Today, we went out for little test drive.  Wow!  What a sweet ride!  Beside handling like a dream, this little baby was outfitted with so many bells and whistles you would think it was on loan from M’s private reserve: front, rear and side sensors, keyless entry, night vision, and what appeared to be a pedestrian targeting system. I want one!

For lunch today, the room was torn between wings and Vietnamese. And so, we decided to split up, take out, and reconvene back in the conference room.  Paul, Alex, and I headed over to Wild Wings (?) two blocks down from the hotel.  The place was packed!  I informed the manager that we wanted to take out.  Well, no sooner had we started perusing the menu than a woman marched up to the guy and let him have it: “I realize we’re a big group, but we’ve been waiting an hour for our food!”.  As the manager scurried back to the kitchen to find out what was up, we decided that an hour was fifty-five minutes longer than we were willing to wait for wings, so we left, opting for Vietnamese instead.

Well, Vietnamese.  And Chinese.  And Japanese.  And Thai.  The place, Spring Rolls, is one of those Pan-Asian restaurants that do a lot of everything.  Except, evidently, Korean.  We caught up with Rob and Mathias, added our order to the take-out list, then returned to the conference room where we settled down to the worst Asian food I’ve ever eaten in my life.  And – trust me – I’ve eaten a lot.  The chicken was doughy and devoid of flavor; the broccoli a taste-trifecta of sweet, sour, and corrosive.  If pressed to guess the main seasoning for the pad thai, I’d go with laundry detergent.  Had the chef suddenly strolled in at some point and kicked me in the groin, I would have accepted it as a distressing yet thematically consistent component to the Spring Rolls dining experience.

There were plenty of leftovers.


Mathias looks forward to lunch. In retrospect, we would have been better off eating that plant.

We spent the afternoon talking writers, directors, stunts, visual effects, and tight TIGHT TIGHT schedules.  Then, it was time for Klaus to bid us all a fond farewell.  But not before presenting us with a gift –

A mainstay of most writers’ room, the “logic grenade” will get tossed in to a spin session with horrific consequences: shattered acts, severed arcs, fractured character motivations. This will, of course, require emergency measures like narrative bypasses and idea transplants.  In extreme cases, the amputation of entire scenes may be necessary.


All systems go for Klaus.

Since we’re flying out tomorrow, we said most of our goodbyes today.  Klaus headed off to catch his flight, Sue and Fred left to tend to other production matters, and Rob elected to spend some quality time with his family, leaving Paul, Alex, Mattias, and me to fend for ourselves.

Fortunately, there were still a couple of restaurants on my Toronto Top 10 list I hadn’t gotten around to visiting.  And so, for dinner tonight, we went to Splendido Restaurant. Highlights included:


Gnocchi with Parmigiano Reggiano and Molise Black Truffle. Sublime. One of the most paradoxically intense yet refined truffle dishes I’ve ever enjoyed – earthy, aromatic, buttery delicious.
Suckling pig with boudin noir, sweet potato puree and roasted shallot. Another perfect dish.
Both Alex and Mathias had the elk striploin with boudin noir, Niagara cherries, parsnip and chocolate. And they were very happy with their choice.

Paul and I split two desserts: the salted caramel and chocolate tart with dark chocolate gelato and peanuts (good but I found the chewy caramel a little difficult to negotiate) and an ice cream sandwich made up of broiche ice cream and Lindt chocolate biscuit (also good).

Service was good though a little disinterested.  Still, it was the best meal I’ve had in Toronto.

So, for those keeping count, of the top tier restaurants I visited on this trip, they would rank: #1: Splendido, #2: George, #3: Nota Bene, #4: Colborne Lane.

I was going to call that gnocchi dish the highlight of the night – until Mathias, at the wheel of the dream car, stalled it out halfway through the execution of a bold mid-street u-turn, blocking traffic in both lanes.  In the back seat, a mortified Alex launched into a rambling, extended apology that continued for as long as it took Mathias to finally regain control of the situation.  THAT was the highlight of the night!

Sigh.  Alas, just before dinner I received word that we weren’t able to reach a deal on this show.   It’s too bad because I had a great time this week in the room breaking stories.  In fact, I had a MUCH better time than I expected I would.  Oh well.  L.A., here we come!

Finally, an extra special thanks to Robert Cooper and Alex M. Rumelin, two very talented guys, whose involvement will ensure this series will kick ass regardless.

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to 2cats, because it’s her birthday, and das, just because.

42 thoughts on “February 4, 2011: Toronto Day #4!

  1. I’ve always liked all the cars from the Bond movies and thought it would be great just to get a chance to ride in one so good for you. So, you were one for two today on the food. Pretty good, but I know you would have liked lunch to be better. I’ve had Asian food that tasted like that before. Not fun at all.

