“You must be so sick of hot chocolate by now,”said my buddy Ivon.  Sick of hot chocolate?!  I can’t afford to be sick!  I’ve only reached the halfway mark of my hot chocolate marathon, my bid to sample all 62-ish flavors being offered as part of this year’s Hot Chocolate Festival.

Round #12…

1Twisted Romance: You’ll go gaga over hot chocolate made with Aussie natural black licorice.  Served with chocolate-dipped natural black licorice.

Available at: Gem Chocolates 2029 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver.


The chocolate-dipped natural black liquorice that accompanied this drink was VERY strong.  I couldn’t finish it.  The hot chocolate, in contrast, was actually quite subtle. Chocolate was the predominant flavor with a hint of the black licorice.  Unless, of course, you actually ate the licorice bits that studded the whipped cream topping.


Beyond the Milky Way: Valrhona Araguani dark chocolate (72%), pear and almond milk (dairy free).  Served with “Marocaine” (almond flour ball flavoured with orange blossom water (dairy free).

Available: French Made Baking 81 Kingsway, Vancouver


Another surprisingly subtle entry.  Neither the pear nor the dark chocolate was particularly pronounced, but the flavor of almond milk was unmistakable.  The drink was possessed of a delightfully mellow, smooth and creamy texture.  Akemi quite enjoyed the Marocaine that accompanied our hot chocolate.  I’m not sure why we were served it in a take-out cup since we’d ordered it “for here”.

Verdict: This one was tough.  Both were fine.  By the slimmest of margins…

Winner: Beyond the Milky Way (French Made Baking)

Round #13…


Winter Citrus: Take a trip to Seville with this hot chocolate flavoured with orange blossom. Served with a citrus marshmallow.

Available at: Last Crumb Cafe, 3080 Main Street (Main and East 15th), Vancouver.


I liked the lingering aftertaste of the slightly bitter orange essence, but Akemi found it almost medicinal and reminiscent of the orange-flavored medicine she used to take as a child.  The hot chocolate was very sweet and didn’t really offer a counterpoint to the equally sweet marshmallow.


Chocolat Glacé a la Cardamome:  Cardamom flavoured iced drinking chocolate. Served with a Gaufre de Liège waffle, along with a side of fleur de sel caramel or chocolate hazelnut spread.

Available at: Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France, 198 East 21st Ave., Vancouver, B.C.


Something a little different – a chilled chocolate drink with a hint of cardamom. Although I preferred the coconut version I had last week, I thought this drinking chocolate was very good.  And the accompanying waffle, with a side of fleur de del caramel, terrific.

Verdict: Even setting aside the waffle, I have to go with…

Winner: Chocolat Glacé a la Cardamome (Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France)

Alright.  Last night marked the start of our Stargate: Atlantis rematch – and Akemi’s first time watch of the classic SF series.  So, what did she think?

ArrivalWithin the first five minutes (Ancients, Atlantis leaves Earth, the present-day scientists are working at the newly discovered base, talk of the Ancient gene): “I’m confused.”

I gave her a brief primer which she seemed to understand – or, at the very least, pretended to understand because she grew tired listening to the explanation.

She found the visual effects good at parts, okay in others, and was impressed with the size of some of the sets: “I find the place humongous!”

Alas, she didn’t instantly warm to our heroes.  With the exception of Dr. Carson Beckett who she loved from the get-go.  She found him as charming as his accent – which, I informed her was Scottish, much to her surprise: “Oh.  I thought he was Italian!”.

A somewhat reserved response to our hero, John Sheppard, who she didn’t find as dashing as either Daniel Jackson or General O’Neill (or the greatly missed Eli Wallace) and who – I had to break the bad news to her – would not be heading off on the expedition.  And later, when John meets Teyla for the first time: “He is playboy.” And she didn’t seem to mean it in a good way.

As the expedition prepared to head off to parts unknown, I asked her if she would join them if presented with the opportunity.  “Depend on who with,”she answered. When I told her that, quite obviously, she’d be traveling with the expedition members we’d been introduced to, her answer was a definite: “No.”

Later in the episode, when Colonel Sumner’s team encounters off-world humans – who speak perfect English no less: “They speak English?!:  Then: “Perfect English.” And: “Better than me!”

After the episode ended, it was clear she wasn’t as enthusiastic as she’d been after the conclusion of Air I, but she was keeping an open mind: “Need time to get to like characters.”  And some time to get used to the new series: “Different concept.   Visiting planets and visitors.”

Overall: “It’s a bit old compared to SGU.  Not just because of computer graphic but fashion, hair style.”

