With my friend Tomomi in town (from Tokyo via Edmonton and Kamloops), I decided we should check out a place I haven’t been to in years – one of the city’s premiere fine dining destinations: West Restaurant.  Being a fellow foodie, Tomomi was more than up to the challenge of joining me in checking out the West Tasting Menu…

Tomomi strikes the traditional Japanese pose.

Off to a great start. Turnip pana cotta with bacon gelee, apples, and walnuts. I’m not a huge fan of turnip, but this preparation totally won me over.

And the hits keep on coming: A Tian of Dungeness Crab and Saffron Couscous with Smoked Tomato Gazpacho. Superb.

Terrine of Foie Gras, David Woods Goats Cheese, Apple and Quince Jelly. This too was excellent but the portion so paltry I had to wonder why they even bothered.

Now we’re talking! Biodynamic Aged Risotto with Pemberton Sunchokes, Red Wine Braised Oxtail, and Shaved Black Truffle. The truffle was an extra I decided to splurge on and was glad I did. A dish that marries some of my very favorites – oxtail, risotto, sunchokes and truffles – in grand style. The dish of the night.

I was able to switch out the chicken for the intriguing-sounding Sake Kasu Braised Berkshire Pork Cheeks with Crab Apple Puree, Broccolini, and Sauteed Spaetzle. A good dish but, while the meat was tender, it lacked that – I want to say unctuousness – I usually associated with well-marbled cheeks. Also, a rather modest portion for what was the final savory course.

The cheese course.

Chocolate Marquis, Hibiscus Tea Soaked Sour Cream Cake, and Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. All around terrific but the star of this dish was the ice cream which was nothing short of outstanding. So enjoyable, in fact, that it’s motivated me to bring my ice cream makers out of storage. This summer, perhaps?

I decided to get a second dessert “for the table”: Mascarpone Espresso Cake on a Date Brownie, Cinnamon Milk Chocolate Mousse and Coffee Ganache Ice Cream. Alas, all else paled in comparison to that coconut chocolate chip ice cream.

Two conclude: Petits Fours. An excellent Apple Truffle and an equally delectable Banacake with Maple Cream.

So, all in all, a very good dinner but – and I’m not sure whether it was because I was unusually hungry that night – I was still feeling a little peckish at the conclusion of my meal.  Had I not eaten those three buttered rolls and that extra dessert, I probably would’ve been downright unsatisfied.  I couldn’t help but think back to the wonderful multi-course meals I enjoyed in Tokyo and, while it may be an unfair comparison given the difference in price point, West is purported to be one of the city’s top fine-dining destinations.  If a restaurant feels confident enough to offer a risotto course with an additional White Alba Truffle option at $16.50/gram, it can surely offer a “less restrained” option for those willing to splurge.  Like I said, I can’t draw a comparison to the Michelin-star restaurants I visited in Japan, but I can draw a more suitable comparison to the similar chef’s menus I enjoyed at Fuel (and that diners can still enjoy at the re-christined ReFuel).  Similar price point but, suffice it to say, I never left Fuel feeling peckish.  And, might I add, never hit the bread and butter to tide me over.

Service was excellent.  Our Aussie waitress was not only polite and professional, but lovely as well, bearing a striking resemblance to the beautiful Lexa Doig.

Pleased? Yes. Satisfied? As the French would say: "Comme ci, comme ca."


Tonight, we’re off to Quattro.  Tune in tomorrow for the pasta pics.


Ytimyonona writes: “My puppy has a personal tracking chip. You can’t get a lifetime license for a dog in my county without it.”

Answer: Your country?  Where do you live?

Ytimyonona also writes: “Oh, and I’m very excited about Cherie Priest’s book! I’ve heard nothing but good things about Boneshaker, and loved Four and Twenty Blackbirds!!!”

Answer: I echo your sentiments.

John DeNardo writes: “Boneshaker was excellent. One of my best reads of 2009.”

Answer: Then I look forward to seeing you here for the discussion in early March. smile

DasNdanger writes: “It might explain why Joe thinks such a device is necessary – he probably can’t figure out if he’s attracted to his dinner date, or the foie gras!”

Answer: Can’t I have the best of both worlds?

