We had our Sunday all planned out.  I would wake up early, get in a workout, then head on over to the park with Akemi and Lulu for the monthly French Bulldog Meet-up.  After an hour of fun and frolic (definitely Lulu, possibly Akemi, certainly not me) we’d drop Lulu off at home and then head over to the farmer’s market with our pug Jelly. After loading up on fresh fruit and vegetables, we’d head back home, drop Jelly off, then pick up our other pug, Bubba, and head off for a picnic at Queen Elizabeth Park.

That WAS the plan.

The calm before the storm.  This little guy could sense something was up.
The calm before the storm. This little guy could sense something was up.

I slept in, long past any hope of a workout.  By the time we got to the park, the sky was overcast and it had started to drizzle.  Then, it started to rain.  Then a thunderclap so loud it froze the dogs in their tracks signaled an early end to the festivities.  By the time we made it back to the car, it was pouring.  Jelly missed out on the trip to the farmer’s market and the picnic ended up being relocated to a friend’s home which meant Bubba’s outing was canceled as well.

Bubba in happier, sunnier times.  Saturday afternoon to be exact.
Bubba in happier, sunnier times. Saturday afternoon to be exact.

I’m sure my dogs were as disappointed as I was last evening after capping off a two-night dining “extravaganza”.  My friend Tomomi was in town from Japan and I thought it would be nice to take her out for a nice meal.  She’s done the same for me when I’ve visited Tokyo so I wanted to find just the right restaurant.  Only problem – I rarely go out for dinner anymore, and certainly not to some of the city’s higher end places I used to frequent back in the day.  I am out of the proverbial loop.  And so, after eliminating the restaurants I brought her to the last time she was in town and the restaurants that were fully booked on the nights in question, I decided to roll the dice on two places: Lupo Restaurant and Le Gavroche.

Dinner at the Lupo was fine.  Solid starters (burrata cheese with garden beets and micro tomatoes, and a nice, crispy pork belly mustard croustada), followed by a couple of slid pasta dishes (a nice agnolotti and a Bucatini that, while well-prepared to an al dente bite, simply resisted any sort of melding with the tasty Amatriciana sauce, leaving them two distinct components on the plate).  We were going to split a main and I had my eye on the Short Rib Brasato with mascarpone polenta, but was talked out of it by our waiter who highly recommended the night’s special: a veal osso buco.  Well, in hindsight, taking a waiter’s recommendation is equivalent to purchasing one of those Staff Picks at your local bookstore: you’re almost guaranteed to be disappointed.  As I was on this night.  The veal was a little dry while the accompanying risotto Milanese was an enormous letdown.  Still smarting over my osso buco over brasato gaffe, I skipped the typical-looking desserts.

The Bucatini topped with pancetta.  Instead of clinging to the pasta, the sauce ended up pooling at the bottom of the plate.
The Bucatini topped with pancetta. Instead of clinging to the pasta, the sauce ended up pooling at the bottom of the plate.

The following night, we ended up at Le Gavroche, a quaint French restaurant I used to visit years ago.  Since my last visit, it’s undergone some notable changes, chiefest among them being the menu that has taken on a more molecular cuisine-inspired approach.  Some of the dishes being presented at our neighboring tables looked downright intriguing – the liquid nitrogen sorbet with herbs, Hay smoked arctic char served still smoking under its glass bell – but we had opted for the a la carte menu: two soups and three mains.  As usual, I’d taken a sneak peak at the dessert menu so I could plan ahead.  I had my eye on the chocolate ganaché.  My pea soup was fine, her soup – kale and kohlrabi – was robust and delicious.  The mains were a mixed bag.  The sous-vide venison was surprisingly tough, difficult to cut and almost impossible to chew.  The Muscovy Duck Breast, on the other hand, was tender and incredibly flavorful – probably the best thing I’ve eaten in weeks.  Our vegetarian selection – wild mushroom with crispy polenta, crispy sage and parmesan crisp – was about par for a vegetarian dish.

Seared Theisson Farms Muscovy Duck Breast with carrot puree and farmer's vegetables.  Excellent.
Seared Theisson Farms Muscovy Duck Breast with carrot puree and farmer’s vegetables. Excellent.

