Sure, plenty of people missed Martin Gero when he left Vancouver for the Big Apple, but I’m willing to bet that none missed him as passionately as the gang at Fuel. When he was in town, we used to frequent the place at least once a week, dropping in and leaving ourselves to the mercies of Chef’s Rob and Ted and whatever incredible culinary creations they‘d come up with. Alas, since he left, my Fuel visits have been infrequent – to the point where owner Tom asked whether they’d done something to offend me. No, nothing quite so dramatic. The truth is, after some 9+ years of dining out almost every night, I’ve taken to cooking at home. Roasted pork belly, pan-seared salmon, broiled kurobata chops – nothing outrageously imaginative, but tasty nevertheless. And there’s the sense of accomplishment that goes with not cooking the crap out of that sea bass.

Well, with my culinary wingman back in town, I alerted the gang at Fuel. They had days to prepare and, suffice it to say, they didn’t let us down, preparing a special six course dinner for the occasion and even going so far as to give the menu a special name: “Joe and Marty: Reunited And It Feels So Good”. Following the customary “locking us out” gag, we were greeted by owner Tom, Chef Ted, and the rest of the kitchen crew. Chef Rob wasn’t in as he was overseeing the action at sister restaurant Campagnolo, but we promised to go pay him a visit before Martin ships out to L.A. on Wednesday. Despite Rob’s absence, Tom assured us that both he and Ted had collaborated on the evening’s menu. And, boy, were they excited.

As we settled in at our table, we were served an amuse bouche – a crisp, translucent chicken skin stuffed with line caught ling cod, soy, and charred leek. It was a tiny bite that packed some BIG flavor in addition to offering a delightful textural composition, simultaneously crunchy and creamy.


Martin, as usual, went with the wine accompaniment while I limited myself to two glasses. The first was a Riesling (Hey, what can I say. I like my wine like Das likes her fictional characters: sweet and pale.); the last was a red from Tom’s own vineyard, Montagu Cellars.

First Course: Fried Spot Prawn Heads
First Course: Fried Spot Prawn Heads

When the first course arrived, my first thought was “Damn! Is Fondy going to be sorry she missed this!” – Fried spot prawn heads with crackling and tomato spice served with a dipping sauce comprised of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and jalapeno peppers. As much as I enjoyed the dipping sauce, the prawn heads were just as good on their own – savory and surprisingly delicate. Fantastic.

English cucumber soup.
English cucumber soup.

Our second course was an English cucumber soup with frozen yogurt and poivron rouge. It was a gorgeous bright green and bursting with intense cucumber flavor. Very refreshing, a terrific follow-up to the prawn dish.

Tom presents...
Tom presents…

Next up, Tom presented us with a mason jar contaiing a whole, brodo-cooked foie-gras stuffed deboned squab.

Squab and foie gras in a jar.
Squab and foie gras in a jar.

After a quick presentation informing us what we were in for, he whisked the jar away and moments later, returned with our third course: the same brodo-cooked foie-grass stuffed deboned squab sliced and served with Bing cherries, brioche, exotic salt, and a tiny dollop of what I believe was a vividly sweet cherry balsamic. The squab and foie were perfect together – meaty, rich, sweet, and savory.

Nass River Salmon
Nass River Salmon

Our next dish was the fish course, often the least interesting entry so far as I’m concerned, but this one turned out to be one of my favorites in no small part due to the poaching process that renders the spotlight salmon incredibly moist and tender. Given the choice, this is how I’d have all of my fish prepared. The Nass River salmon was served with a wonderful little sauce of brown butter and lemon vinegar and accompanied by Saltspring Island white asparagus.

Porchetta di testa
Porchetta di testa

The final savory course was the kicker (roundhouse directly to our livers): Porchetta di Testa with English peas & cream, and lemon spaeztle. What, pray tell, is porchetta di testa? I’m glad you asked. It’s a crown roast. And what is a crown roast? Well, it‘s a crispy-skinned roast comprised of the incredibly well-marbled meat of the pork head.


