My garage door has stopped working.  Whenever I hit my remote, it makes an ineffective clicking sound and refuses to engage.  So, today, finally, I got around to calling up the local LiftMaster dealer in my area.  I explained the problem and their representative seemed genuinely sympathetic – before informing me that the company only serviced businesses.  Fortunately, she had a name for a guy who served residential customers.  I called him up, presumably interrupting him in the midst of his afternoon nap.  I explained the problem and he seemed genuinely sympathetic – then informed me he was more of a “replacement” rather than a “repair” guy.  “Once one of those things goes, it’s usually cheaper to replace it than fix it,”he assured me.  “You can get a new one for only two hundred fifty bucks.”  Two hundred and fifty bucks?  Only?!  What deal!!  At that rock-bottom price, I’m thinking of getting one installed for every door in the house!  Can you imagine?  Never again having to go through the trouble of twisting the doorknob and pushing or – even worse – turning all the way around to shut the door behind you.  Hell, if I’d known they were only two hundred and fifty dollars a piece, I would have handed them out as Christmas gifts to all my friends who drive.  A simple push of the button would make entering and exiting their car as simple as opening and closing the car door themselves!  I mean, at these prices I’d be foolish NOT to purchase an entirely new system instead of simply addressing what may be nothing more than a minor glitch.

The other day, I prepared a couple of dishes inspired by mom’s cooking…


Frittata – Mom never topped hers with cheddar but I highly recommend this untraditional way to go.
Wine-fed beef.  I’d read a lot about it and so, when I spotted them at a my local butcher the other day, I decided to try them out.  I marinated them for a couple of hours, then seasoned them liberally before searing both sides and finishing them in the oven.  They were cooked medium-rare and served with caramelized shallots and a Barbera d’Alba and pan juice reduction.  The verdict?  Meh.  I’m going to give the wine-fed beef proponents the benefit of the doubt and try again with a more marbled cut (maybe a rib-eye) next time.

I used to go out a lot.  And I do mean A LOT.  Hell, for the first eight or so years I was in Vancouver, I rare if ever ate dinner at home – and, when I did, I was usually ordering in. Things have changed though and now the reverse is true.  I cook at home A LOT and rarely go out for dinner.  But, occasionally, I do venture out.  Like the other night when I met up with my friends Jodi and Steve for dinner at Oru in the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.  We opted for the $49 Tasting Menu that was comprised of six courses but, strangely, dessert wasn’t one of them.


Jodi and Steve

To start, a surprisingly good Baby Cos Lettuce salad with spiced almonds and orange in a coconut vinaigrette.  Then…

Cumin-Spiced Albacore Tuna served atop Indian Potato Salad with coriander.  The tuna was very good but the potato salad was an odd choice to partner with it.  Not bad, mind you, just an odd duo.

Next up was an excellent Sake Kasu Sablefish with gingered tomato and sweet miso.

I also enjoyed the Tandoor Roasted Lamb Chops with mint chutney.
Masala Chicken with potato fondant, braised fennel, cauliflower, and butter curry sauce.  The meat was texturally akin to pressed chicken.  Not a fan.  Akemi thought the potatoes the best thing she had all night.
Yellow Lentil and Cumin Dal with fall vegetable pakora and tomato chutney.  My favorite dish of the night.

Even though it wasn’t included as part of our meal, Steve and I decided to order dessert.  I had a delightfully dense and decadent chocolate creation while Steve went with –

Oru’s version of a smore.  Looked good but I found it a bit difficult to eat as the marshmallow top was not exactly fork friendly.

Although I wasn’t blown away, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  I tend to be suspicious of hotel restaurants, and doubly suspicious of restaurants that specialize in the all-encompassing Pan-Asian cuisine, but Oru availed itself nicely for the most part.

On the way out to get our coats, I spotted Jodi’s footwear and had to snap a pic.


Crazy, no?

Anyway, back on the home front yesterday I was feeling very much like a contestant on Top Chef.  “For your QuickFire Challenge, you’ll have to come up with three dishes to serve a vegetarian.  You have one hour.  And your time starts….now!”


The Sweet Potato Chipotle. I had originally wanted to do a version that incorporated alternating layers of yam - but couldn't find my yams.
The caponata wast tasty but overcooked - the result of trying to do too many things at once.

