Rob and Marty G.
Rob and Marty G.


Lawren (aka Midnight Cowboy)
Lawren (aka Midnight Cowboy)


Me, thoroughly engrossed in whatever the heck Ivon was talking about.
Me, thoroughly engrossed in whatever the heck Ivon was talking about.
Crispy pig feet!
Crispy pig feet!
Agnolotti with potatoes, mascarpone, and chives.
Agnolotti with potatoes, mascarpone, and chives.
Tagliarini with pork ragu, basil, and pecorino.
Tagliarini with pork ragu, basil, and pecorino.
Pizza Bianca
Pizza Bianca


Nutella tart
Nutella tart

The night before Marty G. left town for L.A., most of us gathered for a farewell dinner at Campagnolo Restaurant ( In attendance that evening: Exec. Producer Robert Cooper, Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok, Script Coordinator Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, Serial Eater Yours Truly, and guest of honor Martin Gero. Exec. Producer Brad Wright and my writing partner Paul Mullie were not in attendance because they live so ridiculously far out of town that the entire trip there and home would have probably taken them into next Tuesday. Exec. Producer Carl Binder claimed he had other plans (Ouch! Diss!). While Executive Producer’s Assistant Ashleigh had some lame excuse which really amounted to her not wanting to spend her off-hours with a bunch of old guys.

Nevertheless, a respectable turnout for the Golden Boy’s last Vancouver meal ‘til who-knows-when (August?). And quite a meal it was. An antipasto platter of home cured meats, crispy chickpeas, deep-fried pig’s feet, lamb heart salad, four selections from the pasta menu (risotto, quadri [with fennel sausage, walnuts, and dandelion greens], pillow light agnolotti [with potato, mascarpone, and chives], and my favorite the tagliarini [with pork ragu, basil, and pecorino]}, three pizzas (the Salsiccia [with sausage, rucola, chilis, and parmigiano reggiano], the Fungi [with crimini mushrooms, pancetta, and sage], and my favorite the Bianca [with grana padano, garlic, and olive oil]. We rounded things out with two mains: the Polderside Chicken Brasato with sunchokes, chicory, and garlic, and the Pork Belly. We capped dinner off with desserts – some fruit dessert for some, the Nutella tart for others. Unlike the last time Martin and I visited Campagnolo, we did NOT order the entire menu. Still, the food was great, the prices reasonable, and, when all was said and done, I ended up eating waaaay too much.

Cake?  Birthday gal Kate does the honors.  And the dishes.
Cake? Birthday gal Kate does the honors. And the dishes.
Ashleigh - No time for old people, but plenty of time for cake.
Ashleigh – No time for old people, but plenty of time for cake.
Birthday Boy Nathan digs into his boozy birthday cake.  Hours later, he will overturn several desks and kick in a flatscreen until he is escorted off the lot, still screaming at the top of his lungs.
Birthday Boy Nathan digs into his boozy birthday cake. Hours later, he will overturn several desks and kick in a flatscreen until he is escorted off the lot, still screaming at the top of his lungs.

So much so that I vowed to “get on the program” and start eating sensibly: hardboiled eggs for breakfast, a sensible salad for lunch, and steamed fish for dinner. Unfortunately, the plan was scuttled by birthday celebrations the following day that necessitated my eating two different pieces of birthday cake. It would have been a huge slap in the face to Kate and/or Nathan if I had passed on either her ice cream cake or his cake with the cream and the booze, so I had generous portions of both. Fast forward to tonight’s dinner: steamed halibut, broccoli, and roasted red peppers. I liken meals like these to near-death experiences in that they leave on with an appreciation of life’s precious gifts.

Like pork belly and Nutella tarts.

29 thoughts on “June 27, 2009: Birthdays and Bon Voyage Dinner.

