Last night, Akemi and I went out for dinner with the lovely Alaina Huffman (SGU’s Lieutenant Tamara T.J. Johansen, Smallville’s Black Canary, and MTV’s Agent Mom).  We went to what is fast becoming my go-to restaurant for entertaining out-of-towners: Scarpetta.  Alaina was kind enough to defer to me on the menu selections and so, as always, I emphasized variety by ordering four appies, three pasta plates, a fish dish, and four desserts (with double scoops of ice creams all around as I wanted to be sure the ice cream to cake/pastry ratio was at the ideal 1:1).

Akemi loves the bread at Scarpetta (look at how quickly she snatches up a piece) and I always have to make it a point to either hide the bread basket or ask the waiter to take it away lest she finish it before the first dish has even hit the table.  Anyway, between mouthfuls of crust (or “margin” as she used to refer it when she first came to Canada), Akemi found time to chat with Alaina about Alaina’s modeling days in Tokyo and Osaka.  Although I’m sure she wasn’t able to keep up with all of our rapidfire table discussion, Akemi came away from dinner mightily impressed with Alaina.  “I like her!”she informed me. True.  Talk to her and she’s very hard not to like!

Some of the appetizer highlights:

I'm not a huge lentil guy, but they're delicious and lend a wonderful textural contrast to this tasty medley of carrots and almonds.
Onions agro-dolce served with goat cheese.

One of the things I appreciate about Scarpetta is there ability to occasionally switch up the menu without sacrificing any of my favorites. Last night, we enjoyed a couple of Chef Scott Conant’s signature creations, the duck and foie gras ravioli and the simple yet immensely satisfying spaghetti with tomato and basil.  Also…

A heavenly new addition to the line-up: delicate little agnolotti stuffed with braised short rib and bone marrow. Yep, those are mustard seeds.

Our dessert foursome was made up of the restaurants Amedei Chocolate Cake (missing its standard delightful gooey center on this visit), a strawberry shortcake the gals seemed to enjoy, the outstanding coconut panna cotta, and…

The Grand Marnier Souffle with the requisite double scoop of ice cream.

The topic of conversation ranged from her kids, conventions, and home life in L.A. to some terrific-sounding projects she and husband John have in the works. By the time we were done, we probably ended up talking more in those two and a half hours than we did in two years on SGU.

Hey, did you know Alaina has her own comic book?  Check it out here: MTV Geek | – Comic – Agent Mom #1, pt. 1

Finally, this was too cute not to post.  Akemi looks forward to one of her favorite shows.  At least it wasn’t Million Dollar Money Drop!

Today’s entry is dedicated to gforce.

35 thoughts on “June 21, 2011: Chat and Chow with Alaina Huffman!

  1. Heh, that video made me smile, thanks for sharing.

    So, you suck Joe. Dinner with Alaina Huffman. Ouch. She definitely seems like (from various things you’ve written about her) what I refer to as a “Group 2” person. They’re often painfully wonderful.

    Anyway, that agnolotti sounds fantastic…reminds me of when Tony Mantuano used to serve Oxtail Agnolotti at Mantuano Mediterranean Table in Chicago, before he went on to Spiaggia.

  2. You coulda at least brought me back a doggie bag. 🙁

    I really shouldn’t look at your food pics when I’m hungry. 😛

    And both ladies are so lovely! You’re one lucky gigolo, Joe. 😉 Thanks for the link to Alaina’s comic, too…I would never have found it otherwise.

    Gotta run!


  3. Awwww! Too cute!! I just got Akemi’s video to work! 🙂

    It reminds me of the old joke…

    What do you call a one-legged woman? Ilene. Same woman in China? Irene.


    Oh, and Joe? You laugh like Horshack. 😀


  4. I just checked out Scarpetta’s menu…oh dear, going to have to go there at some point. The pumpkin olive oil cake on the dessert menu sounds amazing…

  5. Looks like a wonderful dinner! The food didn’t look to bad either!! Alaina always struck me as a total class act, even just from her work on SGU. Even on Twitter she is always gracious and interesting.

    Thanks for the dedication, Joe.

  6. How can you have 3 kids and still be so hot and sexy ?
    I want to know the secret !
    She is one gifted actress for sure.
    While I was so sad to not know the end of the story for TJ, I can not wait to see what Alaina will be doing next!
    Take care.

