This past week or so hasn’t been all fun and games.  There’s been some serious eating as well.  And time spent perusing the audition streams for both the Ginn and Simeon characters.  Lots of terrific performances and we’ve all been weighing in, gradually narrowing down our choices.  Hoping to have both parts cast by the time we head back into the office on…Monday?  Blazed through another 200 pages of Jonathan Barnes’ so-far so-fantatic The Somnambulist.  Only 150 more pages to go.  Will be interesting to see whether he can maintain the pace AND pull off a satisfying conclusion.

Of course, come tomorrow I’ll have plenty of time for reading as my guest, Akemi, heads back to Tokyo following a ten-day star in Vancouver.  As the Japanese would say: Kanashii!

Last night, we had dinner at La Quercia where we shared a delicious savory eggplant souffle with sweet tomato jam, then split three pasta dishes: a half-moon pasta with a potato-alpine cheese filling that proved to be Akemi’s favorite, my favorite the spaghetti al’amatriciana (smoked pork cheek, chillies, and san marzano tomatoes), and an equally terrific tagliatelle with mortadella.

Then, for dessert, we had an unbelievable almond tort with homemade vanilla ice cream – and a couple of scoops of the house creamy pistachio ice cream as well.  Akemi has proven a bit of a cappuccino fiend and, after sampling different versions around town, pronounced La Quercia’s “the best”.  She also declared the house meringues (served complimentary with the bill) among the top ten best she’s ever had – and, hailing for Tokyo, she’s had plenty.  So she was absolutely thrilled when she was gifted a tiny bag of the heavenly little confections in the way out.

If you’re thinking of checking out La Quercia, make sure to call and book in advance.  It’s a small place, terrific, and extremely popular.

Speaking of ice cream, we made a new batch yesterday: Sweet Potato Ice Cream.
We headed downtown today so that Akemi could say goodbye to her good friends at Lush. She's really going to miss that giant pink rose bath bomb.
We happened by this guy, a roving reporter from an Osaka affiliate, conducting interviews. I wanted to wow him with my elementary-level Japanese but Akemi was more interested in checking out the mall.
On the way back to the car, we stopped by JapaDog, Vancouver's most popular hot dog stand located on Burrard Street near The Sutton Place Hotel.
As the name implies, JapaDog serves up hot dogs with a Japanese twist. Choices include beef, bratwurst, veggie, and kurobuta pork while topping range from teriyaki-mayo and cooked/grated daikon to edamame and bonito flakes.
They were out of kurobuta, so we had our Okonomi Dog with bratwurst instead. Totemo Oishikatta!
Who wants a bite?

Mom was finally released from the rehab center and headed home last night.

Felix shows up to pick her up.
Mom is finally homeward bound.
Felix and bunny welcome her back.

P.S. Is that it for the book of the month club recommendations?

66 thoughts on “February 24, 2010: La Quercia! JapaDog! A final stroll! Mom update!

  1. I’m reading Star Trek Voyager Full Circle right now but you are not a fan of tie-ins and truly it is a pretty bad novel so no…no recommendations.

    I do have two comments to make:

    a) Every post I read of yours has me salivating. I desperately wish I could eat the way you do. Oh God do I ever.

    and b) it’s quite possible that Akemi is the most beautiful woman alive…do tell her I said so! ahaha

    If you are ever in the Edmonton area Joe please let me take you out to one of my favourite restaurants of all time Wild Tangerine!

    At any rate, I really liked the Chuck article you posted. It’s so true that all fans now want to drive the bus. Instant gratification instantly. I much prefer the slow burn of a good story…but to each their own.

    No questions this week…merely comments on the jealously I have for your life!

  2. That photo of Felix with the bunny is too cute 🙂 Enjoyed your food adventures with Akemi, hope she has a safe trip home.

  3. Sorry to see your hosting duties coming to an end, but I feel as if I’ve gained ten pounds just following your ventures into Vancouver dining over the last week and change. (actually, I have lost weight, but your pics set off hunger pangs). I’m glad I didn’t know about the Lush store while in Vancouver. My travelling companion might never have made it to the cruise ship.
    Great news to see your mom on her feet and free of the professional torturers. Hope she enjoys getting back into the swing of things at home. As always, all your ramblings and comments are appreaciated.

  4. Woohoo, MamaMallozzi is home. Felix looked a bit anxious…like, they are letting you come home, right?

    The food again…oh my goodness. I have to admit to being curious about the sweet potato ice cream, that sounds good.

    Now to add jappa dog to my list. If I keep this up, there won’t be enough time for all these goodies.


