Last night, I was at Fuel for their Stoney Paradise Farms Dinner with Blackwood Lane Winery.  The place was teeming with restaurant regulars and occasional gourmands.  Also in attendance, but on the outside looking/glaring in, were a total of, oh, five   demonstrators on hand to protest the fact that: a) our main course was a whole suckling pig b) stuffed with foie gras and c) I was scheduled to box a kangaroo as part of the pre-dessert entertainment.  In the end, dinner was spectacular, I scored a TKO in the fifth, and those forlorn protesters completed yet another in a looooong line of a fruitless demonstrations.  This one, by the way, was particularly pointless as the placed was packed, EVERYONE ate foie gras, and the room was so raucous and lively that the indignant shrieks of placard-toting idiots went relatively unnoticed.  Like most militant vegetarians, they grew quickly weary following a few hours of vigorous holier-than-thou chastising and headed home to their lentil pot pies and hair weave pillows.  Anyway, while they were there, outside, satisfying their egos with their self-absorbed theatrics, we were inside satisfying out appetites with an amazing five course dinner comprised of…

Amuse Bouche: Italian prune plum, almond butter, brioche
Amuse Bouche: Italian prune plum, almond butter, brioche

As the name implies, a little amusement for the mouth.  Actually, more “somewhat interesting” than amusing.

Tomatoes: three unique varieties, three techniques
Tomatoes: three unique varieties, three techniques

Showing off some of the fresh produce from Stoney Paradise Farms.  Clockwise from left to right – 1) Slicked tomatoes with shaved pecorino.  Fondy and I were of two minds on this one.  I really enjoyed the dish.  Fondy wasn’t a fan.    2) Three luscious, sweet little tomatoes in tomato consomme and basil oil.  By far our favorite.  3) Green tomato.  Simple but excellent.  This one was served with a lovely glass of white wine – Blackwood Lane Chenin Blanc 2008.

Violeta Eggplant Agnolotti: fine bread, caramelized zucchini, peppers
Violeta Eggplant Agnolotti: fine bread, caramelized zucchini, peppers

Holy smokes!  Did this course take us by surprise.  I was looking ahead to the suckling main course and was thoroughly blown away by this heavenly marriage of eggplant, zucchini, pasta and peppers.  A creation of Chef Ted’s, it’s a dish I wouldn’t hesitate to order if it was on the regular menu.  This was served with another glass of white, a Blackwood Lane Chardonnay 2005 that was offensively oaky.  One sip was enough to pucker my eyeballs.  As it turns out, the wine was corked.

The suckling pig
The suckling pig

They paraded the main course around the room before toting it back to the kitchen for carving.

Foie Gras Stuffed Whole Suckling Pig with fine beans, walla walla onions, and roasting juices
Foie Gras Stuffed Whole Suckling Pig with fine beans, walla walla onions, and roasting juices

Tender, crispy, and utterly delicious.  In case you’re wondering, that’s the ear on the upper left.  Alas, it made for tough eating.  The rest of the pig was sublime though.  It was served with a lovely glass of red, the Black Lane Reference 2006.

Fromage Frais Cheesecake with coronation grapes and peanuts
Fromage Frais Cheesecake with coronation grapes and peanuts

This is a dessert I normally wouldn’t order provided there was anything else on the menu – and yet, I enjoyed it immensely.  The cheesecake had a wonderful little kick while the grape sorbet was a revelation.  This course was accompanied by a Blackwood Lane “Merlot” Port 2oo8 that both Fondy and I loved.

So a good time was had by all.  Looking forward to the next big foodie feast.

Well, I find myself in a position where I am forced to make a public apology to our ever-lovable Executive Producer’s Assistant Ashleigh.  For what?  I’m not entirely sure.  Something to do with a jacket, a monkey, and a size 8 text message.  To be honest, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if she had misheard and attributed somebody else’s passing comment to me.  Y’know, it happens all the time.  Someone walks by and says something while I’m doing my afternoon mouth exercises.  My lips are moving and, to the casual observer, it may look like I’m talking – but I’m actually not.  Anyway, in the interest of maintaining inter-office peace and being gentlemanly and ensuring that she doesn’t adulterate any of my future lunch orders, I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincerest official apologies.

And to post some silly pictures of her.