On the look of the Destiny vs. Atlantis: “SGU seems more alienish.  This one looks more like Tokyo Disneyland attraction.”

And finally, almost apologetically: “I don’t know.  Maybe I don’t love it.”  Well, let’s give it some time.  I’m sure it’ll grow on her.

As for me, it was great rewatching the pilot although, coming back at it fresh, I can see exactly what would have appealed to long-time Stargate fans – and, on the other hand, turned off potential new viewers.  In brief: “Ancients, Ancient gene, English-speaking human aliens”.  I did a brief walk-down-memory-lane write-up on the opening two-parter a couple of years ago:

June 7, 2012: Day of Stargate Past – Atlantis, Rising I and II

 – highlighted by memories of the “new and improved” gate, theories regarding O’Neill’s reluctance to allow Daniel to join the expedition, and the ridiculous hat worn by one actor during an audition.

Rewatching the episode also brought back memories of one of the biggest bones of contention early in the show’s run.  No, not a creative issue.  A hair issue. Specifically, Teyla’s hair which engendered some ferocious criticism from the get-go. The debatee was heated – and didn’t get resolved until episodes later.  Really.

So, what did you all think?

Tomorrow, we move on to Rising II.  I’ll be posting Akemi’s review of the episode –

As well as my Superbowl prediction!

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regulars – and birthday celebrants – Ganymede and Mamasue9!

33 thoughts on “February 1, 2014: The Hot Chocolate Tour Continues with Rounds #12 and #13! Twisted Romance vs. Beyond the Milky Way! Winter Citrus vs. Chocolat Glacé a la Cardamome! Our Stargate Atlantis Rewatch Begins with Rising 1!

  1. Been gone all day, very tired, but just wanted to say two things…well, say one thing, and ask another.

    1. When Akemi said the hair styles, etc were old, did she mean old like…2005, or old like…1850? If the latter, I prefer using the term ‘tribal’ or ‘primative’ to ‘old’.

    2. Yesterday while out at a restaurant, two guys kept staring at me. Finally one mustered up the couraged and asked me, “Are you the ‘Barefoot Contessa’?” 😆

    My dad has long said I look like her, while my father-in-law says I look like the Vicar of Dibley‘s Dawn French. Either way, it’s just proof that all us fat brunettes look alike. 🙂


    1. Did you smack your lips a lot while eyeing your food. That was probably a dead giveaway.

      No, she meant 2005 dated.

  2. I’m now on 38 minutes and its great to revisit them. The first thing I thought when watching Rising, is Beckett’s accent seems much more pronounced…could be I saw Paul in a movie yesterday with an American accent. Truth be told, I was never a Shepperd fan, but I did enjoy the rest of the team. I remember Rachel mentioning something about wig issues at a con I went to about 2 years into the show. I still thinkAtlantis in the most beautiful set and the rising out of the water was fabulous.

  3. Joe,

    I remember that I didn’t like Sheppard right away in season 1 either. In fact, the only reason I had watched the season was because of McKay. It wasn’t until season 2 and I rewatched the first season on DVD that I really got into the Sheppard character and from then on I watched the show for him.

    I think that season 8 of SG-1 showing the same year, and the fact that I identified with Sam more than any other character because Amanda had short blond hair and was born two days after me, that I didn’t really get into SGA until Amanda wasn’t in the first several episodes of season 9.

  4. Joecito, refresh my memory, please? Why was Daniel Jackson so sure that the 8 symbol address was Atlantis? Couldn’t it have been something else?

    1. Hey Deni,

      Yes, we’re watching part 2 tonight. Comments tomorrow. And on to episode #3!

  5. Atlantis is my favourite of the three shows, but it took me quite a while to warm to the characters as well…I liked Beckett right away though, and warmed McKay and Weir within a couple of episodes. By season 2 I loved them all and Atlantis has remained not only my favourite ‘Gate but my favourite sci fi show ever since!

  6. Hey Joe
    Rising made for a great ‘pilot’ for the series. That said, I agree Akemi, none of the characters had any appeal for me. I wanted to like the series so I held on and kept watching. McKay really grew on me then the other characters gelled and, well, the rest is history.
    Question: Was someone in charge of making sure the ‘background’ stuff all worked with everything? I watched it for the first time in HD and was quite amazed by all the computer screens and whatnot. Sure, they were always there in SD, but I couldn’t see what was on them and always thought that was the idea.