  5. If Dresden has been ruled out, would you consider something from James P Hogan such as the first of the Giants series books?
    Great to see your Mum going home and reunited with Felix and Baby.

  6. Joe, your Mom looks great! So glad she’s doing better and returning to the comfort of home. Felix looks so suave in his shearling jacket.

    Safe travels to Akemi… we have enjoyed her visit as much as you have, I’m sure. 😀

    Lastly, my doctor informs me that I have an acute sinus infection involving both ear canals. Lucky me. Well, that explains all the headache pain.

    (waiting for a snowstorm with hurricane winds to hit NJ — oh joy…)

  7. Awwww….we’re gonna miss Akemi! She’s so cute, AND tidy!

    Great to hear mom’s coming home! Felix will be so happy!

    Sorry I can’t help on the BotM thing…I don’t read that much variety-wise, and I’m totally clueless about authors and what’s new out there. I could only suggest another graphic novel, but that didn’t go over so well before. If you did go the GN route, maybe Scalped since you like it so much, but I’m really not sure that would be your average reader’s cup of tea. When is that sci fi anthology with your short story coming out? Could we shoot for that? I’d LOVE to review YOUR story… 😈


  8. I am happy your mom is home, probably not as much as she and Felix are. and Baby.and sis. Take care of yourself mom. *waving hello to mom*
    Joe, now what will you do with free time, thanks Akemi for visiting and keeping Joe busy. Its hard to believe its been 10 days already.
    I was looking at Charles Stross’s blog and he said his blog could be nominated for a hugo, could yours(blog) qualify Joe, I wonder, not sure what criteria is, I was just looking him up to suggest the Glasshouse for a botm. just an idea.
    Hope the auditions went well and back to work is not too stressful, Ashleigh will be there to help you adjust….enjoy.

  9. I just don’t feel on my game for book club selections. I know I can do better. I hope you give us another chance some day.

    I also like Michael A. Burstein’s suggestion of bringing in someone for a commentary on a classic. That would be so fun. I’d add to that, perhaps you could even have someone provide critical commentary. I’d be up for a chance to egg on a back and forth between David Sherman and L. Neil Smith. That would be epic (and I already have relevant works by them both).

    I’ve heard good things about Peter Watts’ new book Blindsight, but I’m a little iffy about a Q&A. I mean, after reading Starfish and a little of his blog, do I really want to be any more inside his head than that?

  10. Good to hear your mom is well enough to go home – and Felix too. I’m sure she is happy about that. Welcome home Mrs. Mallozzi!

  11. I do believe you are now obligated to tell us more about the sweet potato ice cream.

  12. So glad to hear that your Mom’s home now. Bet she is too. Give her our best.

    The only book I’ve read & liked recently is Chabon’s Yiddish Policemen’s Union, which is an alt history detective so only kinda genre. How about a Neil Gaiman?

  13. Sorry – just had an idea. How about one (or more) of the Nebula nominees? It’d be timely, and could precurse the Hugo nominees coming in a few month. I’ve never read China Meivelle but I head good things about him.

  14. Guess we have to join the line with the puppies and wave to Akemi. It did not seem like 10 days. Was good reading fun to follow on the Adventures of Akemi in VancouverLand.

    Good times, good times.

  15. “P.S. Is that it for the book of the month club recommendations?”

    1. Fleet of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner, 2007.

    2. Juggler of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner, 2008.

    3. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner, 2009.

  16. Sweeeeeeetttttt!!!! So glad to see your moms well again!!!!!

    So I have a SGU question.

    When do you start shooting pathogen?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  17. Hello Joe.

    Thanks for your quick response to my question earlier today!

    Glad to hear that your Mom is finally heading home. I’ll bet Felix was happy to see her, and vice versa. Best wishes to her as she settles back into old routines.

    Also, best wishes to Akemi as she travels back home as well. I know that she had a great visit, and enjoyed the sights, sounds, and eateries that Vancouver has to offer!!!

    My best wishes to you as well as you return to your daily grind at work as well. You know, I think this blog is the first time that I habe ever seen a writer truly make himself available to the fans 24/7 and I think that is amazing. 😉

    I don’t know if I would have given SGU a chance without reading your entries and responses to fan concerns… But I am glad I did, and enjoyed reliving the series again, recently. I have said that I enjoyed it more the second time around, I think, because I wasn’t comparing it to Atlantis. I even found it much more funny the second time around! There is some great humor in it. Again, many thanks!



  18. Hello Joe

    Finally disabled that auto correct, lotta good it did… You you please edit my comment, “have” not “habe”? Darn blackberry… 🙂

    When my contract expires soon, I might have to take your advice and go Iphone.