Separated at birth?  WWII icon Rosie the Rooter...
Separated at birth? WWII icon Rosie the Riveter...
...and Executive Producer's Assistant Ashleigh.
...and Executive Producer's Assistant Ashleigh.
Ashleigh is incredibly shy and shuns the spotlight.
Ashleigh is incredibly shy and shuns the spotlight.
Showing off the guns.
Showing off the guns.
Caaaarl!  Shoo, Carl!  Shoo!
Caaaarl! Shoo, Carl! Shoo!
The many faces of Ashleigh:  Amused.
The many faces of Ashleigh: Amused.
Tired.  Of having her picture taken.
Tired. Of having her picture taken.

44 thoughts on “September 17, 2009: Dinner at Fuel! An Official Apology! Sort Of! Seriously, What’d I Do?!

  1. Love ya Ashleigh!!! And errr you too Joe!!! 😉 Thanks for the chuckles and the yummy pictures. I’m hungry now!!! =D

  2. Mmm, a tasty piggy if I ever saw one. The Amuse Bouche intrigued me most of all the dishes. Alas, with my allergy (technically a food sensitivity) to nightshades, I’d have to pass on the tomatoes and the lovely eggplant. I don’t have hives or any such nonsense, just intense pain in my arthritic joints about 6 to 12 hours after consuming nightshades. So, Joe, if you developed such a sensitivity, would it deter you from eating your favorite foods? Which food would you miss the most if you had to make changes in your diet?

    Pain is a marvelous teacher, but there are days when I think I’d suffer for spaghetti or BBQ (tomatoes are the very worst offenders). Good thing I have no such thing in the house or I’d give in. I’m not supposed to have soy often either (BC), so no tofurkey for me. Oh, darn the bad luck.

    I do make killer cheesecake. One of my friends tried to make Jello No-Bake cheesecake for me. The resulting fracas was not pretty. She thought my cheesecake was fine, but too much trouble. I think my assortment of springform pans intimidated her. (Milk proteins also bother me, but one notices, I haven’t made the ultimate sacrifice there quite yet. That’s what painkillers are for).

  3. Hello Mr. M,
    Very nice dinner indeed. Wish I was there! BTW what does a dinnner with wine like that set you back? I am wondering if it would be in my buget range.

    Also I looked up what “the wine was corked” meant. Now I can sleep well, having learned something new today. Interesting, I always thought that bad wine was the reason I stopped drinking wine last year…and now I know, I must have gotten three bottles in a row of “corked wine” over a period of year. My luck, I know!


  4. Ah, so I see that Ashleigh is concerned of surprises. I am not surprised.

    I’ve kinda missed the last few entries. Normally, I would attribute this to homework, as school has started, but it’s actually because of Twitter. I am ashamed of this, but rest assured, I will be broadcasting my shame on Twitter as soon as I’m done catching up here.

    So, uh, I think you probably know this already, but major spoilers have leaked for the last 3 episodes of SGU’s 1st season. It’s unfortunate, as it seems to be pretty detailed, though I haven’t actually read it…and I never will!

    I don’t understand. Why is Stargate so plagued by this? Surely not every show has their plot details spoiled like this all the time? I am aware of how the casting sides get leaked, but again, it seems that Stargate is faring much worse in this respect; the spoilers are just ridiculous.

    Is it normal for a show to be spoiled so much like this beforehand? Am I just thinking that SGU is getting the worse treatment because I’m in the fandom?

    Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain that much. Afterall, “Air” hasn’t leaked. Yet.

    *Knock on wood*

  5. Mandy McLean just said on Twitter that “this season is gonna end with greatness” so congrats… those are your scripts, eh, Joe?

  6. You should have to have a license to be so funny. ROFL re. your 5th-round TKO against the kangaroo – great memory of Sat. morning cartoons, but better when imagining you doing the boxing. “ADRIAAAAAN!” – Er, no – “FONDYYYYYY!”

    Roast suckling pig – that is one impressive dish! My eyes popped out when I looked at that, just like Robert Townsend’s in Brother From Another Planet. But then the whole dinner looks absolutely outstanding. – So is this permanent, you branching out to wines besides Riesling? And it’s great that Fuel is supporting a local winery. Our local is very, very good, and a couple of those near St. Louis also offer a few outstanding wines. I was pretty surprised by that, but naturally very happy.

    I’m glad you explained about the pig’s ear. At first glance it looked sort of like, ahhh, prairie oysters.

