“So, where do you want to go eat?”asked Rob. Since both of our wives were out of town, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get out, enjoy a meal, and talk about work without boring the ladies to tears.
I gave it some thought and suggested: “How about Fuel?”
“Hey, don’t get me wrong,”he assured me. “I love Fuel. But don’t you eat anywhere else?”
Hmmm. Upon further reflection, I suppose I can see how regulars to this blog would assume that I eat nowhere else. But the fact is I do eat elsewhere – and a lot – but just don’t post the pics to prove it. Fuel, on the other hand, receives more blog time for the simple fact that every time I go, the kitchen comes up with something new and impressive. So I suppose in a way it is like visiting a new restaurant every week.
Still, in deference to Rob and any other blog regular who feels like they’re missing out, I’ve compiled some photos and quick thoughts on the last half dozen or so meals I’ve enjoyed over the past month or so, from Italian Kitchen’s surprisingly good torta di mascarpone, fingerling potato, and roasted garlic pizza to the fantastic pork schnitzel sandwich on Portuguese bun Rob and I had for lunch at, yep, Fuel yesterday.
The restaurant: Nice, hip, very spacious. Potential poseur and pick-up haunt come nightfall I’m sure. Nevertheless, it struck me as less Cin Cin and more of an upscale Earls.
The menu: A wide (some, like me, would argue much too wide) variety of Italian (and not so Italian) specialties.
Hits: That torta di mascarpone, fingerling potato, and roasted garlic pizza I mentioned. The dough was a bit thick, but otherwise a very tasty dish. Service was attentive and friendly.
Misses: Egads! The beef carpaccio is described as “shaved” beef tenderloin. If so, I’d suggest changing the razor. The meat was way too thick and chewy, a far cry from the paper-thin melt-in-your-mouth slices served in most upscale Italian eateries. The feature ravioli was an crab ravioli that, with the exception of the sole crab leg adorning the dish, was either incredibly subtle in flavor or missing any significant crab meat.
QUATTRO ON FOURTH
The restaurant: Elegant and inviting with its gorgeous mahogany tables and garden patio. Managing Partner Patrick Corsi is like a distant relative warmly welcoming you back to his place.
The menu: Seasonal, central Italian cuisine with a few established favorites and nightly additions.
Hits: The prosciutto and radicchio-wrapped grilled mozzarella in cherry vinaigrette, the always-succulent grilled Cornish game hen, the beef carpaccio, the spicy Spaghetti Quattro (my writing partner swears by), and the pasta tarufati (not on the menu, but ask for it and they’ll be happy to make it for you). Daniel, our regular server, is always tops.
Misses: None really although if I had to come up with something I’d suggest a slightly more generous portion of their new ravioli dish.
The restaurant: The best French fine dining in the city. Fondy (and Flanigan) would agree.
The menu: Traditional French cuisine with a touch of Pacific flair.
Hits: Heavenly oven-roasted sea bass with tomatoes, olives, grilled fennel, and a Pernod finish, pan-seared sweetbreads with black truffled foie gras cream, oven-roasted bone marrow, spot prawn appetizer, their pear tart(yup, you read correctly – this isn‘t a misprint) with vanilla ice cream.
Misses: On the night we went – none.
The restaurant: Izakaya-style dining in downtown Vancouver. Very laid-back. The clientele is a nice mix of older professionals, young artist types, and Japanese exchange students.
The menu: Japanese tapas: select sushi, sashimi, beef, tofu, chicken, and pork.
Hits: Tender grilled pork cheeks, gyu-tan (that’s cow tongue, kids), delicious Kobe beef, and a truly awesome grilled-mackerel nigiri.
Misses: The beef tendon miso soup was a disappointment while the pork bun was darn near inedible.
The restaurant: Located at the top floor of the Aberdeen Center in Richmond.
The menu: As the name implies, the focus is on Northern Chinese cuisine.
Hits: The handmade noodles perfectly al dente and utterly delicious, the tea-smoked chicken, and the pork shoulder.
Misses: Thankfully, on this last visit, one of the waiters did not remark that Fondy “looked bigger” and then attempted damage control by miming dumb bell curls.
The restaurant: Pricey to be sure, but you won’t find better sushi in the city. Chef Tojo is a legend.
The menu: Fresher than fresh sushi, sashimi, and Japanese plates.
Hits: Blue fin toro sashimi, tuna tataki nigiri, dynamite hand roll, spicy tuna hand roll, lobster hand roll, Tojo’s spider roll (the best I’ve ever had). Service is great, very friendly, and server Dragon’s rendition of Happy Birthday has to be heard to be truly appreciated. Next time your there, mention someone at your table is celebrating a birthday. I dare ya.