Lip-smackingly deliciously. I think DeNiro ate all of this in order to achieve the look of that older, heavier Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull.

Finally, dessert!

Martin's Albion Strawberry Tart.
Martin’s Albion Strawberry Tart.

Martin had an Albion strawberry tart – that he loved.

My Manjari Chocolate Terrine.
My Manjari Chocolate Terrine.

They, of course, knew better than to serve me something with fruit in it, so I got the Manjari Chocolate Terrine – which I loved.

A huge thank you to Tom, Chef Rob, Chef Ted, and the rest of the gang at Fuel for one of the tastiest – not to mention the most imaginative – meal I’ve had in recent memory. It was just like old times!

Next stop: Campagnolo!

45 thoughts on “June 20, 2009: Just Like Old Times!

  1. Man, I couldn’t eat like you do in a million years. The fried prawn heads look delicious though. Plus I’d have the salmon and the strawberry tart and that would do me fine.

    You guys really are world famous eaters.

    Great to see food back on the blog.

    Have you ever thought of writing a cook book?

    Cheers, Chev

    p.s. loved the ref to Das’ fiction tastes.

  2. Well, that looks like SOME dinner, and I had pizza hut, poor me!!! Hey Joe, you have to tell Martin G. that I laughed my ass off during his movie!! I just watched it ( YPF )on SHOWTIME 3 . Holy crap Gero, that was SOOOO funny!! You and Abrams are NUTS!! That last scene after the credits was a scream!! By the way, Almost everyone from SG-1 and SGA were in the credits, you had alot of help, from some wonderful people!! Yes , Joe , I saw your name there too. Please tell Gero how much I enjoyed it!! Thanks, Sheryl

  3. hi, joe,

    with the world ending in 2012, can you try to make sure there’s sam/jack confirmation in movie 3 first? i know my priorities, and s/j and stargate are first. 😉


  4. Side the craisest thing happened. I met kavan smith today in a restaurant today. So cool. I recognized him and went to say hi… We talked for a few minutes as well. Got a beard and long hair now. First stargate actor I met. And I visited the Bridge yesterday. God has really chose to bless me. Wow amazing 2 days in Canada.

  5. *faints*

    Fuel really must be in the world-class restaurant category. Or if it’s still on the bubble, it would get my vote based solely on what you’ve said about it, and how the food looks. Good quality will out. Thanks to your descriptions, I can almost taste the dishes. Almost. (Not that my palate is anywhere near refined, and Condé Nast certainly hasn’t called me for the food-critic position, but I do my best.)

    Take a sabbatical, and you miss a lot. I had no idea you’ve been doing so much cooking. Lucky Fondy! But luckier you, really, since the urge to cook very well pays off so handsomely when, as chef, you get first taste. And family & friends’ reactions can have you floating to the stratosphere, when something comes off exceptionally well. — May your sea bass be forever tender and flavorful, and thanks for the delightful pics.

  6. Fried Spot Prawn Heads

    Are you sure that’s not a face hugger from Alien made to look like prawns?

  7. Oh Major D. That’s is soooo unbelievably cool. I met Kavan last year at Armageddon and it was a very “interesting” experience. I only wish I had the photo of him giving me a left hook. Apparently the photo didn’t look nice enough. **sighs**

    A beard you say? Niiiice! Goatee, full beard?

    What’s he working on now? Any more Sanctuary?

    Cheers, Chev

  8. Hey Joe,

    Sounds like you had a great dinner at Fuel. I loved my visit there a couple months ago… My favourite was the Chocolate Terrine, man that’s good..


    @ pg15: Yes, another UBC student. How cool! Kinda random, but cool nonetheless. I’m doing a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Systems. On the off chance that you have heard of that before, great. But since most people have never heard of it, it’s an interdisciplinary degree focusing on Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, and Computer Science. You can take it under Sciences or Arts. My end goal is Medicine though.

    Physics huh? Wow, that’s pretty…brave. Any specific field? Or are you still deciding?