    BTW, the woman in the poster is Rosie the Riveter. Very important. But I’ll leave it to maggiemayday to request an official apology if she sees fit. – Coincidentally, my grandmother was (like Rosie) a mechanic, in the 50s – 60s USAF.

    Go Ashleigh!!! Those guns are lookin’ good, dude. (Or dudette, if you prefer.) – Carl is too funny in his impression of the Banff Park Pop-Up Squirrel, LOL – but his Twitter userpic is not only funny but bizarre as well, which is very cool. . . but then Carl chose the pic. . . hmm. Well, anyway, the other pics of Ashleigh are fun also, nice studies – good work, both of ya. – As usual, Joe, thanks for all the fun.

  7. Hey Joe,

    The EAR!!!! How did you earn that? Aren’t there only two? Did the other go to Fondy? Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh

    It was bad enough that they parade the pig…hmmmm glad they took it back to the kitchen. I like my food not to resemble or BE what it actually is. I think I pretend, a lot. It all comes from the grocery store. hehehehehe

    Ashleigh is adorable. You are lucky to have her. She is probably right, you misspoke and didn’t think it was anything to make note of. Quickly forgotten…but not by the woman who was the recipient of the remark. Nice apology. Nice pictorial (even loved Carl sticking his head in. He is so funny in his pictures. Such a HAM…hehehehe) You did a good job of it.

    Food pictures were great…pig…hmmmmmmmm, now what were the protesters about? hehehehe

    It looks like the early reports on SGU are really great. Even the non-scifi seems to be interested. I am so excited for SGU to begin. 20 episodes to look forward to. I know you have seen it and I can’t wait also until we can discuss it here.

    You are wonderful to diligently entertain us with your creative writing and pictures. I can’t help be touched by your dedication. Thank you.

    Best to you Joe,
    Cheryl 🙂

  8. HI Mr M!

    Wow, that meal at Fuel looked really good! Delighted to see you went “the whole hog”! *boom! boom!*

    Those protesters annoy me…and I’m 6000 miles away! I recall many many years ago back at University, there was ALWAYS a protest march over something. Many of them valid causes and some I even joined myself. However, I did begin to notice that there were a handful of THE SAME people attending every march….even tho’ the causes were sometimes diametrically opposed!! They were a “rent a crowd”. Anyway, make a long story even longer, a few buddies and I organised a march protesting the protesters (this seemed like an excellent idea over pints the night before) So, we marched behind the “rent a crowd” who were not even University Students. Our Placards read “Marching against the Rent a Crowd”.
    Bringing this to Campus Security (who were fighting a drugs-in-College war at the time), the rent a crowd were effectively and efficiently ejected from College.

    I’m all for free speech, but this idea of marching coz you’re paid for it…..there’s something almost Orwellian about it.

    Anyway, rant over.

    @PG15…Look at all the time you’ve wasted!! Get straight back over to Twitter….this instant!!!! Also, my shout out on CNN was picked up by my Aunt in Boston, and cousins in San Francisco….There are convinced I am the only Paul in Nenagh (my resident town)…I however missed the shout out, as it was 4AM here in Ireland.

    Best to all at the Bridge.


  9. Uh, Joe, it’s “Rosie the Riveter” as ladies often worked riveting bolts into ships and planes to support the war effort and because many men were called away to serve. I’m sure you knew that.
    If your intent was a pun, then sorry, I missed it.

    Well, I’m off to start day 1 on my new job. Wish me luck?


  10. Hello ! ahh enfin en week end, cette semaine horrible ce termine :)!

    Yahhh trop cette photo!…woau impressionnant le cochon de lait. Moi je dit vive les animaux qui ce mangent XD .

    Lol Ashleigh à l’air trés gentil et drôle=P j’adore la photo pareil que l’affiche!

    Je souhaite de passez une bon week end.
    Gros bisou!

  11. how do you manage to have enough room for all the goodies Fuel gives you? I know any one course isn’t super big, but it’s got to add up. The pig is gorgeous. And I am impressed by the pig. My “signature” dish is ham, usually a 20-24 pound chunk of oinker. But I’ve never considered trying to do a whole pig before. The dish you pictured is inspiring me to work on my presentation this year. Tradition demands that I deliver a cooked ham to the local emergency departments, and it would be fun to serve them up “formally dressed”.
    Ashleigh rules. It’s good to see she manages to keep you in line, without stifling your creative talents. And always good to see Carl. Thanks for the latest pictures and Fuel descriptions.

