The other day, Akemi went to the St. Lawrence Market.  There, she engaged one of the seafood purveyors in conversation.  The conversation went something like this:

“Do you have social crab?”asked Akemi.

“What?”asked the woman at the counter.

“Do you have social crab?”

“Social crab?”




“Do you mean soft-shelled crab?”



When she returned home, a bewildered Akemi asked me to confirm the correct pronunciation.

“Soft-shelled crab,”I enunciated for her.

“Not social crab?”she asked, clearly disappointed.

“No.  Not social crab.”

She now claims the fault lies with me for having referred to it as “social crab” in the first place.

I chalk up this misunderstanding to the fact that she is suffering from hay fever that has affected her eyes, nose, and, apparently, her ears. Also, the fact that she’s Japanese.  To combat the hay fever symptoms, she is thinking of wearing one of those wacky surgical masks you see half the population of Tokyo sporting on any given day.

Whenever I see them, I’m reminded of the King of the Hill episode where Hank Hill finds himself in Tokyo, trying to flag down passersby for directions: “Hello? Pardon me.  Excuse me, doctor.”.  Akemi argues that everyone in Japan wears them to keep from passing along their colds to co-workers and fellow citizens.  It’s common sense!  I told her that while the reasoning was certainly logical, the wearing of face masks wasn’t the norm in North America and would look, well, kind of weird.  She suggested that, maybe, a stylish designer model would be the way to go.  Something like this –

Or this –

Though, given the choice, I’d probably opt for something that would provide the fullest protection.  Probably something like this –

While the cultural divide puts us on opposing ends of the face mask debate, one thing we can both agree on is our love of fish.  Which is why were both so looking forward to dinner last night.

We ended up going to Chiado, a charming little restaurant specializing in “Progressive Portugese” cuisine.  In addition to the fresh local catches, Chiado offers up a selection of fresh fish flown in daily from the Azores.

Following an amuse-bouche comprised of a delicate cow’s milk cheese served with a streak of aged balsamic and a dot of intense rosemary-honey, we were served our appetizers – a salad of arrugula, fresh pear, melted Lourais cheese, lemon, and extra virgin olive oil for her, and the grilled tiger prawn spiced with piri piri, roasted jalapenos and banana peppers for me.  Both wonderful, but not match for our third (shared) appie –

Sardines marinated with lemon, parsley and extra virgin olive oil.  We had a choice between raw or grilled and went with the former.  And, boy, that was the right choice.  Simply prepared but packed with flavor – not fishy (as I feared) but rich and somewhat sweet.  Excellent.

We selected our main course from the day’s fish platter –

Hmmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

I was going to have one of the filets, but Akemi beat me to it, so I opted to go whole fish –

The dorado was grilled, then finished in the oven.  Crisp and smokey-charred on the outside but plump and moist on the inside, it was, again, simple and simply delicious.  I passed on my server’s offer to filet the fish for me and attempted to do it on my own.  I managed one vertical cut before Akemi shooed me away and dud the honors herself, executing a long horizontal cut along the backbone, flipping over the meat on both sides, then hooking her fork just below the pectoral girdle and lifting the entire skeleton free.  Her only complaint was that the only way to properly eat a whole fish is with chopsticks – an opinion I happen to share.

Akemi went with a fish she instantly recognized from back home.  The Japanese call it Tachiuo (I believe it’s known as Black Scabbard or beltfish here) and prepare it a variety of ways although I hear that aburi-style and grilled are the most popular.  Chiado’s version was lightly dusted with flour before preparation, then served on a bed of saffron risotto.  It was unbelievably good.

We shared three desserts to conclude our meal.  My favorite (surprise surprise) was the  chocolate mousse.  Although I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about the pear tart, Akemi’s Molotof (an airy meringue of egg whites with vanilla cream sauce) was surprisingly good.

Our dinner at Chiado Restaurant was one of those meals that left me satisfied, impressed, and already planning our return visit.  It wasn’t cheap ($40-$45 per entree) but it was spectacular.