  9. Hi Joe – I’ve been to Fuel twice and both times received knockout service and an entree too yummy for words.

    However, I think I just gained 20 pounds reading the recap of your “Fuel night out” with Mr. G.

    Glad to see the “Dynamic Duo” back together – if only for a few days!

  10. Bonjour Joseph! Vous allez bien?

    Alalala Martin, vous, de la bonne nourriture…j’ai l’impresssion d’être revenu dans le temp d’sga. Merci pour la photo de vous, vous m’avais fait avoir le 1er sourir de la journée…et un beau en plus^^!

    J’espere que bous allez passer une bonne journée!
    Bisou Bisou!

  11. how was the pork head meat? that sounds interesting, was it similar to just normal pork?

    Sometime this summer I will try and go down to Fuel, I just dislike everything about going downtown.

  12. I had peanut butter on toast and an apple. Awesome.

    That’s it, screw nursing. I’m going to be a tv producer.

  13. Mr. G. does in fact look terrific. I suppose all the walking around the canyons of Manhatten have helped tocounter all the culinary temptations of the big city.
    It was also great to see your latest Fuel report. Never been one for finer dining, but I still enjoy your pictures and descriptions. It has in fact helped spark an interest in something more than a still-quivering slab of meat on my plate. And the sheer delight you obviously take in the food really comes through in your writing. Hope you and Mr. G. continue to enjoy the next few days, and that you will continue to share with us.
    Not to disagree with Das, but sweet is just not a term I’d associate with the pale hopefully endangered species she is such a proponant of. But if you’re going to go with a “pale” wine, I applaud your choice of a Riesling.

  14. Soooooo…am I to understand that you think Todd is… sweet?

    In what context, exactly, do you mean that? Appearance-wise, personality-wise…or…errm…taste-wise? 😕

    Geez…you better not be nibbling on MY Todd!!! 😡 Unless, of course, you’re gonna share. 😀 If so, save his lovely neck and yummy, green fingertips for me!



    I probably shouldn’t have said that outloud, eh? 😛


  15. Wow!

    A co-worker just stopped in Vancouver on the way to catch an Alaskan cruise. He asked me where to eat & I said he MUST make it to Fuel.

    I only hope he took my advice. For once.

  16. When are the weird food purchases coming back?? Not that the food mentioned above wasn’t weird, well it was for me… but well.. y’know what I’m talking about. Right?

  17. @Chevron7: We finally grabbed Martok this morning, just got back from the ER. He has a badly broken leg (thankfully, it wasn’t his back), so he’ll spend the day there, I’ll pick him up early tomorrow and we’re off to my vet for surgery. This one’s gonna cost, but at least Martok’s purring again. Thanks for your concern! I’m hungry, smelly and tired, ugh. The Florida heat at this time of year is like the 9th level of hell.

    Hiya Joe! Have been enjoying the blog, but as you can see, it’s been nuts. Be well!

  18. Perhaps Tom or Chef Rob can share the secret of the salmon poaching technique? I would eat more fish if it were more edible!

    I have to confess to you, Joe, I went to see a musical this week: The Lion King, in Las Vegas. I thought of you as I squirmed in my (broken) chair and wondered when the act break would arrive. Yeah, for a musical it’s great, but overacting is overacting even if it’s on a stage and by way of song. My 10 yr old nephew suggested what it lacked was a crap-load of modern weaponry.

  19. Congrats Deni. Yes, it will cost, but at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that Martok is healing!

    Fuel looks good, but I will stick to my Yo Eastern Fusion restaurant. They serve the most tasty crispy duck served with raw thinly sliced veggies and accompanied by pancakes.

    You add duck, add veggies, roll em and dip in sauce before eating.

    Yum. Unfortunately they are not open on Sundays, so it is soup tonite.

    I will survive. Somehow. 🙁

  20. Hey Joe,

    Good to see Marty’s back a your wingman at Fuel. So you really CAN go home again. 🙂

    Happy Father’s Day! You are the proud father of some adorable pups, after all.