I also made a sweet chili broccoli stir-fry and, for dessert, a Kasu-Brown Sugar ice cream that proved a little too sweet but possessed a spectacular underlying sake flavor.

My other vegetarian friend, Lisa. Can't wait to read her review of my dinner.

A reminder to post those questions for author Marjorie M. Liu if you’ve got ’em!

59 thoughts on “January 19, 2011: What a deal! Foodly updates!

  1. Did you try releasing the lock (to the main leadscrew) and then locking it back in once the door is seated all the way to the ground?

  2. Hi Joe:

    I LOVE your foodie posts and photos. PLEASE could you post the recipe for the frittata? It looks absolutely delicious!

    By the way, have you seen this? It’s kinda crazy…



  3. Dear Mr. Mallozi – did you go to a cooking school? I mean, where did you learn to make all of that? Some of it looked quite good! (The Sweet Potato Chipotle and the Fritatta especially :d)

    As for your door, you might think of asking your mechanically inclined friends (I’m sure you’ve got a couple) if they could help you out – either in person or just with a name. Plus, whatever they give you, it will probably be cheaper than replacing it!

    Have a great day!

  4. Wow, what a bummer about the garage door. I had a (presumably) similar issue where the gears inside the unit had worn out. Luckily I love to tinker so I took it apart, found a place that sold gears of the same size and replaced them for a few bucks 🙂 p.s. after this post I am now hungry. 🙂

  5. SGU mailbag:

    Hi Joe, I got this question on the SGUnite page, I was wondering if you could answer it.

    Viv asks “Question: did SyFy dump SGU and other high value products because of the NBC Comcast deal, did they not want to be bound by an expensive production contract in the new NBC/Comcast company, was it a simple way to negotiate a better deal at a later date from a much stronger and larger company?”

    Thanks if you can 🙂

  6. Hmm… you live in a classy town like Vancouver, high-heels that can be worn in cold weather, even snow, yet aren’t as fussy as boots, studded with shinies. The only thing that’s crazy is that I haven’t seen shoes like that on your blog until now.

  7. Foot fetish…check.

    (I’m keepin’ track, Joey…ya know, for the book I’m writing. 😉 )

    I also agree with Zenophite. Try releasing the lock and closing/opening the door manually. Sometimes the mechanism is just out of whack and needs to be reset. Either that, or you motor is shot. It really may be more cost effective to just replace the whole thing. You may be looking at a service call of – what? $90 bucks an hour? Then maybe you’ll need a motor? You could end up with a $500 repair bill v $250 replacement bill.

    Of course, you could google your door model, look for tech tips, and see if you can, perhaps, fix the thing yourself without losing any fingers (you cheap bastard! 😀 ).

    Food all looks good. Tell ya what, Joe…if you find yourself out of a job, you can move in with Mr. Das and me as our personal chef! (Please note, however, I can’t afford to pay you…but as I understand it, my presence is all you need! 😉 )

    Have a good evening, sir!


  8. On the garage-door opener, I second Maria…maybe one of the set-carpenters moonlights as a handyman?

    If that fails (and you`re feeling adventurous), you could post a video of what it’s doing for diagnosis by your loyal commentors. Of course if you want it fixed, this is probably not the best way! 😉

  9. As somewhat of a foodie myself I have to smile when you post those pics of exotic and rather tasty looking food on your webblog, and I have to ask you, have you had any interesting stories on bad self-replications of said meals? I’m halfway tempted to try some myself but I have to keep in mind how many times I’ve come away dissapointed with my own abominations.

    PS, A SGU related question, theoretically, do Milky Way/Pegasus Gates other than the SGC’s have “mac addresses/codes and if so could one theoretically dial that instead of the star-mapped address to get a lock in the event that the gate went missing?”

    The Reason I ask this is that Destiny had an address for “Earth” which caused me to ponder this and several sg1/atlantis episodes have focused on missing gates.

  10. The food pictures looked great as usual. I especially liked the beef and the smore. Is that a graham cracker on the bottom of the smore one?

    Have a good night!