  7. What a beautiful dinner you had. No one crawled over you to get Alaina’s autograph? That video of Akemi is so cute, just like her. She is a doll.

    @ gforce – Very sorry to hear about your Father. Your family is in my prayers during this sad time. God bless.

  8. Also, ask Akemi if she is tired of Ashley talking constantly about Bentley. I sure am!

  9. @Hey, did you know Alaina has her own comic book?

    Just read a little on the MTV link, seems kinda corny, suppose its good for the younger demographic I guess.

  10. Sounds like you had a lovely dinner, and I liked the video of Akemi too. That was cute.

    Have a great evening!!!!

  11. @Das: Read about your convention adventure and meeting Julia and Alaina. I met Alaina in Dallas at the Women of Sci Fi convention (and her husband). They were very nice. I became unusually shy, not wanting to intrude on them or co-opt her time. My first convention experience.

    I happen to enjoy the comic book because it is so much Alaina, especially when she is on Twitter. I mean, honestly, who goes into labor and tweets during it? Only a super mom.

    The video of Akemi is adorable. Good to hear you laughing, too.

  12. Gumbo has arrived, and Elway’s NOT happy with the new arrangement. 🙂 It’s gonna be a long night.

  13. @ PBMom – In big crowds I tend to get very hyper, over-stimulated from all the input of the sights and sounds. It really drives my ADD nuts. Needless to say, I was probably a bit over-friendly…like a drooly, face-lickin’ dog greeting you at the front door (only I didn’t drool or lick anyone…I hope… 😕 ).

    I wouldn’t know about tweeting during labor since I have never been on Twitter or in labor, but I have been known to talk on phone while sittin’ on the john…and I’m pretty sure that’s almost the same thing. 😉


  14. Joe, Mr. Das was just checking out your pictures, and he exclaimed, “Man, Joe’s lost weight! He looks good!” I just hope he doesn’t have a man-crush now. 😛


  15. @Joe – Put one of these in your pics

    and posterity won’t have to wonder if the baby carrots are freakishly small or the almonds are freakishly big.


    I followed Alaina’s labor tweets. I thought really hard about doing something similar maybe on Facebook, but wasn’t adventurous enough to go to the laptop during labor. I was thinking of Alaina when I timed how quick I got back on-line: -> 4 hours. I’m weak! Half that was just baby-staring.

    @das – not the same thing. It’s the stage of labor that makes it impressive. That late in labor, my universe has shrunk to a me+belly-shaped envelope. I’m only aware of myself in a primal way and people don’t exist outside that envelope, much less a Twitterverse.

  16. Hi Mr M!

    Not sure if you got that email? Need to send you on something.

    Great to see Alaina!! She is a such a lady. She is a big hit with all the fans.

    Had a great conversation with another fan recently. We did our usual fantasy triple story spinning…putting SG1, SGA and SGU in the one movie!!

    It revolves around Mackay finding a primitive Ori Super Gate on the edge of a galaxy which links into a position…..close to Destiny!! (I know it’s a bit of a ST: Voyager-reach) But it would solve the getting Destiny back home problem.

    Anyway we were “spinning” the story for a while…interesting plot details involving the three teams.

    Hope all well in Toronto

    Best to all



  17. Yum.

    Bread baskets are my downfall, I could eat carbs until the end of time.

  18. apparently Alaina is on the new Syfy show Alphas that has been filming in toronto (according to her tweets)

    glad to see she’s keeping busy in shows i’ll be watching. 🙂

  19. The Agent Mom show sounds very cool, I will have to check it out.

    That was such a cute video, had to watch it twice cuz it was adorable. It is kind of hard to say Batchelorette when you think about, most people just say bach-luret” instead of batch-el-or-rette, so I can see why it then becomes harder to pronounce when english speakers condence the word.

    I have the same problem with French, when I’m trying to keep up with a song in French it’ll take a couple replays before I figure out the person used slang or condensed words.

  20. Yeah speaking of the video, it was kinda funny, in a cute kind of way, you and Akemi make a great couple Joe.

  21. @ DP – Well…there have been times in the bathroom when…



    Nevermind. 😛

    @ maggiemayday – I totally read that as ‘breast baskets’, and immediately had this mental image of a woven wicker bra. I think I better start wearing my reading glasses more often. 😛

    @ Joe – Have you ever read Smoke but Alex di Campi? It’s only three oversized issues and came out around 2005. I thought it was excellent, and that’s not because the lead character’s a rather pallid fella…though, for me, it didn’t hurt.

