“Nothing ruins a dog walk like a hole in a poopy bag.” – Me, yesterday.

March 23, 2012: Needy Pugs!  A Beautiful Partnership!  And Happy Belated International Macaron Day!

Back when we first moved to Vancouver twelve years ago, we looked into adopting a pug from a local pug rescue, but the process proved so difficult and time-consuming that we gave up and went the breeder route instead.  And it’s a good thing we did because we ended up with Maximus, one of the sweetest, most well-behaved, easy-going dogs you could ever imagine.  Now that Maximus is gone, I’ve considered getting another dog, specifically, an English Bulldog puppy who would , no doubt, make a welcome addition to the pack.  The more I think about it, however, the more I wonder if it might not be better to adopt an older pug in need of a good home. After all, I do have a good home and given the meds and special care I already dispense, would one more needy furball make that much of a difference?

March 23, 2012: Needy Pugs!  A Beautiful Partnership!  And Happy Belated International Macaron Day!

So just the other day, I was discussing my writing/producing partnership and how, over the course of our working relationship, we’ve each taken it upon ourselves to take the lead on certain projects.  Dark Matter, for instance, was my baby, a project I developed on my own before eventually turning over to Paul for notes, thoughts, and continued development.  Well, yesterday, I read the first draft of a pilot script Paul wrote, based on a series idea HE’S been developing on his own.  And it was terrific.  Now you may think I’m biased and maybe I am, but it would really be in my better professional interests to report that  the script was “just okay” or “good” at best, that way I could weigh in with my notes and ultimately lay claim to some contribution that made it “terrific”.  But while I did have some notes, I’m afraid I have to report that the script was pretty damn spectacular.  I opened up the file he sent, planning to read the script in installments, but when I started, I ended up reading it straight through.  See, this is one of those instances where having a writing partner comes in handy (the other being when you’re trying to wrestle a production assistant to the ground for that last slice of cheesecake).

March 23, 2012: Needy Pugs!  A Beautiful Partnership!  And Happy Belated International Macaron Day!

International Macaron Day was March 20th.  How could I have missed it?  I mean it’s not like it was one of those silly made-up observances like International Literacy Day or International Human Rights Day.  How DOES the U.N. come up with some of these commemorative events?  Okay, okay.  International World Health Day  I get. Even International World Environment Day.  But International Mountain Day?   International Book and Copyright?  How did you mark International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer?  Did you curtail your use of hairspray?  And what, pray tell, did you get your local weather man for International Meteorological Day?  I don’t know, but International Children’s Day and International Youth Day strikes me as dangerously close to double-dipping.  And what’s the deal with United Nations Public Service Day?  What exactly are they doing the other 364 days of the year? Oh, and just so you know, May 17th is World Information Society Day.

But where was I?  Oh, yeah.  International Macaron Day.  I ended up celebrating two days late by checking out a (fairly) new macaron shop: Soirette Macarons & Tea. It’s one of the many, MANY places in the city now serving the meringue and buttercream/ganache treats.  I’ve been doing my research and would like to offer my two cents on the quality of the various offerings:

SOIRETTTE MACARONS & TEA

A mixed bag – but so it is with most every macaron shop I’ve visited including Jean-Paul Hevin.  Most of the macarons were airy and delicious (the Guinness comes to mind) while a few were too similar in flavor and a tad chewy.  Overall, however, pretty good.

TERRA BREADS

Chewy, the buttercream in some hadn’t properly set resulting in a greasy texture. One flavor was advertised as Early Grey even though it was clearly combined with some other fruit flavor.  We asked the woman behind the counter for clarification and she insisted it was Earl Grey.  As it turned out, Earl Grey and blackcurrant (I think).

LA BAGUETTE ET L’ECHALOTE

Another mixed bag but, alas, not all that great.  Some good, some overly sweet.

BEL CAFE

Smaller than some of the other versions I’ve had in town and they only offer about a half dozen flavors, but they do a very nice job with their macarons.