  11. Joe, if you cannot repair your garage door opener yourself, you might consider just installing a new one. It’s not that difficult. I installed one by myself and I’m a, well, let’s just say, older-than-you female. I had no assistance and when I got to the part where you had to have someone hold the other end I rigged up a ladder with several bungee cords to do the job. Certainly you could install a replacement if I could do it.

    All of that food looks so delicious. Have you ever considered publishing a cookbook of all your recipes? I realize you prepare many dishes from others’s recipes, but surely many are of your own creations, right?

    How is Jelly?

  12. Great food pics Joe. Makes the kind of food I eat so bland and boring when comparing lol

  13. How many “please read my script” or “I’ve got this really great story idea” pitches do you get on a monthly basis?

    …Because I just happen to have the best idea for…nah just kidding.

  14. BMW have already beaten you to the auto door closer. It’s on the 7 series.
    Our garage door occasionally does the same thing. Do you have a red dongle dangling down anywhere? (IN HIS GARAGE DAS!) Pulling on that can reset the track. Or it may be the chain has slipped off the track.

  15. Sorry about your garage door opener Joe. Mine did that a long time ago. Can’t remember what was wrong with it but I did get a new one. Just go to Home Depot or Lowes (you got those?) and buy one installed. I would get a new one as fast as I could drive over there. You don’t think I’m going to pull up to my garage door, get out, using a key unlock the door, push it up, get back in the car, drive in, get out, pull the door back down and lock it, every, single, time, in the rain, freezing cold, and wind. Your crazy! Some things are a necessity.

  16. One quick question, has it ever been planned to show the Furlings, either in SGU or in a SG-1 or SGA movie? I always wondered what they guys would be like since they are the only members of the Allaince of the Four Races that we have never seen. Thanks.


  17. Hey Joe,

    Not to make light of your garage door fail…but it really does suck that there are people out there that tinker and fix everything themselves. Did you try pulling the emergency release…turning it on…then letting it engage? Oh…so yours is newer than mine? You better get an assistant to help you with these details! What is Ashley doing anyways…give her a call.

    The pictures were GREAT as always! I am so hating that you have MADE me wander over to food shows. How do you not eat while watching these?

    Best to you Joe,
    Thank you for always thinking of us,
    Cheryl 🙂

    PANCAKES!!!! Adam is eating PANCAKES!!! When I gain 10 lbs…it will be YOUR fault! *giggles* No more Travel Channel for me…no…I’m turning to another station…yep…right now…ah crap

  18. What is it with people these days? Everyone wants you to replace stuff rather than repair it! I agree with Narelle, das and Zenophite: pull the red dongle then push the door all the way up by hand to get it to catch. Then try the opener again. If that technique fails, a reputable repair guy should be able to tell you whether it can be fixed or needs to be replaced.

    Fair’s fair Joe: we shared our recipes and you should share yours. I’d love the recipe for the Chipotle Sweet Potatoes!

    On The Iron Hunt: I partly buy the “opposites attract” theory, Joe, but for me it doesn’t work as the explanation for the relationship they have – I’m kind of a tough sell as far as romances go. I need a little more to go on. I think I’ll look for that prequel story you mentioned. And I’ve gotta say that keeping demons and zombies around is probably less offensive in the long run than inflicting Grey’s Anatomy on your significant other.

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on the book. I, too, wonder about the inspiration for the demon armor-defender tatoos.

  19. Garage doors, eek… Everybody’s suggestions sound good.

    The only thing I could add is a recommendation for a very useful web site, — it has solutions to nearly every gadget problem out there. There were several listings for LiftMaster, so you could find yours I bet. Links to already solved dilemmas are near the bottom of the search results page.

    Even your food blogs make me laugh. How do you do that? 😀 Mention wine-fed beef and immediately a picture of tipsy steers staggering around in a meadow comes to mind. That’s where your extra bottles of ice wine might come in handy.

    Saw this a minute ago…

    P.S. Please, please, can we have the recipe for the chipotle sweet potato?

    P.S.S. Thanks for giving us great television to watch, books to read, food to eat, and the daily blog. We might never leave. Good thing we’re portable. You can take us with you wherever you go. 😀

  20. Does it irritate you that “Being Human” has received so much advertising? I heard about it on TV, on several stations, several radio stations, on youtube and other sites, and read about it in magazines. Seriously, they hit ever media. And, while I didn’t watch the show it had 3.8million viewers on its premiere. In my opinion, if SGU had received that much attention, which it should have. It would have had at least one million more viewers.