We returned home and took Bubba and Lulu out for an extra-long walk. As we were heading back, we happened across an adorable blond whose eyes lit up at the sight of the doggies.  Lulu actually spotted her first and made a bee-line for her, promptly presenting herself for petting and general attention grabbing.  The doggy admirer handed  us a flyer for her comedy show at the local Grindhouse Burger.  Anyway, she (Julia Hladkowicz) was kind enough to say hello to the dogs so I figured the least I could do was give her a shout-out on the blog: Julia Comedy Dot Com

Principal photography on Transporter: The Series starts next week in Berlin.  Paul and I are finishing up the rewrites on our first scripts, getting them ready for the start of production (July) here in Toronto, after which we’ll be switching gears to tackle the rewrites on our next two scripts.  Two weeks from now, we’ll gather to spin the final three episodes and then, it’ll be smoooooooooooooooth sailing!

44 thoughts on “June 3, 2011: On crabs and masks! Chiado restaurant! Friendly comedians! And Transporter: The Series rolls toward production!

  1. Hi Joe,

    Not sure if this has been answered before but are there any plans for a Jason Statham cameo? Or would that kind of ruin what you guys are trying to do?


  2. You are lucky that Lulu isn’t big, my dog (a Pitbull – found him in the street 7 years ago, funny story for another time) would have jumped on her and scared her with all his cuteness. He’s intimidating yet adorable on the outside, so people don’t know how to react haha

    And question for the sneaky mailbag: Who will compose the music and will the the series feature alot of vocal based music like SGU did?


  3. Hey joe! I hope you did not forget about telling us more of the journey of Atlantis back to Pegasus as you said you would more than a week ago!! i can’t wait for more! 🙂 thx

  4. hi joe! any chance you could reveal the locations and times for the shoots in berlin next week? as im going to be in the city next week i might want to check it out if i have the time.

    thanks in advance

  5. You can tell Akemi the way those surgical masks are designed they are kind of lousy for preventing you from picking something up. They are actually only good for keeping your own germs to yourself. More of a public service rather than a genuine prevention.

    That is another of those things I wish I hadn’t learned in science.

  6. Akemi is so cute and she is right! I would love to have one of those masks. Akemi needs to wear a mask and start a fad so I can wear one too.

  7. Evening Joe,
    I’m so glad to have discovered your blog. I so enjoy Stargate anecdotes and glimpses of your writer’s craft posted here. The meal sure sounded grand.

  8. I second Etagrats query, any more Extinction tidbits coming up? Glad you and Akemi found a good place to dine!

  9. Brian J Smith interview here for anyone interested

    And surprisingly it isn’t a negative one, he isn’t playing the blame game.

    Quoting one statement from the interview I agree with

    *You can point fingers and you can blame whoever you want, but the ratings were not there*

    Pretty much says it all, and that coming from one of the main cast members, as supposed to someone playing a character that could of easily of been killed off mid season with no impact on the story :3

    It’s a pretty good interview for anyone wondering, and has a few moments to spare, he mostly just speaks Red Faction but it has a little SGU bit in the end.

  10. Anyway back on the Transporter point. Berlin huh? Lucky, been there before, its a nice city. Best of luck with the filming, hope it all goes well. Chris Vance is one lucky guy, not only does he get to travel Europe, he’s doing it in style.

  11. “Pretty much says it all, and that coming from one of the main cast members, as supposed to someone playing a character that could of easily of been killed off mid season with no impact on the story :3”

    Don’t quite know what the hell that’s supposed to mean. Presumably you’re suggesting the franchise’s supporting characters deserve less respect than our series regulars?

    And, again, for the record – yes, the ratings were the ratings, and – as “the guy playing the character that could have easily been killed off mid season with no impact to the story” intimated – the douchebags were the douchebags.

  12. Is it sad that I’m so happy you liked a restaurant from my country? You know, we are second to the Japanese on how much fish we eat per capita per year, until I came to live in the UK I was so naive I believed everyone in the world ate fish at least once a day,lol. Akemi has very good taste , she choose my two favorite things, peixe espada,the scabbard fish ( there are two , the silver and the black, who is the better one) and the molotov puding. Just shame you don’t like coffee , we make the best bica (expresso) 🙂

  13. I’ve worn a mask at work when I get sick. I don’t do face to face (mostly computer and phone) every day. My coworkers thanked me for being considerate after I explained it to them. I want to start a trend.

