Well, after months of hearing producer John Lenic rave about it, I finally checked out one of Vancouver’s hottest Italian restaurants last night. Truth is I would have dined at La Quercia sooner, but reservations have been very hard to come by. Fortunately, I was able to snag a table for two last night for a fine-by-me early 5:30 seating. It’s a tiny place with easy to miss signage but we managed to find it – eventually. As did most everyone else who had reservations on the night. By 5:45 p.m., the place was packed.

When it came time to order, we had plenty to choose from. There’s the regular menu and the fresh sheet (that boasts as many items as that regular menu), or one could choose to do Alla Famiglia dining for $40 or $59 which is essentially a homey Italian version of the Chef’s tasting menu. Our waitress informed us that the $40 version is comprised of five courses while the $59 version offers up 11(!) courses and is recommended for a later seating as it takes a good 2-3 hours to complete. Sounded great to me, but I had the feeling my wife wouldn’t be up for a lengthy stay, so I suggested the more manageable $40 option. My wife hemmed and hawed, then informed me she was going to order a la carte as she was steering clear of pasta and like starches (although that didn‘t stop her from “tasting“ my pasta – repeatedly). Since the Alla Famiglia option necessitates the entire table participate, I opted to put together my own little tasting menu comprised of half-portions of three pasta dishes that had caught my eye, two from the regular menu and one from the fresh sheet. Our waitress was more than happy to make it happen.

For her appetizer, my wife had the prosciutto e melone, an Italian standard – but there was nothing standard about this version according to my wife who loved the prosciutto but raved about the atypical melon.


For my first course, Spaghetti al’amatriciana, served with Smoked pork cheek, chillies, and san marzano tomatoes. Simply astounding. The spaghetti was perfectly cooked, just this side of al dente, with a sensationally sweet and smoky sauce. It was so good, I wanted to get up and tell everyone in the restaurant who had yet to order to seriously consider the spaghetti. Fondy sampled it – several times – and couldn’t stop talking about it for the rest of the meal.


My second course was the Agnolotti di Guido – Stuffed pasta, veal, chard, ricotta, and parmigiano. Whereas the spaghetti was bold and intense, the agnolotti were subtle, delicate in their flavoring yet no less delicious. Again, perfectly cooked, the way pasta is supposed to be served (note: those of you who prefer your pasta cooked to a straw-sucking consistency need not apply).


For our mains, Fondy went with the Anatra in due cotture – Duck breast, duck confit salad, red currants. She loved it.


My third course was a wonderful Pappardelle with chicken livers and guanciale that brought us back to pronounced (but not overwhelming) flavors – juicy little livers nestled in a mound of long, toothsome flat pasta.


Excellent all around. In fact, so good I’d even consider taking my notoriously critical Italian mother the next time she’s in town. (http://www.laquercia.ca/)

Oh, and dessert.  A chocolate creme caramel for Fondy.
Oh, and dessert. A chocolate creme caramel for Fondy.

And a slice of chocolate mousse cake for me.
And a slice of chocolate mousse cake for me.

Inspired by my outing, I dashed off an email to my buddy Carl. Two years ago, we dedicated many an outing to finding Vancouver’s best schnitzel. Last year, it was the search for the best hamburger. This year, we kick off Pasta Quest 2009! Makes me sad Marty G. is no longer in town.

Speaking of Martin Gero, I sent him an email the other in response to a comment left on this blog by a fan who had spotted him in Vegas wearing – seriously – a plaid suit! I wrote: “You’ve only been in L.A. a couple of months and you’re already dressing like David Arquette! WTF?!” He wrote back: “ RE: Plaid suit…it was a giant hit. A risk, I thought you’d be proud of. Wore it to the Bored premiere…Ted Danson called it the best suit ever…and I THINK he might have even been serious (cough).” He included a link to the aforementioned fashion statement:  http://twitpic.com/hgig3

I dunno. I’m still unconvinced.  But far me it for me to judge (as I am the least judgmental person you could ever hope to meet).  No, let the public decide.

59 thoughts on “September 12, 2009: Dinner at La Quercia! Martin Gero, Fashion Victor or Victim? You decide!

  1. I was so trying to like the suit. I tried and tried and tried, but then the shoes wore me down – B.

    If anyone could get away with a suit like that, it’d be the so awesome Marty G… IF …

    When’s the next photo caption contest?

