Given my hectic schedule of late, my recent dinners have consisted of take-out, delivery, and the occasional home-cooked meal. Not that I’m complaining. Sometimes, baked chicken wings and double quarter pounders with cheese are a welcome change of pace. But until the day Fondy starts making Toulouse sausage-stuffed game hen on a regular basis, or McDonald starts serving up McFoieGras, I’m afraid my heart will always belong to Vancouver’s dynamic restaurant scene. So when Martin Gero suggested we check out Chow on Granville, I jumped at the opportunity to get out of the house, check out one of the area’s most talked-about newcomers, and hopefully get around to writing a review.

We arrived at a little after 6:00 p.m. to a half-filled room. As we perused the menu – divvied into Fish & Shellfish, Market Vegetables, and Meat & Poultry rather than the traditional Appetizer and Entrée sections – we checked out the décor: Dark brown and white, very clean, one might even argue a little austere, with a slick, separate bar area and atypical basement kitchen. We were informed that the restaurant was still in the process of selecting artwork for the place, something that would go a long way toward helping the establishment’s cavern-like acoustics.

Our waiter, Claude, kicked things off by explaining how the chef’s cooking philosophy was reflected in the ever-changing menu – his use of fresh, local ingredients shaping the evening’s selections. For instance, tonight, the Sloping Hills Farm organic pork dish would feature loin rather than the usual belly. I wondered if that was actually a good thing but, on Claude’s recommendation, ordered the pork nevertheless – along with some eight other plates. We were three after all.

Fondy started with an asparagus soup that, like the surrounding décor, proved straightforward and clean if not altogether exciting. The beef carpaccio, served with baby arugula, horseradish salsa verde, grana padano cheese and a quail egg was very good – the inclusion of cipollini onion rings was a nice touch. The house-made country style terrine was excellent, coarse and hearty, accompanied by pistachio and sourdough baguette and a complimentary pear moutarde. The “Creamy Carnoli” risotto was another winner – fresh herbs, sautéed wild mushrooms, parmesan, a caramelized onion froth and, oh yes, the addition of the optional pulled pork making it a truly unique dish.

Following a brief interlude, we were served the second half of our meal. The home-made ricotta ravioli with roasted trumpet royal mushrooms served in fava bean and madras curry froth picked up where the risotto left off – even winning over the ricotta-loathing Martin. As I feared, the organic pork dish was a bit of a letdown, the loin a little too lean and lacking in flavor despite some terrific accompanying sweet onion puree, shimeji mushrooms, and deliciously inventive nutmeg gnocchi. I can only imagine how good the originally conceived pork belly version must be. We also enjoyed a generous piece of foie gras, pan-fried and served with a rhubarb compote, and fine ahi tuna dish. Sides included addictive sweet and spicy almonds, and what I referred to as Jenga Fries – thick, bronzed slices of meaty potato assembled to form a standing structure.

For dessert, we opted to go with four choices. The chocolate bread pudding with banana cooked in dark rum and chocolate ice cream came deconstructed, which made for a beautiful presentation but a relatively awkward assembly for anyone looking to enjoy a combination of all three flavors. In the end, the lay-out actually did a disservice to the chocolate bread pudding portion of the dish which, left to its own devices, proved rather plain and fairly devoid of chocolate. The accompanying banana was very good; the chocolate ice cream wonderfully rich. A pistachio frozen nougat “sandwich” with caramelized bosc pear and cinnamon syrup came highly recommended, and didn’t disappoint. The affogato, warm espresso over vanilla ice cream, offered up a nice bitter-sweet contrast in flavors. An intrigued Martin also went with the cheese plate, actually a mini grilled cheese sandwich: 3 year old Comte and toasted brioche. A nice try, but not my idea of an ideal way to end a meal.

Since Martin was in a drinking mood (no doubt because he was in mid-script mode), he ordered a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne for the table. I’m not a big champagne man, preferring the sweeter muscats, but had no trouble helping Martin polish off the bottle. “It’s the champagne for people who hate champagne!”he enthused.

Great food, excellent service and, from what I hear, the bathrooms are pretty impressive as well.

It’s nice to get out every once in a while.

Pics: Food, Fondy, and Marty G. doing his imitation of Jim Carey’s rendition of Count Olaf.

Questions, questions, questions…

Haliyah writes: “How do you get an agent?”

Answer: Get someone to recommend you. If that’s not possible, then seek one out (they used to publish something called The Writer’s Market that offered up lists and contact numbers). Find one and send them a polite query letter, telling them a bit about yourself and whether they’d be interested in reading your work. Then – blow their socks off with your writing samples.

Allison writes: “When do you think Paul will begin shooting?”

Answer: That’s still to be decided.

