As I took a seat and started perusing my dinner choices, I was instantly transported back, four years earlier, to my very first visit to Mexico. The smells. The sounds. The sheer bafflement of trying to make sense of menu items listed almost exclusively in Spanish. No to worry though. We had also been provided with a handy glossary to help us along. Nevertheless, after a few frustrating minutes of ping-ponging back and forth between it and the menu, I set both aside, flagged down the waiter and had him give us a thorough breakdown.

I’ve always been wary of wacky re-imaginings and fusion cuisine, and the idea of the Nuevo Latino food concept, while interesting, even admirable, wasn’t something I’d been dying to try. But Goldfish was booked and the people I was with had heard very good things about Cobre. Who was I to be the party pooper?

Well, by the time I’d received the translation on the menu items, I was past interested and well into intrigued. Duck confit papusa with caramelized shallot and mole duck jus. Roast garlic eggplant empanadas. Pork-stuffed corn flour tortillas with fig green-apple jam. We ordered seven plates between the four of us, a bottle of Prosecco, and then kicked back and checked out the pleasing, modern split-level dining area with its open kitchen, copper detailing. We were barely past our first drink when the dishes started to arrive.

First up was the local albacore tuna y pipian rojo azteca – nice, fresh meaty pieces of tuna served with chunks of creamy purple potato salad, the whole topped with a sauce of chilies, ground seeds, and nuts. A great start to our meal proceeded by an even better follow-up in the form of the duck confit papusa with caramelized shallot and mole duck jus. The duck confit, nestled within the flour tortillas, was exceptional, especially once smashed and married with the sweet mole, a sauce comprised of chile peppers, ground nuts, and Mexican chocolate. This particular dish was so well-received that we immediately requested a second order as we moved on to our third plate: papusa tatemado. According to the glossary provided, the tatemado is a spiced pork roast traditionally served at weddings and christenings in Northern Mexico. Cobre’s version is served stuffed in a handmade tortilla with a calmyma fig and green-apple jam. Three for three. The next dish, roast garlic eggplant chili pequin empanada pimiento rojo, was also good, although a little too doughy. The pork saddle al pastor traditionale and the wild board chorizo with nugget potato were both served in soft flour tortillas, delicious little two-bite creations. Finally, our last dish, the seared skirt steak peppercorn adobo with Tijuana Ceasar and chorizo hash ended our mains on a high note, although the plate could have benefited from a little more steak.

Desserts were equally accomplished. The chocolate souffle was velvety smooth, sweeter than your typical dark chocolate, complimented by hints of cinnamon from the Mexican Ibarra. It was accompanied by a much-appreciated dipping churro. The horchata custard was less intense but no less enjoyable, topped with lemon curd and whipped chevre marscapone. And finally, the house dulce de leche begs an entire review of its own but, suffice it to say, it more than impressed.

Service was terrific. Our waiter Curtis was an amiable and animated guide.

Una cena maravillosa.

Today’s pics: Nuevo Latino Cuisine – Cobre style!

Today’s video: Nada. Sorry.

Today’s mailbag:

Susan writes: “Question: Would it behoove us fans without ratings boxes and/or living in other countries to write letters to the advertisers who support the show and tell them all about how we’re going to go out and buy their product because they advertise on Atlantis?
Question 2: I don’t have either of your books and thus can’t join the book club this month, but I’m wondering if you’d ever read anything by Gene Wolfe?”

Answers: 1) Fire away! 2) I read (and loved) The Fifth Head of Cerberus. I have picked up the Book of the New Sun series but have yet to get around to it.

Tim writes: “which order do the books of the Culture series go in?”

Answer: They can be read as stand-alones. However, I read the first three in the order in which they were published: Consider Phlebas, The Player of Games, and Use of Weapons.

Padawan Aneiki writes: “…what about coffee? Any amazing flavors/brands you’d recommend (along with their websites)?”

Answer: I don’t drink coffee, so I’m the wrong person to ask.

Mrs. B108 writes: “1)Will any alliances shift this season? 2)Will this season be full of hard decisions and tribulations?”

Answers: Yes on both counts. Reunion, The Seer, and Miller’s Crossing come to mind.

Herbert writes: “When a problem in a sci-fi show is resolved by an ancient race who are far more technologically advanced than us and we just can’t understand their thinking, isn’t that fantastical thinking as well?”

Answer: Yes, however the fact that they are technologically advanced (rather than simply magical) makes it science fiction in my books. But you bring up some very good points concerning the very fine line between science fiction and fantasy. Much depends on the individual writer.

Anonymous #1 writes: “Why do you guys feel you need to be romancing everyone to make this show interesting?”

Answer: Could you offer up some examples of the “everyone” we’ll be romancing this season?

IamJohn writes: “Hey, thinking about the (hopeful) new season, how soon do you start constructing stuff for an episode after starting to write it?”

Answer: It depends on the production schedule. When we write scripts over the hiatus, they will be banked for months before we get around to prepping them. As we near the end of the season, we may get the Art Department started as early as the concept stage.

IamJohn also writes: “ Also for set pieces like the puddlejumper, do you move them to create a set, or do you constuct a needed set around it, or is it something where the picture that the viewer sees is almost always computer generated so it doesn’t matter and have a ready made one that’s always there?”

Answer: It depends on the set piece. In the case of the puddle jumper, we’ll use green screen when we shoot out the front of the jumper to give us a glimpse of what we are flying toward, be it space, a planet, or tree tops. If we’re shooting out the back, we may use green screen or we may have our Green Department create a forest-like backdrop. Still other times, we may take our traveling puddle jumper on location or, if we don’t need to see our characters actually boarding, have our visual effects team create the jumper.

Keirberos writes: “Hey, what were some of your numbers? Closer to Brad’s or Rob’s?”

Answer: Being the eternal optimist I am, my numbers were closer to Brad’s.

Anonymous #2 writes: “Since when did Dr. Lee become more important to the franchise than Jack?”

Answer: By that logic, you can ask “Since when did Chuck the technician become more important to the franchise than Jack?” or “Since when did McKay’s lab chair become more important to the franchise than Jack?” Simply put, it’s a hell of a lot less complicated to secure the lab chair for a guest appearance.

Nathan writes: “When will Stargate step into the modern era and declare one of their characters, if not openly gay then “sexually ambiguous” as to their choice of partner?”

Answer: If the opportunity presents itself, why not? But the reality is we haven’t delved much into our character’s sex lives to begin with. We found out about the woman Ronon left behind on Sateda a full year after he’d been introduced and have yet to learn anything about Teyla’s private life. Heck, it wasn’t until three years into the show that we found out Sheppard had an ex-wife.

Anonymous #3 writes: “Who’s your favourite S.F. writer?”

Answer: I don’t know if I’d be comfortable naming a favorite. I can name some books I’ve enjoyed immensely: Consider Phlebas, The Player of Games (Iain M. Banks), Camp Concentration (Thomas M. Disch), Old Man’s War (John Scalzi), Lord of Light (Roger Zelazny), Armor (John Steakley), City of Pearl (Nancy Travis), The Parable of the Talents (Octavia E. Butler).

Michelle writes: “Will Rodney be in the finale, or is David off for the rest of the year in anticipation of little Hewlett 2.0?”

Answer: Rodney will be in the finale.

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