    I know you’re in Canada so you don’t have to worry about healthcare, but it’s economically wise to wear a mask if you can.

  14. Fish flown in daily from the Azores? Wow. I have a friend who lived in the Azores for a time. She said the people were wonderful, but they would scold her for throwing away any part of a fish. They would use it for soup. Another “no no” was throwing away coffee grinds. They would just add new grinds to the old, making an extremely strong coffee.

    Nice meal. And your fish looks so friendly. He’s smiling! I need to like fish better.

    Transporter, see you soon.

  15. “To combat the hay fever symptoms, she is thinking of wearing one of those wacky surgical masks you see half the population of Tokyo sporting on any given day.”

    Um, why not try Reactine, or any one of the other antihistamines that are available? They’re really effective, and are way less conspicuous than wearing a mask 🙂

    Your meal sounded wonderful. I love fish, too, but prepared in a very simple Chinese way (steamed with ginger, onions, garlic, soy sauce, oil). Deceptively delicious.

  16. Dinner looks amazing! I’m glad you found a great restaurant and hope your apartment hunting yields a place in a good location with functioning heat and air conditioning and park access for the pups.

    I think Akemi has a good idea with the mask – it might help keep the pollen out and relieve her hay fever symptoms.

  17. Well looks like Akemi has a fan!
    My wife loves to read about here adventures now.
    Keep em coming Akemi! 🙂

    Watched the Transporter the other day (yes the first- finally). I do live under a rock thanks. 🙂
    If this is how the first show rolls, Looks like we are all in store for a good time with the series!

  18. Joe, I believe Randomness meant ‘opposed’, not supposed. In other words, one of the starring cast members humbly admits that the ratings were not there, as opposed to a minor actor who has nothing to lose in acknowledging the same since most people look to the main actors as the ones who make or break a show, not the secondary ones. Also – unlike some actors who blame producers, networks, writers, disgruntled fans, and everyone else for the cancellation of a show – Brian is just saying it boiled down to weak ratings.


  19. @ das – Wow, that man! I would not want to be around anybody like that. They probably saw him coming and closed the store.

  20. @ Ponytail – If folks here in the States started wearing masks like that, everyone would mistake ’em for bank robbers. 😛


  21. I’ll admit to being quite pleasantly surprised by Brian J Smith’s interview – very classy and it has done much to improve my view of him as a person and as an actor. Very happy to read that. I wasn’t sure I was going to watch Red Faction but now I think I’ll try to make that happen. 🙂

  22. @ Randomness – Regarding your last comment from yesterday…

    I don’t think there was any one reason for the cancellation. Yes, ratings, but something had to affect those ratings. I think it was a perfect storm of events: 1. fans upset with the cancellation of Atlantis, 2. the abrupt change in atmosphere of the new show from the get-go, 3. the slow set-up of the show, 4. the poor economy and prolonged war in the Middle East, 5. poor promotion of the new show, 6. too damn many tv shows to choose from, and 7. viewer burnout.

    Stargate already had a decent fanbase, it just needed to build on what it had. I can’t help but feel that what hurt Universe the most was trying to make it too different, too fast. Fans who were upset with the cancellation of Atlantis may have been won over early if they were eased into the new show, drawn in by what made the first two series so special to the viewers, before getting slapped in the face with the things that made it so different.

    One thing that was missing was humor. A show can still be mature and dark even if it has a bit of humor in it, as we got to see in later episodes. But in the beginning it was just too bleak…and bleak right when America was becoming pretty bleak, too, with a failed economy, soaring gas prices, and a seemingly endless war. TV viewers, I think, wanted – needed – something a bit lighter. Sci Fi has always been about ‘escapism’, but Universe wasn’t escapism, it was brutal reality. I really don’t think people were ready for that…I think, instead, they wanted shows like White Collar, and Castle, something a bit lighter.

    Another thing that I think hurt the show was that there were just too many characters, and many of those characters we really didn’t care about. I didn’t give two hoots about Young’s wife, or Wray’s lover, or Chloe’s old boyfriend on earth. In the beginning the show felt way too much like a soap opera, and that turned some viewers off, even ones that were not disgruntled Atlantis fans. Hell, it nearly made me stop watching in the beginning, too.