  2. Have fun with Carl and the USC-OSU game!!! Are you serving hors d’oeuvre?

    I thought Martin Gero’s plaid suit was awesome! But I’m the sort of person who would wear one, so maybe my vote doesn’t count!

  3. prosciutto (n.)
    An aged, dry-cured, spiced Italian ham that is usually sliced thin and served without cooking.

    Okay, so why can’t this ham be cooked? And it looks kinda odd draped across the melon. I can’t get my mouth (or will) around biting into ham and melon at the same time. But I’m glad Fondy enjoyed it. Again, the duck looks raw to me. Is duck meat still red after cooking it?
    So Joe, will you bring Carl to your next visit to La Quercia?

    Alas, I will never be a gourmand. Not adventurous enough.

    I am, however, eager to try a new glazed carrot recipe as demonstrated by chef Alton Brown on his Good Eats! show:

    I would never think to add ginger ale or chili powder to carrots!

    @das the show you referenced with Shatner was Boston Legal which often ended with Bill Shatner’s and James Spader’s characters sitting together on a balcony smoking cigars and drinking brandy. The quips did fly. I thought that series was well written and showcased some fine acting by the many recurring regulars and guest stars.


  4. Just about ready to go to dinner here, but thought I’d check out your blog while waiting for Z. to finish grooming himself. (To men who complain about women in this regard, some of your gender are even pickier than their female SO’s.) Spent a couple of min. looking at Marty’s suit . . . agree with Das, leave the plaid (especially in-your-face patterns such as the one on display) for kilts. – BTW, thought kilts were trendin’ a few years back – liked it, good opportunity for women to check out men’s legs even in formal attire – suppose that trend has been left behind. Nothing good lasts forever, but in Hollywood it only lasts two weeks.

    *Loved* your and Fondy’s dinner write-up and pics. Definitely sharpened my appetite for tonight. – Time to go, thanks for all the fun stuff.

  5. I was wondering if there will be a Stargate Atlantis: The Ultimate Visual Guide? I have the SG-1 version and it’s wickid, for a lack of a better term. lol It has a dvd on the front with some goodies on it and the entire book is full of blueprints and etc on everything in the sg-1 world. Being a Atlantis Nut, lol, I am truly a Daedalus FANATIC and i truly would love to have blueprints etc on the Daedalus. I’ve tried to find, all over the net, the screens we see on the Daedalus, as in the screensaver like screens. Like the schematics of the daedalus espiecally. Is there anyway you all might put these things out there for us loving and loyal fans? lol

  6. I voted “C” on the poll as well.
    What Gero wears is of little concern. That he continues writing splendidly well (for SGU) is of concern. How a plaid suit helps in that regard, I don’t know.

    Some folks just crave attention.


  7. What an UGLY suit, i will never like that!! @Das, LOVE the picture, now that’s my kind of plaid!! Sheryl

  8. Marty can get away with that suit. But he probably doesn’t remember the 1970’s.


    Celebrating MIL’s great improvement with supper before hitting the road for San Antonio (home). Best thing about this meal is the side of plain mashed spuds. Southwestern eggrolls too spicy, chicken bites & avoc. spin. dip blah. Better meal last night…Chili’s Monterey Chicken…so decided to return.

    Gotta eat so I can drive…later days!

  9. Where’s the “You’re both crazy! Marty G. dresses like a stylin’ eccentric uncle!” option?

    As scary-looking plaid suits go, that one is pretty [insert trendy word]. Although, I feel that the outfit could perhaps have been improved with an oversized bow tie, and a plastic sunflower that squirts water.

  10. Now that my eyes have recovered…

    The food looks and sounds WONDERFUL! The prosciutto and melon…mmmm! Nice thing living in the shadow of Philly Italians is that we do get good Italian meats and cheeses down here, but we’re also plagued with Italian ‘McDonalds’ – everyone serving the same thing, and none of it done well. There are a few gems – but you have to go looking for them.

    @ 2cats – Yeah, that’s it…Boston Legal. Never watched the show, but would catch the tailend of many episodes while waiting for the news to come on. I like the concept of the final scene (afterall, it is what they’re doing with Lewis -with the two men having a chat at the end of the day), but there was something a bit too…oh, I don’t know…probably too ‘American’ about it. Too talky, or too personal, or something. Granted, I really didn’t watch the show, and was probably just getting impatient waiting for the news to come on, but what I saw didn’t work for me. Maybe I just didn’t like the characters. Maybe I just need to shut up because clearly I have no idea what I’m talking about.

