With the UFC in town, last night was fight night.  But rather than join the tattoo an weird beard crowd at the Rogers Centre for the various beatdowns, I elected to spend the evening with the lovely Erika Kennair, SyFy Executive and former SGU point person.  Erika was as disappointed as any of us by the cancellation decision and it was nice to catch up with her, reminisce, and enjoy a fantastic meal at my favorite Italian restaurant in town: Scarpetta.  To be honest, I wasn’t blown away by my dinner at the Vegas location, but after watching an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate in which one guest (could have been Ted Allen) talked up the restaurant’s signature Spaghetti, I decided to check out Scarpetta’s Toronto location.  Ted was right.  The spaghetti is amazing (creamy tomato, burst of basil, and texturally toothsome delight).  And so are many of the pastas on the menu.

The night got off to a bad start however.  I figured Italian would be perfect because Erika is a vegetarian.  We placed our orders (multiple vegetarian dishes which we split, and an order of the tagliatelle with the guanciale on the side) and, while waiting, were served the bread basket.  “Try that bread,”I advised pointing out one particularly memorable slice.  “It’s amazing.”  She popped it into her mouth, took a couple of chews, then stopped and a perplexed look played over her face.

“What is that?”she asked, eyeing the bread stuffed bread on her plate suspiciously.

“Uh, fig jam?”I offered, hoping against hope.

“That’s meat,”our waiter informed us.


Come on! Who doesn't like meat bread?!

We started with two sides, both excellent: roasted carrots with lentils, and sweet roasted onions with raisins and goat cheese.

The house special Spaghetti with tomato and basil. Magnificent.
Tagliatelle with roasted vegetables, guanciale, and truffle foam. Very good but they did a version with rabbit a few weeks ago that was spectacular.

And then it was time for dessert.  Or, should I say, dessertS.  I love a female dining companion who can keep up…

Amedei Chocolate Cake. Hard to beat if you're looking for a major chocolate hit. And happens to make use of one of my favorite chocolates.
Ricotta Cheesecake. Surprisingly light. And tasty.
Caramel Budino. Erika's favorite.

A great meal with great company.  And, after dinner, Erika dropped by to say hello to the dogs.  Not surprisingly, they really hit it off.  Jelly, Bubba, and Lulu spent the entire time vying for her affection.  Maximus, on the other hand, who always plays hard to get, sat in his bed and snoozed.

Anyway, it was great to catch up and reminisce over old times.

Speaking of old times, I believe the last time I stepped off Stargate memory lane, we had just wrapped up y first year on the show: SG-1’s fourth season.

Moving on to SG-1 season five…

So, right after wrapping SG-1’s fourth season, the writers’ got together (at that time, Brad, Rob, Paul, Peter, and myself) and started spinning ideas for what was intended to be the show’s fifth and final season.  We broke stories through November and then, with December almost upon us, all headed our separate ways to enjoy the holidays – well, as much as could be enjoyed given that we had scripts to write.  For my part, I headed back to Montreal where I celebrated Christmas with my family.  After years of doubt, my parents had finally come around to the fact that maybe I COULD support myself as a writer after all. Years back, when I’d first informed them that I was leaving my 9 to 5 position at Cinar for the uncharted waters of freelance work, they were horrified.  My mother couldn’t understand why anyone would leave the comfort and security of an office job for the uncertainty of freelancing.  When I explained that it would mean actually making more money (and spending less time on the clock), my father was dubious.  Especially after hearing what I would be earning in my first year.  “So you’re telling me you’re going to make more than the Prime Minister?”he challenged.  To which I shrugged and said: “It’s not my fault the Prime Minister is underpaid.” But finally, after years of freelancing, when it became evident that I wouldn’t need to hawk my comic book collection or subsist on ketchup soup, my parents began to see the light – and it was after that initial year on Stargate that they finally came around.  Unlike the animated shows I’d worked on, here was a series that friends and co-workers were familiar with, a show they could actually watch – at least until my name popped up during the opening credits.  For some reason, it actually felt more real to them.  I’m sure I was as relieved as they were.