  19. WOHOO glad your mom is home. Tell her to please be careful!

    Please share sweet potato ice cream recipe!

    Sorry your company is leaving. Bye Akemi! Come back soon!

    You won’t listen to Goodkind, you don’t want old classics like Alph (BWAHAHAHAHA)… Hm. Guess the Tibetan Book of the Dead is really out of the question, or anything by the Dalai Lama. I love love love Rachel Naomi Remen’s My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging. Oh wait.. fiction only. Oh well maybe some here will try them. 🙂
    Good night Joe.

  20. Bye Akemi. Have a good trip home. Thanks for letting us share your visit to Vancouver.

    Mom looks great. Congrats on going home. Felix is so cute.

  21. Oy! I can barely keep up with the blog postings lately, much less find time to read an actual book and/or recommend one!!

    Safe journeys to Akemi, and a rousing welcome home to Mom Mallozzi…

    Joe, how do you like your Cuisinart ice cream maker? Is it easy to clean? I’m not sure I want to store something that big, though. Trying to clean the house OUT !


  22. Sweet potato icecream???

    Sounds ———- interesting. Are you going to oblige us with the recipe??

    Hi mum Mallozzi – glad you’re out of rehab. So’s Felix I bet 🙂

  23. Hey Joe!

    Glad to hear that your mom is recovering so well! We spent a lot of time at GF Strong with my brother, and while they do great work, it’s so great to be *home*..

    Glad to hear you’re having a great time in the city. Have you noticed that it’s been a lot easier to move around the city with the cars? The pedestrian traffic seems to be concentrated around Robson and the city centre, but I’ve been driving my brother through downtown throughout the last two weeks and it’s taking way less time than usual to get through the city, which really surprised me…

    Just wanted to say hey – I’ve been reading recently, but even with the break from school things have been pretty crazy, so I haven’t been leaving comments as much…

    And glad to see that the pups are all doing well!

    Are the fireworks bugging them? Bella really doesn’t like them – she starts barking right at 11 pm each night on time with the fireworks.

    Nadine Ramsden
    (naddycat on Twitter)

  24. Hey Joe,

    Ah, guest is leaving…must feel weird after waiting so long for her arrival. Time flies when you are having fun. I love today’s *show-n-tell*…always my favorite.

    The food is always to-die-for. So kind of you to share all your fun explorations with us.

    So glad to hear your mom is heading home. Must be a welcome happy moment for all of you. *big hugs*

    Best to you Joe,
    Cheryl 🙂

  25. Weird… I was just wondering today on how Mamallozzi was doing… LOOKIN’ GOOOOOD!!!!

    Oh, and hugs good-bye and a “Go Safely” for Akemi!

  26. Your mom is looking GREAT, hope her recovery continues and that she takes real good care of herself. Felix is such a sweetie:)

    I’m no good at BoTM, I’m happily wading my way through James Barclay’s Chronicles of the Raven series and loving them.

    Is it a bad sign that 90% of my books have maps in the front and have nothing to do with actual geography?

  27. Oh bugger, after all that I forgot to wave bye to Akemi. *waves* When is she coming back? I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her visit, bet the dogs are going to miss her.

  28. Nice to know your mum’s finally home. 🙂

    Goodbye to Akemi and very, very belated congratulations to Mr. Burstein!

  29. Glad to see you Mom up, around and spry. I’m sure she’ll thrive under Felix’s watchful eye…

  30. For the BOTM Club, I have been reading the Percy Jackson & The Olympian series, mostly because the mythology drew me towards it. The first book is very introductory, explaining backstories, describing people, places, etc. which is probably why the movie sucked. But thusfar the rest of the books have been excellent.
    I have also been reading the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, the newest book, number four, The Necromancer is coming out in May. Again the mythology drew me towards it and has been a hit since the first couple chapters of Book One, The Alchemist.
    The only other Scifi or Fantasy books I have on my shelf are:
    Pride Prejudice and Zombies
    How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

  31. Thank you, Akemi, for sharing your visit with us. Have a safe trip home.

    Joe, I’m so glad your mom finally got to come home. Being at home always makes you feel better.

  32. Welcome home Mama Mallozzi!

    Bye Akemi! I hope you enjoyed your visit. Have a safe trip home.

    I had sweet potato ice cream in Japan and enjoyed it, though as I recall it didn’t have a very strong sweet potato flavor. Lately, I’ve been buying sweet potato pastries at my local Japanese bakery. Kind of like a twice baked potato, but a sweet potato version. Mmmm, mmmm good!