    Sorry that the deal didn’t work out, but I know you will find something that you’ll enjoy doing. Can’t wait to hear whatever that might be.

    Have a good flight back tomorrow, and have a good night.

  2. So Robert is involved for sure, and you all not. 🙁 I am sorry. It really sounded like a spectacularly good working relationship this week. Dang.
    Okay, LA? What’s in LA?

  3. will you spill on which show it is when it comes out?
    P.S. Do you have any LA restaurant recommendations?

  4. Oh dear, Spring Rolls. Too bad you’re not here a week later; Salad King (Thai) is finally reopening after their old building caught fire, and they’re a much better lunch choice…

  5. Sorry it didn’t work out, but then again, you weren’t especially enamored with Toronto, so maybe it’s for the best. Would have loved to see you and Rob work together again, though! Wait a sec, did I misunderstand or is he on board for this secret show?

    @2cats: Have a wonderful birthday!

    @Das: I’m dedicating my cuppa tea to you, as well. 🙂

  6. Sorry things didn’t work out, but of course your way is now clear for something even bigger and better!

    (It was Transporters, wasn’t it?)

  7. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out Joe, glad you somewhat enjoyed your trip.

    Wild Wing has some great wings, make sure to hit them up next time you’re on the east coast.

    Looking forward to your exploits in LA =D (Bring some flocking with you to remind you of home)

  8. I love you, Joe.

    Because I do, I won’t go into why I might be back in the hospital with tummy troubles again. 🙄 (FtLoB – remember that little pain on my left side I was complaining about tonight… grrrrr.) I swear, I’m ready for the trash heap. 😛

    Also, Joe, very sad to hear things didn’t work out for you with this show. You were having such great fun! Tell you what…those guys who write the Pendergast series? Why don’t you hook up with them and bring their character to the small screen? The guy’s right up your alley – fine clothes, fine food, fine cars. You would be writing about your life – only in a much paler – and more adventuresome – package. 😉

    Thanks again, sir.


  9. @ Deni – Thanks!!

    @ Joe – Forgot to tell ya – Ghosts of Manhattan arrived the other day, will be starting it this weekend! Can’t wait!

    Also – Uncanny X-Force is EXCELLENT! Issues #1-4 are out, and it’s probably my favorite team book outside of Secret Six that’s come around in a long time. I am LOVING Fantomex – and the snarky interaction between teammates, as well as some surprising moments (the team: Wolverine, Deadpool, Fantomex, Angel/Archangel, and Psylocke). Good character interaction and development so far, and issue #4 just knocked it out of the park for me. Keep an eye out for the first trade when it’s released.


  10. Not sure at all how these deals are made, but it does make me sad that you and Paul didn’t get the job.

    Come to LA. Get warm. Don’t bring the cold with you, OK?

  11. Hi joe:
    This week I have trying to find really good Sci-fi shows both big screen and t.v.
    I found a list that a writer came up with and listed his top 20.
    So I decided to watch everything on that list that I have not seen yet.
    So far I have watched Dead Planet wih Vin Diesel. I had no idea there was a movie proceeding chronicles of Riddick!
    Now that movie that Iu had loved makes even more sense.
    I really like seeing Claudia Black in that movie as well.
    have you seen it yet ? I would definatly reccomend it.
    today I watch Sunshine. that movie was excellent !
    I have also been watching some older sci-fi shows.
    just last night I watched the first 4 episodes of a show called ” Surface ” I really liked that one too.
    I was all night watching it since I could not wait to se what happened in the next episode.
    Tonight I plan on watching more.
    If I find that list again I willl put it up in the comments and see what you think of the shows.

    So as far as the new job offer not working out.. That kind of stinks.. But on the bright side, now all of your effort can go back , at least for now, on getting stargate going again!
    You know I noticed that SYFY used to have on their website that SGU season 2.5 returns in April.. now it does not say anything at all.

    I really hope they still play the episodes in a weekly fashion and not do a burnout run all in 1 day like they did with Caprica. I dont think it will look to good on the ratings numbers if they that since alot of poeple are at work during the day . I bet that Space in Canada already has a date set for the return of the show.
    I really wish that SYFY had the same attitude with the show as Space does. It almost seems as if they are trying to spite people that are involved with the show and those that are watching it.
    I just don’t seem to get it. It does not make any sense to me since Stargate is the show that has been a staple for that network since it began !
    Wel now that you are getting back to Vancuver , maybe we get some more good news about stargate next week.
    I sure wish that you could let us know part of what the plan is that you and rob are trying to get done.
    Well good luck with things, and have a nice trip back!