Joanne Fitzgerald writes: “I’ve been reading a lot about how SGU is keeping a certain distance from SG1 and SGA, and it does looks and behave like a slightly different and perhaps more mature animal. What would SGA (for instance in upcoming movies), be like if it was given the grimer, darker and slightly more naturalistic style and tone that works so well for SGU? Would it work with the premise of SGA, do you think? Would it improve it or change it beyond recognition?”

Answer: It’s not something I would even consider doing since what made Atlantis Atlantis was the tone of the series (that silver lining of humor even during the darkest of times) and its straightforward/uncomplicated motivations and relationships.  It would be like turning House into a sitcom or The Office into a drama.

lcshepp writes: “So what gives Joe? First you tell all the naysayers out there that they have to take SGU as it is and now Robert Cooper says in an interview there will be changes next season. Do the fans finally have a voice??”

Answer: The first half of season one established the premise, the characters and their various relationships.  In the second half, we’ll be building on all that and more.  There won’t be “changes” made to the show in season two (at least not in the way you’re implying).  Developments, yes, but only insofar as they’ll be a natural progression of everything we’ve already put in play.

Jo writes: “I’m curious. Seeing as you like weird foods, have you ever tried a dish called (translated into English [dialect: haideng goru]) fish bladder and sea cucumber soup?”

Answer: Is that the same thing as fish maw?  If so, yes.  It’s my favorite.

Jo also writes: “Also just wondering… have you ever tried duck brain or duck tongue?”

Answer: No brain but tongue.  Meh.  Not much substance to it.

AnneTeldy writes: “Still here. Been sick since before Christmas so just now caught up.”

Answer: Welcome back!

O6untouchable writes: “Damian Kindler wrote both halves of “Reckoning”, the episode before “Threads”. I’m not consciously aware of any scenes from the former that were recapped in there (save for in the “Previously, on Stargate SG-1″ bit), but maybe something about Daniel being killed by RepliCarter snuck in there at some point… or maybe it has something to do with the newspaper that Daniel and Anubis were reading, which included photos from said episode?”

Answer: It’s also possible that, if an episode was running long, certain scenes were excised and then used in an ensuing episode.

Airelle writes: “? about the script. once written, how is the actual dialog born, is it magic, do you write the words the actors say.?”

Answer: Yes, we write the words.  Alas, it’s not as simple as saying “Okay, in this scene you guys are on the planet and have an argument.  Go!”.

E writes: “Will we ever see Riley again?”

Answer: Yep.  He’ll be fully healed of his injuries in the back half.

Teal’c_P.I. writes: “did you ever finish watching Fullmetal Alchemist, and if so, what did you think?”

Answer: I liked it but wouldn’t list it among my favorites.

Jeff writes: ”

1. Do you use real ammo on the show? and was real ammo used on sg-1 and sga? or are the bullets blank?

2. Who decided to not use P-90’s anymore? I like the call since they have been used since like season 5 of sg-1, but sad to see them gone.

3. Just b/c i’ll always wonder, will we ever find out the Odyssey’s secret mission in either sgu, sga, or sg-1?”

Answers: 1. We don’t use real ammo.  2. We kept the P-90’s because the actors liked them.  3. It was Icarus-related but I’m not sure when we’ll receive onscreen confirmation.

Elminster writes: “Joe, you’re on TV! On Space. Some sorta behind the scenes thing….”

Answer: Did I happen to mention the title of my new script?  If so, what was it?

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susan the tartan turtle
susan the tartan turtle

The traditional Japanese pose – what is the significance of the two fingers?

Any recent amusing doggie stories?

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

You make a handsome couple! Black is your color sir.

The food looks delicious.

http://www.blannsmartialarts.com/1794.html : My karate instructor has a picture that includes me and my son on his website.

I don’t know if anyone is interested but I’m between two “follicle challenged” gentlemen and my son is in the back row on the left. There are my 15 seconds of fame grin .

Ytimyonona: great idea for your country, a chip. I have a microchip in my cats but it has to be scanned by a vet/shelter to get the information. Is that the chip you are speaking of? I would like to see mandatory spay/neuters here but …. Probably not in my life time.


Answer: “Can’t I have the best of both worlds?”

Seems you already do. wink

Your dinner looks delicious (for a change… wink ). No roadkill. Would love the turnip pana cotta recipe – just one of those veggies I never know what to do with (besides eat raw as a snack, or mash up in potatoes, or throw in a stew)…but that’s mostly because I’m too lazy to look up recipes.