    That said, I know that the show did attract new viewers, ones who had never watched a Stargate show before. They liked the realism, they liked the grittiness, they liked the story. These were mostly men, the target audience. However, in gaining the new viewers, the show was not able to hold onto old fans of the franchise. Why? Well, besides the bleakness and the overload of personal drama, I think the show just lacked characters with the same charisma of the first two series.

    For a show to succeed, I strongly feel that you need at least one character who ‘makes love’ to the audience, without being too obvious about it. Why are shows like Castle or NCIS so successful? Because the actors – Fillion, Katic, Harmon, Perrette – flirt with the camera. SG1 and Atlantis had actors like that, too – Flanigan, Hewlett, Picardo, Tapping, Anderson – to name a few. And just look at Heyerdahl! Somehow he managed to have women (and a few men) the world over swooning at Todd’s feet, ready to sacrifice themselves to a snaggle-toothed green guy with messy hair and extra nostrils on his face! Now THAT’S what I call charisma!

    For whatever reason (and speaking only for myself), the actors (with the exception of Greer for me) in Universe lacked that same charisma. I think one problem was that there were too many characters, and it was hard to really get to know them all, especially in the beginning. I also think it was because there were just too many sour pusses on the Destiny. 🙂 Heck, when I am under the most stress, I tend to make the most jokes! One of my favorite episodes of Atlantis was The Return when Woolsey and O’Neill are hiding out in Atlantis – some of the banter there reminded me SO much of stuff I say and do when I’m in a bad situation. I know it would have been a bit too much for a show like Universe, but I do think finding a happy medium between what it was, and what the previous two shows had been, would have made the show more appealing all the way round, especially in the beginning when Atlantis fans were giving it a try. I DO think that we were starting to see this in the second season – some really great character moments that had me slowly warming to other characters, like Rush, but I think it was just too late by then. These days, for a show to capture the audience’s attention, you have to have characters that immediately connect, or forget it. There’s just too much out there these days.

    Speaking of which, there was also a lack of promotion. There are just too damn many shows on tv right now. Back in 1990 when I got married, we had ABC, CBS, NBC, and the new Fox channel for original programming. Some people had premium channels like HBO and Showtime, but those mostly showed movies, while PBS mostly showed old British sitcoms and mystery series. For the most part, everyone who watched tv watched the same shows. But now? Original programming is everywhere! I don’t even know how many channels there are anymore – that one that had Smallville, and USA, and amc, and FX…and ARRRGGH! Just too many! So, for a show to succeed, you have to promote the crap out of it, make it a household name like All in the Family or M*A*S*H* used to be. It just takes effort…and money.

    Okay, I’ve rambled far too long, and I haven’t even touched on viewer burnout – meaning that Universe started just as two other intense, high-commitment shows were coming to an end – Lost and BSG. I suspect that some people – those who SHOULD have enjoyed Universe – where just too sapped to make another emotional commitment so soon. Like I said – a perfect storm of events.

    Yeah, totally shutting up now. Sorry for the ramble. 😛


  23. After that sars thing a while back in toronto, you’d think they would have a surplus of masks still. IIRC, there was a big panic all over the world.

    funny… i was just thinking of asking a question about when principal photography would start… great timing Joe

  24. MNP said: I know you’re in Canada so you don’t have to worry about healthcare…

    From following a Canadian friend’s healthcare adventures, I get the impression that the system has its own set of worries, like co-pays, prompt appointment scheduling, employers not offering paid sick leave…

    Canadians, care to comment?

  25. I am looking forward to seeing Transporter: The Series.

    I think I could wear one of those masks if it looked like a golden retriever at the end of it–you know like that commercial where the camera is at the golden retriever’s head point of view, all you see is the nose, and he is running around crazy screaming, “BACON, bacon, bacon, bacon.”

  26. Coucou Joseph 🙂 Comment allez vous..ah enfin le week end! 🙂

    La culture Japonaise est vraiment differente de toutes les autres cultures…. en France, c’est chacun ses problémes, aucune personne ne se sentirait coupable de transmettre son rhume à une autre personne.