CmS1977 writes: “Sci-Fi has announced “Ani-Monday”, where they’ll be running a block of anime which they’re calling “original programming.” Any thoughts?”

Answer: I doubt it will be original programming. Still, it might be very interesting depending on what they get. Maybe some Cowboy Bebop and Planetes?

Anonymous #1 writes: “Any chance of seeing Jack in Atlantis next season?”

Answer: It’s possible but, at the moment, unlikely.

Rossy writes: “Joe, have you ever tried an affrogato with pistachio ice cream?”

Answer: I had one with vanilla ice cream. Check out the pic accompanying today’s review.

Kristine writes: “Really? What cheese did you try? Was is a goat cheese? Was it white or brown?”

Answer: Brown. It was great with scrambled eggs. I believe it was called Gjetost.

Joshua Meyers writes: “Have you been to Invermere B.C.?”

Answer: Never been.

A.A. writes: “About the ratings; I do not want to sound too negative, but which are the chances for renewal with 1.2/1.3?”

Answer: Alas, I don’t know the answer to that. Still, while the ratings are low, the numbers for cable are down across the board and, from what I heard, Atlantis beat a couple of networks among males 18-45.

Sheppard’s Delight writes: “Do you already know what is going to be happening in the season finale or does it depend on whether you get a s5?”

Answer: We have an idea where we’re going to go before we get word.

Anonymous #2 writes: “Gee Joe, after reading some of the comments here I’m so glad I’m not in your shoes, a)they wouldn’t fit and b)I don’t like high heels.”

Answer: Try my pumps. They’re much more comfortable for lounging around the office.

IB writes: “Have you ever tried the Austrian Sacher cake??”

Answer: My sister used to make Sacher Torte. Does that count?

SMB_Books writes: “ Are those large cloves of garlic or baby onions?”

Answer: Garlic gloves in the roast and caramelized baby onions in the pot.

Anonymous #3 writes: “You mentioned that there’s a ‘subtle’ clue in one of the latter S3 episodes. After they all air, will you tell us which episode it’s in?”

Answer: I will say it hasn’t aired on SciFi yet.

Teknikal writes: “In your opinion do you think its harder to write stuff for sci-fi shows than some of the main stream shows??”

Answer: In my opinion, they’re equally challenging to write for.

Apm4cb writes: “When you were 18 what did you want to do career wise? Were you the kind of person that was totally focused on their career, or did it just sorta happen to work out the way it has? Does working on atlantis live up to your expectations (at 18) or are there more things you would have liked to achieve by now? Also what would you like to have achieved work wise/personally by the time you retire?”

Answer: I’ve wanted to write professionally since I was in elementary. In the end, I’m very happy with the way things have worked out and I owe it all to 25 skill, 25% determination, 25% connections, and 25% pure luck. Before I retire, it would be nice to write a novel.

Angie writes: “Doesn’t all the criticism and complaining drive you crazy?”

Answer: Nope.

Alana writes: “ What kind of music do you listen to?”

Answer: Whatever happens to be on the radio as I’m driving in. I do like that new Nine Inch Nails song.

Cheeky Lil Devil writes: “Should I continue with my quest or should I just give up now and save myself the heartache of just having Shep… *tries to bring herself to say the words*… Clothed.”

Answer: If it’s something you really have your heart set on, then don’t let me stop you.

47 thoughts on “May 8, 2007

  1. “what I referred to as Jenga Fries”

    Glad I’m not the only one whose mind works that way.. that was my immediate thought on seeing that photograph! 😀

  2. Go, cheeky! A quest is a noble thing. Think about all those grins to inspire and, dare I say it, hope springs, yadda, yadda.

    I’ll be quiet now.


  3. Wow, I’m so incredibly depressed about season five now. It doesn’t sound like you guys are even optimitic anymore. Do you think if the ratings go up a little bit season five will be a go or is it too late already? Could we maybe get an Atlantis movie?

  4. Joe, Check out the new Nine Inch Nails CD, “Year Zero” Trent tends to compose an entire CD vs singles which is rare these days. The entire project is one concept and it’s very dense and takes time to digest, which for me is a mark of a good listen.


  5. Thanks Joe for answering my first question and I kinda figured you weren’t able to answer the second. So, I’ll change the subject. What kind of ethnic foods do you like? Have you eatin any vegetarian food, or tofu? I’m vegetarian. I thought it would be fun to ask.

  6. Sounds like another restaurant I’m adding to the list to visit-if I am ever in Vancouver again.

    And thanks for the previous recommendations-eventually I’ll get around to letting you know the best ones I visited. Though I took no pictures of my food (eating alone was bad enough!)

  7. Joe,

    I’m reading John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War right now. I bought The Androids Dream and The Last Colony. Between the two, which one should I read first or does it matter.