  7. Joe, the one guy said he thought I was her, but was then pretty sure I was her when I started talking about food to an older couple sitting next to us. i was raving a bit about hot sauce, so lip-smacking could possibly have been involved. 😛

    Also, I didn’t realize that 2005 was ‘old’. (Of course, I still dress like a hippie from the 70s, so what the hell do I know. 😛 )


  8. I can see Akemi being a little thrown off, watching SGU before this series. The tone of the two series is certainly different, though both at least start off with the crews isolated from Earth. Indeed, the Atlantis team is in worse shape in some ways, since the Universe crew at least had the communications stones.
    There is also the baggage of the cameos in the first episode, especially if she likes Jackson. Still, I thought the episode was great. Weir demonstrates competence as a leader, Sheppard is somewhat of an enigma, Carson is great as comedic relief, as is Rodney to a lesser extent. And as much as I hate vampire stories, the Wraith are a wonderfully creepy enemy, especially as we do not know anything about them yet. Even Sumner is painted with a bit more than broad strokes. His little smile as Sheppard successfully gets Teyla to accept them indicates his appreciation for Sheppard’s skills in negotiating.
    Odd that Akemi thinks of him as a playboy. I didn’t get that vibe from him in this episode. Of all the characters, he is the obvious choice as womanizer, so maybe that is what she is picking up on. I do hope she warms up to the characters and the show though. It is truly bittersweet re-watching the show, having loved the series and still carrying a grudge at its cancellation.

  9. Akemi…don’t give up on Shepherd!!!! Really!

    I loved Shepherd from the get go…not like I loved O’Neill of course that came later 🙂 I also loved the immediate chemistry of the team, especially Ford and Shepherd…really missed Ford after he left.

    I was in Vancouver for Gatecon when Atlantis began and was at Bridge for an SG-1 set tour the Sunday after. I would have LOVED to have visited the Atlantis set. I thought (and still do) the Atlantis Gateroom was just awesome. It is the Wallpaper on my home computer and my work computer.

    Can’t waiting for Part 2!

  10. I always find Weir’s lines: “This Chair controls the most powerful weapons known to humankind.” small laugh “I’m afraid of the thing.” are a bit off.
    The noise Weir makes and the way she says the second line makes the line sound almost dirty, like it gets her hot thinking about the chair. I must be reading too much into it.

    I think the cast is a bit slow coming together, or at least not as good as SGU’s cast.

    I think Hewlett does the best job of nailing his character.
    Torri Higginson comes in very a close second. Of course neither of those two are really new.

    I agree with Akemi’s with the comment on the set. Of course SGU’s set on the ship was very dark leaving the imagination to create much and lend an air of mystery.

    I don’t recall who recommended it, if it was someone here, but I picked up Jussi Adler-Olsen’s book “The Keeper of Lost Causes” and I enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook version.

  11. THX J! 😀

    I stayed up till 8am.
    Slept till 1pm.
    It SNOWED!
    And still went SHOPPING!
    I *Splurged*! !
    Survived the 5-minute Sleighing home.
    Then, had to “Part 1”-SHOVEL my little corner of the ANTARCTIC so I could unload the SNOWBANK-JUMPER…
    Hopefully, I didn’t AWAKEN the GROUNDHOGS!


  12. I ended up watching Rising 1 and Rising 2 in one go last last night (the Bluray version treats it as one episode). I have seen Rising 1&2 perhaps 4 or five times. This time I noticed more of the background details like the use of High-Voltage insulator rods that were used as the fence posts in the Athosian village. I think the set designers were trying for a “decayed and once advanced civilization” look that reused the bits of the old.

    I remember when I first started watching Atlantis; I wasn’t sure about it to begin with. Mckay was just annoying to me and it took until The Siege for him to grow on me.

    Re-watching also gave me a new appreciation for the soundtrack and Foley work. Simply great. It made me miss Joel Goldsmith’s work and subsequently sad for his passing.

    Tonight I’m glad that I watched Rising 1&2 in one go last night; it’s been a busy day and I’m looking forward to just relaxing. Besides making breakfast and dinner, I shoveled the driveway, and then spent most of the day in contortionist positions removing bits of the Corvette’s interior. I’m going to have aches and pains in odd places tomorrow, but I made good progress.

    More work on the ‘Vette tomorrow and then I’ll be getting ready for my week ahead. I’ve already trans-coded the first season of my SGA DVDs to MP4, so I’ll be able to watch them on my tablet (and keep pace with the re-watch) when I travel to Atlanta on Thursday. I’m curious to hear what Akemi will think of McKay in Hide and Seek.

  13. Ahhhh Atlantis, I’d go on that expedition in a heartbeat.That Atlantis set looks so Frank Lloyd Wright inspired.Was is not? Why weren’t Carter and T’ealc part of that? Holy hanna Teyla’s hair…really needed to add some “Roo” to her do. It did improve, who was her stylist in the Pegasus Galaxy?