    Huummm poisson 🙂 moi aussi j’aime beaucoup!!!

    A votre avi quand seront diffusés les premiers épisodes de la serie?

    Bon week end!

  27. Sorry about that ramble last night, Joe. I was just going on MY perceptions, which are probably way off in some places. It was late, and I should have been in bed. 😛


  28. Any rumblings of shooting in Hamilton at all or are you guys staying within the GTA/Toronto?

  29. @dasNdanger

    Basically most people, including those viewing from an outside perspective don’t believe that angry disgruntled Atlantis fans killed the show, simply put the show had as a good a chance as any airing on the Syfy channel, but pretty much went into freefall. People just wern’t happy with what they were watching, not because they had a grudge, had people had a grudge because of Atlantis the show would of premiered to lower numbers but it didn’t.

    The fundamental flaw here being some people just didn’t enjoy the show, it wasn’t the fault of the cast, if anything the cast was all star, however if you don’t enjoy something you stop watching.

    Engler pretty much explained the numbers on the Syfy twitter in his press interviews/articles.

    As much as I would of loved to of seen Stargate Universe Season 3. It does the show a discredit to see so much negativity attached to it once it was over, there was no need for anyone to play the blame game because the show was cancelled. Simply put some of the cast should of done what some of the more well known actors have done and simply thanked the fans, wished everyone well and moved on.

    Anyway, sorry for that. Something had to be said anyway, and I did phrase in the most polite way I possibly could, well asides from that jab that the rant came from someone who had a bit part character as supposed to a fully fledged one like BJS.

    Mailbag question for Joe

    What do you think of this segment of Brians interview Joe?

    *I wanted to see all of the characters find this thing that only he can do well. I think that’s what a team is and you had that really well with the first two Stargates. Everyone had a really defined role and I never felt that Scott; besides being the guy who could fly the shuttle and being the guy who went to off world missions, and the guy who had a relation with Chloe and broke the gamer kid’s heart every single episode; he didn’t have something that made him feel integral to the plot every single week*

    Sounds like to me Brian deep down wanted his character to go on more adventures, basically be an SG1/SGA type character.

    Basically the way SG1/SGA had characters that were defined as you saw them, like Mckay was the science guy, Ronan the warrior guy, Shep the leader etc

  30. @Glider, Yes, our Canadian health care system has it’s flaws, and care isn’t really uniform across the board especially when you’re talking wait times and covered procedures/medications.

    All in all tho, they generally won’t let you die 🙂 One of my personal biggest complaints is the lack of coverage for people with long-term issues like Diabetes requiring them to foot the bill for daily testing and medication supplies.

  31. @josephmallozzi

    Although Das pretty much explained my point there(Thankyou das). I’m sorry I must admit I was having a bit of a jab there saying his character wasn’t really important to the show at all and could of been killed off without affecting the story at all, thus the way he was speaking, like he had this *big* role on the show, when in reality it was pretty minor.

    Sorry, I just can’t take someone who had such a minor role seriously, yes his statements were short sighted and downright small minded, however it goes back to my original point.

  32. Nice interview from Brian J. Smith. He seems like such a nice young man. I’ll have to check out his new project. Interesting when he talked about you Joe, coming and asking him where he’d like to see his character go in Season 3. He was impressed by you and it reiterated to me how special I think you are.

  33. Post-argument internal monologues posted on your high-traffic blog. You know we’ll love ya’ no matter what you do, but we’d love you more if you included the Akemi as guest-blogger rebuttal.

    If I minded people horking their germs all over me, I should be the one to wear a mask. No mask = hork away.

    Do the masks work?

    I probably should have been polite enough not to let my baby who had a fever so near half the Kinder-gardeners in town the other day. That was rude. I ease my guilt by figuring they’ll all get chicken pox or the vaccine anyway. See, if I lived in a culture where we don’t impose healthy phlegm on the community, maybe I’d have thought a little earlier about where the line of real imposition was.

    I try not to see the Japanese mindset as so different. Every culture has those pieces of etiquette, those things we each personally wouldn’t mind other people doing outside the context of our shared culture, but, if they did do it, we would hear as subtext, “I don’t care about your comfort enough to bother with etiquette” and it becomes offensive just because of that.