    So my question is basically asking your opinion on whether or not:

    1) it irritates you that your show was not given the same attention?


    2) Do you think more attention would have improved the shows success?

  21. Some yummy looking dishes there. Are you shooting for a spot as a contestant on some cooking show now, maybe Hell’s Kitchen(oh gods, what I’d pay to see THAT), or are you still holding out for a guest judge shot on Iron Chef America? Certainly your dishes look worthy of being presented to top judges. As for the garage door thing, given cost of labor, it probably IS cheaper to just pay the 250. By the time you try to do it yourself, you’d probably end up putting in 10 or 20 hours of labor, as well as the cost of parts, and the hassle of going back and forth as you realize that the gidjit should have been a widgit and the dagnit you picked up the first time is not metric, and is thus 1/100 of an inch too small…hey, just trying to do my thing to boost the Canadian economy, honest, I am not getting a kickback from the guy…thanks for the post and the pics.

  22. Mine’s mechanical. Which means I have to raise and lower it myself. It sometimes will close on you, with you in the garage. Luckily it closes very slowly so you can catch it. My garage is a dump. The rest of my house is great.

    I wish I was a foodie. I just can’t put enough energy into it.

    My daughter is always saying “and your time starts now”. She’s five. I think she’s addicted to Food Challenge.

  23. Our garage door opener has been broken for a month now. We are thinking repair versus new one cost. This would be the second time we’ve repaired it, but it is 18 years old. We’ve been parking our cars outside. However, there is a large gap at the bottom because it is off track and when it went down to 22, there was a wicked draft in the house.

    Where’s Akemi? You haven’t talked much about her since Christmas.

    I’m sure you heard Sanctuary got a 4th season. I’m very happy about this and for all who are working on the series. Praying for good news about SGU.

  24. @ Narelle – I am SHOCKED! 😯 Shocked, I say…that you would even think my mind was as dirty as… *looks around*… Deni’s. 😈

    *whistles innocently*

    @ Sparrowhawk – The problem with Joe, though, is that he’s not mechanically inclined. In fact, I think he might be prone to breaking things. Who knows, if he pulls on his red dongle, it just might fall off, and then he’ll never be able to get it up ever again!



  25. Thank you for the pics of the food at Oru – has made my choice of booking up our annual April vacay hotel easy..I’m pretty sure we’ll be returning to the Pacific Rim and I look forward to another great meal in that fine restaurant…last year I had a balti curry to simply die for….wonderful hotel, fabulous service and great rooms and view as well as an excellent and (for a Downtown Vancouver hotel) reasonably priced restaurant…hard to find these days imho…

    One day I’ll get round to trying out Refuel and Market at the Shangri La – maybe this year will be that year..


  26. OK. Your blog makes me hungry. That wine fed beef looks delicious. Everything looks delicious but especially that. Is the meat marinated in red wine or will I have to go to a slaughterhouse with a crate of Bordeaux?

    This new ‘don’t fix it, replace it’ world is kinda annoying. In one of Asimov’s books (or several of them) there is a whole civilization that worships at the altar of technology and treats engineers as priests and prophets, because the society has completely forgotten about how things work and how to fix things. When you talk to people who use apples and such other closed box tech they’ll say ‘I don’t care how it works, I just know it does’. How can you not care how it works!?

  27. @for the love of Beckett: “Thanks for giving us great television to watch, books to read, food to eat, and the daily blog.”

    Sounds a bit Ori-ish to me…or, Joe, the Food God? 🙂

  28. Coucou 🙂 comment ça va?

    Moi très bien 🙂

    Ohhh ne me montrez pas tout ça, j’ai arrêtée de manger ce genre de chose, j’ai 5 kilos à perdre! Je dois retrouver un Indice de Masse Corporel de 19..même si c’est peu, l’ennui c’est que quand je grossie je prend tout sur les cuisses et c’est moche =S

    ….vive les salades lol!

    J’ai jamais eu de porte de garage qui souvrait avec une télécomande et ça ne m’a pas manquée lol!

