Sometimes, restaurants amaze me. And not it a good way. Case in point – Oji, the new restaurant next door to Chapters on Robson Street. Truth be told, it wasn’t our first choice for lunch. Nor was it our second choice. Or third choice for that matter. We had headed out early, hoping to beat the rush at Feenie’s, only to discover that it wouldn’t be open for another half hour. So we headed downtown, planning to hit Prima Taste. But it being Victoria Day, they too were closed. Admitting defeat, I suggested we just go to “that crepe place”, only to have Fondy point out it was more of a take-out spot. And so, after much discussion, we finally decided on chicken shawarmas from The Babylon Cafe, even though we’d had chicken shawarmas for dinner last night. Alas, there were no free stools. Frustrated and more than a little hungry, we started the hike up to the heart of Robson when we noticed the sign outside a new restaurant: Oji. “Let’s try something new,”I foolishly suggested.
Now you’ll be excused for assuming Oji is a Japanese restaurant. It’s not. Nor is it a Chinese restaurant. Or a Vietnamese restaurant for that matter. It is, in fact, a bit of everything. Feel like barbecued pork and spicy wontons? Well, you‘re in luck. Feel like udon? You can order that too. How about some pho? Bingo! Past experience tells me that these types of restaurants tend to fall under the “Jack of all trades, master of none” category. And sadly (for me on this day) Oji is no exception.
We sat through: fried desiccated chicken satay, unremarkable pan-fried dumplings, a bland chicken chow mein, passable radish pancakes, and barbecued pork so cloying it effectively appeased any desire I had to go grab a post-lunch dessert. On the bright side, service was good. Granted, we were the only ones in the place (the only other potential customer leaving immediately after perusing the menu) but still, our waitress was prompt and courteous.
Which brings me to what I was referring to earlier, the source of my amazement. I find it truly incredible that someone would go through all the trouble of finding a suitable location, gutting and refurnishing the place, establishing a new restaurant – and then not even giving the menu more than a passing thought.
Restaurants live and die by the quality of the food they serve and given Oji‘s offerings, the place will be lucky to survive the year. I’m setting the over/under on this place at six months.
On a potentially more interesting note – Marty G. and I toured the up-and-coming sets of the second SG-1 movie: Continuum. Check out what’s in the works (including Martin’s post-Stargate luxury yacht).
Let’s get to your questions –
Karen writes: “Are you suggesting that pugs replace white cats as supervillan pets?”
Answer: Only in the case of this supervillain.
Anonymous #1 writes: “I was wondering if you could recommend a restaurant. I live on the North Shore and getting married this fall.”
Answer: Hmmm. I don’t get over to the North Shore much and when I do, it’s usually to have dinner at one restaurant in particular: La Regalade. I don’t know if it would be large enough to accommodate a wedding party, but the food – hearty French cuisine – is excellent.
Zannah writes: “Ever tried any Lowcountry (Charleston, SC-area) food?”
Answer: Would love to but, unfortunately, there are no Lowcountry eateries in the area.
Lorr54 writes: “Do y’all ever plan which episodes would play well together, or is the order they air based purely on the indivdual series?”
Answer: Whenever possible, we do try to have episodes play off one another. We’ll be seeing more of this in season four.
Amy writes: “What would the perfect dessert consist of for you?”
Answer: Chocolate, crème anglaise, marscapone cream, and vanilla ice cream.
Mags writes: “Do you read all the comments yourself or have somebody pre-screen them for you?”
Answer: I read most of the comments myself. Occasionally, I’ll only need to read as far as the first couple of sentences to realize I should hit the reject button. All other comments do get read even though I may not respond to all.
Wolfen writes: “Does Canada use a different kind of glucose meter or something?”
Answer: I don’t know. I’m new to the world of glucose meters.
Little Raven-Hawk writes: “ Besides Harry Potter, have you read any other youth fiction?”
Answer: I did read (and loved) the entire Series of Unfortunate Events.
Sarah writes: “What did you think of “The Handmaids Tale”?”
Answer: I liked it as much as I enjoyed the other two Atwood books I read for a Canadian Lit. course I took.
Bebop writes: “Ae we looking at the return of Kolya later in this season or next?”
Answer: Probably not this season.
Kiwigater writes: “It’d be nice, if, on occasion, I felt like you had even some iota of respect for us as well.”
Answer: Sorry, Kiwigater. I thought it was clear from my response that I was referring to fans who make up their minds about a creative decision before they’ve seen a given episode (for instance, all the angry posts about Vala joining the team that seemed to die down considerably when the episodes in question actually aired). Honestly, if I didn’t respect the fans, I wouldn’t be taking the time to interact with them.
Flying Fig writes: “Once this book (http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2007/05/billiondollar_k.html) is out, will you read it?”
Answer: It does look like an interesting read, doesn’t it?
Jafacakes writes: “Have you ever tried Portuguese food?”
Answer: I have (back when I was in Montreal) and really enjoyed it.
Nichole writes: “ This is the publisher write up of The Dosadi Experiment…”
Answer: Another one I have that I’ve been meaning to get around to.
Anonymous #2 writes: “You mentioned the Wraith goggles the other day! My friends and I are always on about “Where did he get those goggles?”
Answer: He picked them up at The Vancouver Public Pool’s lost and found along with a spear gun and an all too tighty-whitey speedo. Wraith have no shame.
Arctic Goddess writes: “What does a Creative Consultant do?”
Answer: It really depends on the person and the production. They can do everything from earn their keep by weighing in on all creative decisions to simply swing by a production office every second week and collect a pay check for having their name on the credits.
Jenn writes: “We found this place while visiting Victoria BC on Friday, but didn’t get a chance to go back and try it out. Have you been here?”
Answer: I haven’t although, in all honest, I’ve never been a fan of the mishmash creations of fusion cuisine.
Josh D. writes: “First time poster, long time reader of your blog.”
Answer: Welcome aboard and thanks for the kind words.
Michelle writes: “So The Sopranos continues to shock and amaze me each week. Do you think Tony’s recent behavior is justified and believable in the context of the show? Do you think he’ll survive the finale?”
Answer: I have a very bad feeling about these next two episodes. To begin with, I find Tony’s recent behavior justified and believable in the context of the show. It’s Phil’s heavy-handedness that I find a little hard to buy. As for who will survive the finale – I’m in the minority of fans who think the most satisfying conclusion to the series would be to have Tony and his family, to survive the finale alive and well.