    I try not to see it as so different that they have those things, too, but I fail. There’s something fundamentally human about some of the things they’re not supposed to impose on one another. I guess a nation of nudists would think we were being strange not imposing our nakedness on each other, though.

  34. dasNdanger said: […] 7. viewer burnout.

    i think that viewer burnout wasn’t aimed *at* stargate, but more a burnout of disappointments. i’m seeing it now, on gateworld. it’s hard to get anyone motivated to even TRY to fight for something with MGM.

    i gave sgu a try, the first 10 eps of season one. the things that i liked were more the side stuff (vanessa james, the james/scott hookup), so as i continued to watch, i saw only the stuff i didn’t like (mostly chloe) in full force. and besides, i didn’t really like anyone, so i didn’t care what happened to them (except for james). so when the show resumed it’s second part of season one, i didn’t resume watching. i’d kept up with what had happened on the show, though, b/c… of boredom.

    but, for me, my burnout isn’t related TO sgu, but to all the lost opportunities of dealing with sam/jack, sg1 the team and storylines, and atlantis’ unanswered questions. THAT is where my anger and disappointments come in.

    all i’ve got going now, stargate wise, is hoping that whoever takes over the franchise, they’ll want to answer those questions *first*, before continuing with some new stargate storyline.

    i think offering the sg1/atlantis/sgu fans closure would go a loooong way in making us want to watch another stargate series. it shouldn’t be just about a clean slate with mgm, but about respect to sg1/atlantis/sgu’s storylines and fans.

  35. I probably should have used a surgical mask today! 😛
    Am on a 2nd head cold in five weeks (or was it the same one?) Coughing, high-decibel sneezing, running nose, the works. And all while it’s been 90 degrees F. in the Midwest? The cheetah mask looks too cute!

    what do people do if they’re stuck in public and have to blow their nose? Is it polite to duck into a shop, or is it thought better to find a restroom? Am glad to see your comments on the blog! Right now I wish I could eat a bowl of your miso soup so I could feel better!

    Sometime you can tell us about Joe-san’s boo-boos while speaking Japanese! 😀

  36. Joe-san,
    while strolling through the Internet, it’s amazing what you can find. Was looking for a gift and meandered into medication for dog’s ear infections.

    What caught my eye were people mentioning their dog crying during the night or talking about how the med helped their Pug’s ear infection. Huh! Anyway, you’re Jelly’s Dad, so you’d know if this is anything that’s helpful for her situation.

    The stuff is called Zymox OTIC and has highly favorable reviews. (Check the most recent ones.) Only about 8% felt it didn’t help, but breeds (and your mileage) may vary. Always check first with your veterinarian, of course. 🙂

  37. Social Crab is adorable! And I’m pretty sure Joe wrote about enjoying social crab a few years ago; Akemi is correct, it is Joe’s fault.

    Those are the most delicious sardines I’ve ever seen. All the food looks so very tasty.

    I’ve seen many people wearing masks in my city and it’s pretty accepted; we’ve got a lot of Japanese students and doctors on campus. In fact more of us should be wearing masks, but instead guys especially will walk around without umbrellas in the pouring rain as if they’re cowboys out on the back forty, instead of city dwellers with wet hair.

    Allergies are hell; I say rock that that mask, girl.

  38. Speaking as someone who lived in Toronto for many years, surgical masks are not uncommon due mainly to the large Asian population. Was it not the same in Vancouver? She would not get funny looks if she chose to wear one. Well, maybe if she wore that cheetah one…
    I take offense at the description of Volker as a minor character. He felt as vital to me as Brian’s character. And as a grumpy misanthrope myself (much like cranky old Brody), I freaking love it when he tells it like it is. Everyone says Brian is so nice it’s weird, and that’s fine.
    Bottom line: SGU’s ratings were poor because people are stupid and prefer vapid, mindless entertainment that doesn’t challenge them. Sadly, that means the channels are flooded with “reality” tv, and those of us who want quality stories are turning more and more to channels like AMC or HBO, or books. I’d LOVE to see SGU continue in novels. Please please please?

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