    My friend came down today and we watched a Lewis episode together, and gushed all over poor Hathaway. 😀 I felt like a schoolgirl again! I am so glad my husband worked today…or he certainly would have had something to say. 😛


  11. Oh, and MIL regained her voice, smile, and wicked sense of humor today! She’s getting a couple of extra (needed, IMHO) hospital days because her small-town Dr. is not avail. this wknd.

    Now to see if she forgives me for being a pest…ahem…concerned family member…

  12. I was literally shocked and awed by Martin Gero’s suit. I jumped back in my chair exclaiming “GAAHHH!” I’m still… wow… I can’t fathom the… yikes. Well he’s a great writer and and ummm yeah. Wow.
    Well if it makes him happy that’s what matters.

    The food at La Quercia looks amazing. Now if only I lived in the BC area. Oh well. I guess LA county will have to suffice till I escape to somewhere better.

  13. @ das: about your posts –
    post one: ahh! Now that’s a plaid I can enjoy looking at.
    post two: awwww! I’m glad you had a nice time visiting with your friend.
    post three: ewwww! I should have known better than to click on that link.

    Joe, the food looks great. I haven’t been out for an Italian meal in just ages but now I am inspired!

  14. Oh dear. That suit is scarier than the version I imagined in my head. I think there’s a few Scotsmen who would like their kilts back…

    The food looked so good, I wished the internet had a taste testing option 😀

  15. Marty’s suit made me laugh.

    Das – that is really disgusting! But my students will get a kick out of it….Guy in kilt was nice tho…

    DH thought about the kilt wearing thing and even bought some Dr. Marten boots to go w/but never actually got a kilt…

  16. PLEASE tell me you’ve sent some white suited men, or at least some medic types, to haul Marty to the hospital. he is serious need of a medical evaluation. I suspect head trauma, possibly caused by a New York pidgeon suffering a midair heart attack and falling on Mr. G. There is no other explanation for why someone of his obvious intellegence, skill, and until now fashion sense to not only wear such an outfit but to permit photos to be taken.
    For the record, I vote C, but because of Mr. Gero’s contributions to Atlantis, I also would have liked to vote B. I didn’t actually vote at the site due to some glitch logging in.
    The dinner looked nice. If ever I find myself that far west and north, I am going to make a point of searching through your blog to try some of the places mentioned. In the meantime, I am going my stumbling way into trying my hand at more than the standard firehouse fare. Right now I’m trying to find a way to jazz up game hens, and to try a creme brule. Anyways, thanks for the pictures, and please let us know when you have gotten Martin Gero the help he obviously needs.

  17. Okay, I was tempted to vote “D” just because it was funny, but I just had to comment on Gero’s suit because….wow….there are no words. It’s just…..painful. See, this is one of the unexpected side affects of cancelling SGA and delaying the movie. Some folks can’t take the disappointment. Tell them to make that movie, Joe! Gero could be sporting polka dots next.

  18. Safe home.

    Gourmands have permission to laugh…Regretting that second visit to Chili’s. Stress is upsetting my tummy… 🙁

    Flashback inspired by Marty’s suit: In the 80’s, a coworker had her own style…70’s plaid pantsuits, often red, with fair skin and red Orphan Annie hair. Wonder where she is today?

  19. Wow, those are some enormous prosciutto slices. That, or the board is just very small.

    As for Master Gero’s suit: A++++

  20. Please tell Marty G. that just because it’s the style, doesn’t mean it suits him. As I recall, powder blue suits were in style in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Would he wear that too if it was in style?

    My thumbs down on that terrible suit.


  21. The plaid suit? Painful and disturbing…. Das, you have it right with your pic!

    Gorgeous food pics as usual, Joe. Envious and now, hungry, but it is time to go finish a “Spongebob” cake for a friend’s son.

    What is an address we could use for you if we had an entry for Weird Food Purchase, perchance? (Don’t worry, I’m not shipping you odd pastries…. prepackaged food only!)


  22. Hey Joe,

    The food, spectacular from where I sit. Love the pictures…they say it all.