  1. Once again that Nutella tart seems to be calling my name and telling me to get my butt up to Vancouver for a visit. Perhaps sometime in the next year I will actually listen to its sweet, hazelnutty chocolate whisperings…

  2. Well its 3:15am and I’m still awake so I thought I’d say hi. Hi. What do deep fried pigs feet taste like? Is it really pigs feet or just pork shaped like trotters? Either way I think I’d rather have them than pig brain risotto. I had pork and haggis sausages for the first time the other day. Really really tasty! I think you should try some or at least some haggis as one of your weird food purchase of the day things. I really do think you would enjoy it. What is your favourite pasta dish? I want to make something for my friends. They love pasta ( so do I) and I want to try something different from the normal macaroni or carabonara type dishes. What would you suggest – maybe something with a bit of a kick?

  3. What Megan said… I am definitely interested in trying out some Nutella. Hope all parties enjoyed the outing, and wish Mr. Gero the best on his L.A. trip.
    One question. Is Maximus informing us of his activities in his tweets, or is he informing on the two legged members of the family?

  4. I.
    The Nutella tart isn’t that much inviting…. maybe as a German it’s just not much of a novelty to use Nutella in different, sometimes weird, ways! Dunno!

    But the Pizza Bianca!!! 8D~ As a cheese & garlic lover and as a vegetarian, I can only envy you blokes on that lovely looking dish.

  5. I really liked the “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi series (thanks for the recommendation btw), what are some good books of the same vein of writing?

  6. Based on the photos alone, I’d try the agnolotti. That’s about it.
    Glad you all enjoyed the meal and visit with Marty.

    Joe, you said, “Still, the food was great, the prices reasonable, and, when all was said and done, I ended up eating waaaay too much.”

    What do you call reasonably priced? For instance the plate of agnolotti?

    Just wondering.

    Good night now…

    Carol in NJ

  7. Aww, wish Marty didn’t have to go before doing a guest blog that would be totally him and his 1001 hysterical alter-egos, with extensive video footage and commentary from you. Looking at Rob’s expression, I can tell he’s thinking *the exact same thing.* (Or else, “One of these days I’m gonna break that damn camera.”) Best of luck to Marty when he’s back in NYC.

    I liken meals like these to near-death experiences in that they leave one with an appreciation of life’s precious gifts.

    Oh, quit moaning. 😉 I’m setting my watch to see how long this episode of self-imposed dietary restriction lasts, while envying you the halibut-and-broccoli dinner; mine was weak tea and toast with a little blackberry jam, and it looked an awful lot like lunch. Hubs and I both have whatever bug is making the rounds here. (That bug has a lot to answer for, let me tell you; and if I ever succeed in trapping the thing, it’s going to suffer big-time.) Hardboiled eggs actually sound good, but noooo, not for me. And WHY do these things always have to happen on the weekend?

    Oh well. . . . Enjoyed the pics of humans, anyway, and am very sorry to hear that you had to force yourself to eat all that cake. (Hmph. – So what’d you guys sneak into Nathan’s piece, anyway?!)

  8. Okay, you said you ate a fruit dessert and others had the Nutella tart. I actually felt a moment of pity as I think Nutella is probably one of God’s sweetest gifts to humanity. I can’t keep it in the house because I’d just open the jar and eat it with a spoon.

    Did you at least have a bite of the Nutella tart??

  9. Hey Joe,

    I saw all you guys at Campagnolo on Tuesday, just as you guys were walking out the door. Oh well, I suppose there is always next time to say hello.

    You should consider adding Toms new blog to your blogroll. While its not Sci-Fi, those cats are worthy i think.


  10. Sorry to say I couldn’t properly appreciate today’s entry. Sinuses and digestion still sick after 2.5 weeks antibiotics.

    Sorry to be whining.

  11. Transformers 2 was horrible. I have so many bad things to say about it, but I am going to put the whole incident out of my mind. Horrible, just horrible.

  12. Mr M, one thing causes me to pause and contemplate for the upcoming SGU series. How is the refugees from the Icarus base able to function after the consumables are gone? The list of consumables include ammo, batteries, apparel, etc. And how do they replace the most important consumable item, toilet paper? Which I presume no one was carrying when the refugees stumble across the Stargate. There is obliviously food and water available on the Destiny, otherwise a very short series.

  13. Ashleigh has the eyes of a madman…er…person. Mad person.

    Also, I thought the piece of paper in your photo was a script page that you somehow left in the photo for whatever screwed up reason. I was wrong. I also need to get a life.