We headed back to Vancouver in early January and geared up for the big series finish.  Along the way, as we were wont to do every hiatus, we opened the doors to freelancers in our quest for a new staff writer.  Ron Wilkerson, who had SF experience working on both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, won the position on the strength of a terrific phone pitch.  We bought the story (what would later become the episode Red Sky), and welcomed him aboard.  Ron got the office next door to mine and, every morning, he would announce himself by stepping into my doorway, coffee mug in hand, double-stamp his feet to get my attention, and greet me with a cheerful: “Morning, Joe.”  “Morning, Ron,”I’d say and then, with a big smile, he’d be off, working his way down the corridor.  He was a smart, incredibly nice guy and, over the course of his stay with us (and beyond) ended up writing about a half dozen episodes.  I later learned that his creative mind wasn’t limited to script work.  In 2003, he invented the BreakMaster Digital Green Reader, a device used by golfers (many pros included) to locate the downhill direction of the green!  I salute his ability to actually put his golf knowledge to practical use.  If I could follow along the same lines and invent a device that could benefit fans of either anime, science fiction novels, or nutella.

Next entry, more season five memories: Serpent’s Hat!  Puppy Maximus!  And more fandom rumblings!

26 thoughts on “May 1, 2011: Catching up with Erika! Dinner at Scarpetta! Reflecting back on SG-1’s fifth season!

  1. Good evening Joe. Glad you’re safely returned.
    A question about the spaghetti & Tagliatelle shots. Are those really large plates or were the servings about 3 tablespoons worth? Geez, doesn’t look like sufficient amounts to keep body & soul together. The spaghetti does look and sound amazing though.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s viewing of Blockade.


  2. Oh, Joe, you would forever earn a place in my heart for inventing a device that would alert you if you accidentally put Nutella in the refrigerator. Like the dinging noise when you leave your headlights on in the car. Also, could you come up with something that would keep people from drinking directly from the milk jug? Thanks a million! I owe you.

  3. Meat on bread? and you didn’t catch it first? Glad the rest of the dinner went more smoothly. And looking forward to more installments. Don’t forget though, book. lots of pictures. maybe a bonus dvd. Meantime, off to bed early in preparation for an unusually hectic week. Thanks for taking the time to share with us, and keep having positive eating experiences.

  4. It always seem like when you dine with a vegetarian, meat show up in the most unsuspecting places. It is like the harder that you try to be meat free, the more places they sneak it in. Like the time we were served some sort of gourmet cocktail with a meatball in it.



    Yay! Season five. I was always curious how it went form the last season to getting season six.


  5. Hey Joe,

    I don’t get the entire UFC thing. Why do guys like beating the crap out of each other. Silly boys…

    Loved your food spread…too bad about the bread. The dessert…well the cheesecake to be exact looked unbelievable. I don’t live that far from Vegas…I might just have to make a food trip. Never really thought of that before. *giggles*

    Best to you Joe,
    Cheryl 🙂

    P.S. I am still skipping the Stargate memories. I’ll save them for a future day…when I’m not so sad.

  6. Meat on the bread? The wait staff should have said something beforehand. Not something you normally get. Or is it?

    I met Ron Wilkerson at something, a long, long time ago. I can’t remember what. He was a very nice, intelligent man. I’d forgotten he’d written on the show in season five. I thought it was later on in the series.

    Off I go to get a snack. You always make me hungry when I read your blog.

  7. When are vegetarians gonna learn to never go out to dinner with you? You remind me of that Seinfeld bit where someone puts lobster in the Jewish girl’s eggs. I bet you went back to the kitchen and slipped the chef a couple hundreds just to stick meat in that poor child’s bread. Big meanie. 😉

    Also, Bin Laden is dead. He was a bigger meanie.


  8. Joe, I’ve come up with the name of your invention: Barbarella Narutella

    Now you just have to figure out what the project should be and get it made.

  9. @Ponytail: If I’m remembering correctly, Showtime signed off on a five season deal when they first picked up SG-1.

    Joe, those are amazing food pictures, as always. Glad you got back to Toronto safely.

  10. I still vote for more ice cream at dessert, maybe just me…yum on the pictures, thanks. I didn’t think about fig jam,meat..
    Looking forward to puppy Maximus.

  11. Mika, thanks so much for the link to that post. Great read and what a great job to have!

    As somebody who programs & deals with computers for a living, it drives me batty when a film or TV show so obviously misses the mark in terms of weaving the reality with the fiction (ex: pretty much any scene with Hugh Jackman and a computer in “Swordfish”), so it’s great to know that our beloved SG productions haven’t taken that stuff for granted.

