Akemi and I were out and about today, running errands, when we happened across The Vancouver Olive Oil Company, a delightful little shop on West Broadway (2571 W. Broadway to be exact).  Having recently read an article on the poor quality of the olive oil sold in most supermarkets (ranging from old stock to adulterated crap), I was intrigued and decided to check the place out.

Opened in January of this year, Vancouver Olive Oil Company offers up a variety of high quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars from a number of different countries: Italian Favolosa, Spanish Manzanillo, olive oils perfumed with Persian Lime or Mushroom & Sage, Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic, and Espresso Dark Balsamic – to name just a few.

Don’t know what you’re looking for?  Well, you’re free to try any and all they have available because Vancouver Olive Oil Company is a shop AND tasting bar.  Each of the 50 or so product selections are available for sampling and the friendly staff is more than happy to give you the rundown on the different offerings.

We started with the medium to robust olive oils and were surprised by the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, distinctions between them. We were each offered samples in a small, paper cup and instructed to warm the oil by placing it between our cupped hands for thirty seconds to release the scent and flavors.

Akemi warming her oil.

We ended up tasting about seven different olive oil varieties, noting their distinctive appearances, scents, and flavor profiles.  Yes, in many ways, it was reminiscent of a chocolate tasting.

What did you think I was going to compare it to?  Wine?

Akemi very much enjoyed the California Arbequina for its pronounced herbaciousness while I preferred the Spanish Picual for its peppery finish.  I also liked the lighter Leccino which makes use of Tuscan olives.

We then moved on to the Balsamics lining the walls, 12 year aged whites and 18 year aged darks.  We ended up going with the Grapefruit White Balsamic, Fig Dark Balsamic, and a Red Apple Dark Balsamic.

Akemi and I capped off our visit with a chat with owner Michaelanne Buckley, a woman who is clearly passionate about (and knows) her olive oil.

It’s fascinating stuff.  Along with the glorious oils and balsamics, I also picked up a book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, by Tom Mueller.  Should make for some very interesting reading.

If you’re in the area, check them out.  Or head on over to their website for information on their company philosophy, products, and the 411 on oleic acid, free fatty acids, and polyphenol counts.

Vancouver Olive Oil Company

2571 West Broadway

Vancouver, BC

Closed Sundays and Mondays


The Weird Food Purchase of the Day video series returns with guest sampler, Akemi, who tries North American grape soda for the first time.  And loves it!


Me: Thank you (to waitress)

Akemi takes a sip, makes a face like she just swallowed a hairball.

Me: Do you like it? (in my best smart-ass tone)

Akemi: I don’t like it.

Me: Why not?

Akemi: Tastes like for kids.  I’m not kids.  (beat)  Like…this one is Fanta.  Fanta Grape.

Me: Yup.

Akemi: But you didn’t say that (taking another sip).

Me: Well, I said grape.  I said grape soda.  I said purple –

Akemi: You said grape.  You said purple color, but I thought like a fresh grape…

Me: What fresh grape is purple?

Akemi: I don’t know.  Like a wine.  (takes another sip – and makes another face)

Me: If you don’t like it, why are you drinking it?

She shoves the glass toward me.

Akemi: I will give to you.  Eat ice cream because I want to eat –

Me: You want to try my ice cream?

Akemi: No, I want to eat cone.

The video ends there, but shortly after I stopped recording, she ate both my ice cream AND cone.

Continuing our trip down SGA memory lane…


I was never a big fan of any of the ascension-themed stories but this one has little to do with actual ascension and everything to do with Rodney and the relationships he’s formed over the course of his time on Atlantis.  More than all the talk about ascension or even the danger McKay faces, what stands out for me in this episode are the small acts of kindness that Rodney performs in the face of his imminent death. Meditating with Sheppard, hugging Ronon, writing up a list of the great things Weir has done as Commander, keeping Teyla company during an Athosian ceremony, giving Radek a pep talk – these are all actions that come, not as a result of a change he has undergone, but from the heart of a guy who realizes he may never again have the opportunity to do these things with his friends.  Great.


34 thoughts on “August 17, 2012: Vancouver Olive Oil Company! The Weird Food Purchase of the Week returns! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! The Tao of Rodney!

  1. Akemi, I don’t like Grape Soda either! My brother loved it, he used to pour it over vanilla ice cream and make a float.

    The shop is interesting, I think I remember reading a fanfic where Rodney was the owner of one. And of course the world’s foremost expert on Olive Oil.

    Speaking of Rodney, this was a really good ep and I like how it explored his friendships with the others but all these McKay-centric episodes got to be overkill. I mean, how ’bout The Tao of Teyla or something? Just to change things up a bit!