Finally, it was time for dessert – and, specifically, that chocolate ganaché.  I’d been really looking forward to it.  Alas, it turns it wasn’t available and so, after dismissing the likes of the too-fruity blueberry parfait, apricot souffle (which would have required a 20 minute wait), and the unconvincing blue cheese mousse with figs, I settled on the carrot cake with carrot ice cream.

1While the ice cream was great – subtle in its carrot flavor yet not overly sweet – the cake itself was clumpy.  And – perhaps most disappointingly – light.  It was the perfect dessert for a dieting young lady – which I am not.  I ended up satisfying my sweet tooth with a couple of aerated chocolates from Beta 5 when I returned home.

So, overall – meh.  I think that, next time, I’ll just say screw it to the fine dining and head on over to Campagnolo’s for some terrific pizza.

Interesting to see all your responses to our “Which space program will you be joining?” poll.  Yes, you can only pick one.  I mean, really.  How the heck can you work in the Pegasus Galaxy AND serve on the Battlestar Galactica?  Not surprisingly, joining the Atlantis expedition and becoming a member of the SGC lead the pack.  Given the choice, I’d probably join an SG team as well.  As several of you have pointed out, it would allow you to do your off-world adventuring AND make it home in time to watch your favorite t.v. shows.

34 thoughts on “August 11, 2013: The best laid plans of mice and men and dogs! Next time, I’ll just go out for pizza! Do your off-world exploring AND make it home in time to watch your favorite t.v. shows!

  1. I’ve almost finished watching what I believe to be the most poorly written movie I have ever seen. I’m pretty sure “Emancipation” was better written. It’s called “Upside Down”, was made in Germany or something, and just got released straight to DVD around here. Seriously, I would give anything to have this mess reviewed by Cookie Monster.

  2. Well, my menu selection last night was a bit shorter…crabs, crab cakes, shrimp and scallops. Barb added homemade coleslaw, brownies (for everyone but me), and a strawberry fruit dip. I did my cheesecake thing, made southern sweet tea, and prepared the seafood. The steamed crabs were great and they reminded me how much I miss the good old Maryland crab feasts.

    Here’s one of the crabs:


    Here’s my daughter and me doing some picking:


    And as I noted yesterday, I chose the SG teams as well, for pretty much the same reasons. Too much going on in my life (such as crabs!) to give up on Earth completely.

  3. I wouldn’t want to be on Atlantis personally while the Wraith are around, just about the only place safe really would be the city, if you go off world there’s a chance of encountering the Wraith lol

    I think in the current climate the SGC would be a better choice as the Goa’uld are pretty much done with, and the Lucian Alliance aren’t too widespread to cause major problems if you’re on an off world mission.

    Standing on the observation deck of the Destiny as the ship emerges from FTL would be quite a sight. There’s something about being half way across the universe that would make me pick this choice each and every time. The unknown if anything.

  4. Miss me? 😀 Yeah…I didn’t think so. 😛

    And since you didn’t miss me, I voted to share space with the Red Dwarf crew. “Wot? No Atlantis and the Wraith?!” you ask? Look…true confession time. The Wraith pale in comparison when it comes to the uber sexy Cat. Rrreeeow! 🙂


  5. ….talked out of it by our waiter who highly recommended the night’s special: a veal osso buco. Well, in hindsight, taking a waiter’s recommendation is equivalent to purchasing one of those Staff Picks at your local bookstore: you’re almost guaranteed to be disappointed.
    i think i’ve heard that the specials are often stuff they need to get rid of, like if they’re all made with salmon, that’s what needs to go. and the waiter’s recommendation is often done for the same reason.

  6. Yah, still would choose Atlantis. But since it’s not on t.v. anymore I can’t run home to watch it, because that was my favorite t.v. show. So I could still use Dr Sam Beckett’s imaging chamber to back into time and change the network’s minds about cancelling it and giving it a few more years.

