Screw it! I’m going to Vegas!
If things go the way I think they will, then next month is going to be crazy between planning for the Toronto move and the move itself. And it aint gonna get any easier once I get there. We’re going to be starting up a new series and that will require the assembly of qualified personnel, the establishment of a sound production structure covering everything from scheduling to sign-offs, the coordination of the various entities involved, the spinning, writing, and rewriting of scripts, general pre-production, general production, general post-production, early morning, late nights, and – of course – the odd disagreement over everything from second unit shoots to lunch orders. Alex, Paul and I will have our work cut out for us. So before I launch headlong into the abyss, I’ve elected to launch headlong into a culinary extravaganza.
Back in SG-1’s final seasons, we would hit Vegas on a semi-regular basis, celebrating our birthdays in spectacular fashion at places like (then) Aqua, (the dearly departed) Alex, and Aureole (home of the wine angels). It’s been a while, but with the impending move to the other side of North America, I figured now would be the time to go back for one final delicious blow-out. To hell with Texas Hold ‘Em and Cirque de Soleil, I want my Chef’s Table d’Hote! I touched base with my former culinary wingman and Sin City expert, Martin Gero, who threw some suggestions my way – Joel Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Bouchon – and offered to drive down for a night and meet me for dinner. Just like old times! And, if Paul and I do end up in T.O., it truly will be like old times as Marty G. will be in town show running his own series as well (Epitome Pictures Releases Info For New Show “HIGHLAND GARDENS …). Hey! We’re getting the band back together!
On the flipside of the culinary coin was today’s lunch at Trattoria Restaurant on 4th. It’s owned by The Glowbal Group who have seemingly made a habit of following the same predictable pattern: opening strong with middling to above-average food, then coasting and eventually dropping precipitously in quality. So it was with Glowbal Grill & Satay Bar where, on our last visit, Fondy was served a chicken so suffuse with rosemary flavor as to render it inedible. So it was with Sanafir, a restaurant I thought highly enough to bring an out-of-town foodie to – with disastrously disappointing results. And so it was, today, at Trattoria. It wasn’t all bad. Akemi had a very good omelette. My meal, alas, wasn’t even close. I sat down and ordered a bottle of sparkling mineral water only to be informed the restaurant serves up its own distilled carbonated water at $3 a bottle. But, our waitress was quick to inform us, we could have as many glasses as we liked. Bottomless tap water! What a steal! My experience with distilled water served at restaurants hasn’t been great. The flavor is far from crisp or neutral; at best slightly chlorine in taste, at worst fishy. I ordered a smoothie instead: the Strawberry-Basil. Okay, okay. I’m sure you’re thinking “Strawberry-basil?! What do you expect?!”. Well, in truth, the basil wasn’t the problem. It actually worked. It was the strawberries that were the culprit – sour and wholly unpleasant. I hate to bring this up again, but no one puts up with this crap in Japan. When you buy a fruit at the local supermarket, its ripe and incredibly sweet. Here in North America, you take your chances. Why? Well, pick up Jeffrey Steingarten’s The Man Who Ate Everything and check out the chapter titled “Ripeness Is All” in which he details American agriculture’s push to harvest earlier fruit and greener produce. All this to say: didn’t love the smoothie. And REALLY didn’t love the Spicy Italian Pizza with house made sausage, caramelized leeks, fingerling potatoes, and burricotta. I remember visiting this place when they first opened and ordering (AND ENJOYING) a similar pizza: crisp and flavorful, the potatoes thinly sliced and heavenly. Fast-forward to today’s lunch and the pizza is soggy in parts, weighed down by flavorless potato chunks, a starchy mess.
For the life of me, I can’t figure these guys out. First Glowbal Grill, then Sanafir, and now Trattoria. What gives? Do they have an A-Team that opens their latest restaurant and then moves on to other projects? Are they easily bored? Or is it more a case that, once their clientele is secured, they simply stop caring. Not sure, but its a clear pattern that will have me steering well clear of Coast or Society, their latest additions to Vancouver’s increasingly mediocre restaurant scene.
In preparation for a potentially permanent move, I’ve decided to start clearing out my crawlspace. I spent an hour today going through just a few of the hundred or so boxes full of toys, scripts, contracts, receipts, and general crap I’ve accumulated over the years (and have been sitting, unopened, since my last move five years ago). I’ve decided I’d like to get through five boxes a day from now until mid-March and whittle down my holdings. Among the treasures discovered today: the complete run of Star Trek: Voyager on video (tossed), my old animation contracts (tossed), hard copies of some of my old animation scripts (kept – they’re my only copies), a pile of 11+ year old receipts (tossed), spiral notebooks full of football stats from my old wagering days (tossed), a bunch of floppy disks (tossed), Hong Kong Penthouse magazine featuring Qi Shu (kept – for its collectible value).