  2. Akemi is the cutest!

    Joe you took the words right out of my mouth about The Tao of Rodney. After I watched it today, I thought, sorry but I care nothing about the ascension part. To me, it was a story about the team and being a family. Another very funny episode. Rodney becomes a super hero (at least in his mind) with powers of super hearing, mind reading, moving objects and people (like floating Dr. Beckett in air) with his mind, healing powers, and a very big appetite. Weir assigns Ronon as his bodyguard, who Rodney dubes them as Batman and Ronon. He starts saying goodbye to everyone by doing something personal with them. Telling Zelenka how smart he is and how much he respects him. Sharing a ceremonial tea with Teyla. Hugging Ronon and healing his scars. Giving Weir a 500 page book he wrote about her accomplishments. What did he do for Sheppard??? Just another good team building episode and one of my favorites. A two hugger!

  3. Akemi video!!! She’s as adorable as I expected and reminds me totally of 2 of my good friends in Japan. The rationale here (“you said it was purple, so I thought fresh”) as well as the traffic light discussion from yesterday’s blog are perfect examples of how half our American-Japanese culture shares are like. Love it!

    Also, am so glad we finally got to Tao of Rodney. It’s my all time fave episode of the series, for exactly the reasons you state: Rodney is aware he’s going to ascend and instead of dealing with it head on, he simply makes the rounds letting his friends know how really felt about them, with his actions. I’ve seen the ep probably 10 times over the years and damned if I still don’t get a tear in my eyes when he hugs/heals Ronon.

  4. Akemi is adorable!!

    And I swear her English is better than mine. 😛

    Joe – about the olive oil. Was it my recent panic over the poor quality of olive oil that lead you to investigate? Also, does the Vancouver Olive Oil Co. ship to the US?

    Gotta run, but will leave you with this:

    Castoreum is a specific type of natural flavoring. This extract is made from secretions and glands near the anus of both male and female beavers. It has a very strong odor and bitter taste.

    Often just listed as ‘natural flavoring’ on the ingredient label. Because it is derived from an animal source, it may be problematic for vegans.

    Found in a variety of foods including: alcoholic beverages, baked goods, frozen dairy, chewing gum, candy, beverages, meat products, pudding, gelatin, ice cream, vanilla flavoring, raspberry flavored food


    Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? 😀



  5. Favorite scene in that episode had to be him hugging Ronon…

    McKay: “Those scars on your back from your encounters with the Wraith — you know, with the tracking device? (Ronon nods.) Are those, like, a … a badge of honour for you, or are they just a constant reminder of something you’d rather forget?”


    McKay: I hope you don’t mind, I just healed them.


    FYI, since Netflix took them away, the wife and I just went and bought the Atlantis Series (YAY)

  6. I really enjoyed Tao of Rodney. I think this was the episode that started to change my SGA viewing habits. Over the run of the show, I started out as someone who only paid partial attention while I worked at the computer while someone else had the show on behind me. Eventually I became a viewer who watched both the early and late showings on the Sci-Fi channel, and sometimes recorded them too.
    I miss the show.

  7. I have to say, I find grape pop absolutely vile. It tastes either like medicine or som kind of chemical solution. (Which I suppose it is.).

    Tao of Rodney is one of my favourite episodes. Great acting, great story, just some of the best of Stargate ever done!

  8. @bailey
    Soda with ice cream!!
    Just soda is already super sweet :0(←This one is surprised face, eh?)

  9. Thanks for the transcript, Joe! I’m a Luddite when it comes to videos; I read faster than they play back. That’s one reason I STILL haven’t viewed THE ARK OF TRUTH or CONTINUUM.

    Gilder Anne McCarroll

  10. Tao of Rodney was one of my favorites for the very same reasons you stated! I especially loved the Athosian tea ceremony thing with Teyla.

    Haven’t been around these parts much (although I read the blog every night), so much going on here with my daughter, getting the nursery ready and dealing with dogs and cats. Riley’s getting big and is still a brat, but she’s adorable. Have a good night!

  11. @DAS

    And here I thought “Our” [Canadian] *BEAVERTAILS* were pretty much Nutella slapped on some pastry dough… ;-D

  12. Akemi is just too funny, but there is no debating a certain consistent logic to her train of thoughts. About her comment on soda and ice cream, has Akemi never tried a float? With a more appropriate drink they can be reasonably nice( though to be fair I haven’t had one in years).
    I will definitely check out the olive oil. Been refreshing and increasing my herbs and spices from Pezny’s, and it would be nice to get hold of some quality olive oil. And I love stores and people who are truly expert in their chosen fields.
    As for Tau of Rodney, I second everything said about it. And what also strikes.me about Rodney in this time is his selflessness. Not just his gifts. But deciding he won’t be able to ascend, he does not begin writing his autobiography. Instead, he works to leave behind as much as he can, to hopefully make things better for when he is gone. I can only imagine the fanfic this episode has generated. While I do like shows that strive for an ensemble cast, I must admit I love it when Rodney’s character is showcased.
    Thanks for sharing, and do keep us informed on the “being Akemi” sit com project. ( what, you haven’t started it yet? Get busy!)