  14. “Alas, she didn’t instantly warm to our heroes. With the exception of Dr. Carson Beckett who she loved from the get-go.”

    Oh no… I smell a divorce later on… I can just hear it, “my boyfriend writer is mean.”

  15. I agree with Akemi about the sets. One of the things that really struck me was how awesomely enormous Atlantis felt. I can see what Akemi means about the hairstyles looking a bit dated (though they were fine at the time) and the non-com uniforms struck me as very Star Trek. And although I really LOVE the Wraith darts, their whiny engines got on my nerves this time around.

    Strangely enough, I liked Sheppard better this time than I did the first time around. Maybe it was just in comparison with the Colonel, who is a real ass, but he seemed more genuinely friendly to the “indigenous people”. However, I think Akemi is very perceptive picking up on Sheppard so quickly. McKay and Beckett were very engaging as characters. I especially enjoyed McKay’s quirkiness.

    I’m enjoying getting into the story again. The only small quibble I have is with the city rising. It felt a bit contrived. I understand that it was some kind of fail-safe mechanism, but it would have been so much more satisfying if the team had actually been able to find a way to do it themselves.

    One thing I always wondered about: I think that the pilot is the only time that the Wraith are able to use the illusion effect. Was there a conscious decision to take that out of the story or did it just get lost?

    (yes, my internet has mysteriously started working again; not sure why it took the splice they did to take so long to work – maybe the ice got into it and completed the connection? I’m just glad it works!)

  16. Aww, sorry Akemi wasn’t so thrilled with SGA. It and Sheppard and McKay are my absolute favorites.Hopefully as it progresses she will be able to enjoy it more. I think the Atlantis set was probably the most beautiful set of any show I’ve ever watched. Love the shades of blue. Just a thought, do you think knowing some details about the people behind the scenes from what you have told her has any influence on how she perceives the characters in both SGU and SGA?

  17. I have to admit, the hairstyles are the biggest issue regarding datedness for me. The ladies’ hair, mainly. Somehow, unless it’s a bowlcut or mullets, men don’t have to worry about that so much. But I never was too keen on either Teyla or Weir’s hair (although I don’t mind Weir’s hair in the first few eps, it more later on). Other than that, is it the uniforms she takes issue with? I actually feel both SG1 and SGA stand up in the clothing sense because everyone is wearing those very generic yet practical uniforms (unlike, say, the Next Generation one piece uniforms, yikes). Only the downtime clothes are dated and I find that’s mainly for Sam and Teal’c on SG1. (Sam’s clothing choices were very odd; sometimes she’s a matronly figure with no shape and then other times she’s a biker babe wearing a midriff shirt.)

    As for John not being as dashing – blasphemy! Sure, he takes longer to warm up to personality-wise, but he’s just as handsome.lol And not a playboy! I always felt that was an unjust assessment of him. Sure he flirts, but hell, by the end of the show it’s McKay who’s had more girlfriends (and started out treating women far worse). Sheppard has a markedly strange way of dealing with women that he puts best himself; he “never sees it coming”. He flirts all day, but always seems strangely taken aback when a woman actually throws themselves at him (because that’s the other thing, John never chases them). Thoughts on that aspect of Sheppard, Joe? Was he meant to be a playboy and I’m merely too protective of him? 😉

    I still love the pilot to death – the move from green and gold shades of SG1 to blue, the new streamlined gate, the city rising…gorgeous visual effects. And wraith queens (yay Andee!) are always awesome and I particularly love the redhead of the pilot. Such a contrast to the blond/white of the men and soldiers.

    You’re going to be sick of my comments by the end of this rewatch. I have massive feels about this show.

  18. Happy Birthday, Ganymede and MamaSue9! I hope you had a wonderful day.

    I loved the pilot of Atlantis. I enjoyed the helicopter shots with O’Neill and Sheppard. They seemed like the beginning of a movie, rather than a tv series. So epic.

    I never did like Col. Sumner. He always seemed like a jerk. I wasn’t too broken up about it when he didn’t make it.

    McKay was the most familiar character to me, having gotten to know him on SG-1. My family hated him when they watched the early episodes with me, but I was sure he would grow on them. He didn’t. They stopped watching after the first season. I continued to watch until the end. I loved every episode, except for two – Irresistible and Sunday. But that comes later.

    I loved that Sheppard got thrown into the deep end when Sumner died and had issues with who was the boss. I could easily see that being an issue with him.