THIERRY CHOCOLATERIE PATISSERIE CAFE

Hugely popular no doubt thanks to its location and dining area but I was surprised at how underwhelming the macarons were here.  I assumed I’d caught them on a bad day and tried again – twice – and still came away unimpressed.

GANACHE PATISSERIE

Okay but, clearly, macarons are not their main focus.  Stick with their superior cakes.

THE URBAN TEA MERCHANT

Shipped from France, they come in an variety of intriguing tea-based flavors.  Intense.  A little goes a long way.

THOMAS HAAS FINE CHOCOLATES AND PATISSERIE

Have to give credit where credit is due – the macarons here are pretty damn consistent in flavor and texture.

URBAN FARE

Meh.  I’ve heard that since the last time I sampled some here, they’ve started carrying Kitchen with Carly macarons.

STUART’S BAKERY

Below average.  Macarons are not their forte but I hear good things about some of their other desserts.

MEINHARDT FINE FOODS

Another meh.

INDULGENCE DESSERTS

Limited flavors but very good.  Also check out their ice cream sandwiches!

KITCHENING WITH CARLY

Also quite good but I can only find them frozen.

There are still a few places I need to check out including French Made Baking, Plaisir Sucre, and Cafe Regalade.

32 thoughts on “March 23, 2012: Needy pugs! A beautiful partnership! And Happy Belated International Macaron Day!

  1. I have still to try the new macaron place in town, but hopefully I will soon. My daughter’s coming for a quick visit in 3 weeks (before she moves back permanently in July/August) and will attempt to bring me some from Laduree at Harrods. We’ll see how they hold up to the long trip. 🙂

    Not that you asked for my opinion, but adopting an older dog that needs a loving home is way cool. Then again, so is and English Bull puppy! Get both, I say. 🙂

  2. I really hope you can find a good, and needy bulldog, who will be grateful for the reprieve from a dreary life in a concrete holding pen. i suspect the adventure finding this pending member of your family will make for another of your epic adventures.
    Have to admit Im not big on macarons, If they taste a quarter as good as they look though, it’s probably a good thing. Last thing I need is another addictive food.
    Sorry I missed yesterday’s nostalgia posts. I definitely hit on several of the shows mentioned, especially Star Trek. I also remember the halcyion days when Saturdays meant actual cartoons, only a minor fraction of which were deliberately aimed to shove life lessons into your head(and thus to be avoided). Space Ghost, the Herculoids… I couldn’t imagine anything neater than living with my own dragon, armored space rhino, miniture king kong, and two blogs to make sure I didn’t hurt myself. Though I never understood why they found that rather dreary rock so appealing…
    Anyways, off to Rally for Reason tomorrow. Anyone in the DC area tomorrow, feel free to head towards the Washington Monument. Things start at 10am and last till 6p.
    thanks for your dedication to this blog and your readers.

  3. “The more I think about it, however, the more I wonder if it might not be better to adopt an older pug in need of a good home.”

    Yep, that would be awesome for you, the new dog and everyone else there. However, are you pondering the possibility that the new older dog might not last very long and if that happens, are you prepared for the emotions that you’ll have if/when the new old dog passes away or must be put to sleep?

    I know it might sound harsh, etc., but best to consider such things before taking such a step, especially considering the loss of Maximus is still relatively recent.

    If you are ok with what I mention, then I hope you do adopt an older dog and make a thread on what to name the new addition to your family. 🙂

  4. I think the idea of adopting an older pug is great! when my grandmother’s poddle Sassy died of mouth cancer (she had to be put down too), my grandmother was just heartbroken not having a companion anymore. So we looked through the usual places for us (i.e. Humane Society, animal shelter, etc.). Grammy wanted a puppy and we just couldn’t find one. Why? The workers at these places all had the same answer: “Everyone wants a puppy, they’re cute. No one wants an old dog, they’re not considered cute enough.” Me, Mom, and Grammy were shocked, how can anyone justify letting an animal die or dumping one because it’s not “cute enough”? What A-holes! Anyways, my grandmother ended up with an older (8 years old) poodle who was being dumped by it’s owner because they owner had used her to breed and now thought she was to old to breed so they were getting rid of her because she wasn’t “profitable” anymore. My grandmother has lovingly had Mocha for the past three years and both are doing fine and love each other.