  7. Have to say that, for us, on any visit to Vancouver, the first place we book up from our old favs list is Bluewater Cafe & Raw Bar…for an excellent gourmet experience, ambience and fun it never disappoints us…and for a casual evening of noise and laughs with friends Carderos pub and grill in Coal Harbour is great..there’s something about the atmosphere in there, although you do have to shout to be heard sometimes over the noise and crowds and it’s a bit dark – last time my husband, myself & our friend Eamonn all had to get out our “flashlight apps” on our phones to read the menu but that could also be because we’re all getting old and the eyesight is not quite so good….still love it there though…

    We discovered Le Crocodile for the first time this year too…very much enjoyed the food there too, reminded us of many good restaurants in Paris…any reccs from your or your friends on the quality of “Chambar” the so-called Belgian restaurant?..have read much praise of it on certain foodie websites…:)…but bear in mind my hubby is half-Belgian and is used to his mother’s and auntie’s VERY excellent Flemish home cooking!!

    *sighs*…I really miss Vancouver atm…I need another vacation there,..it was a sad day when the Stargate Conventions stopped….

    Oh yes and I really need an ice cream from Bella Gelateria, please tell me that’s still going strong?..

  8. I ended up going out with friends to Crieff yesterday and we ended our day at a restaurant I’d never visited before – The River House. As you can imagine the setting was beautiful, but the food didn’t disappoint either. We opted for the early dinner menu and at £12.99 for 2 courses the quality and selection was excellent. I had watermelon with pink grapefruit and pomegranate along with raspberry sorbet for starter, then chicken kebabs for the mains. Both were flavourful, and the starter so delicious (and easy!) that I may include it into my repertoire! As we’d had coffee and dessert just an hour before, we just looked at the menu…and wished we’d waited!

  9. Sounds like a real mixed bag on the dining front, but I agree with Campagnolo’s – I thought that was awesome! Could have been the company, though. 😉

    Too bad your plans for yesterday got so messed up, I’m sure the dogs understood though.

    It’s kind of interesting that I’ve asked a number of friends about if they could move to Mars as a colonist, given that their safety could be assured, but that they could never return to Earth. By far most of them have answered “Sure!”. It’s possible I might have some weird friends, though. 😉

    @JeffW: That food sounds great!

  10. Sorry, can’t join any space missions right now. I’m busy assisting Admiral Harriman Nelson (looks exactly like Richard Basehart) and Captain Lee Crane (looks exactly like David Hedison) of the submarine Seaview in their attempts to locate both the missing crew of the Spindrift and the Jupiter 2. If any of you space faring folks run into the the Spindrift or the Jupiter 2 crews, please tell either Dr. John Robinson (he looks exactly like Guy Williams) or Captain Steve Burton (looks exactly like Gary Conway) to contact us for an update on the rescue mission. You’re help is appreciated.

  11. I think STNG would be safest, but hanging with the crew of the Moya would be thrilling and interesting. Of course, I wouldn’t be my short, fat self, I’d be a kick-ass Amazon. We do get whatever incarnation of ourselves we desire, don’t we?

  12. @das: WHAT!!!???? Hmmm Red Dwarf. Cat. . I may need to check this out more closely

    @Jeff@: Your dinner sounds fabulous.

    @Joe: Do you suspect that all of the wait staff was given the instruction: PUSH TONIGHT’S SPECIAL!

  13. The picture of the little pug up top…he’s a doll! Sorry the dogs didn’t get their day but it sounds like your day turned out ok.

    Das: I was hoping the reason you didn’t post was because of the fun you and Mr. Das were having?

    JeffW: Wow! That crab dinner looks great! Chicagoans have a lot of fun.

    Mike from Canada: Thanks for the comments yesterday. I had a fun time reading all your logic paths.

    Carl: I’d love to watch SGU and see where the story was going. However, there is no way I’m staying on ship with Rush in charge. I would be pushed out the airlock when the oxygen was depleted. Or I’d get eaten when the food shortage got really bad again. Or he’d convince me to sit in the computer chair and the computer would dissolve my brain. Or he’d leave me on some kind of planet with dinosaurs because I pissed him off. Excreta, …. 😉
    Oh and Happy Belated Birthday!

    I’d still pick SGA. I’d be in the Pegasus galaxy. There is no way my family could bug me there!