    The suit, I liked it when I first saw it and still like it now….on Martin. It looks great on Martin. Maybe those that just read this blog and don’t comment liked it too. You never know. lol

    Best to you Joe,
    Cheryl 🙂

  23. ROFL on Martin Gero’s plaid suit. It’s channeling Rodney Dangerfield. Come to think of it, Marty would look exactly like Dangerfield if he retain his previous SGA era girth. LOL

    Since you give us option. C. What’s holding up the movies? Much longer will present actor availability issues.

  24. Hi,
    Long time no post.
    Anyway, I am going to be honest here, I think I would really enjoy SGU if I were going to watch it.
    All the reviews and spoilers that I have read and watched make it seem like something right up my alley, I think it looks and sounds terrific.
    But, unfortunately, I find I am still incredibly broken up about the cancellation of Atlantis. Each positive review of Universe is like a knife in my gut, twisting deeper with each word… very painful!
    All I can think of is why oh why wasn’t this kind of love and care, intesity and investment given to my beloved SGA. And it makes me very sad.
    So, for my own mental health, I’ve decided to cut myself off from the entire Stargate universe (small u), which sounds like cutting my nose off to spite my face. And in a way it is, but it really does hurt too much to continue.
    So I just wanted to say I’ve greatly enjoyed your blog over the years, it’s one of the things I looked forward to reading each night.
    Good luck to you and everyone connected with your new show, I wish you much success and your fans many years of happiness with your new venture.

  25. In the SG-1 episode Paradise Lost, how come the moon’s gravitational pull in not less than the larger planet. The moon has a smaller mass and therefore it should have less of a gravitational pull. Maybourne and O’Neill do not appear to be affected.

  26. Gilder – So glad to hear your MIL is doing a lot better. Hoping that things continue that way. 🙂 Dream with the angels.

    maggiemayday – I’ve really enjoyed the pics I’ve seen so far that you linked to, and look forward to seeing the rest. Love the one of you and Larry where you can read on his t-shirt, “Shit happens when you party naked.” You and he must have a great time, wherever you go and whatever you do for vacation.

    Thornyrose – LOL! If all the neuro tests on Marty came back negative, what I wouldn’t give to be on a nice, quiet, private psych floor where he’d be getting evaluated. Every once in a while psych is entertaining, but that would be special.

    – Z. and I had a very good dinner. Once home, I forced him to dance with me. (This is routine.) After a while, he gripes that I keep trying to lead, and I tell him that if he would lead with a little conviction, he’d enjoy the experience. Great motivator, nice dance, wonderful evening.

  27. Love the new poll function. I love polls…

    Anyway, Martin is crazy and looks like an eccentric uncle…but nonetheless, it suits (heh) him. So while I voted #2, he still gets an A.

    Mmmm, that food looks so good!! I’m currently planning a trip and trying to think of planning some dining like you would do. But, on a smaller scale since I won’t always have someone with me and have a far smaller budget, I’m sure. But frankly, I don’t even know where to start! I could just googlesearch “London restaurants” but that’s a rather massive list. I don’t know if I’m that dedicated to my research.lol

  28. Coucou Joseph! ça va ? Moi oui trés trés bien!!!

    Miaaamme, ce restaurant à l’aire génial^^!! Ces photos de mêttes l’eau à la bouche =P

    Je me pose une question, le fait de manger dans de nombreux et trés bon restaurants, vous devenez surement plus exigent. Cela doit rentré dans une routine de manger dans tout ces excellents restaurant apréciez vous autant y manger qu’avant? Etes vous encore étonné par certains?

    Ahhhhh Martin O_O. Moi j’ai voté les 2 derniéres! Pitier plus jamais ça. Son costume me fait penser un peu à celui d’un homosexuel travaillant dans une maison d’édition de magazine people .

    Passez une bonne journée!
    Bisou Bisou

  29. That suit reminds me of……..well, my 60yr old uncle at a wedding actually 😉 but it’s the shoes! White shoes! Bright White shoes!!!! What the heck is that all about??

  30. That suit brings back horrible memories of my Catholic school days. I can’t believe Marty wore it without the threat of after school detention. I vowed never to wear plaid again once I graduated. I can’t believe he chose to wear it.


  31. Hiya Joe, I dont know if your doing a mailbag tomorrow but i was just wondering the walls in wraith ships, bases and such what are the materials they are made from they look like really thin plastic with holes in, anyways thanks Joe.