Since we’re talking food…

I made a big ol’ pot of chili again tonight (pretty basic – ground beef, diced tomatoes, black beans, fresh cilantro, garlic, onion, green chilis, and seasoning – it’s medium hot, not too spicy because Mr. Das doesn’t like fire as much as I do). It’s pretty good, though it always tastes better the next day. Put a little Mexican chocolate in it, too. wink Also mushed up some avocados and made guacamole – avocado, onion, garlic, lime juice, cumin, salt…I don’t like tomatoes in my guacamole if I’m not eating it all in one sitting – tomatoes throw the taste and consistency off when you store it.

I really wasn’t planning on cooking tonight since Mr. Das is working. I had planned on sitting down to hummus and chips, maybe some yogurt…something light. But I saw those avocados ($1 each), and decided to go with Mexican instead of Middle Eastern. But this is good – now I don’t have to cook tomorrow (or Monday, I hope), and it saves us a heck of a lot of money not eating out.

I’m kinda…bleh…tonight. Not sure why – been this way all day. Hope I snap out of it – my folks are going down to Florida for a week, so I’ve got all my stuff, and now all their stuff, to handle, and I just don’t feel like I have the energy. Just no…oomph. Anyone else ever get feeling that way – not tired, just…just you feel like you’re moving in slow motion – no drive. I hate it when I feel like this… razz



Are any of your friends not foodies?

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

“Anyone else ever get feeling that way – not tired, just…just you feel like you’re moving in slow motion – no drive. ”

Yes, it feels like I’m trying to move through water to get anything done on some days. Don’t focus on big things, it can make the day seem overwhelming! Hang in there Das!


Alas no, Joe, you didn’t. But you already knew that, I think you were there…



@Das: Hey, next time you make guacamole, try adding just a touch of oregano, it’s delish! I’ve been a bit like you lately, it’ll pass smile


Hi Joe,
When you cook (and I know it’s not often) do you use cookbooks, or the internet to get recipes? If so, what cookbooks and/or cooking websites do you like?

Maybe a recipe of the month addition to your blog?


@Tammy Dixon

Congrats on your black belt, and nice photo of you and your son. How old is he? I’ve got 3 boys, ages 10, 8 and 6. I wish I could get my oldest interested in a martial art. I think it would give him more confidence and coordination.


That bleh feeling? It’s called “winter.” All I want to do is curl up under the covers and eat chocolate.


@ Tammy & Deni – Thanks!

I know it’ll pass…I HOPE it’ll pass. But last night I felt pretty good, and today I’m all mopey and slow and it’s just such a contrast to that ‘up’ feeling. And I’m not getting anything done!! Well…not the stuff I really need to get done… like dusting, and vacuuming, and laundry, and all that stuff I tell myself I need to do before I can treat myself to a comic or tv show or book. Tonight’s gonna suck. razz

Deni – Fresh or dried oregano? I put some in the chili – never tried it in guacamole, though. Thanks for the tip!



I’m feeling sick. Settled for grub at one of the local chain restaurants, then come back and see your pictures. I’ve only just begun to start going over your earliest blog posts, and I’m struck at how the most recent mirror those posts. All the more amazing you’ve managed to maintain your svelte figure for so long. Glad to see you’re having fun.
Enjoy the last day of your holiday. Looking forward to the reports of your adventures back at the work front.


@das, I really think it has to do with the weather and this particular time zaps our energy. Less daylight? no sunspots to blame, but want to nap more often…
-Joe thanks for the food pictures, ice cream, wow, looks wonderful. Did you bring macaroons back from Tokyo or your trip to Montreal?, would be good with ice cream.. grin

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon
Margaret Clayton

That is an appealing and handsome meal. I had a cold leftover $6 burger from Carl’s Jr, which MyLarry brought home to me. At lunch. Now I’m hungry all over. As in from my head to my toes.

I sewed my first muumuu today. Oh, I’ve worn muumuus, and mom made them when we lived in Ewa Beach, but this is my first all on my own. I made small mistakes and the yoke is a tick too large, but I love it. Most especially since I’ll get to wear it in Kona. We leave very soon. That’s where I am if I’m AWOL online, on the beach, or sitting on the cliffs at South Point.