Ryan writes: “E writes: “Once SGU’s fate is determined, will you share with us an AU season 3, like you did with SGA S6?” What did you do with s6? What did I miss?”
Lev writes: “Are there going to be any SGU fiction books and if so, how canon are books considered to be in Stargateland?”
Answer: Sorry, I have no idea. This is a question for MGM.
JYS writes: “i’m going to New York on Tuesday. Got reservations at Jean Georges, Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, WD-50….Per Se i’m going to walk in for the salon menu.”
Answer: Hope you plan on blogging about it. With pics!
Anna Cookie writes: “What about the MMO Game? Is the whole idea scrapped or just permantley on Hiatus?”
Answer: Unfortunately, I know even less about what’s going on with the game. Sorry.
Thornyrose writes: “So, are you flying out to Toronto again before the final move, to confirm your new digs, or are you relying on an agent or other proxy to provide you livable quarters?”
Answer: I’m only going to make one trip (if I can help it). I’ll trust Fondy, who is in Toronto, to scope out the place and sign off on my behalf.
Sam V writes: “Has there been any news on an MGM trailer for SGU 2.”
Answer: Nope, and I don’t think we’re going to see one.
Zach P. writes: “You “disagree” with your accountant? That’d be like if your accountant disagreed with some of your writing. I don’t understand why people go to professionals and then disregard some of their suggestions. Maybe you want to be like an American and live past your means.”
Answer: My accountant works for me, not the other way around. And his suggestion has nothing to do with living beyond my means.
Erin writes: “Ever try any Cajun/Louisiana cuisine? If so, what particular dish(es) did you enjoy?”
Answer: I’m a huge fan of Cajun cooking. Unfortunately, there are no good Cajun restaurants here in Vancouver. Many years ago, I went to New Orleans and enjoyed some terrific meals at Arnaud’s, Brennan’s, Antoine’s, The Court of Two Sisters, and Commander’s Palace.
squall78 writes: “I have someone on the Syfy.com forums, posting plot info from episode 211. They stated something about a flashback with the Asgard and them developing something and whatnot.”
Answer: Hey, squall. You could ban him for lying but not for giving away spoilers since his inside information is complete and utter bullshit.
DP writes: “My sister insisted I watch this show called Modern Family last night. I suddenly became very uncomfortable. “Who are they talking to?” I asked.
Did you notice what TV has slipped in on us? The characters occasionally sit in front of the camera and talk. To us. “Hey, look up from your iPhone a sec, here’s what we’re doing on this show you’re sorta’ watching.”
What am I measuredly ranting about? The characters on sitcoms talk to us now. Who let this happen?”
Answer: Years ago, there was a British show called The Office that used this technique. The conceit was the events depicted were being shot/covered by a documentary crew. When the American version of the show was produced, they kept the same technique/conceit. Don’t know why Modern Family does it.
Montrealer writes: “SPACE channel in Canada is getting a free ride from Skiffy (AKA SyFy) since they didn’t spend any money on producing SGU. IIRC the show was funded almost solely by Skiffy with financing in place for 2 seasons. Also SPACE only pays MGM not Skiffy for a licensing fee.”
Answer: Sorry to say you know a lot less about the situation than you see to think. Both SPACE and SyFy paid a licensing fee to MGM to broadcast the show. The amount they paid may have differed, but that’s because the broadcast markets differed. The show was most certainly not “funded almost solely by Skiffy”. And, for the record, SPACE did an incredible job promoting the show, from their terrific trailers to their fan-focused Innerspace features to the big pre-Gemini SGU special they aired spotlighting the cast and Creators/Exec. Producers Brad Wright and Robert Cooper.
dasNdanger writes: “Today I broke down and bought something I really shouldn’t have – really don’t have the money to waste these days – but I just couldn’t resist. It’s a picture taken in 1947 for Harper’s Bazaar. SO mesmerized by this picture – it’s so ethereal and serene – I could not take my eyes off of it. It now hangs in my reading corner:
Answer: Awesome. I probably would have splurged myself.
Miko writes: “Just wondering, if I just won the lottery for a 100 million €, could I make you guys produce like 10 more episodes for a season 3 SGU?”
Answer: Once you win, let’s talk.