  13. I’m impressed with Akemi’s english as well. Oh, down here we use Cola or Root Beer with vanilla ice cream. It makes a great Coke/Root Beer Float. I think that it’s pretty common in other areas right? Give it a try sometime. I’ve heard of grape soda floats but…..it doesn’t sound like it’s for me. Grape soda is too sweet!

    I don’t remember Tao of Rodney but I’ll watch it again.

    The oil shop sounds very nice. Do they have a website?

    Das: Castoreum? Is that any in any way related to Castor Oil? That would explain a lot …Yuck!

    Deni: Is Anakin’s room ready?

  14. I was just about to google to figure out whether my usual store has real olive oil when I read your blog instead (a common misstep when I open a new tab in my browser). I checked out the store, not in my price range, but I’d buy a more common brand from them if they’d just taste test it and slap a “taste confirmed for realness” label on the crate. I need a taste certification for honey, too.

  15. There aren’t many good grape sodas, and the few I can find have preservatives I can’t tolerate. Oh well. I tried a stevia sweetened soda and it was wretched.
    Welch’s grape juice is purple….

  16. @Tam Dixon: Oh hell no, we’ve just bought all the paint and stuff for it and Mr. Deni is getting started tomorrow. I’ll take pics when it’s all done to show you guys, it’s going to be AWESOME!

  17. Why do the chickens on the old cooking shows look yellow?
    How come the tomatoes I buy at the store don’t taste anything like the ones I grow? And what in the name of wholesomeness is that white part? 😮
    What freak of nature was that cantaloupe that I had to cut away so much rind to separate the ripe-ish flesh?
    How is it possible that oranges can be canned in corn syrup, but be too sour to eat?
    I understand that there can be bad orange seasons, but why bother canning something that’s inedible?
    How come Honeycrisp apples tasted differently the first year they were available compared to now?
    Do they really think apples look more palatable with all that wax on them?
    How do they get so much saltwater to stay in the meat?
    Who are they fooling to put green oranges in an orange-tinted bag?
    Can you erase the memory of what honeycomb broken out of a tree tastes like so it just won’t bother me anymore? How do they even convince bees to make honey wrong?
    Do I even know what all the spices in my cabinet are SUPPOSED to taste like?
    Why do different brands of flour no longer taste differently?
    Where can I buy beats that taste like fresh beats?
    Just how much more sweeteners do they plan on diluting flavored yogurts with?
    How much pesticides must the greens at the store have that they don’t have bug bites?
    Have you heard of meat glue?
    What’s the problem with lard again?
    How can there be butter in that? It’s a powder.
    How is it the government’s business to put guns between me and raw milk?
    Do you realize Pringles are sold on the food side of the store?
    How did they even get those carrots to not taste like carrots? What’s the point of that?
    Whose bright idea was it to call those gummy candies kids eat “fruit snacks”?
    When are they going to figure out how to screw up onions?
    Where did the bees go?
    What’s this about how many varieties of strawberries there are? I’ve only seen three tops.
    How worried should I be that I have more of these questions every year?

    It feels like the foods I eat are dropping off my edibility list and getting less color or odd coloring and I feel bone tired just looking at that paleness (or artificial coloring – I’m looking at you, butter).

    I’m not a foodie. I eat simply – plants, animals, water, coffee. How is it that kind of diet requires special sourcing and supplements or I’ll feel mal-nourished on a full belly?

    I once asked my grandma what foods she ate as a kid. She gave me a look that reminded me the question was nuts and said, “the same things you eat. Corn, potatoes, pork…” That question would not be nuts today since the foods themselves aren’t the same.

  18. Hey guys! I’m still around — barely* — reading most days but not posting. I just wanted to agree with everyone about The Tao of Rodney. Wonderful episode. I miss Atlantis sooo much! Episodes like this are why.

    I’m sorry I missed out on the live Q&A; I had a couple of questions, but I have a really good excuse*.

    * (Those who hate health updates should skip the rest of this post.) I almost died. I became unable to answer simple questions early Friday the 10th and was rushed to the hospital. When they were finally able to draw blood (I was so dehydrated, they couldn’t find a vein.), it turned out my kidneys were failing. (For those in the know, my potasssium level was 9 which I’m told is incompatible with life.) This was caused, they think, by an infection. After only one dialysis session(?), my kidneys kicked back in and I was sent back here to the nursing home Tuesday with a subclavian octopus still hanging from me for IV antibiotics and I’m on breathing treatments. I was weak as a kitten for a couple of days but am much better. I’m in therapy to regain lost strength. The weird part is I can’t remember anything that happened from the 8th to waking up at the hospital on the 11th.

