Tonight, dinner took us to a little place I like to call “Le Crocodile” because in many ways it reminds me of a French alligator, with its predatory charm swimming amidst a rich, vibrant marsh of Strasbourg scents and Provencal flavors. Also, it’s the name of the restaurant.
Since I’m still recovering from my bout with food poisoning (I was felled by a TKO in the 5th), I thought it best to go easy on my glass stomach by wading my way back into the deep end of fine dining. And so, Fondy and I started things off by sharing three appetizers: oven roasted bone marrow, seared foie gras, and a duck liver terrine. The bone marrow was impressive – a hefty veal shank split lengthwise, the exposed marrow sprinkled with herbs and a little breading, then oven roasted to a nice, crispy topping. A tiny serving spoon was provided to scoop out the glistening cholesterol-quickening treasure within. The fresh, pan-seared foie gras, was rich and unctuous, served with a blueberry reduction and accompanied by a somewhat neutral gelee. The duck terrine, a nice fat and fatty portion, was smooth and sweet, although its cognac lacing did lend it a somewhat bitter undercurrent. For our mains – Fondy went with a beautifully-cooked halibut while I opted for the pan-fried sweetbreads laced with a gorgeous apple brandy cream sauce and topped with tarragon. We skipped dessert (like I said, I’m still recovering and didn’t want to overdo it).
Although I’m not a fan of beauty pageants, I did watch the last half hour of yesterday’s Miss Universe Pageant (Fondy wielded the remote, it was late, and I was feeling too weak to put up much of a fight). Like figure skating, these prize pony parades only interest me insofar as I may luck into catching some mortifying instant of unscripted hilarity (ie. awkward tumbles, Faith Hill-esque sour grapes meltdowns, and the much-beloved wardrobe malfunction). Unfortunately, I missed seeing one of the contestants go down like – as my buddy Carl put it – “a sack o’ bricks”. Nevertheless, it was nice to see Miss Japan surprise everyone by walking away with the title. Oh, and special mention should be made of all the classy members of the audience in Mexico who demonstrated their displeasure with their northern neighbors by lustily booing Miss U.S.A., no doubt assuming the young lady had a hand in drafting her country’s foreign and immigration policy. Yeah, I suppose it’s an honest mistake to make.
And many thanks to Jaffacakes who sent me a terrific Michel Cluizel Vila Gracinda 67% dark chocolate bar with an accompanying (and edifying) 8-page newspaper insert titled “The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate”. One page offers a taste test of 14 different chocolate bars ranging from supermarket milks to high-end darks, with three judges weighing in: a head patissier, a food critic, and a 12 year old girl. They weigh in on my favorite bar, the Amedei Chuao 70% – The patissier: “This is fantastic and has a great length with a nice fruitiness.” The food critic: “A Fred Astaire among chocolates. Dances over the tongue, elegant and assured.” The 12 year old girl: “Ugh! What is it? I don’t even believe it’s chocolate.”
Anonymous #1 writes: “What does Rob Cooper make on the grill that’s tasty?”
Answer: Last Summer, he barbecued a pig and some venison. Rumor has it he also smokes a pretty mean duck.
Scififan writes: “Are you a marshmallow or non-marshmallow man? Spiked or not spiked?”
Answer: Non on both count.
PUG15 writes: “Oh, and any chance of one of these read-throughs ending up as a DVD extra? Pretty please?”
Answer: Sadly, no. The producers do such a brilliant job that, out of the respect for the actors, we won’t allow our performances to be aired.
Edward4th writes: “Who decides what goes onto the DVDs as special features?”
Answer: Ivon Bartok is the guy to talk to when it comes to the special features.
Vikitty writes: “Hve you ever taken part in the Halloween Film Haunt @ Bridge?”
Answer: No. I scare easily.
Silver writes: “Assuming a book has had good reviews or been highly recommended by a trusted source, how much effort do you put into it before discarding it?”
Answer: I will make an effort to read the first 100 pages of a book. If it hasn’t grabbed me by then, I’m moving on.
Silver also writes: “Excluding non-fiction or classic literature , do you ever finish a book you dislike for the sake of ‘cultural literacy’; to discuss or debate it?”