  33. Hi, Joe. Glad to see your mom doing okay. 🙂

    Could you please clarify this questions I have…

    Visual aid –

    I have always wondered how come – in Continuum – the crate where the ‘gate was, had holes on both sides. Some time ago I re-watched the original Stargate movie and noticed the kawoosh effect that we never saw in the series. It would explain the hole on the back side of the crate. So did the effect got transferred from the movie to SG-1 series? If so, do the Atlantis and Destiny stargate kawoosh the same way?

  34. TO MOM:
    Please be very careful with the cane when walking and putting weight on it for balance. I still use mine and slipped on a little water on a floor at work, then slipped with it getting into the car. The result is that I have been home for a few days with a very painful back that didn’t hurt initially, but built up gradually. OY…
    I haven’t had any luck in getting a taste of gooey duck yet due to unforeseen circumstances… Does it go by any other name?

  35. Mom’s lookin’ good! Hooray for going home!!!

    As for the hot dog stand? They featured it on the Today Show on NBC on Tuesday. The sell-outs might last a while.

  36. BOTM suggestions better late then never:

    The Parabolist by Nicholas Ruddock
    Description: Part comedy, part mystery, The Parabolist is a novel about murder, sex, the medical establishment, poetry and vigilante justice on the streets of Toronto in 1975.

    Told through interlacing narratives, the story funnels towards the eye of an unsolved crime: on a rainy summer night, a woman is raped and very nearly murdered, but for the intervention of two drunken vigilantes who kill her attacker before fleeing the scene. The only clue the police have about their identities is a slab of Crisco shortening found on the victim.

    The unforgettable cast of characters includes a charismatic Mexican poet, a libido-driven first-year medical student, a runaway teen turned prostitute, a raven-haired beauty, a sinister psychiatrist, and a donated corpse that is dissected – from skin to muscle to bone – as layer by layer, the inscrutable mysteries of anatomy, love, literature and life are poignantly revealed.

    This is a funny, satirical, searing, dangerous and tender story of earnest youth and their ardent desire for love, acceptance and fulfillment


    Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
    Description: Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the cusp of manhood, is compelled to join forces with an arrogant and enigmatic young novice named Evanjalin, who claims that her dark dreams will lead the exiles to a surviving royal child and a way to pierce the cursed barrier and regain the land of Lumatere. But Evanjalin’s unpredictable behavior suggests that she is not what she seems — and the startling truth will test Finnikin’s faith not only in her, but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

    I saw Japa Dog profiled on CTV’s broadcase it looked interesting good to know they have lots of selection the broadcast did not do it justice.

  37. Have a safe trip Akemi!

    Mom looks great! Glad she’s getting to go home.

    Joe, I was going to suggest the book I’m currently reading: “Horns, a Novel” which is 100 pages in, quite good. However it is just released and only available in hardcover. Maybe put it on the back burner until the softcover release?

  38. Your mom looks great!!! So does Felix. That must have been a long haul for her, and your sister. Safe travels to Akemi.

  39. Mmmmm, the hot dog and pasta dishes look the best to me! I’m glad Akemi had such a good visit. I know you will be lonely without her. When are you planning on another Japan visit?

    Felix looks very handsome. I’m glad you mom is back home. She looks wonderful! Do you think she will continue to use the cane at home?

    2cats: I hope you are feeling better soon!

    Narelle: Sending you stress free vibes! Have you tried reading any of Charlaine Harris’s other series?

  40. i’ll weigh in with the book club selections.

    People have already mentioned author Jim Butcher – very enjoyable reads and a big thumbs up for Jim.

    I’d like to recommend Tanya Huff’s “Valor Confederations” series. The first book is Valor’s Choice. However, Space Marines = lots of blood, so some might be turned off.

    Neither are “new” authors, but well worth reading

  41. Wonderful to hear your mom is going home. There is NO place like home, not to be too cliche.

    Safe travels to Akemi and thanks for allowing us to share in your fun in Vancouver. You were such a good sport with all the pictures. Hope she will drop by your blog and say hi once she is back at home.

  42. Sorry, no recommendations for book of the month. But if anyone wants book recommendations for your 6 to 11 year olds, I’m your gal!

    Recently finished The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber. Somehow I missed it as a child. It is wonderful!

  43. Japa dog huh? I might just have to go and try that out later today, it looks good!

    Happy that your Mum is up and about.

  44. I would suggest Ice Station by Matthew Rielly. A very good read and one of the few books I’ve found hard to put down.

    Fantastic for Mama and you guys that she’s now home! Woohoo!!

    Although I’ve loved your gourmandising adventures, I’m not so much of a seafood eater, so those dishes have not taken my fancy, but the pasta looks GREAT! And I’ve really liked the look of those other dishes from around Vancouver.