    And HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the dad’s out there who read this blog and work/have worked on the Stargate franchise!

    Jeremy asked for me to cook tonight. Jeremy’s the cook of the house. I’m the baker, cleaner and yes, even candle stick maker! (I did that once, with Erin.)

    Here’s hopin’ I make a decent chicken piccata tonight. My wingman (or wingwoman as the case may be) is Allie.


    @Deni: Poor Martok! Aw! I hope everything goes well with the surgery. (((hugs))))

  21. Yeah Deni!: So glad you caught the cat. It’s supposed to be 99F here today. My brother-in-law in Florida said at his work it was 117F.

    Das: I’m not sure I understand you fascination with life sucking entities but it is funny. Plus, Cowboy did look cute in the wig.

    Mr. M, the food looks awesome! Glad you had a good visit. I like simple cooking myself. I’m trying to learn the art of cooking fish. We in the south, fry everything and I’m trying to branch out. Any suggestions?


  22. Your outing to Fuel looks and sounds like an incredible experience. I wish we had smell-o-computer.

    I had lunch at Zeller’s yesterday with my sister. It was a for BLTs and club sandwiches. Must admit they do a good version. I wonder what the crew at Fuel would do with that staple. I bet it would involve fois-gras. Today’s lunch was at IKEA. I’m just not into the finer levels of eating!

  23. @Major D. Davis- Soooo jealous right now. I had the pleasure of meeting Kavan last November in Burbank briefly and he seemed like a positively genuine fellow.

    @Joe- hey any chance you could maybe get Kavan to do a guest blog for you? I know there’s a lot of people who would LOVE to see it!

  24. @ Tammy – Oh, that wasn’t Cowboy. That was some internet pic my niece sent me – cat with spaghetti head. 😀

    And it’s not so much a fascination with life-sucking entities (since I’ve never been fond of traditional vampires), but more a fascination with a certain appearance (right now it’s pale and flowing-locked), and dependancy. When you have such a strong character (whether it be Todd or Elric or even a guy like Wolverine) who has a weakness that he must give in to (Todd’s need to feed, Elric’s ‘addiction’ to his soul-stealing sword, or Wolverine’s struggle with his animalistic side)…well, it’s very appealing to me. A strong character who is always ‘perfect’ (Superman) is boring as hell…but a character – no matter how cocky or obnoxious he may be at times – who has a vulnerability…well…that just wins me over! Especially if he acknowledges it, and ESPECIALLY if he frets over it. I mean, even Todd got a bit melancholy over giving up his need to feed…SWEET fella that he is! 😀

    @ Thornyrose – “Hopefully endangered”????! Okay, that does it. You – me – 3:30 – in the schoolyard. *rubs thumb against nose* Come on, we’ll duke it out, just like in the old days. 😉


  25. My thermometer says 95 at 4p, (florida)but the heat index(feels like temp) is 106, so yep its summer, 2nd day of this heat, a little rain might cool it off.I can dream..
    The food looks wonderful and you both look great, ready to eat your yummy dessert,(my favorite part of the meal). I had chinese today and it doesn’t even compare to Fuel, oh well…
    @deni, good luck with the kitty, is that the stray you couldn’t catch?
    @das, I think Joe would share with you, he seems like a nice guy. 😆

  26. @Tammy: Try baking the fish with veggies in parchment paper in the oven. I think you can even do it on the grill (with foil). I just use some fresh lemon, parsley and olive oil. It’s simple, healthy and oh-so yummy! (And when I say *me* I mean Jeremy since he does 90% of our dinners. 😉 )

    As for the heat… Holy Hot Summer Batman! It seems miserable for even Florida. Thankfully we have A/C. I could NOT survive in Florida without A/C. The combined high temps and humidity do make this an oven to live in during the summer months. Is it Halloween yet? :./

  27. I love Sea Bass but its a killer to try to fillet it. Do you prepare it for cooking yourself or do you get someone else to do it?

