A new chocolate shop open it’s doors in Vancouver today. Monde Chocolat, located at 2391 Burrard Street just below West Broadway, is the latest player in a worldwide chocolate renaissance. And while Monde Chocolat won’t be giving Yaletown favorite Chocoatl a run, it’s certainly a welcome addition to the Vancouver chocolate scene. Whereas Themis Velgis boutique shop offers up delectable handmade creations and single origin drinks, Monde Chocolat serves as a showcase for some unique – and occasionally downright bizarre – chocolate bar lines. There’s Michel Cluizel and Valhrona in addition to the owner’s own line of Terra Nostra organic chocolates. There’s also an impressive selection of Zotter’s “organic and fair” bars. I picked up 11 of the latter, intent on taste-testing them alongside my colleagues this week. Flavors include: pumpkin seeds with marzipan, celery truffle and port wine, sweet chestnut, cherry brandy with marzipan, chili, butter caramel, pistachios, rum and coconut, walnuts with marzipan (Yeah, what can say. I like marzipan.), cream nougat with pistachios, and, most intriguing of all – bacon bits. The place also offers a nice selection of frozen desserts (the lady behind me in line was picking up a chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick), and some Vermont-imported truffles (which were fine but, alas, paled in comparison to some of the city’s more delicate handcrafted creations – again, Themis Velgis and Chocoatl come to mind). On the drive home, I sampled a couple of my purchases and was blown away by one in particular: a sublimely sweet and salty Finissimo Cioccolato al Latte con Pane Ticino that has vaulted into my Top 3 Favorite Chocolate Bars of all time. And milk chocolate no less!
Prior to hitting the chocolate shop, we had gone to Bistrot Bistro for lunch and enjoyed yet another terrific meal. Our neighbors, a family of four, were so thrilled with their first-time experience that they struck up a conversation about the wonderful meal they’d just enjoyed. “How was the chocolate mousse?”I asked the father. “If I was at home,”he confided, “I’d have licked the bowl clean.” The duck and caramelized onion tarts that Fondy and started with were plate-licking good as well – a nice compliment of sweet, smoky, and savory. My salmon cake was very good, as were our sides: buttery delicious glazed carrots with pine nuts, and a “couscous raisin”. Fondy’s “pain perdu”, Bistrot Bistro’s version of French Toast comprised of a golden baguette with maple syrup, proved as great as we’d enjoyed on our last visit. Service, as always, was homestyle and friendly.
Well, I picked up my Continuum crew gift on Friday: a cap, t-shirt for Fondy, and nifty hoody (also for Fondy). Which reminded me yet again: Paul and I have to decide on a crew gift for the end of season four. In the past, crew gifts have ranged from North Face jackets and vests to DVD players. But Paul and I want to do something unique. Alan suggested following the lead of last year’s crew gift – the Stargate watch with the closed iris that necessitates your twisting open the springloaded iris in order to check the time- by offering irised sunglasses (that will necessitate your twisting open the springloaded irised lenses to see out, making driving an altogether far more exciting experience). I was toying with the idea of getting everyone individual ice cream bowls with home made ice cream. After eating their way down to the bottom, a delightful surprise would await – a picture a Paul and I smiling back at them and giving them the thumbs up – a gift they would undoubtedly treasure forever. Marty G., being the practical fellow he is, suggests we should just give everyone cash. Needless to say, we’re still thinking about it.
Questions, queries, and quibbles –
Mackenzie’smomm writes: “Decided on a name for the pug you are ‘definantly not getting’?”
Answer: Fondy is now considering getting a boy and calling him Kobe (that’s Ko-bay like the beef and not Ke-bee like the basketball player. They look to be very well-marbled after all).
Carolina writes: “If you had to leave town for 3 months and leave your pugs at the care of one of the characters of the shows (taking out the women) who would you leave them with?”
Answer: Hi, Carolina. Nice to see you back. In answer to your question – in the event Fondy and I go away, we leave our pugs in the infinitely capable hands of our dog-sitter, Shawne.
Scifan writes: “What is the proper term for shushi without the meat? Is it maki?”
Answer: Not sure what you mean by sushi without the meat. Do you mean fishless sushi? Well, certain types of maki can be fishless, but most aren’t.
PG-15 writes: “Which episodes are you writing this season Joe?”
Answer: I wrote Reunion and This Mortal Coil, and will be writing The Rise of the Googlions Part I (although I’ve been meeting some resistance on this title so it may change before I hand in my first draft).
Anonymous #1 writes: “In your opinion, is SGA episodes more arc based or more stand alone?”
Answer: We’ve always strived to maintain a fair balance of both. However, in season four, more than any other season, there are certain arcs – some dominant, some subtle – that will run through most every episodes.
Vikitty writes: “How did you and Fondy just choose TWO of the six puppies? They’re all so cute!”
Answer: Don’t encourage her!!!
Vaberella writes: “Is there any chance that Ronon delves into the romantic waters a bit in S4?!”
Answer: It’s possible.
Judy writes: “1) Does watching commercials count as watching the show or just mainly the show it self when the ratings are in? 2)Will Rachel be in all the episodes in S4, will she be out for a few episodes like Amanda was when she was pregnate? 3) Why did you guys decide to give the atlantis expedition a whole new wardrobe in S4?”
Answers: 1) Advertisers are particularly interested in commercial viewing habits, which is why the introduction of personal video recorders has thrown a wrench into the way a show’s performance is gauged. 2) We’ll include Rachel as much as possible. But her involvement in the last few episodes will have less to do with us and more to do with how she feels. 3) At the beginning of the year, we had a sit down with the actors and talked about what they’d like to see in season four. They made two requests which we honored: hold read-throughs and change the costumes to something a little more comfortable.
Caty writes: “Did the up-trend in the ratings continue for Vengeance like you hoped it would?”
Answer: We don’t get word on Friday night’s ratings until Monday afternoon.
Jen, the cow hugger writes: “Did Rachel’s pregnancy kind of throw a monkey wrench into any previous ideas you had for Season 4? -What seafood dishes would you recommend for someone who avoids it?”
Answers: 1. To be honest, it did at first. The dark turn that Rachel refers to in her recent interview (and that I first suggested way back when I wrote that pre-season four poem) was intended to go a lot further. But mommy hood changed those plans. Nevertheless, we were able to explore Teyla’s character a little more this season and give her a season-spanning arc. 2. Seafood recommendation for someone who avoids seafood? Hmmm.
Nick writes: “Will we see more of the back story of Shepard?”
Answer: There is a story in the works that will hopefully give us the opportunity to shed some light on John’s backstory.
Anonymous #2 writes: “In the past, the seasons premiered in July, so you needed to begin planning/writing in November. With the premier pushed out 3 months to October, couldn’t the planning/writing for a potential season 5 be pushed out 3 months to February?”
Answer: On the surface, that would seem to be the case. However, actor/writer/producer deals need to be picked up by a certain date as well. If they are not, then everyone becomes free to pursue other projects rather than sitting on their hands, waiting around for a possible pick-up.