  32. No doubt the suit is meant to repel female Stargate fans from overtaking him in the parking lot.

  33. Ok so Marty G looks like a retro fangurl waiting for the Bay City Rollers to arrive.

    Food looks good enough to eat:)

    My gardening awaits………

  34. I love the suit, but I still voted C. LOL!

    I think the beard is a bit dodgy though. Joe….do you ever grow a beard when you’re on vacation…….designer stubble at least?

    Cheers, Chev

  35. People who refuse to watch Universe without giving it a go confuse me, yes it’s sad Atlantis is gone, I wish things would have been done differently and I wish the show had been given another year but it wasn’t. Be thankful the Stargate franchise is continuing in some form, most cancelled shows’ fans don’t have that luxury.

    Anyway, Hi Joe. Found this and thought it would make you chuckle after your dalliances whith the internet scammer



    A few reviews coming out about Universe, all I have seen are fair to positive. One thing the futon critic said that concerns me slightly is that judging by the pilot the show borders on going into some daring places without having the courage to go all the way

    “it’s more than willing to walk up to the precipice of truly shaking things up, it’s just not willing to make the leap”

    After the pilot does the show go into some shocking and dark places? As in not afraid to take risks with regards to the story?

    Eagerly awaiting the show much more than I was

  36. See Joe you let him move to NY and this is what happens. He’s probably drinking egg creams too. He needs to be back in BC where someone can watch him. I seem to remember he is married or dating or something but whoever she is she’s not doing her job. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

  37. Okay, reading these comments made me take a look at Gero’s outfit. Ohh myy Godd. Words cannot express that… suit… 😀

    A question — Is SGU S1 gonna have so-called clip show ep? Like SG-1 had “Politics” and SGA “Letters from Pegasus”?

  38. Plaid suit?!? Oh dear God, please tell me those aren’t coming back! What next, seersucker? 😉

  39. Today I tried that recipe I posted above for glazed carrots using ginger ale, chili powder and fresh parsley.

    Here is the result of my efforts:

    My review:
    I attempted to follow precisely the given directions, however, not all on-bias carrot cuts were equal. All I have is a chopping surface and sharp knife, no culinary mandolin.
    So not all the slices cooked equally through. The taste was different from what I’ve previously experienced, the fresh parsley really added a kick. I didn’t taste the ginger ale or chili powder at all, because they blended so well. Texture was a bit firm, but very pleasing.
    I’d recommend this easy recipe and will make it again!

    Once more, here is the recipe from Alton Brown (Good Eats!):


  40. I love the suit! Love it!

    Oh. wait a minute, I’m not at Burning Man anymore.

    I still like the suit.

    Wait, wait … is this a 70s flashback? One of my high schools had plaid as the school colors. I didn’t like the 70s that much anyway.

    Meh, the suit’s fine. Not boring at the very least.

    @das … nice kilt piccies! Thanks.

    @2cats … a kilt worn with undergarments is simply a skirt.

    @Otros … thanks. We do have fun! I forgot to post the one of Larry in the “Celebrate Zombie Jesus” shirt. Guaranteed to offend. “And on that day, he rose from the dead, hungry for brains.” He’s holding my Zombie Jeebus art and not wearing any pants. Larry, not Jesus. And the pants he isn’t wearing aren’t plaid. I’m correct my oversight posthaste.

  41. Marty G. is seriously becoming eligible for “What Not to Wear”. Hell, I’d even watch the show if they had him on. To nominate him, I say!

  42. I really should know better than to read your blog right before I start making dinner. Now my planned chicken pot pie seems kinda lame. 🙁

    Martin’s suit is certainly… eye-catching. It’s not stylish, but it works on him somehow.

  43. From one of my Yahoo groups:

    it looks like the SG movies are finally set to start filming…


    Posted with apology. Can’t find the article quickly on scifiwire mobile, haven’t read it.

    No permanent damage from Chili’s supper. Have decided last night’s plate was culinary version of Marty’s suit.

    Mom-in-law making incremental progress.

  44. @ 2cats – Seems 39 (WLVT) will be showing Lewis – Tuesday, September 15 — 03:00 am. Well, that sucks. And yes – I WILL ‘stay up’ for it (taking meself a big ol’ nap tomorrow!)! I really hate these fundraisers (though I myself am a PBS supporter/donator).


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