  28. Rohh joseph je déprime j’ai envi de vous parlez……-_-‘….dommage que vous n’ayez pas Skype, Msn, ou un autre moyen de communication plus direct que les messages sur ce blog et les email. J’aurai pleins de choses à vous dire! Encore mieux j’espere vraiment un jours pouvoir vous parlez en vrai.

    Bonne nuit, a demain.

  29. Can you and Marty G. post reviews of various liquors you find around town? It’s not drunk twittering if you do it with class.

  30. @deeinsouthafrica, Trish and Tammy: Thanks for your concern – you’re all too sweet. Just called the ER, he’s resting comfortably (higher than a kite on pain meds), so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. And Tammy, yeah, it was 99 here today, has gone down to 96 (and it’s 5:00 pm), but the humidity is what really gets ya! Can’t wait till winter…:)

  31. Oh Deni, I’m so relieved you caught him. 🙁 re the broken leg, but I guess it could have been worse.

    Get better soon little Martok (I like that name). Maybe upload and link to a photo so we can see the little guy.

    Thanks for all the updates.

    Cheers, Chev

  32. Trish: thank you for the suggestion on fish. I’ve seen that on food network, it does look good. I think I will try it with Tilapia.

    Deni: yes, it’s the humidity that is a killer. It’s like breathing water some days. I grew up without an A/C, so I appreciate it very much now.


  33. Great, now owner Tom looks like Paul McGillion. What is going on?!

    That is a lot of food! Glad you guys had a great time!

    @ Nadine: I have not heard of that before. Lol. It sounds pretty cool though; a good bit of every field. Needs more natural science though. 😛

    For my major, I think I’ll pursue Astrophysics and maybe do something about finding other planets in other solar systems; that’s always fascinated me. That, or win a nobel prize by figuring out String/M-Theory. I haven’t decided yet. 😀

    I wonder if we’ve met on the campus.

  34. @ pg15: I’m actually getting my fair share of science stuff ’cause I’m taking the med-school pre-reqs. It’s actually worked out pretty well because I can take the more “artsy” courses, but still get a Bachelor of Science. So I did first year physics, and I’m doing chem and bio now too. By the way, do you have to take O.Chem? ‘Cause if you can, avoid Chem 233 AT ALL COSTS! Lol. It absolutely sucks. Though the lab (235) is pretty cool.
    Are you taking any summer classes? Or are you working (or co-op)? I’m doing an MCAT prep course (which involves an *insane* amount of studying, and in july I start Bioc 300. It should be…interesting ’cause it’s a full year course in 6 weeks 😛

    Where on campus do you usually have your classes? It’s kind of a small world, huh?

    Oh, and String Theory: very cool.

  35. @ Nadine: Hahaha, funny story: my dad wanted me to be a doctor, like him, so a few years back I tried to take some summer courses. Which courses?

    Chem 233 and Chem 235.

    Holy crap. Ok, I went to the first lecture, found some friends I knew, and generally didn’t think it was too bad. Then, I went to lab, and had a meltdown. We worked with ethanol or something, and I think maybe chloroform. Whatever it was, it was dangerous. We spent half the time cleaning crap (vials, beakers, etc.), and I thought: dude, this course isn’t about chemistry, it’s about doing the dishes! I didn’t even end up finishing the lab because I keep messing up. Then, on the way home, I talked to my dad and basically told him that those courses killed any hopes I had of being a doctor. So, half-way home, we turned around, went back to UBC, and cancelled the courses.

    If it weren’t for Chem 235, I’d probably be with you heading for Med-School. Lol.

    Anyways, your classes sound pretty good! Art and Science, that’s a very good mix. I’d rather take Physics than Biology but, that’s just me. 😉

    No summer classes; I did some in high school and I almost burned out, so I’m taking it easy over the summer. No Co-op either since I applied too late. As for where I usually hang out: Hennings. It’s the Physics building. It’s right behind the Chem building and beside Hebb. Good place. What about you?

  36. @pg15 – My career path was influenced by science fiction. My life turned out nothing like Geordie LaForge’s – maybe I shouldn’t have turned down that AF Academy nomination.