    Also, any update on Bubba? Is he moving around a bit better now?



  22. For Joe:
    Video: Barking cat changes tune when caught on camera
    I laughed so much. Evil car is evil 😛

  23. If she east that many carbs how is Akemi not round as a ball? Envious. As for lentils, I tolerate them in soup but otherwise I just feel like I’m wasting my time eating them, they never do a thing to satisfy me.

  24. I appreciate life goes on, I would of like a few questions asked of her about her feeling on SGU being cancelled…

    It as always is the old story fans are left wanting and actors and writers move on. I would argue dispite the facebook page growing every day the chances are now Zero.

    I see some actors from SGU have just started to be a bot critical of the writing as well, Robert Carlyle recently said he character was effectively being written out, but Brian Smith was most dissapointing moaning about his lack of character development, and the cost of the show.

    Also why is it none of them will join the Save SGU cause, are they really that scared, or just dont care? David Blue said it was all too fractured, which was a bit of a cop out.

  25. @John: I’m going to take a stab at some of your questions since I’m not sure Joe or any of the others will. IMO, the actors probably still want to be considered for work which is why they wouldn’t get involved in any of the campaigns. It’s a shame, really, because SGU was just coming into its own. This whole deal has actually taught me something though. Having full satellite or cable service and getting invested in shows is not worth it, and I’m guessing from some of the articles I’ve read that a lot of other people feel the same way. We actually called about cancelling our service as my husband has been unemployed for several months and were offered a three month credit. Three months—I’ve never heard of that. 🙂 But, the person told my husband that they were doing it because we had been such “good customers”. She also said that if he still didn’t have work at the end of the three months, that we could cancel without any other penalty. My guess is they want to build good will because they know a lot of people are leaving for various reasons–content not worth watching, financial, etc., etc. Doesn’t change my opinion though, and since we’re going to need time to get on our feet, we will probably still cancel and use the Internet to get the content that we want which isn’t much compared to what the satellite company offers. My husband tells me I’ve become a cynic in my old age. 🙂 I guess I have.

  26. I could not agree more Lisa, I am based in the UK, we have something called Sky TV, syfy over here is a very small channel, Sky One run SGU, but I am just sick to death of all the cancellations and constant stream of crap/reality shows..

    V has also been cancelled.(I am still annoyed at Seinfeld being cancelled lol) I get annoyed as it shows a complete lack of respect for their viewers, dont want to do another series…Fine dont, but make the SGU film happen, I dont agree with the statements “we just could not get it done”

    I fully expect in probably 10-15 years a new Stargate film will probably happen, but it wont be anything to do with SGU. Patrick Gilmore tweeted a little way back that when he is drunk one day he will reveal the real reason why SGU got cancelled.

    From what I have read on various forums it seem over in USA Syfy killed it by messing with the scheduling, however I also read that the biggest mistake was Syfy buying 40 episodes as people felt it allowed the writers to not really try that hard in season 1, and had it only been a one season deal they felt a lot of the dead wood could of been kicked and a much cheaper SGU could of gone forward. I think most will agree Season 2 was breath takingly good, but the damage had allready been done.

  27. @John: I think we are kindred spirits. 🙂 We were also annoyed with the cancellation of V. When we watch tv, we want to watch something intelligent and entertaining too. We have never been ones to get involved with reality shows. The last one we watched was Extreme Home Makeover, and that was about four or five years back. When it “jumped the shark”, we couldn’t handle it anymore. We have never watched American Idol, Survivor, etc, etc.–just not worth it to us.

    I don’t do Twitter, but I did hear that Patrick Gilmore had been, shall we say, vocal. That should be an interesting tweet when he does it. 😉 I think you’re right about the timeline for another stargate movie.

    Have you heard of the show Falling Skies that TNT just premiered? Has a promising premise, but we were quite annoyed with TNT advertising that the premiere had limited commercial interruptions. So, you ask, did it really have limited interruptions? Not quite. Probably about 45 minutes to an hour’s worth of commercials for a two hour premiere. Unbelievable. We’re going to try the show once or twice more, but if the network keeps annoying me like that, I’ll cut that one off too.

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