    I’m also hearing more and mroe stories that because of the down economy, hundreds of familes are dumping their pets or just plain abandoning them in parking lots or on the streets, some they’ve had for TEN YEARS OR MORE!!!, because they can’t “afford” to keep them anymore. So Joe if you’ve got a road to go now for getting a dog, like I said, I think going for an older abandoned animal is fantastic! Everyone deserves love and especially a warm loving home that they don’t have to be afraid of being thrown out of.

  5. We did that with our second golden, Buddy. Unfortunately Buddy was with us for only 2 years before he passed. I’m pretty sure he was deaf. He developed congestive heart failure that was costing us a fortune to treat, but it was worth it because we loved him. He died of a heart attack. I hope we provided him with a great deal of love and care before he passed. I know he had a good home. The bond was definitely different for me from having a dog since they were a puppy. Not good or bad. Just different. Not sure why though.

  6. I think adopting an older dog is a wonderful idea. My understanding is older animals are desperately hard to place, and usually cash-strapped shelters can only support so many…

    Did you cover all those macaron places in one day? My stomach kind of hurts just thinking about that.

    I had another memory today regarding yesterdays nostalgic TV shows. Did anyone else watch “Johny Sokko and his Flying Robot?” I used to LOVE that show, although it was on ridiculously early in the morning here (6am, if I recall). Regardless, it was pure awesome.l

  7. @ Samantha Padilla:

    Yep, a friend of mine in Nebraska lives out in a farming area. He’s come home from work on a couple occasions and found new chickens running around that someone dropped off and one day a couple of peacocks even. He said it has been common because of the bad economy and people losing their homes. 🙁

    However he’s a great person and took the abandoned animals in. 🙂

  8. @gforce: Yes! Johnny Sokko! I watched that all the time! I think it was on every day after school when I was in 1st and 2nd grade. I used to play Johnny Sokko make-believe with my brother. I was Johnny, and my indulging older brother would play the robot. I was so psyched to get my first digital watch, because then I had something to talk into to call the robot: “Robot! Come quickly!” My other fave from that genre was Ultraman.

    I wish we had more of that cross-culturization in television these days, instead of American companies just remaking other countries’ shows with American actors. I couldn’t have cared less that Johnny and Ultraman were Japanese and dubbed. They were great shows! Americanizing them would have inevitably effed them up.

  9. English bulldogs have massive health issues– so go with a responsible breeder (not generally one who advertises in a paper but through your Canadian Bulldog club), to avoid heart and other problems. Well and also to not support backyard/puppymillish breeders.

    Or get a rescue. 🙂 While puppies are hard to come by, any rescue should be told to read your blog and THEN decide if you shouldn’t be bumped to the top of the list.

    Admirable to consider an adult in need. Decide how much your heart can take and look for a dog that has needs but isn’t in horrible condition. I do know people who take on the senior dogs and those dumped with serious/life ending conditions. Having lost 4 dogs in less than 4 yrs (3 were old, one young to lymphoma despite chemo), my heart can’t do it right now.

    As for macarons, meh indeed. At least you can get some even if not great.

  10. I’m with Deni. Get both. And let us name the baby bulldog, after all, turn about is fair play…says Trevor (I’m sure).