    Merci pour toute ces photos,
    Gros bisou =)

  29. Perhaps that replacement guy thought you were some rich TV dude 😉


    Foot fetish? Surely thou kiddesth? When has he ever posted pictures of feet or shoes – 95% of the pictures are of FOOD.

    And those shoes do look odd … like they have little stargates on them. *g*

  30. You said “if all DOES go well, I can assure you that it’ll be very, VERY exciting for all” a few days ago. I understand that you are probably subject to an NDA, but is there any more you can expand upon with this at all? Perhaps you can you give us a general direction as to where things MIGHT lead with SGU since you said a 3rd season is improbable? (miniseries, movie, etc?)

  31. @Ian Z, Being Human did not get 3.8 million viewers for the 9pm initial airing. It got something around 1.9. The 3.8 was the combined total of all three hours. (per Craig Engler @Syfy, they were uniques). Quite good but nowhere near what the initial reading of the headline implies. We will have to see how it does in coming weeks, premiers usually get high ratings. BTW, I liked it, the werewolf guy was good.

  32. I don’t know about garage door openers for the front-door, but I do like the convenience of keyless entry in mine.

    No more trying to pull out the right key when your hands are full of groceries. 🙂

  33. Hi Joe

    Sorry I’ve not stopped by for a time, but I do like your writing and not juts SGU so am always drawn back (also, I’ve recovered from what proved to be much more than a suspect case of man-flu).

    I’m really looking forward to learning more about the projects you have underway – comic book, absolutely, but the others too that I’m afraid I missed; must have been skipping school those days. Tell me more. How did they all shake down in your imagination into different fictional pots? What do you start with first? Do you come up with scenes, sometimes, and then work to see in which series they’d best fit? Do you have different writing voices for each genre, and if so does that come all too easily (great!) or need maintenance, slash, burn and pruning (fun!)? How do you keep these incarnations distinct and apart in your head, and output? All interesting, and would be great to hear.

    Also, how’s Paul, your writing partner? How’s he on the SGU limbo/interruption/hoped-for-future, but more importantly, and as for you, the key question: as a writer, what’s he working on?

    And, so, you happen to be out of Vancouver on a trip (not Japan) and the proverbial 1 minute pitch-in-a-lift gift comes to give it big gab: of your projects, which do you tell? The second?

    I do, very much, like your writing – not only the script, plotting, etc, but longform, proper stuff. Even when brief. Thought to say..

    best, PJR

  34. You could always get a second opinion but you will probably end up replacing the motor. Look at it this way, it’s cheaper than some of your meals in Japan.

    I love Frittatas! Alton Brown taught me how to make them. I’ve always sprinkled the cheddar on after it was cooked (let it melt). I’ll try your way next time. It looked good!

    Bad weather is coming our way. I’m glad because I was “volunteered” to do a karate demo. It must be because I’m small and it looks good for them if a small girl is tossing a big guy around? There are certainly more competent people in class! Performing in front of crowds is not my thing…. Now it’s cancelled! Yay!!!!

    Das: I love reading your posts! You always make me smile. 😀

    Here was what I made this week:

  35. That smore was off-putting. Best smores are made in the microwave; one layer of graham, mint Hershey and the marshmallows on top; nuke (I think it’s 15 seconds?) until the marshmallow puffs, but not so much that you melt the heck out of the chocolate. Top with another graham cracker, smush and eat.

    I chipped two teeth biting into one, and that pretty much broke my microwave smores addiction.

    That frittata looked tasty, the wine beef did too; maybe it needs to marinate more.

  36. Joe have you ever thought of collaborating on a cookbook with momma M? Something to think about. I know you both have tons of recipes for delicious food. another career option. thanks for the lovely pictures. Hi Akemi!
    Garage door, sometimes they have a reset button on the unit itself, yeah the one probably above the car, thats stuck in the garage since you can’t get the door open… thats all I got.
    —-red dongle.. 😉 **snicker,^^>hah,giggle,,,thanks das.

  37. *lumbers in from the South*

    After 2.5 days of Disney World, the three adults in our group are bone-tired. My knee held out until this AM; good thing we’re staying in.

    Following photo is from hotel spa ad: Teryl Rothery look-alike, if not The Turtle herself.

