Answer: Sorry about that. Your invitation got lost in the shuffle but it was much appreciated. What is the President’s Cup? Is that golf?
Vikitty writes: “What’s your all time favourite restaurant in Richmond for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?”
Answer: For lunch or dinner – Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant. I eat breakfast at home.
Joshua Meyers writes: “1.WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE SCARY MOVIE.
2.HOW MANY CONVENTIONS DO YOU DO A YEAR AS A FRANCHISE”
ANSWERS: 1. THE SHINING!!!! 2. NO IDEA!!!! 3. STOP SHOUTING!!!!
Sheppard’s Delight writes: “ Here is a link to a pic of a pug that my parents are looking after!!! http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e42/slcz3/whoopy0017.jpg “
Answer: That is one CUTE pug! I dare not show the pic to my wife otherwise she’d snap him up.
GW Whumpers writes: “You kindly informed us that Travelers was a gift for those of the Shep whumping persuasion. We would really like to what you mean by that. Is it a gift mainly for either: A) those that like to see Shep getting the whump or, B) those that like to see him doing the whumping?”
Answer: I think there’s actually more Shep whumpage in Doppelganger, both A and B.
Anonymous #3 writes: “You’ve said you have cats!”
Answer: I did?
Lynn writes: “My Puggle was a victim of the tainted food, and I appreciate your take on the pet food companies, it’s certainly well-deserved!”
Answer: Hope he’s doing better and looking at a full recovery.
Tracy writes: “Seeing as you love villains, are there any former SG1 villains / foils that you wish you could bring back? Why? Who was your favourite to write?”
Answer: Baal remains my favorite, but I do miss Yu.
Anonymous #4 writes: “Just wanted to ask if the wraith are going to be in the mid season 2 parter in season 4?”
Anonymous #5 writes: “Which episodes in season 4 would you say are considered to be “darker” like Common ground (sga) and talion (sg1), if there are any!”
Answer: Off the top of my head – Reunion, Missing, and Miller’s Crossing offer varying degrees of darkness. Doppelganger and Lifelife certainly have their dark moments as well.
Anonymous #6 writes: “The iamscruelty website is a PETA production that has been refuted by organizations like the American SPCA and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Check out iamstruth.com for some information that might make you think twice.”
Answer: Fair enough but it does seem strange that, among the many pet food companies out there, Iams has been targeted numerous times.
Anonymous #7 writes: “I have made the switch to organic foods but am strongly considering preparing homemade food for my surviving pets.”
Answer: Sorry to hear about your cats. Hope your surviving pets are doing well on the organic foods.
Luis Jr. writes: “How many books a week do you read????”
Answer: Two usually.
Kate writes: “Have you read any Jasper Fforde (“The Eyre Afair”)?”
Answer: I read The Eyre Affair several months ago. As someone who loved Jane Eyre in high school, I liked Fforde’s book a lot – but did find it a little OTT.
GrapesofWraith writes: “ How much, if any, of things such as panning, fading in and out, angles of shots do you get to see/envision/write, as opposed to the director? Do you and the director of the episode talk to each other about how you see the scene, or are they 2 completely different proccesses?”
Answer: We try to keep it to a minimum and let the director direct. Occasionally, however, we may specify certain scene transitions or shots.