    On another note I read in the Official Stargate Magazine that season 4 will premiere on Sci Fi this summer. That’s Great!

  8. Just wondrin’… Would you consider yourself more of a polar bear or a penguin?

  9. How about another clue on who the guest character is for the crossover episode? Pigtails, glasses, or cornpone?

    PS Of course I’d be thrilled if it were somehow Apophis, but chances are low. Still, he is Apophis…

  10. Joe,

    We were just discussing Atlantis while watching, and a curious question was asked. Where are the Lantean’s guns? In the Aurora they had some in the VR environment, so…? Is there a weapons lock up that the team hasn’t found yet?

  11. My nephew really wants to borrow my Atlantis DVDs, but I’m having trouble letting go. They are like the Black Hole Family in terms of lending them things, and I’m not sure I trust them with my favorite DVDs. But I suppose it’s for the greater good, right? Make sure they’re well and truly hooked?

  12. Oh God, please not the cornpone….please not the cornpone……please not the cornpone……

    No offense to Ben Browder at all, but with Carter coming over to Atlantis, Sheppard is already being effectively demoted. The last thing I want to see is John having to take orders from the less experienced Mitchell. Carter is John’s superior, and that’s fine. She’s a big player in the Stargate universe and she’s got loads of experience and qualifications. But if I have to watch Shep take orders from Lt. Col. Knownothing, it’ll be the last straw.

    Gateship 1000

  13. So, how many boxes of chocolate should I send you for an Ark of Truth Cap or Hat?

  14. Risotto!
    Risotto is my favorite thing in the world. Your description is – and I’m not kidding – making me plan a trip to Vancouver.

  15. Hee, Fondy’s got a great smile while Martin looks scared of the food.

    I’m not a fan of too raw stuff and that meat is fairly raw.

    Is there a restaurant in Vancouver and Québec that you haven’t tried already?

  16. You write the stories. Do you get to do anything else on the show? Do you get to hang around and watch tapings and stuff? How involved are you, (or how involved are you allowed to be) as far as Atlantis is concerned?

  17. So, I’m rather fond of names and almost always take great care in naming characters, pets, etc. Could you tell us how you all generally come up with names for characters (especially main ones)? I have to admit, whenever I’m in Vancouver, or talking to anyone from there, it seems kind of like you guys just go around the city and pluck character names from random signs (the Canadian family member I’m staying with at the moment saw the name “Coombs” on a jar of maple syrup and checked to see if it was Canadian, saying there’s a town around Vancouver called Coombs; of course, my thought immediately went to John Billingsly’s character on “The Other Guys”, because I am a complete nerd, and I had to laugh).


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    Email to and stay tuned for the results to be posted this coming Sunday.

  19. Fondy’s picture was cute;p
    I have a random question for you: I was watching the super-fan promos for SGA with Jason Mamoa, and was wondering if you knew how often he ‘freshened’ his hair…I know that you’re not supposed to wash it or something…but yah, just wondering.
    O, and another random one: are you left or right handed?

  20. Hullo, Joe. Gee, MGero is pretty. Also, have you ever tried guinea pig? It’s bit in Peru.

  21. A really great picture of Fondy.
    Answer: My sister used to make Sacher Torte. Does that count?
    I think that counts, although you should try the original one, maybe I’ll send you one. And I should try your sisters..

  22. Now I’m all disappointed by that dessert. It looked so pretty.

    So now that David Nykl has mentioned Jason’s pink cadillac, I wonder if we could inspire a challenge for the writers? Maybe have them come up with a legitimate situation that would require the art department to create a pink-cadillac-type of vehicle for Ronon?

    Yes. I realize this would cost actual money, but it would be cute….

  23. re: Window of Opportunity. my friend and I have a bet going regarding the question Jack couldn’t remember Daniel asking at the beginning of each loop. I say it was a Marmite question, what do YOU think?

  24. Hey Joe, just wondering but will we be seeing the underwater jumper bay again or was it a one off? Thanks alot.

  25. So if Carter is in charge on Atlantis, does she get promoted, therefore removing Sheppard from military command on Atlantis? Or do they both remain Lt Colonels, and Carter assumes command as first promoted Lt Colonel? Or, *gasp* does Sheppard get demoted?

  26. Any idea when season 3 might be coming out in DVD soon, or will it be like season 2 and not come out out until much later in the year?

  27. Joe

    Oh mighty and wise shaman, I agree with your discourse on meetings.. They can be such a total and complete waste of precious time and life is too short..

    Yes you should seriously think about writing a novel.. I’m no expert but what I have seen on the show as well as in your blog you do write well .. As is said ” YOu have a way with words” Also you can write with humor which is always a plus.. And you have a good following already .