  37. @ Deni – So sorry I missed all of that about your kitty! 🙁 *hugs* Glad you caught him and hope all will be okay.

    I’ve had a very busy last few days – my mind’s been a bit preoccupied, so I haven’t been reading the comments thoroughly. I must admit to being in such a rush that I just browse to see if anyone addressed me personally so I can respond back. It’s been a rough one – besides our kitty dying, my comic book shop is closing, so I spent the better part of my ‘down time’ looking for a new supplier. Instead of going with one of the discount warehouses, I’ve decided to go with a fella I know from the Bendis forum – he seems to run a really tight ship, and I want to support a brick and mortar store while I still can:

    It’ll save me travel time and gas, and I feel a bit better supporting a guy who’s working hard to make his business successful.

    Then, on Friday, our favorite Philly news sportscaster – Gary Papa – passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer.

    It’s just one of those things – one of those faces you saw every day and just will never see again, and it’s so sad.

    It kind of put me in a funk all weekend. Feeling better now – went antiquing yesterday and bought some odd things, like a Spanish-style wine decanter similar to this:

    Actually, I bought two. 😀 Both are fully covered in tooled leather – keeping one, giving the other to my sister. I like unusual-looking things, so this will fit right into my very eclectic house, along with the camel saddle and didgeridoo. 🙄 Now I’m just catching up with some comics, and enjoying pizza night with Mr. Das! Woo!


  38. @ pg15: LOL, I think 233 is pretty much one of the worst courses to take in the summer. I took it in first term, but most of the people in the lab I was in just a couple weeks ago were taking 233 at the same time. The average for the first midterm was 35%….
    Most people you talk to are happy to just *pass* the damn thing. I found the problem was that I didn’t find any of the stuff intuitive… But I can kind of see what you mean about 235: the first lab was all cleaning, and prep and stuff. And it involves a lot of preparatory work ahead of time. Despite all that, I found myself having a surprisingly good time. Given my, almost pathalogical, dislike of 233 I was very surprised.
    I’ve always known I wanted to be a doctor (speaking of: what kind is your dad? Both my parents are docs) and so I’d always figured I’d do a Science degree in Bio or Chem or something. Then first year happened and blew that right out of the water. So I looked around and found COGS and it sounded really cool. Truth be told, my ideal Major would be Latin, but, besides teaching, there’s not really much I could do with that if I don’t get into med school…

  39. @ pg15: Oh, forgot. Places on campus… I don’t really have a set hang-out – kind of varies each term depending on what classes I have. Last year I spent a lot of time in Swing. So far this summer, I’m mostly in Scarfe (that’s where the prep course is…)

  40. @ Nadine: Yeah, I heard 233 was tough. When I took it in the summer, the prof asked which of the students are taking it because they failed in the winter session, and I think half of them raised their hands or something. Wow.

    My dad was a Brain surgeon in China, but he’s had to put up with “lesser” work since we’ve moved to Canada; he was damn good, too bad he’s not up to scratch on his English.

    What do you mean Latin is useless? You can get hired by Bridge Studios and write dialogue for the Ancients! 😉

    I’ve actually never been to Swing; a lot of friends keep mentioning it, and it almost feels like it’s a mythical place or something; I have no idea where it is, and I don’t know what it looks like. Very strange. Haha.

  41. Has a nice beard and long hair… His son is soooo cute. Really nice guy… Very friendly. But I forgot to get a photo in my excitement and disbeliefe!!!

    One question
    Is Felix Alcala directing Divided?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  42. Hell yea it was hot here today-FL> and last night at 10:30 it was still 82o. I can’t wait till nov. Is it hotter than usual here? What do you have to say , FL. people? @areille , are you in Jupiter? I live in port saint lucie, just up the road!! Joe, could send just a little cool weather- like 80- down here to us? We’re melting…melting!!! Deni @ did’nt know about the kitty , – I’m sending good thoughts! Sheryl

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