  11. I think it is pretty neat you have a writting partner and how you support each other. We are enjoying your Dark Matter comic book, I would love to hear his new pilot script too. Why don’t you go ahead and just read it to us. Surely Paul won’t mind. And while your at it, give us all the details on Robert Cooper’s scary idea he is working on. 🙂

  12. Lovely to hear you are thinking about opening your life to another furry companion and are considering an older dog. They are very hard to adopt. I volunteered at a no-kill shelter here for a while and while a litter of puppies would be adopted in a day, some of the older dogs had been there for months. I have had friends who have had trouble with breed rescue organizations recently. Some seem to be so focused on dogs going to the “right” homes that they make it almost impossible to meet their requirements, like disqualifying people who don’t own a pet because they can’t supply a current veterinarian’s recommendation. Emily Yoffe on Slate.com did a column on the issue recently. I’ll be interested to hear about your experience if you go that route.

  13. Adopting an older pug is a fantastic idea. Having had a pug who lived to the age of 16, I know that they can require some extra care. Not everyone adopting is willing or financially able to do it, but you’ve been caring for those puggy ailments. Go for it Joe; I know you will make an old pug very happy!

  14. I think you need both puppy and older dog….
    BTW, I am older and on special meds (diabetic), would u like to adopt me too ?
    Seriously, a rescue dog is a great idea and you would give it such love and care.

  15. @libkat: I saw that Emily Yoffe article too. I’m glad she wrote it, because there are so many holier-than-thou rescue organizations taking things way too far with the screening. I had a Siberian husky for 11 years who died of natural causes (gastric torsion), and by the time I was ready for another one, I had moved from L.A. to Vancouver and it had been about 4 years since I’d had the previous dog. So no local vet (my previous vet was back in California), and no current vet. And I had a real problem with them wanting to do a “home visit” first. No one does a home visit before you’re allowed to birth your child, so why do I need to let some stranger in, to adopt a dog who needs a loving home? I finally gave up with the rescue groups and just went to the SPCA. They’ve got a great online system here in BC, where it’s easy to view the available animals by any kind of filter you want. I saw my beautiful girl’s photo the day she was available, and 24 hours and a ferry ride later, she was mine.

  16. I tried Macaroons from Veneto’s Cakes & Pastries in North Delta… wasn’t terribly impressed. Since it was my first time trying Macaroons, I’m wondering if maybe another place would have better tasting ones. ^_^

  17. Adopt!
    My adopted kelpie Jack was an abused dog. Then left on the streets. He still loves unconditionally and anywhere I’m going sounds fun to him.
    Knowing you’ve saved a dog gives you warm fuzzies every time they look at you with big doggy grin.

  18. Any dog would be lucky to live with your family, as I have said many times, you are the best doggy daddy. and your other pups would love it as well, after the initial scratch and sniff test.
    Akemi makes terific looking macarons!(pix in a previous post) (since i can only guess at the taste, I will assume, wonderful.) But I can see why you do a taste test at all these places, its only fair to try out the competition.(yum) and in honor of the day.
    ~Have a great day~

  19. Tough decision on adopting. Maybe you should foster first? I never get to pick the pet, it always picks me.

    I wish we could get macarons here 🙁 .

  20. Busy, busy, busy…

    But will say this (and no offense to bulldog lovers everywhere): Every bulldog I’ve ever met, English and American, has been a humping machine. My friends have a bulldog, and a lab – both males – and going to their house is like watching live doggie porn…all instigated by the bulldog. All that’s missing is the ‘bow-chicka-wow-wow music. But, ya know, maybe you’re into that sort of thing.

    Had a busy past few days, will try to catch up soon, but my house is a wreck, I need to unpack, and I really need a nap. But one last thing – I like Tam Dixon‘s idea of fostering. You have three other dogs to consider, and while the match may be perfect for you, it might not be for them.

    However, I don’t take you for the type likely to share once your heart is involved, and fostering does mean giving the pup away once placement is found. Some folks I know through the local animal welfare groups who have fostered cats end up with 20 or more because they just can’t part with them. So, before you foster you have to honestly ask yourself if you can easily give them up.