    But before that, the same ole’ questions from yesterday:

    1. Are you writing episode 20? Is Paul writing episode 19?

    2. Can we expect more “profiles” for other cast members like the ones you did for Brian J. Smith and Jamil Walker Smith?

    3. Has Chloe Armstrong been renamed “Chloe Hamilton”?


  14. pig feet??

    Despite being a vegetarian… pig feet would be the last thing I’d like to eat from a pig. Tell me those weren’t real feet but only looked like that:o

  15. Ashleigh can’t fool us, we know the cake is a lie!
    (If you’re confused by that, keep in mind that I am too.)

  16. @ Gilder – Sorry to hear you’re under the weather. I understand all too well. I started back up with a sinus infection last week – went to a new doctor on Friday (really nice guy!). FINALLY that sinus CAT scan is scheduled, and he’s put me on two weeks of antibiotics. The last doctor I went to – his partner – did nothing but tell me he was in a hurry because he was behind on his appointments, and then prescribed an antibiotic I couldn’t take, and never gave me another script to replace it. I am at my wit’s end with doctors!

    But this new doc actually EXPLAINED to me what’s going on (miracles of miracles! A doctor who COMMUNICATES with his patient!) He explained what steps I can take to help correct it (saline nasal sprays, etc), and set things in motion so I can get that CAT scan (which 3 doctors think I need, but somehow have never scheduled). He said that infection, allergies, and the physical structure of my sinuses are all playing a part, and thinks that allergies (which I’ve never had) may be the biggest culprit. He’s sending me to an allergist, and hopefully we can get to the bottom of things soon.

    But let me tell you – I’ve had to FIGHT for this. For 6 months doctors have bounced me around like a ping pong ball, none really taking the situation seriously, none giving me answers, none steering me in the right directions. Even when I tell them that this is NOT normal for me, that allergies and sinus troubles are not something I commonly deal with, they just don’t listen. They all have asked me if I smoke – which I never have – that’s the extent of their knowledge, I suppose. If you don’t smoke, they have nothing to pin the problem on, and they’re at a loss. I really don’t understand a medical system where I have to literally demand to be taken seriously, where I have doctors who don’t want to treat you, but push you off to the next specialist who pushes you off to the next specialist, etc…over and over again. I really don’t think doctors want to cure you anymore…


    So, Gilder – hang in there, and get well soon! I started taking vitamins which seem to have helped a lot, especially with my energy levels, and – oddly enough – my SLEEP! Since taking vitamins (I’m taking a whole food woman’s vitamin I got at the health food store), I can sleep through the night for the first time in – oooooh…20 years? Amazing. But I still need to know WHY I’m getting sick so often, and unfortunately it becomes a full-time job just to get proper medical attention and treatment anymore. As Michael Moorcock said in discussion on this very subject, the healthcare system is a cruel business, not a caring service. I am in full agreement with him there.


  17. ::sigh:: Oh, Joe. Just when I’m finally getting some concentration back on Weight Watchers, you confront me with some truly drool-worthy pictures!

    Must… look… away.

  18. @ Joe – You and your entrails! You’re like a big lion lazing under the sweltering Serengeti sun, contently munching away on the juicy belly of a fallen gazelle. 🙄

    A quick question, sir!

    When you have to get the actors (and others) to sign off on pictures you use here, does that mean ALL pictures – even those from your private dinners and parties – or just those from the set? How does the process work – is it just a matter of asking permission, or what? And have you ever had an actor, friend, co-worker, wife 😉 refuse to let you share their images here?

    Thankies in advance!


  19. dasNdanger: You are lucky they are still trying to find a cause. I was told (after sinus surgery), your allergies are so bad this is basically your life. I’m thinking of a life in New Mexico in a few years. “Sigh of disgust” Rant over.

    Mr. M, I would try everything on that menu except the pig’s feet. So what is with the new diet? Does your dr. read your blog 😀 ? MY cholesterol gets higher reading it!

    I’m thin so the doctors just assume I eat right. I get told to exercise more when my labs come back :D.