  12. Echoeing everyone else here, sorry to hear it didn’t work out Joe. That being said there’s a near endless amount of shows being made every year. Some that work out, some that don’t. I’m sure you and Paul will find one best suited to what you want to do.

    Also happy birthday 2cats. Hope it’s a good one.

  13. Joe I’m sorry to hear that a deal couldn’t be made.

    I was actually looking forward to seeing if you guys could make something show wise to replace the emptiness that SGU’s cancellation left with me (and quite a few other people).

    So whats in LA????

  14. Hmm the only way to get a decent looking avatar is changing my name from scott_land to scottland7 with this Gravatar sign up(no special characters it was yelling at me).

    So anyways Joe- bummer a real bummer that no deal was made.

  15. Speaking of the transporter tv series, sure sounds risky. With a budget reported to be 4 million an episode over 12 episodes that’s one show that if it fails likely won’t be coming back anytime soon.

    By the way, reports are saying that they’re scouting from Toronto and LA, as well as London. Is this the reason you’re going to LA Joe?

  16. Opps I guess that LA part was a bit stupid of me to ask if you didn’t reach a deal with them. Sorry..

  17. G’day Joe

    Well it has been three whole days since the cyclone Yasi blew us around and we still have no electricity. It is a pain in the mikta. I managed to pinch the in-law’s generator. No cold food, what was in the fridge and freezer has gone off and NO air cond in this 32C heat. Oh well at least our house is still in one piece.

    Good to see you had a good time in Toronto. Now that I have caught up on the last three days.


  18. Look at it as spending quality writing time with co-worker and quality eating time…although, I know that some of it was not quite as enjoyable as it could have been, but there lies the adventure… Something new around the corner, or, maybe, something old bouncing back, hopefully.

  19. Sorry things didn’t work out for you…not meant to be I suppose.

    But I’ll bet there will be something better around the corner – there usually is, and sometimes where we least expect it.

    I know you would never relocate permanently to the UK Joe, as that would mean leaving the dogs, but there is such a lot of great original drama here where your talents could be well used…and we have a lot of great restaurants too!

  20. So sorry for the bad dining experience. The décor looked so elegant. I suppose you can never tell.

    2cats: Happy Birthday!

    Das: sending good health vibes! Maybe you could sue BoA for stress issues 😉 . Seriously, I hope you get better soon. You’re not ready for the trash heap yet!

    Did you hear about the “spit wad” kid?
    This describes most of the boys in my high school class! We need more common sense in our schools. Spit wads are a rite of passage.

  21. You know, I’d probably comment more often if I didn’t have to log in to wordpress EVERY SINGLE TIME. Then again, that’s probably not a bad thing. It keeps me from making random pointless comments, much like my sister-in-law on Facebook.

    I LOVE the Logic Grenade! I want one to put next to my Easy Button! When a “crime victim” (not to be confused with an actual crime victim) indignantly tells me their sad story of victimness, I could throw that grenade in there. “Wait, you’re saying what? ::grenade:: “Try that again, and this time, make sense.”

    (understand, I would never ever make fun of people who are really victims, only the ones who want me to think they’re a victim, when actually they have caused 50% or more of the problem)

  22. That gnocchi looks terrific. The gnocchi I made for dinner got burnt while I was distracted by Hulu. I’ll go for a simpler olive oil and parsley gnocchi next time instead of full blown pasta sauce.

    I’m enjoying Spartacus Gods of the Arena way more than I thought I would; I’m loving Crixus’ origin story.

  23. @Joe, blog owner extraordinaire Thanks for the blog dedication! I’m so honored, truly. 😀
    Sorry that the Toronto opportunity fell through. So you were not paid for all the effort of this week? I hope your hosts covered travel & hotel at least?
    @Deni Thanks for the birthday wishes my dear!
    @das It may be balmy in your part of NJ, but here in the middle, I am cold. Or, maybe it’s poor circulation. Or older age. 😉
    Try to calm yourself and de-stress das. Do something physically fun! I leave exactly “what” to you! Stress can wreak havoc in your body and may be the cause of your tummy issues. I hope you will feel better soon.

    Much success and best wishes to Rob and Alex for their new show. It would have been wonderful to have Joe & Paul join in, but, I can still be gracious and hope you gentlemen do well.

    Maintaining positive, hopeful vibes for SGU, and the much talented and inspiring Joe & Paul, as always.

    From soggy, drizzly and not so cold NJ by the shore,

  24. Hi Joe

    Sorry that no agreement was reached.. ah well on to the next.
    Just curious, as a script writer, how do you fell about working on existing shows, the BBC,s Being Human is now being produced for the American/Canada market. As a writeris it difficult to adapt other peoples work.