    I think that’s @TerylR on the left.
    Twitpic • 1/18/11 4:42 PM

  38. Oh and about the not included dessert, that’s not too surprising. I’m sure Mark Dacascos can tell you that sometimes on Iron Chef, they don’t do dessert on some ingredients. For example, if it was something like filet mignon, I would be surprised to see a dessert…

    However, there is the six course instead of five thing, so what do I know?

  39. Joe,

    1. Please check your email for a somewhat spoilery question.

    2. Was Scalzi’s AGENT TO THE STARS ever a BOTM pick?

    3. Did you ever find a copy of ATTS? On 3/26/07, you posted that you were looking for a copy. Mass-market edition premiered in Dec.; I picked it up at an airport bookstore this week. Will email photos of cover and copyright page.

    BTW, enjoyed Disney World TOO much for 3 days. Now laid up with muscle fatigue around the rehabbed knee, so I’m zipping through ATTS while keeping an eye on my nephew at the resort. Brought my cane, looks like it will get some use.

    Funny noises from Nephew’s room. Later!

  40. Looks like your GDO broke, you will need a new IDC code to get into your garage :). I’m wondering, have you ever seen the show “Merlin”? Everytime I hear them say “Merlin” or “Morgana”, I think of Stargate.

  41. Joe did you try to fix your garage door opener by yourself today? Are you home from the Emergency Room yet?

  42. Nutty Broken Pasta (Vegetarian Dish) Wifes a vegetarian and she bugs me to make this one all the time.

    1/2 cup white wine
    1/2 cup crushed walnets
    cremini mushrooms
    olive oil
    spaghetti (i use whole wheat)
    1 cup gorgonzola cheese (I use feta)
    chicken broth
    1 small Onion diced
    3 cloves garlic diced

    1. Heat up tblspoon butter & 2 tbl spoons olive oil

    2. Add onions, cook 5 min, add garlic and mushrooms stir

    3. Add white wine, and some chicken broth with spaghetti that you break into small pieces keep stirring so the pasta absorbs it all

    4. In the meantime cook the crushed walnuts, add chicken broth while adding broken spaghetti as req’d to absorb.

    5. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese gorgonzola… I prefer feta. Add some sage and let it cook a lil bit.

    6. Add another tbspoon butter, then add cooked walnuts.

    When done plate with some cheese and sage on top.

  43. @Gilder

    Hope you feel better soon.

    @My thoughts in general.

    Noticed an Eureka exec prod made a random comment about Season 5. Gave no info but there’s no justice in the world D:, if there was, Stargate staff/cast would be in a position to tease about Season 3. ):
    (If it existed)

  44. G’day Joe

    I have but one request – if you do try to fix the garage door youself – PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE video and post it here. I could do with a good laugh. Very stressfull at home the mo.


  45. @Narelle: Whaaaat? That Das, always with her mind in the gutter and looking for a scapegoat. Dirty mind? Moi? I’m TOO OLD, girls.

  46. That article really helps put things into perspective. Especially for Atlantis. Remember how I said “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” and you came back with the ratings argument, saying that Atlantis was “broken?”

    Well it’s not Atlantis that was broken, but rather the way we fans went about watching it.

    SGU was an attempt to fix the symptom, not the disease, and that’s why it failed.

    Stargate didn’t need a “new direction.” What really needed that new direction more than anything was the advertisers that put commercials in its breaks. They needed to find a way to put the ads in without annoying, the DVR/internet watching community.

    You guys did the best you could with the info you had, but in the end, the advertising industry really dropped the ball on Stargate, and now you have to contend with rabid Atlantis fans and pissed off Universe lovers, all because the advertisement market just can’t seem to change with the times.

  47. @Das: “Runs in and smooches Deni on the head…” How Godfathery of you 😉 I knew it.

  48. Joe, I was half watching a show about the Secret Service the other day while working on the computer and they started talking about something that caught my attention. They have P90 machine guns! I was totally blown away, I didn’t even know that was a real gun. And then I started thinking what else is real on Stargate and then it hit me. It’s all real, I mean come on, fess up, you didn’t vacation in Tokyo….. you were off world! I mean really how could all of those photos be from Earth?

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