So where do people who work in the food industry like to go when they eat out? That’s the question I asked the kitchen crew at one of my favorite Vancouver haunts last month. Their surprising consensus pick: Rekados Grill, a Filipino restaurant on Main Street. And if that wasn’t enough to convince me to check it out, the sous-chef’s recommendation to “try the crispy pork belly” certainly was.

Rekados is located in a strip mall on the corner of Main and King Ed., and while finding parking can be a bit of a pain, the extra five or ten minutes spent circling the block is quickly forgotten once you step inside the clean, modern dining room and are immediately enticed by the aroma of garlic, scallions, and roasted chicken. On the night we visited, it was hopping. The place was three-quarters full and we just managed to snap up one of the two remaining unreserved tables.

We started with the calmare, garlic and chili-spiced lightly-fried squid topped with sweet red onions and served with cilantro mayo. Crisp and utterly delicious – I‘d go so far as to say the best in town. The manila street barbecue (chicken or pork skewer – in our case, both – with spiced coconut vinegar) and the tinkling chicken (tender pieces of boneless wok-fried chicken) were also tender and flavorful, but those calmare were a mighty tough act to follow.

For mains, we went with the suggested crispy pata, a slow-roasted pork hock that is crispy-fried before serving. I found it a little overdone, but Fondy adored it. The rekados chicken, marinated in house spices before being slow-roasted and, yes, crispy-fried, was moist and fragrant. Feeling adventurous, I ordered the sizzling sisig – chopped pig ears and pork tossed in sweet red onion, scallions, chilis, and soy, served on a sizzling platter – and was rewarded with a dish that delivered on both taste and texture, a little savory, a little tangy, a little crisp, and a tad crunchy.

When it came time for dessert, I was disappointed to learn that they had run out of my first choice, the dark chocolate tastings, so I went with my back-up, a selection of Filipino ice creams while Fondy had the leche flan. Now I’m not a fan of crème caramel but this Filipino version, made with condensed milk and topped with candied peanuts, was richer, firmer and, in my opinion, far tastier than its more popular cousin. As for those ice creams, I was served three flavors on three different spoons: mango, sweet purple yam, and, crazy as it sounds, corn and cheddar cheese. Crazier still is the fact that the latter turned out to be the best of the bunch, a nice contrast of sweet and savory. While the mango proved suitably “mangoey”, the purple yam underwhelmed.

Despite the almost full house, we had no complaints with the service.

As we left, stuffed and satisfied, I couldn’t help but wonder where the Rekados’ kitchen staff goes when they eat out.

Today’s pics: The place, drinks, calmare, skewers, crispy pata, the house chicken, sizzling pig ear, leche flan, 3 types of ice cream including cheddar-corn!

Today’s video: Click on the date to see us “clap Carl out”.

Today’s mailbag:

Marichka a ecrit: “1) Maintenant que vous avez le temps de souffler, ca sera plutôt des vacances en vue pour se reposer ? Ou plutôt des livres de SF pour ne pas dormir ? 2) Pourra-t-on dans un futur proche ou lointain, voir votre nom sur une production pour le grand écran ? Ca vous tenterez ? 3 ) la question pour faire bonne figure et ne pas sortir du lot : Comment va votre voiture ?”

Reponses: 1) J’espère que j’aurai le temps pour tous les deux. 2) Il ne m’intéresse pas vraiment. Je préfère la télévision. 3) Il fonctionne bien.

Dustin writes: “hey joe i was wondering what type of camera do you use to take your photos? and are you a buff of photography??”

Answer: I know little about photography beyond the basic “point and snap”. And there are times when I can’t even get that right. I use a Sony HDR-SR1.

Lt.ColShepJumper writes: “How is Earth able to manufacture another ship that fast?”

Answer: Presume that Earth is in the process of building several ships simultaneously. Each is in a different stage of development so that when one is eventually put into service, its demonstrated strengths and weaknesses are noted and subsequent models are tweaked as they near completion.

Nathan writes: “Looking back at the scripts you have written for Stargate over the years, which was your favourite / most fun to write? Which one didn’t turn out as well as you had hoped? What was the name of the first Stargate script you wrote and the name of the last (so far)? Which one didn’t translate to film so well for you and which one turned out far better than you imagined? Which was the most difficult to write?”

Answers: Favorite – Ripple Effect. Most Fun to Write: The Ties that Bind. One that didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped: Irresponsible. First script: Scorched Earth. Last script: Kindred I. One that didn’t translate to film so well: Irresponsible. One that turned out better than I imagined: Camelot. Most difficult to write: This Mortal Coil.

Anonymous #1 writes: “Were you one of the 2.7/7 (7.29 million) that tuned in to see the Bayou Bengals – Fighting Tigers of LSU – whump on University of Florida Gators?”

Answer: I was. And also one that tuned in to watch Carl’s USC Trojans upset by Stanford. I hear Carl hasn’t stopped crying.

MajorSal writes: “wonderful cast photo!:I have a question regarding that: who’s the blond gentleman sitting next to amanda?”

Answer: That is our immensely talented Production Designer James Robbins.

SMB Books writes: “Hard cover or paperback?”

Answer: Usually paperback but, like you, if it’s a new release from an author I enjoy reading, I’ll splurge for the hardcover.

Vikitty writes: “Have you ever seen Infernal Affairs with Tony Leung, Eric Tsang, and Andy Lau? I’m guessing you’ve seen the American remake (The Departed). Which one did you like more and why?”

Answer: Yes, I saw the HK version of Infernal Affairs and, to be perfectly honest, preferred the original. The American version was good but didn’t strike me as an improvement over what I had already seen.

Yet Another Flanigan Fan writes: “Is there any significance in the fact that David Hewlett is sitting front and centre in the photo, while the lead actor in the show is off in a corner, or was it just an accident?”

Answer: David, Amanda, and Jewel were one of the first to arrive and so settled in at the front. Joe and Jason (as evidenced by a clip I posted sometime last week) were late to arrive and so picked the nearest available spaces.

Anonymous #2 writes: “ Who does the big black dog belong to? Is that you with your hand up on the side of your head. Is that the day that you whacked your head on the trunk of your car?”

Answer: That is John N. Smith’s dog, Heida, who is scared to death of Jason and growls at him whenever he comes near. Yep, that is me on the day I was whacked by my car trunk door, doing my best to oh-so-casually conceal my head wound.

Edward4th writes: “I’m somewhat surprised that Baron Destructo doesn’t have more minions, why is that do you think?”

Answer: The Baron has a nasty habit of offing his minions when he’s feeling grumpy. He’s not good with goldfish either.

Michelle writes: “The NY Times has an interesting article about the new ratings system. Apparently it takes Nielsen 21 days to do the Commercial + 3 day ratings analysis!”

Answer: Thanks for the link to a great article. I’ve already copied the guys. Hmm. A 21 day wait for the +3 ratings? Great. That means we’ll probably receive the proper ratings for our premiere a little after we’ve already learned our fate.

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