    The biggest difference. I found, with SGA and SGU was that, when things got really difficult, the SGA stepped up, but you never knew what would happen with the SGU team. The characters seemed more self serving on SGU. Maybe this is more of a reality than the SGA story, but I’d like to believe that people are not all selfish and would be willing to step up to save others. For this reason, I much preferred the SGA team.

  19. My daily hot cocoa consumption has doubled since you’ve taken your journey. Some interesting flavors you’ve described! Parmesan and chocolate from the other day, who knew? I’m not crazy about black licorice but I’d try it.

    Great comments from Akemi on SGA! Very interesting views from someone that started with SGU. Like Ponytail said Oh no… I smell a divorce later on… I can just hear it, “my boyfriend writer is mean.” 😆

    Deni: Has it stopped raining yet? When I was reading the news, it talked about California is not sharing their water. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/02/02/california-cuts-off-water-to-agencies-serving-millions-amid-drought/ Maybe they should move to Tampa?

    Das: I’d take that as a compliment. The Barefoot Contessa show is very good!

    Happy Birthday Ganymede and Mamasue9!!

  20. Licorice? I love it, but combined with hot chocolate, it sounds dreadful. Not my cup of tea. Well, not tea, but uh… yeah.

  21. Rising 1 and 2 are among my favorite of all time favorite show pilots. And believe me, as a die-hard SG1 fan, I had my doubts about a spin-off, which I’m sure I voiced here and over on Gateworld blog. The launching of a new show while the original was still airing, yet nearing it’s close, based on the same “canon”, really bothered me.
    As I’m also a fan of the Star Trek universe, and sequel after sequel, film after film treatment there, I had my doubts this would be a good thing for StarGate. Boy, was I wrong.
    I agree with much of what many have already stated, especially thornyrose01. The Atlantis city sets were magnificent. McKay was instantly lovable and Beckett most charming. The Wraith sets looked a bit Elvira-esque, but I did love the fluid motions and wildly red headed Wraith queen who just oozed evil. I often wondered what I would feel like walking up those lighted stairs in the gateroom to OPS, awestruck, excited and overwhelmed, I’m sure. So sad it’s all gone now.

    On a different note, I just completed reading the “Terms of Enlistment” sequel, “Lines of Departure” by Marko Koos, and yes, on my Kindle. It was very good, but didn’t have the same feel as the first novel, which was simply wonderful. I will continue looking for more from this new writer though, he has great potential.

    Well, that’s it for now.

  22. Oh, and very hearty Happy Birthday” with good cheer to both Ganymede and Mamasue9!
    My b-day is 2 days away and I will have the day off from work. Huzzah!

  23. If you’re doing a mailbag tomorrow I guess I’ll ask this.

    In your opinion, why do you think Jack was so eager for John to go to Atlantis? Do you think he saw potential in John or do you think it may also be because he knew John had the ATA gene, and had a somewhat questionable history and thought perhaps with all this combined it was the best choice for him?

  24. Hadn’t realized how much I did not remember about the first 2 episodes – until I watched them. Could not just stop with episode 1 because I HAD to see Atlantis rise again and of course it does not – until episode 2.

    I did remember – the “oh okay,” this is the way the series will evolve. Meaning that initially, it seemed that the team was stuck being submersed under tons of water and no place to go. And, I did think that while interesting to discover more of the city, that could get boring if drawn out over many episodes.

    Then the excitement of places to go, things to discover, and people to meet.

    Rodney – continued to be his irritating self – but at least over time, it seemed as thought he was mellowing with age to not be so pompous.

    Sheppard – started out being a young, cocky, swaggart with “strange hair.” He too seemed to grow up a bit.

    Hair – I guess, I was kinda oblivious to most with the exception of:
    Sheppard – spikey and punk before punk became real.
    Weir – seemed she was not a fashion maven which was fine

    Loved SGA and now we get to do it again.
    And, it is really cool to hear everyone’s comments as we remember and compare.

    Akemi’s comments are wonderful from her untarnished point of view.
    Looking forward to more.

  25. I don’t see any chocolate I’d like on this go-round. Probably just as well.

    Rising I, much fun to watch it again. First of all, love love love the music. Always have. Nice setup to what we know is coming. I think at this point I liked Sheppard and Beckett and wasn’t too impressed with anyone else.

    I predict that Akemi isn’t going to like “Sunday” any more than I did. But that’s later!

  26. JeffW: I noticed the electrical insulators for the first time too this watch, and I’ve watched the series now about five times. I kinda found it a bit off-putting, actually.

    On the other hand, maybe the village was smack dab over a power distribution plant, buried in 10,000 years of dirt, and only the insulators are left, sticking out of the ground.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.