Answer: No. If I’m not deriving any enjoyment from reading a book, I will set it aside regardless of its weighty significance.
Silver also writes: “What compels you to buy a book from an author you’re totally unfamiliar with & no one has recommended?”
Answer: Most of the books I have picked up were recommendations. I may pick up a book if I enjoyed some part work by the same author and, may on occasion, impulse by if a book happens to grab my interest while I’m browsing.
Shawna writes: “I am a huge Michael fan, I wonder if you could tell us how many eps he’s in next season, and how long we’ll have to wait to see him?”
Answer: Chances are we may see him in the back half of season four.
Anonymous #2 writes: “Does David Hewlett always do read throughs in costume?”
Answer: The read-throughs are held during lunch so if the actors are working that day, they are usually in costume.
Anonymous #3 writes: “By the way your blog receives about 3000 hits a day and quite a few comments.. Is this a sort of phenonomon?”
Answer: Yeah, about 3000 visit’s a day, but I have no other blogs to compare traffic to so I have no idea if these numbers are all that huge. Above average I suppose but I couldn’t say for certain.
Stargate Groupie writes: “What is the strangest situation or strangest location you have been at when an idea for a story or an idea for a script that you have been working on has popped in to your head?”
Answer: While sitting in the dentist’s chair, partway through a history exam, in the middle of a wedding ceremony.
Kiwigater writes: “Have you changed camera’s lately Joe? Your piccies are looking quite spiffy 😀 The prefix “DSC” suggests a Sony?”
Answer: Still the same old Sony HD camera.
Namiko writes: “Do the wait staff look at you weird when you start taking pictures, or are they used to you by now?”
Answer: They’re on to me.
Anonymous #4 writes: “Which Pohl collection did you get, The Platinum Pohl (recent) or The Best of Frederick Pohl (out-of-print, but worthwhile).”
Answer: I have both but the collection I picked up yesterday was The Best of Frederick Pohl (I managed to track down a perfect copy at a local second-hand bookstore).
Shannon writes: “When you had your chocolate party a while back you had some chocolates sent in from Denver if I remember correctly. Where did you order them from?”
Answer: Wen Chocolates – http://www.wenchocolates.com
Sopadiggle writes: “What type of computer/laptop do you use when writing the episodes?”
Answer: I work on a Sony Vaio.
Atlantisfannew1 a ecrit: “Ou avez vous apris a parler francais?”
Reponse: J’ai appris a parler francais dans les ecoles primaires et secondaires en Montreal.
Kali Weir a ecrit: “Quel épisode tournez-vous en ce moment?”
Reponse: Mai on se rappelle tous mes péchés.
Anonymous #5 writes: “I’m in Louisiana, heart of all great Cajun food!”
Answer: Next time I travel to your neck of the woods, I’ll be sure to drop by. How’s your jambalaya?
Anonymous #6 writes: “ Are you involved in the development of “Stargate Universe”? IS there any development??? Anything you could tell, please?”
Answer: That’s Rob and Brad’s baby, so I’ll leave it to them to fill you in on their progress.
Speckles writes: “Would you try Kangaroo if offered?”
Answer: I had a kangaroo burger once. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Lorr54 writes: “I’ve made truffles and sent you a few dozen. […] Licking the ganache bowl was a dirty job, but I did it.”
Answer: Uh, did you do it before or after you made the truffles?
Panikin writes: “I really like to write, not too sure if I want to do it proffessionally yet, but I always have problems tying up the ends, as well as coming up with clever titles that really grab interest. Do you have any pointers?”
Answer: Get Carl to do it. He’s great at that stuff.
Sarah writes: “Frederick Pohl is a lovely man. I was fortunate to have dinner with him along with my friends the Haldemans.”
Answer: Well, if you happen to see either Frederick Pohl or Joe Haldeman in the near future – and provided they know what the hell you’re talking about – tell them they have more than a few fans at Stargate.
Dsbeerf writes: “I hate to be negative, but you’ve RUINED my image of Jason (Ronon) ! Sitting there eating with David, and wearing GLASSES !”
Answer: Hello! Those are “shielding” lenses. The only reason he wears them is to keep the blood and viscera from getting into his eyes when he wails on people. P.S. I’m telling him what you said.