  20. It’s been said that Stargate Universe won’t have a big, dominating race of villains like the Goa’uld or the Wraith. Will universe at least have some recurring villains, be they species, small, groups, or individuals, even if each villain is only around for a few episodes?

  21. @Das: Nightmarish weekend here with doctors too. I wonder where we’re all going to wind up if this sh– attitude toward patients continues. I’m so tired of their god complexes (this endo of mine is Hathor now, only she looks like a bathtub stopper with frizzy hair in the drain). I’m so sick (flu), going back to bed.

  22. I just can’t do pig’s feet. Sometimes, I think you order food with the sole intention of seeing how many people you can gross out.

    I think we need to see a pic of someone actually EATING one 🙂

    The cake, on the other hand, looks delicious! Definitely worth cutting back to a phase 1 once in a while!

  23. Hmm looks delicious. Glad you guys had a great night out. Campagnolo looks very light. What did you think of the atmosphere compared to Fuel?

    Good luck with the program.

    Cheers, Chev

    p.s. Some thanks –

    To those who answered me regarding the s5 dvds. it makes sense to send it early so you’re not disadvantaged buying online. I contacted B&N to find out why they don’t do that.

    To Paul for the Q & A – it was fun, thanks for answering my questions.

  24. @ Deni, et al – You know, Joe never seems to get sick. Maybe we all should start eating frizzled brains and fatty livers and baby sheep hearts and stuff, and forget the carrots and apples. 😛


  25. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the pictures! Good to see Marty G., he gave me some of my favorite SGA episodes. I will have to give his HBO series a try when it airs.

    Also, thanks for the recommendation on ‘The Speed of Dark’. Finally a book avaible in Kindle edition. Downloaded it and I am enjoying the story. Thanks again. Hope your future book recommendations will also be available in Kindle edition.

    SGA movie….any news you can share with us?


  26. About doctors, to whomever:

    Yes, some of them have God complexes, and some of them just aren’t putting forth the effort for which they’re presumably trained (and paid). But the major culprit in why they’re all in such a hurry lately is HMO’s and managed-care corporations that don’t give a rat’s ass about patient health, except insofar as health affects their bottom line.

    I honestly believe that most people go into medicine because they want to help people. That’s not because I’m some starry-eyed airhead. It’s because when you’ve seen and heard the healthcare professionals’ side of what goes on now between docs on the one hand and suits on the other, you can’t believe that *anyone* would want the job unless they were strongly motivated to help rememdy health problems.

    Yes, people are having to learn more about their own health problems, and are having to do more self-advocacy, and that can often be a large burden when you don’t have medical training. Not everyone has time or energy to track down every lead on what their problem and its treatment is, and anyway, that’s what you’re relying on the doctor for. But many of them are dealing with large burdens themselves – huge malpractice premiums being one of many stressors – and aren’t getting the support they need (competent nurses and well-trained office managers, e.g.) Physicians are moving around more than was once the case, and the divorce rate is relatively high – obviously not good signs for patients.

    None of the above is meant to excuse lack of effort or concern from medical professionals. But for what it’s worth, most of them also wish they could give you better care. (It’s the same with nurses, for anyone who’s had cause to complain about hospital care. Understaffing is keeping us from giving the care we were educated and trained to give.) – This is an excellent time to contact your congressperson, since the healthcare system is desperately in need of change, and it will come; but those changes might not necessarily benefit everyone.

  27. Addendum: For anyone who doesn’t know, many doctors now work in systems where so many minutes are allotted for dealing with such-and-such a problem. Docs and patients often bend TPTB’s rules to get around those limits, and more power to everyone who does.

    I had my eyes opened pretty quickly at the first hospital where I worked. A nurse manager who came to our floor was present at a meeting with hospital admins. They were looking for ways to cut costs (at the same time they were expensively decorating the high-end new wing), and some bright young bureaucrat was looking at daily costs for nursing departments. “These things you put on after you take out IV’s are pretty costly,” he said. “Why not just use Band-Aids?” Sure, and why not let people get septicemia from inadequately covered IV sites? That mentality gets into many, many facets of healthcare, and as said before, caregivers hate it as much as do the patients.

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