    PS love the American/Canadian version of Being Human

    Go Steelers ….

  25. Joe!

    About to air, and might be of passing interest – an eight-part BBC sci-fi drama by an ex Spooks writer and with an ex-Spooks actress (actor?), called Outcasts, where a band of survivors from a destroyed (?!) Earth make it to another planet where the pioneer struggle & opportunities of survival abound…

    With Toronto off the radar – [and, out of curiosity, what’s done with the story breaking you did/helped] – I’m recalling some questions I had about your own book & TV potential projects. Tell us more!

    And…couldn’t have been Kiss Ass – the series? No….

    best, PJR

  26. @Das You sound like me. I have 10 specialists holding me together with duct tape. Now have pyelonephritis — again. On pretty strong antibioics. Now you, young lady, need to take care of you. Keep us updated. I hope this does involve another hospitalization. Will keep you in my thoughts.

    @2cats Happy Birthday!

    @Joe: What? No pictures of the sweet ride? I would have enjoyed that. The trip sounded so promising. Sorry it didn’t work out. But you know what they say, sometimes one door closes so another more awesome door opens. Keep those spirits up. At least you won’t have to charter a plane to take all the dogs to Toronto. Always a bright side.

  27. If Rob and Alex are still onboard, the project is still a go. “The deal” that didn’t happen is the personal deal for you and Paul?

    Aw, man…

    This sounds like a “blind date” before an arranged marriage, only the lawyers/agents couldn’t agree on a pre-nup or “dowry” that was agreeable to both parties.

    So you went on this “blind date” and loved it. The date loved you, too. It was a match made in almost heaven. But your “fathers” wouldn’t see eye-to-eye? And you’re willing to walk away? You’re grown-ups. Negotiate your own concessions. Elope!

    If your gut tells you the opportunity is fantastic, fight for it. Otherwise it will haunt you.

    My two cents. Probably worth what you paid for it. 🙂

  28. Joe sorry it didn’t work out in Toronto, but hey you got to see Brie and Stewie and wow they have sure grown up so cute, and don’t forget about the eating, so no total loss. The adventure continues, back to Vancouver to wash your socks and pack again. Hope your trip home was uneventful. L.A. is closer to have to travel with the pups…
    @das sorry to hear about the stuff, sending some hugs and positive thoughts your direction!

    Joe,,Why didn’t they let you behind the wheel???

  29. Joe,

    This is my first comment after reading your blog for some time so being a huge fan of sci-fi, food, and dogs, I will get out a few things all at once.

    First, to say that I was extremely saddened to hear of the lack of ‘pick up’ for SGU would be an understatement. I really hope to see more of your work soon.

    Second, if you are a fan of chocolate you MUST visit or make an order from a place in Calgary called ‘Choklat’ ( In addition to being one of a handful of places in Canada who makes their own chocolate from beans on premisis, they also make (in my opinion) the finest chocolate available. I cannot emphasize enough: MUST.

    Third, I have read the progress of your older pups. I’ve been dealing with two aging dogs for some time now and definately takes some resolve, but as you know its more than worth it.

  30. Dear Mr. Mallozzi,

    So both Robert and Alex are going to be working in Toronto, and you aren’t? That must stink. Losing friends isn’t fun.
    If Mr. Cooper is going to work in Toronto, does that mean that he won’t be working on Stargate anymore? Also, where does this situation leave you, possibly working more on Stargate, going job hunting, or just being around the house?

    Thank you for your time!


  31. Thats one big plant!!
    And I’m wondering, how does it feel to eat art? The food looks like modern art paintings lol

  32. Joe, Don’t panic, but there’s a grenade in the writer’s room.

    When I worked in the aviation industry, we have great conversation-stimulating props in meeting rooms.

    One was a copper-beryllium pitot tube. People instinctively picked it up when they saw it. You could tell when someone knew chemistry well because they’d put it down quickly on the word “beryllium”. Then, the look of rage when my boss would say, “they want us to sinter it.” (Meaning they’d just touched a green powder compact of beryllium – you had to be there. No, come to think of it, I didn’t think it was funny when it was my turn. More rage and wondering what learning disabilities my future children would have.)

  33. @PJR

    Alex M. Rumelin was named Showrunner of The Transporter which kinda gave away that Joe and Paul were going to work on the show.

    Honestly the shows concept sounds amazing. I for one shall be taking a look when it comes out.

  34. Boo Joe. Sorry the opportunity to work with Robert Cooper again can’t be worked out. Shows how hard it is to get a job right now. Pursue every offer.

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