    That’s the nutshell report.

    the nearly departed Anne Teldy

  19. I love pretty much all fruit juices, be it Orange, Apple, Pineapple, Grape, not sure why, it just tastes really good, and better chilled if anything.

    And I’m the same, I wasn’t a fan of Ascension stories, namely the ones where certain characters die, only to come back at a certain point in the series, or the same episode even. Death should be a finite thing, if a character dies, they die, unless you can think of a realistic way of bringing them back, eg. Weir being a replicator, as her mind was linked there, it stands the reason she could come back. Then for example someone killed/near death by a Wraith, thats okay, but not all the time, if the Wraith have the ability to bring back its plausable.

  20. @ anneteldy – it is always good to hear from you! Miss you when you go so long without posting, but it is very uplifting when you finally do. Sorry for your recent scare but thankful you are still here to tell us about it. Praying for you always. Please keep us posted. Take care!

  21. Akemi, it was good to see & hear you in a video, even if it meant you had to taste a weird food/beverage! I agree with Tam Dixon. Rootbeer floats are really good, especially with some the specialty, home-brewed rootbeers and vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

    Really enjoyed The Tao of Rodney, even though there seemed to be so many Rodney-centric stories. In the hug scene when he asks Ronan about the scars, Ronan says, “I try not to let the things I can’t change bother me.” That sums up Ronan, and seems to help Rodney accept what’s happening and make the most of it.

    There was so much more that could have been done with Ronan’s character. He would have been the one able to get in Sheppard’s head, maybe after a stick-fighting duel/practice, and sum up Sheppard’s dilemma in a couple short Ronan sentences. If anyone there would understand trauma and losing people, it would have been Ronan. So enjoyed Jason Momoa in this role.

    Major Anne Teldy! So glad you are still with us. 😀 What a close call. You are tough, sister. You made it. Whew… Will be in touch.

  22. Yay! The Tao of Rodney is one my absolute favs of Stargate Atantis, so many good lines and scenes. Ah, the memories…
    So glad to hear from Anne Teldy, and I agree with for the love of Beckett that you are one tough lady! Hang in there Anne.

    Also have to agree with Akemi in her opinion of and reaction to, grape soda. It is vile. Why do they still manufacture it?

    And, so glad to read someone else finds common, usual foods have been tasting oddly of late. I thought it was just me, or me on my meds, and it may yet be, but I suspect other forces at work. Or pollution. (?)

    DP said… “Can you erase the memory of what honeycomb broken out of a tree tastes like so it just won’t bother me anymore? How do they even convince bees to make honey wrong?”
    Agreed! I get my honey from a local farm market and I swear, each year it tastes a bit off. What is wrong with the flowers the bees visit? Is it actual honey and comb, or a laboratory knock-off?

    In hot and humid New Jersey…
    (with 2 droopy cats – fur coats are tough in this heat)

  23. @ Ganymede – HA! (I thought beaver tail meant something else, but I’ll be good. 😉 )

    @ Tam Dixon – Castor oil comes from the castor bean. Old farts like me know all about this old timey stuff. 😉

    As I live and breathe, it’s Anne Teldy! Great to see you here again! I was just thinking a lot about you last week, but wasn’t sure if your e-mail was still good. Glad you’re over the health scare – and nice to know you’re still checking in. Take care of yourself, Major! 🙂


  24. Fanta…oooooh yuck. I first met Fanta when I was at my site in southern Thailand. Food colored carbonated sugar water. The kids thought it a great treat but it was not of like grape crush that I had consumed. As far as purple goes, crushed Concord grapes have that dark color. My mom grows them I used then in a sparkling mead a few years back. As you know with wine, color comes from the skin as well as the tannins. It tasted like grape juice you find in the store with some other benefits. I also make a wild raspberry mead.

  25. @Anne Teldy:

    Sorry to hear about your illness; you’re in our prayers. Did the doctors figure out how you got infected?


    A short comment from me since I at the Chicago convention…

    Robert Picardo say “Hi” and he was very effusive about your hospitality (I agree!) I also found out he also has used your blog for checking out restaurants in Vancouver, so I’m not alone in that regard! 😉


    Have you tried Nihi Grape? I seem to remember it wasn’t as sweet as Fanta and that it was made with sugar (rather than corn syrup), but it’s been years since I’ve had any and I don’t know even know where you could get it in Vancouver. I did find it online though:


  26. This episode had me crying. I just visited a place in New York similar to the store you did and came home with 1 jar of preserves, 1 jar of pumpkin butter, 1 bottle of raspberry balsamic and red apple balsamic. The lady had me taste the combo of the apple balsalmic with a walnut oil andir was lovely. We have a similar store here in Texas so I had all that shipped here minus the walnut oil which I can get here.

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