    As far as adopting, Mr. Das and I have discussed this regarding cats. Once our last indoor cat is gone, we have already decided to adopt a pair of cats that cannot be separated. Cats are very sensitive animals and will mourn themselves nearly to death if they lose a close companion, so we figured we could certainly share our home with a needy pair, or even a trio. Adopting also helps ease the burden on shelters AND hearts, especially at no-kill facilities. And, unless I was planning on breeding and showing an animal, I would never go through a breeder. Too many animals out there already, and many breeders are not responsible for the number of dogs they breed, only adding to the burden of finding homes for unwanted dogs and cats.

    In the end it’s your choice, and there are lots of great suggestions here. I know whatever you decide to do you will be making one pooch a really happy puppy. 🙂

    Gotta run!

    das

  21. @das: Unpack? Where were you? Did I miss something?

    @Joe: I think adopting is a great idea. Puppies are great, too. das is right: the dog you welcome into your home will be a lucky pup!

    Dang, missed Macaron Day. Just as well, since I can’t find anyplace around here that makes them.

  22. @ Sparrowhawk – Hubby and I had to go to a business/trade meeting with my folks, just to AC. It was a nice overnight stay at the Borgata, with lots of free (and surprisingly good) food. I gained 2 pounds. 😛 We don’t gamble, but we sure can eat! 😀 We used it as a sort of anniversary thing, since our 22nd is coming up on the 31st. We then spent Friday sightseeing and snooping around with the metal detector and visiting hubby’s folks. I found my first silver coin since starting this hobby – a 1962 Rosie dime in my in-laws’ yard, of all places (also found a 1920 wheatie penny). Wish I had more time to explore their property, so far my oldest coin finds have been in their little side yard.

    Also been busy with company, social stuff, work, and other things that the good weather has brought on the last couple weeks, and I’ve gotten waaaay behind on the housework. And at nearly 5 pm on Saturday, I sure don’t feel like starting it now. 😛

    I need a maid. Or a houseboy. Yeah, a houseboy. Preferrably a pretty one. 😀

    “Excuse me, ma’am, may I dust your knick-knacks?”

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v54/dasNdanger/davidchiang.jpg

    😉

    das

    das

  23. A couple weeks ago I ate my first macaron…

    *swoon*

    It was French vanilla with the traditional fluffy filling. Oh… My… Goodness!
    Had to share, or I’m sure I would have eaten the whole dozen by evening’s end. The share-ees were similarly impressed. Macarons are so small, they don’t count the same as 1 regular cookie, do they? Wasn’t sure if I’d like them, so chose inexpensive ones. Found them at Trader Joe’s, in the frozen food section. Thanks to whoever mentioned that on the blog. 🙂

    Imagine how much better fresh/day-old macarons from a local patisserie would be. For my birthday, I want a dozen pretty-colored macarons, just like in the photo! I better start hunting for the perfect place. 😀

    ——————————

    Joe, best of luck looking for the new baby. Having the doggie kidz meet the potential brother/sister on neutral territory would clue you in on their opinion. Another thing that helps is having treats for everyone, so that the kidz will associate the newcomer with good things. Can’t wait to meet your new family member! 🙂

  24. Joe, I add my voice to those nudging you to adopt a shelter pup. Four of my 5 cats have been shelter rescues and 1 was a rescue from an over-crowded house. I have been blessed and gifted with 5 wonderfully, silly and lovable kitties through the years. The memories I have with each could fuel a few books, believe me.

    I know you to be a sensible and caring person who would give any pup a loving home. Any shelter I’ve visited simply has too many souls to care for, so help them out. Consider periodic contributions of food, towels, bedding, clean wipes, etc. too. And are your pups micro-chipped?

    You have a good heart Joe, follow it.

    2cats
    P.S. I echo Deborah Rose… “thanks for your dedication to this blog and your readers”, please don’t stop 😉

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