Pictures on my blog… later.

“Eh, shaka brah.”


Following up on my comment and ytimona’s:

Services Division. Effective January 1, 2008, micro chips will be the primary form of registration used to identify animals in the City of San Antonio. The pet owner must provide proof that the pet is currently vaccinated against rabies and that the pet is micro chipped. For those owners not wishing to micro chip their animals, ACS requires that these owners purchase a license tag…

Microchipping is included in Animal Defense League of Texas adoptions and costs $25 during our spay/neuter/vaccination clinics. I’ve heard of at least three failed adoptions where the pet was returned to ADL from other shelters, giving it a chance to be re-homed.


Thanks for answering my questions, Joe!

I asked the ammo one because I was on the stargate mgm website and saw the video featurette on Time titled gun safety. So it got me to thinking and gave me the impression you used live ammo.

I have to say, there are some very cool videos on there! I am also impressed with all the hard work the actors and crew put in for every episode, keep up the good work!


This is in response to your answer about changing SGA to be more like SGU.
Do you find that the kind of story/script/comic you are writing affects your mood outside of work?
I realize that intense drama can be very satisfying creatively, but do you find you are generally happier when writing happier things?

Arctic Goddess

Hey Joe:

I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we’ve noticed that you seem to have a particular love of the Japanese culture as well as a few other (coughwomencough) Japanese things. Being out in the boonies of North Eastern Alberta, my contact with Japanese culture is minimal. We do, however, have the required Chinese restaurant that every prairie town seems to have. Does that count?

Anyway, can you enlighten us, or me, about what I might be missing?



So, in getting the truffle, does that mean they added it to the dish or that you got a different dish that featured it? This is probably my lack of foodie background, but is truffle really so rare/special that simply adding a few slivers onto a plate brings it up that much in price? I could understand a truffle dish costing more (much in the way steak costs more than chicken), but adding cost by merely garnishing an already designed meal (which at the prices you’re already paying no doubt, should have been perfect without the addition) seems outlandish.

I know, I know. I should stick to merely watching Iron Chef and then eating my mac and cheese. smile

Narelle from Aus

Sorry to hear about the loss of your reading mojo Joe.
Hmm, maybe a change in genre? Read something historical or autobiographical about a topic or person that interests you? Or, as I sometimes do, find something that will make your brain melt out of your ears it’s that trashy but it relaxes the brain.

Chevron7 – Here ya go. Proof I’m related to Uncle Fester. http://www.twitpic.com/xhlqm
Well, Uncle Fester’s more energy efficient relative.

Das – I’ve been watching Series 2 of Life on DVD. I miss that show.

Narelle from Aus

For those of you shivering your timbers off. We’ve just gone onto Code Red warning for tomorrow. Expected temperature, 43 degrees Celsius (109.4F).
The planet is about balance. Can’t have that much cold without having heat in return.



As we say in South Texas…

¡HÍJOLE! (“EE HO LAY”, accent on the EE). That’s not only hot, it’s HELL!


Hey Joe,

I was wondering if you knew that if the SG-1 and Atlantis movies were to be made, would they be using the old filming and editing techniques that defined the series for all those years, or will it be using the fancy new stuff learned from SGU?

Personally, I would love to see Atlantis using the more realistic filming that SGU does so well.


@Narelle from Aus – Yeah, I feel you. Those temperatures are like Phoenix from May/June thru September! Have finally convinced all family members NOT to visit then. I can’t imagine Christmas in summer…

Joe, the food looks great as usual, especially the tian – love the color and taste of saffron. Looks like they have fallen into a plating rut, all the dishes sort of have the same design, eh?

I had a question about the show’s production, and now can’t for the life of me remember it. Oh, well!

Night, all!



Coucou =) ça va aujourd’hui?

Moi super, j’ai passé toute la nuit à rêver de la suite de sgu smile Je me suis fait trop plaisir, ensuite sa a débouché sur un film à mis chemin entre la SF et le Fantastique!!!! C’est vraiment nul d’attendre jusqu’a Avril pour voir la suite de sgu -_-“!

Merci pour ces photos! Tout ces plats ont l’air très bons! Waou vous avez bien mangé je trouve smile

Aller bisou =)
A plus tard!