The restaurant: Casual, bright, French bistro.
The menu: Bistro fare, classic and creative.
Hits: The new house terrine made of veal, pork, raisins, and other savory goodness, the chicken liver port fondant, and the lamb shank spiced with citrus tomato and white whine.
Misses: My bad. I actually ended up making a reservation at the wrong French bistro, one a couple of blocks up that we no longer frequent after one of the waiters royally pissed off Fondy. Apparently, it happens a lot. The making reservations at the wrong bistro. Although, come to think of it, the royally pissing Fondy off is not uncommon.
The restaurant: Relaxed atmosphere and a view of the open kitchen so you can watch the crew at work.
The menu: High seasonal Pacific fine dining.
Hits: The pork schnitzel sandwich on Portuguese bun (I could have had another), and the juicy fried chicken served with buttermilk biscuits and gravy.
Misses: The bottom of my Portuguese bun was a little soggy, but it certainly didn’t effect the overall deliciousness of the sandwich.
David writes: “Which actor has a personality most like his/her character?”
Answer: The other day, I mentioned how Jason looks imposing but is really a big softie at heart (not unlike Ronon). Like McKay, David is a bit of a tech geek and an incredibly colorful individual. Like Teyla, Rachel is a sweet, good-natured soul possessed of a very calming personality.
PG15 writes: “ 1. Hmmm…so The Red Shirt Diaries was shelved? Then what is Prodigal? Are they different stories then?
2. Is Prodigal the episode you’re talking about with Carl writing it and it being set in the city?
3. Any good Carson/Teyla moments coming up?”
Answers: 1. They are totally different stories. 2. Yes. 3. No big meaty scenes between them yet.
Sander writes: “Hey Joe, will there ever be a SGA film?”
Answer: Eventually, when the series ends, I’m sure there will be.
Paloosa writes: “Great to hear that Remnants is coming together so well, and that you might actually have some time to enjoy for yourself this weekend, along with quality puppy time. Do you ever take them for walks?”
Answer: On occasion, I do. Lulu and Bubba, the youngsters, love walks and can go all day. Maximus (pictured in the banner) is an incredibly stubborn walker, sometimes stopping just for the hell of it and refusing to budge until he sees fit to continue. Jelly, due to hip problems, can only go a half a block, meaning I usually have to pick her up and carry her back when she gives up.
Paloosa writes: “Also, I was wondering if the storylines have been decided for the last few episodes? And are you, cast and crew itching to take off for hiatus?”
Answer: Nope. There are two slots still open. They’ll go to Carl and Alan. We have two weeks to spin these stories. That way, everyone will have something to work on during a hiatus we are all very much looking forward to.
Panna Cotta writes: “ Joe, I was wondering if Season 5 will see the Lanteans make things worse due to Sheppard’s knowledge from the future. The whole dropping a building on them in The Last Man seems to nod towards that. Did you know that SGA was going to be renewed when the decision to have that ending was made?”
Answer: Sheppard’s knowledge of the future will not cause any problems for the expedition. As for the episode itself – we had no firm idea of the show’s fate when the script was written. Nevertheless, even if the series had been cancelled, we would have found a way to finish the story. We definitely wouldn’t have ended things with half our cast dead and the other half doomed.
Das writes: “Speaking of Todd – and your answer regarding writing for the fans – well…the fans want MORE Todd! So, if we can’t hope to see more of him in S5 (besides the 3) – what about S6, if there is one?”
Answer: Right now, season 6 seems a long way off. A lot can happen between now and then. No one is safe.
BlueJay writes: “DAS, i agree with you completely with regards to the ‘gift of life’. A beautiful, wonderful moment completely destroyed by what you writers did in season four.”
Answer: Hate to disappoint, but the wraith are the show’s villains. Regardless of their motivation, they rule through fear and intimidation. The “gift of life” is a means to an end for them, not some act of benevolent largesse they bestow upon people they like.
Tim the Technician writes: “Do the actors still come in to work if they have a cold or something similar?”
Answer: Everybody, not just the actors, come to work if they have a cold or something similar.
Alipeeps writes: “Completely changing topic here – have you gotten around yet to watching the third Season of new Doctor Who?”
Answer: I just finished watching the final episode this morning. Great stuff.
Luis811 writes: “Who can I E-Mail in the production company to get a price on Ronons sofa and chair.”
Answer: Just drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll have Tanja in the production offices contact you.
Boston writes: “Were you a fan of Stargate before you started working on the show?”
Answer: Nope. In all fairness, I caught what was probably one of the SG-1’s worst episodes, Emancipation, and that colored by opinion of the series.