  12. Hi again Mr M!

    You know, sometimes, I read things toooo quickly. There I was offering my support to poor Carl Binder, saying not to worry…..our girls love Pochahontas and Annie Hall……but of course I JUST realised that I was thinking of Annie (full stop)
    Sheesh, gotta slow down on the reading,
    RE: Annie Hall, I liked that movie in a Woody-Allen-New-York-Diane-Keaton- kinda way.
    Annie, on the other hand is an all singing all dancing kiddie extravaganza…..Did someone say “cross-over”? Hmmmm there’s an idea!

    *promises to read more slowly*


  13. “c) I was scheduled to box a kangaroo as part of the pre-dessert entertainment”

    I would pay to see that. I think you should put that scene into Stargate Universe somehow.

  14. Joe, I think you could have pigs ears for the dogs, but alas there was only one there, not nearly enough to share, and then I think I heard somewhere they might be not so good for the dogs. Go figure. Great pictures of Ashley , can give Rosie a run there. and Carl, so cute to get in the shot, he is so shy, you should talk to him about that! Try to bring him out of his shell.
    and the food, well I had a lot of green tomatoes leftover in my little garen, next time I know what I can do with them, is that just sliced off and enjoy with the wine?? not cooked or anything added??

  15. Hi Joe, someone who has seen “Air” said there are some pics in Jack’s office. Of Sara O’Neill? Seriously? Can you confirm or deny? If it’s really true I consider this just another frak you to the shippers.
    BTW I thought (from the Trio cut scene) that Jack was supposed to retire? How come he gets promoted? Do you really think making Jack general and especially having him get a deskjob at Pentagon in season 9 was in-character for Jack?

  16. Hey there everyone….I’ve been catching up with the blog but haven’t had much time to comment.

    Dinner looks cool but I have to say that I enjoy my dinner looking totally unlike what it did in real life. I might know I’m eating pork and it was once a pig but I’d prefer if it didn’t look like a pig. I don’t want to see eyes etc. How does everyone else feel about that?

    Re: Ashleigh – I’m still none the wiser. What was gonna happen if you didn’t apologise? Was she gonna superglue your desk drawer or something?

    Cheers, Chev

  17. I haven’t seen any SGU spoilers and I don’t intend to. Of course, I haven’t gone looking either, since my interest in SGU remains at near zero. But, as I’ve said, I intend on giving the show a chance to get my interest all on it’s own merit and not from Stargate connections. Ok, well, except for Michael Shanks, that is.

    Speaking of a show that has kept me on it’s own merit… Fringe. Still ridiculous science, but great cast chemistry. Adding Nimoy didn’t hurt.

  18. Hi Joe

    Lovely blog entry, as usual. I’m getting the feeling Carl likes to poke his head in whenever he hears a camera click… BTW how goes the computer problems?


  19. Well i’m off to meet Kabre-aka-karen for lunch, we will be thinking and talking about you , Joe, all nice stuff!! To everyone, have a nice weekend and be well. Report on lunch later, Sheryl

  20. Rosie the Rooter? I’ve heard of Rosie the Riveter. But who’s this “Rooter” woman? And what the hell is a Rooter anyway?

  21. Hey Joe,

    Thanks for the apology. I officially forgive you…interesting though that I share a post with the suckling pig. A theme??? I am not sure…..
    Have a great weekend!!!

  22. I’d like to take this opportunity to offer another apology – this one to Rosie the Riveter for referring to her as Rosie the Rooter. As is almost always the case, I’d also like to blame someone else for my mistake – in this case Carl (I think it was) who remarked Ashleigh looked like “Rosie the Rooter” and thus planted the words in my head like some infectious meme.

  23. Me revoila =)

    je ne vous ai pas dit, j’ai acheter ma saison 5 de sga…mais au usa, car je n’avais pas fait attention que dans les dvd de zone y avait l’audio Français.

    Saviez vous que les français regarde au minimum un épisode 4 fois:

    – En straeming version anglaise
    – En straeming sous titré en français
    – En straeming en français (sauf si ça passe à la tv)
    – En DVD …

    C’est pas mal ! XD

    aller gros bisou!

  24. sorry Ashleigh, for spelling your name incorrectly..I have these fast fat fingers at times. lots of apologies here today,,hmm.