  14. Did I mention how much I love this poll? Course I had to choose Atlantis Expedition! (Firefly is a close second!) 🙂

    @Das: Red Dwarf – sheer brilliance in its heyday! Laugh out loud funny no matter how many times I watch the repeats! “They had whips, Rimmer! Big, smeggin’ whips!”

    PS … back in the day ( talking late 70’s – early 80’s) I would’ve selected Blake’s 7 in a heartbeat!

  15. Heck, I chose to serve on Gallactica before I saw the Whovian option; I’d prefer to be a companion for sure, you can’t beat time travel. But I’d also like to spend time on Destiny; one way trip yes, but a spacious ship with a small crwe means I get awesome quarters. I’d just need to avoid all away missions.

  16. Given my website, of course it had to be Atlantis. I can’t imagine anything else right now, but first I’d have to serve a little bit on one of Cheyenne Mountains SG teams. And who knows, why can’t you turn one of Atlantis’ hologram rooms into a sort of holodeck and still get to be all the other things on the list? 😉

  17. @MaggieMayDay, I’d like to be on STNG but I’d be too scared to fight the Borg, and there’s a greater chance someone will say “Blow up the goddamn ship Jean Luc!” Atlantis seems safer; it’s portable, well defended, they have that awesome chair and it’s full of hotties.

  18. @ However, there is no way I’m staying on ship with Rush in charge

    Rush isn’t in charge though, in fairness his work is always under scrutiny and you have a few characters ready and willing to put him in his place should he do something to endanger the crew.

  19. Randomness: Yes, “technically” Rush wasn’t in charge but he knew things about the ship. Because of that knowledge, Rush could work around authority. He had an unknown agenda. Knowledge is power. Did not trust Rush. Liked him but didn’t trust him.

  20. @ Sparrowhawk – I just loved Cat, probably because he was quirky…AND a cat! 🙂 I’ve also developed quite a crush on the actor, Danny John-Jules, who is in a light Brit mystery I’ve been watching called Death in Paradise. Here he is as himself in Cat costume:


    He’s older now, but still is still handsome with his great, sexy smile! Here he is as himself, on the set of Death in Paradise:



    @ Tam Dixon – Our ‘fun’ involved The Great Garage Purge of 2013, a two-day house-cleaning, and a weekend in Trenton.

    Yeah…I need a vacation. 😛

    @ Susan Bowden – Loved the show, especially early on. Never saw the entire series, but it will always hold a special place in my heart…esp. Cat. ” I have got hair like yours. Just not on my head.” 🙂 (I think that’s about the safest Cat quote I can make here. 😛 )


  21. Das: We watched an episode of Red Dwarf a few months ago. I was the first one to guess he was a CAT! He did a great job.
    There is always next weekend and it IS calming to have a clean garage. Did you get rid of Shelob?

  22. Hey, Joey! You know how you wanna be called the Spider? Well, I wanna be called the Snake…as in, Snake Wrangler! A black racer snake just got into mom’s house (she’s petrified of the things), and hid in her pantry. I grabbed a broom and a trashcan, and along with one of the workmen we managed to get it in the can…but it escaped and went under a high shelf. Had to move all the stuff out (exactly how many bottles of Ocean Spray juice does one really need??!), and there the poor guy was, cowering in the corner. I stood blockade to keep the snake from getting into the utility room while the workman shooed it out the door with the broom. It was mid-sized…long and sleek and beautiful. Mom didn’t quite appreciate its beauty, however, and has vowed to never go into the pantry again. 😛

    d as in dangersnake!

  23. @ Tam – Shelob… & Co…has been relocated to the neighbor’s yard. A few, however, were sucked up in the shop vac…it was just unavoidable.

    As far as a relaxing weekend – not this coming one as I’m having a yard/garage sale to get rid of more junk. If hubby keeps bringing stuff home, he’s going out in the sale, too!