  12. Mornin’, Joe. I was up until 3 am listening to the news, rolled out of bed at 7:30 am and continued listening to the news, and everything still feels a bit surreal. I’m glad the hunt for bin Laden is over, I’m glad there’s not going to be a lenghty trial and all sorts of legal arguments, but I can’t help but feel a bit apprehensive about what lies ahead. I guess I’m wondering that now that the head of the snake has been cut off, does the snake die, or just grow another, perhaps more venomous, head?

    I should probably eat something before I start pondering such things. 😛

    Anyways…I hope you and yours have a good day. Huggles the puppies for me!


  13. You can invent something nutella-related. I believe in you!
    (Hint: my daughter got an ice cream maker for her birthday.)

  14. Hmm. The spaghetti dish certainly looks different than it did on that episode! Ted had far more pasta on his plate.lol

    That chocolate dessert looks fabulous, though!

  15. I do love that show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, too. What made the spaghetti special? Can you duplicate the recipe(or near so) at home?

    All the food looks awesome! I have cut out a lot of meat (not quite a vegetarian) and it can be hard to find vegetarian dishes at some places. Most Southerners do NOT understand doing without meat. My mom takes special offense to this practice. She may not be Jewish or Catholic but she has the guilt thing down pat!

    I’m loving the Flashbacks from Stargate but my favorite is the “Dog Whisperer” story. I can see Jelly evading obstacles and running into RDA’s arms. Ah, I wish she were that young and agile again. It sucks getting older….

  16. Hey Joe, I haven’t been commenting much recently, though I’m still reading your blog. Good reading, as usual. 😀 Okay, back to my final work as I prepare to become Dr. D. (…I will be officially “hooded” with my doctorate in just a couple weeks! Woohoo!) Okay, keep those good-food-posts comin’. And the SG memories are great too!

    Sean D.

  17. @Erika was as disappointed as any of us by the cancellation decision

    Yeah poor Erika, she had to witness first hand the poor management over at Syfy that’s killing a lot of popular shows ratings wise.

  18. Speaking about the death of Bin Laden, I must admit I’m not one to feel happy about death in general, but this person was someone who clearly deserved it.

    Best news I’ve heard all year.

  19. I just wanted to say…

    I dropped a reply here a while back about SGU. After having the opportunity to interview and befriend several SGU, SGA, & SG1 crew…it is clear that my opinion was uninformed and wrong.

    I look forward to your next project and wish you the best of luck.


    Hank Pena
    Cobblestone Creative

  20. Hello Joe,

    I feel so sad that SGU has come to an end that I feel the need to write something positive. For you but also for myself. The end is fantastic and the idea that we have to wait 3 years is horrible but to give SGU a reboot is an option in the future with this end. The actors who are available are stepping alive out of the stasischambers and the actors who are not available anymore, are missing. Like an alien obduction, stealing humanoid bodies from a starship which travels at FTL. Must be a interesting point of view that aliens went on board Destiny during FTL. Stories are floating in my mind what can happen and you would be surpised with what I can come up. Like an accident with a black hole so Destiny is captured in a timeless part of the universe with the FTL-engines on and everybody think that they have stepped out of the stasischambers. But instead of that, everybody is tripping out of their body while their body is remaining in the staseschambers. So there is no need for sleep, they can interact with the ships computer and even can create everything they want. Except one and the clou is to find out why 1 person not. But traveling in a timeless part of the universe means that even with the FTL-engines on, everything leads to nothing. So the FTL-engines must be shutdown and the one who is not affected by tripping out of his/her body must be the one to do so.
    The reason they are tripping out of their bodies is an interactive device, build in the staseschambers which were made for tripping out of the bodies if the person in the chambers wants that. And that is only happening during dreaming which is a proces what humans haven’t learned to control. But after 6 months in a staseschamber you learn fast…
    Anyway, you have an incredible imagination and every episode from Destiny was fantastic. I still think that there are so many people who want that the serie continues, that it is a matter of time, maybe a year but I am convinced that after a nap everybody is awakening because Destiny’s computer has started a protocol to save the ship and everybody onboard because it seems that they are reaching a wall in the middel of subspace and what is that wall? A firewall for a world, protecting themself against aliens and blocking by accident also they way for Destiny. Shall I continue?

    In the meantime, maybe you can do something with Storm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_(Don_Lawrence)
    because this was never brought to the screen and if someone can do it, it is you. I am still a fan of Storm and have read most of the books.


    Cor Draijer

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.