    Any ideas on what type of novel you would write?

    Take Care


  28. “Marty G. doing his imitation of Jim Carey’s rendition of Count Olaf.”

    Uncanny! That tuna looks delicious…

  29. Hi Joe,

    I’m working out 6 days a week and really enjoying it. My trainer has me on the following:

    910-1090 Calories
    100-135 Protein
    60-70 Carbs
    30 fat

    I’ve mainly stuck to turkey and chicken dishes, lost the potatoes and rice, and managed to introduce some meatless (Soy) products into my diet.

    Sadly, I’m feeling like may as well eat a tree right now. I MISS “fun” foods. Can you suggest new things I could introduce into my diet that will make me enjoy meals again? I’m not obese (far from it), just finally getting healthy after a few years of bad habits.


  30. Cool, thanks for a photo of Fondy! (Hurry everybody and keep sending in those letters from the SaveFondy Campaign and secure her spot as a regular in Joe’s blog!)

    McFoieGras – that’d be something to see. I read somewhere that someone want so see a McCaviar. I think it would be interesting to have something called a McTeal’C. Sounds like you had a good time though. How do your personal cooking skills compare to places you eat at?

  31. In regards to the hint of Paul’s return, I was thinking it could be in one of these eps “Sunday”, “Submersion”,
    or “Vengeance”?
    Am I Right or Wrong?

    Love the blog. : )

  32. hello again, was just wondering if the father of teyla’s baby is going to be anyone we know?

  33. Hi!

    I just got caught up on week’s worth of your blog entries. Fondy’s supper looked very yummy—especially since I’ve been sick and on chicken soup for week. Would you consider shipping the leftovers?

    I’m sorry the chocolate desert wasn’t better, but it could be worse. The antibiotic I’m own has messed up my sense of taste. I decided Nutella on toast was an acceptable substitute for the soup–it tasted horrible. I’ve tried some other chocolates, but they all taste bad!! Unfortunately, that means no chocolate until I’m off the antibiotic which won’t be until next week!! Feel pity for me.

    While I’ve been out of commission I’ve been re-watching my Stargate SG-1 DVDs– good news you & Paul are tied with Brad for favorite episodes. Yes, I’ve actually kept track because I had nothing else to do. It hurt to wear my glasses so I couldn’t read.

    Random news I saw this on CNN and thought I’d share

    Have a good day!

  34. Cheeky Lil Devil writes: “… should I just give up now and save myself the heartache of just having Shep… *tries to bring herself to say the words*… Clothed.”

    Answer: If it’s something you really have your heart set on, then don’t let me stop you.

    … Wah, I haven’t laughed so hard for a long time ^^ Thanks.
    And you know, when you think about it, Sheppard should deserve this kind of “humiliation”. It’s always McKay who gets the weird looks (even if the arrow in his “gluteus maximus” was really something!)

  35. I’m thrilled that we finally got a pic of Fondy, and that the “Save Fondy” campaign has convinced you to use her more, but come on Joe, you know Fondy is more interesting than just appearing in, or 4 or so pics in the past year. There is no reason why she can’t be in EVERY blog posting. She has the talent, you know that, so why Joe, WHY is she pushed to the back and just used in a recurring role? You could even “ship” her with the guy driving the pink caddy, that would be so HOT!

    Think about it Joe. You gotta know the ratings for the Blog would soar if you made Fondy a reg!

    *runs very fast*

  36. Don’t suppose you could drop a hint or two about Teyla’s baby? You know… anything?

  37. argh my exams start tomorrow!!first up..anatomy and physiology…wish me luck!!!!

  38. Is it just me that has noticed that the Atlantis team only have single beds? I know that hanky panky can be done pretty much anywhere, but it’s not neccesarily comfortable and wouldn’t be the standard choice. A double+ bed is the status quo. I guess SG control didn’t fit out Atlantis to entertain personal guests!

  39. Hi Joe, quite new of this blogosphere. I really enjoy both your blog and your production as writer! I’m a writer too, or at least I’m trying with a short film in pre-production and a short cartoon at my writing, directing school. We’re looking already for locations and casting (I’ve found the mutt: nice Golden retriever female!)The casting could be difficult. Did you ever partecipated as chooser? Can you give me some advise? Better choosing with heart or based on the story? THX from an Italian (hopefully) writer

  40. “We were informed that the restaurant was still in the process of selecting artwork for the place”

    Heh! A Thought struck me, why not get them a bunch of Stargate stuff for their walls? It’d definably get them (and Stargate) some attention. 🙂

  41. Thank you, once again, for taking the time to answer my question. I am now somewhat less apprehensive about posting comments at your blog. 😉

    Here’s another one: When do you suppose the Season Three boxed set will be available to purchase?

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