  24. @ dangersnake – You don’t like spiders but will wrangle a snake. Go figure… 😕

  25. Sorry about the flat food experience. The one and only time I have had veal was at Wilde Beast. Next time in town I will try it again and Campagnolo’s was on the list but time was too short and my feet were sore. I am a late comer to carrot cake, my grandma’s favorite, and bread pudding. I like it with a little whole spice and cinnamon. Well next time Rush is in town.
    I had to think about where I would like to be. I remember the cast of the Space Marines on Tv Guide, a very attractive ensemble. Slogging it out through the cosmic dust, stepping in chigger dung hunting for “Charlie” is not my way to spend as a weekend warrior. I seriously considered Firefly. I would just love to be taught to learn how that engine worked as long as some dorky nihilistic doctor didn’t show up. Some of the other places were too much of a contrived socialistic utopian commune. Being with SG Command would be perfect. At least then I could get back and occasionally knock down a nice Amaret, nectar of the gods, a.k.a beer: Schell’s, Summit, Surely. Beside were else like in Chicago, could you hear a screeching red tail hawk, perhaps looking for some domestic fare? To co-habitate with Moya was near to my heart. It was living and real not cold metal and had accessible working knowledge.

  26. Re: the poll…

    I gotta go with Picard’s Enterprise. Not that being on an SG team of some sort wouldn’t be cool, but the TNG crew felt like a family, and the Enterprise felt like a home. It was a ship of exploration and occasionally battle, but it was also a place where kids took art classes and people hung out a bar and plays were performed. Not to mention the holodecks. And the crew themselves were just wonderful (again, not that many of these other crews/teams aren’t).

    Besides, as cool it would be to hang out with the Doctor, his companions all get killed or dumped eventually. And the lives of a lot of those other ship’s crews are pretty terrible, all things considered. Love Firefly as a show, think the characters are great, but boy would I not want to live on that ship.

    I think my second choice would be DS9. It’s not quite as homey as the Enterprise, but it still has cool people and a lot going on, and it seems like that would have been a neat place to live, too. And, unlike a lot of these places, you don’t actually have to be part of the crew of military/scientist types to live there. So I wouldn’t have to both learn and excel at an entirely new skill/profession.

  27. @dasdanger
    Danny John Jules has a special place in my heart because of his incredible kindness to me about 20 years ago. My mom had just died a few weeks before I went to a convention where he was a guest. I thought maybe taking the trip and doing something I loved back then would help take my mind off my grief for a bit. I was doing ok for the con, But when it came to Monday morning and time to leave, I found myself sitting in a corner trying not to cry because I was going back home to the reality of my mom being gone. A man came over and asked me what was wrong. It was Danny John Jules and he sat down with me and put his arm around my shoulders. I told him about my mom and he let me cry on his shoulder. Then he sat with me in the lobby until it was time for the shuttle to take me to the airport. Then he hugged me goodbye and told me to remember that my mom was always with me in my heart. I have never forgotten his kindness and the strength of support he offered to me even though I was a stranger to him.

  28. This was a tough choice between Atlantis and Time Lord Companion; but I ended up opting for the Time Lord Companion. While I realize that the end of the adventure will end in tears and emotional trauma, the ride up until that point would be unbelievable. And who knows I might just be the companion who walks way from the TARDIS with a smile.

  29. I wouldn’t mind FireFly, it seems it would be a lot like being on a small sailboat that’s capable of ocean travel. Minus space travel and Jewel Staite, Gina Torres and Summer Glau. Which I suppose is a lot of the best parts.

  30. It was a toss up between Voyager (hardly any changes in the crew, never going home, regimented – do your duty and then have time off and having a captain you can trust) and being the Time Lord Companion (all that running for exercise, you can have a good time before dying with a bang).

    I’m too much of a scaredy cat to be part of an SG team. I need someone to hold my hand in things like that. Besides, I don’t want to be there when I can’t figure out which way round a gun goes and accidentally shoot myself or get turned into a gouald.

    What I would really like (and that isn’t on the list) is to be an officer under Honor Harrington from the book series by David Weber. You get promoted faster if you’ve been under her.

  31. I suppose I would manage as a scientist as part of the SG program – just not one of the ones going off world all the time. I could be part of the medical team. yeah.

  32. @ M Reed – Thank you so much for sharing your story about Danny John Jules. That was really sweet and touching. I can certainly understand why he holds a special place in your heart. 🙂


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