    Best travel wishes for Akemi – and never forget us! 😀

  45. So great to see Mama Mallozzi back on her feet! Felix was so excited he dressed for the occasion. Just being home will probably be great medicine for everyone.

    Bye to Akemi! We have enjoyed your visit to Vancouver. 🙂 You were a great tour guide.

    Everything I’ve been reading lately is older stuff or non-fiction, so no suggestions.

    But I do have a suggestion for creative use of the stones on SGU …. There’s a problem so big that they must have McKay to solve it. He and Eli could switch bodies. Eli could end up solving a problem on Earth that McKay hasn’t been able to solve. Rush and McKay could have a total snark-off.

    Hey, I would be completely into that! Probably watch it several times, even in slo-mo! 😉 And then I’d probably have to take a cold shower. (Does that even work for women?) XD

  46. Debra – I’d join in with the Dalai Lama books 🙂 But we’d probably have to join another book club!
    After going to see him last year I enjoy his writing even more (now I hear his contagious laugh when reading). An experience I’ll never forget either. I’ve met some people with energy you can feel, but never someone who can fill an auditorium with energy.
    It was an unexpected choice as host – – he’s an Aussie comedian, but he was brilliant! I hope he hosts again next year (pending the health of the Dalai Lama)

    Tammy – I have other Charlaine Harris books loaded on the Reader but haven’t read them yet. Recommend? At the moment I’m reading Stieg Larsson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series), Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake series), Good Omens (Pratchett-Gaiman) and The Golden City (John Twelve Hawks). I looked up Rachel Caine the other day after she was recommended and they look like something I might load next.

  47. I’ve not had a chance to catch up on all the comments etc. so I’m not sure if this has been suggested yet so…How about Peter F. Hamilton – “Pandora’s Star”? I am still lagging so far behind with the BOTM reading that it will help me catch up! I’m glad to see that your mom is better and finally going home.


  48. Joe,

    How is it getting around town during the Olympics?
    When the Olympics were in Salt Lake in 02, I had the ‘pleasure’ of having to travel there for business (non-Olympics related) and could hardly even get into a restaurant. Sure, Salt Lake ain’t Vancouver, but still, the town was a mess.

  49. Tanie: I loved Ice Station. Have you read the other books in that series? They are all good!

    Narelle: Yes, her other series are very entertaining and a good stress reliever. Recently, I’ve been reading her “Harper Connelly” series about a woman who can find dead bodies. I started reading her books with the “THE LILY BARD “SHAKESPEARE” series years ago. Unlucky me, she stopped writing the Lily Bard books in 2005! BUT she had a couple of the characters make a guest appearance in Sookie’s bar. (Jack the private detective and his wife Lily, I believe). Sending more stress free vibes your way!

    Eric.Stewart: In Mr. M’s picture he took of you-it showed a beautiful young woman! So what do you look like when the camera angle is better?

  50. Congrats to Michael Burstein and to Mrs. Mallozzi.

    I’m back home in Texas. Sis-in-love rapidly recovering from her hip surgery. Today marks three weeks from the original injury, tomorrow will be three wks since surgery. SIL went from walker to cane a week ago, was planning first short drive for yesterday afternoon.

    Glad I made that trip, not only to help but to have family visit. Seldom get to see 12 y.o. nephew more than a few days per year. Sat in at his (special-needs) school, pleased with staff attention to him.

  51. Tammy – Oh! They’re from another series? Didn’t know that. I started to read the first Harper Connelly but didn’t get very far. Can’t remember what distracted me. But I’ll definitely put it into my ‘Recommended’ Reader collection.
    The Sony ebook store has increased its range so much in the last year.

  52. BOTM Club suggestions –
    1. The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks “For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist. For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint. But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death.”
    2. The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller – “The Innocent Mage is come, and we stand at the beginning of the end of everything.” Being a fisherman like his father isn’t a bad life, but it’s not the one that Asher wants. Despite his humble roots, Asher has grand dreams. And they call him to Dorana, home of princes, beggars?and the warrior mages who have protected the kingdom for generations. Little does Asher know, however, that his arrival in the city is being closely watched by members of the Circle, people dedicated to preserving an ancient magic. Asher might have come to the city to make his fortune, but he will find his destiny”

  53. You know that’s not right showing all that food, even though i’ve had two servings of flavored rice and friend chicken, i find myself still hungry. Now I’m a big guy, 6’5″ 320lbs and I like food, and nothing bothers me more than seeing food i don’t have with me at this moment. That’s why I don’t watch the food channel much because as an avid eater, seeing anything i can’t replicate, condescend, or retcon to put in my belly, is of no use to me.

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