  25. EWWW pig with head. Of course I also don’t like fish with heads still on. Once was at Thai restaurant and turned my plate… friend says “Why” and I said so the fish isn’t watching me while I eat it.
    Today is my birthday. Let’s just say I am over the “half a hundred” mark. Japanese restaurant tonight. I’ll think of you. 🙂

  26. @ Carl, Ummm, rooter could be a couple of things; an animal that “roots” for roots and buried delectibles to eat or the sewer clearing/cleaning gizmo – Roto Rooter. Not exactly a compliment.

  27. Two libraries near me don’t carry Jessup or Burstein or a number of authors mentioned on this site. Sometimes, they’ll buy something if I suggest it, but right now they have funding issues. I hope a Netflix for books comes into my price range soon.

  28. Chev – I always used to prefer not seeing or thinking about what my food looked like prior to preparation. I’m sure I’d still feel that way, but an anatomy course I had to take pretty well desensitized me to some things like that.

    Joe – Sure, blame Carl. *rolls eyes* In this case, he’s the least likely suspect. My guess is that at the time you posted the pic, you were thinking of football-team rooters – say, the Dallas Cheerleaders. (Although, you did need a calendar. . .)

  29. HELLO MR. M

    IM BACK!!!!!!

    BEEN on a bit of a trip using the all you can jet pass(with jet blue. You get to travel anywhere they fly for as much as you want in a period of a month for 600 dollars). And since this is my last year homeschooling, my parents decided to go see america, mostly historic or monumental places. So just got back from the trip.

    We went to Boston, Maine, California, Las Vegas(that was for the weekend lol, I was with my parents, on g rated things happened, don’t worry), and most notably, the hoover dam and the grand Canyon. Definately fun stuff, flew in a helicopter in the grand caynon, oh and I got to see the Hoover Dam from like 5,000 feet in the air, on the plane flight from Vegas to the grand canyon. Took some great pics!!

    Oh and Joe, you will especially like this. I went to the 1/2 sized eiffel tower in Vegas and took an elevator to the restaurant in the tower. DANG!!! WAS THE FOOD GOOD!! And you had a BEAUTIFUL view of Vegas as you ate. I STRONGLY recommend going to the restaurant if your in VEGAS!!!!

  30. And its reasonably priced to!!!!

    Anyways, good to be back!!

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  31. Hey Joe,

    Catching up on blog entries and have to say…I’m SOOO with you on Moulin Rouge. Next to the Lord of the Rings (where it took more than two hours just to FORM the group going ring hunting) it was the longest two hours of my life!

  32. Nice dinner! Nice pictures! I see you fixed the Rosie the Riveter poster.

    I just wanted to remind everyone that tomorrow is International Talk like a Pirate Day! Forewarned is fore-arrrrrrrrrrrrrrmed!

  33. Hehehehehe…Rosie the Rooter, that’s just damn funny. Never change Joe.

    Cheers, Chev

  34. I respect if people want to be vegetarians but, DEMONstrators (ha sorry) need to think what the hell would happen if we didn’t keep the animal population down. We can’t just let them go and live and etc. The food chain is for a reason! IF we didn’t have that, ….we wouldn’t have life!

  35. Ahhh the nemisis: Ashleigh – YAY!
    Corr, how long has Ashleigh been there now? You should take her to Japan with you – to keep you on your toes and tell you your getting fat when you eat too much lol.

    It’s been noticed that there has been less of the practical jokes between you two, but then with first-air only weeks away, I guess things are getting busy and excited (well, a little anyway)

    Nice to see she still has the measure of you 😉

  36. 😀 Mmmmm Cept for the Pigs ear…..and maybe the tomatoes….

    You should have taken the Pigs Ear home for the dogs…..I’m sure they’d have gotten through it really quickly!!

  37. That cheesecake looks absolutely scumptious! I think I’ll have to try these restaurants if/when I ever get up to Vancouver.

    Also, I have another question for you, sir. (I’m quite embarrassed about accidentally calling you Joe before.) It’s about something I spotted in your IMDb page. It says that you contributed ‘additional music’ to an episode of The Busy World of Richard Scarry; I of course know that you’re a writer-producer and not a musician, so…what exactly was it that you contributed?

    Two things for Carl Binder, even if he doesn’t happen to read this:
    1. Thanks for popping up in that picture–we don’t see you half as often as we should!
    2. I haven’t seen Pocahontas in ages, but I remember enjoying it. I also remember bolting to the VCR and shoving in the tape for the first time in years when I finally realized that you CO-WROTE it!

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