Yes, I know we’re not even halfway through February, but this meal was so all-fired bizarre that I cannot imagine anything even coming close in the next eleven months.  And thus, I declare my dinner at Secret Location = My Weirdest Meal of 2014!

But what, you may ask, made it so weird?  Well, allow me to break it down for you. All ten courses:

1Fossilized tomato with manchego crumbs 

Fossilized?  Let me look that up.  Oh, thanks dictionary.com:

fos·sil·ize

[fos-uh-lahyz]  Show IPA

verb (used with object), fos·sil·ized, fos·sil·iz·ing.

1. Geology . to convert into a fossil; replace organic with mineral substances in the remains of anorganism.
2. to change as if into mere lifeless remains or traces of the past.
3. to make rigidly antiquated: Time has fossilized such methods.

Let’s go with…3?

Texturally odd but nevertheless tasty.  I wish we’d been given a spoon we could have used to scoop up the cheese crumbs.

1Ostrich floss with mostarda 

Well, okay, I’ll take your word for it.  For all I knew it could have been bison, chipmunk, or a leather instep, dehydrated and stripped.  Again, texturally interesting but there wasn’t much distinctiveness outside of the sweet mostarda.

1Ostrich dumplings 

I believe the waitress said this was ostrich neck (which, I’m guessing, comprises approximately 60% of an ostrich).  It lay nestled within a deep-fried and starchy vegetable (potato?) and crusted with I’m not sure what.  This one, less texturally interesting with muted flavors.

1Abalone salad and buddha’s hand 

Ah, now we’re on to something.  Small but tasty, this marked the first (and quite possibly last) time I’ve ever eaten Buddha’s hand, a fragrant fruit that I suspect is about as popular a salad component as it is a Halloween ornament.

Yo!  Pass me the chthulu!
Yo! Pass me the cthulu!

1

White asparagus with egg yolk textures

Those egg yolk textures being creamy fruit roll-up like.  Good but the egg yolk elements felt more like a distraction.  The white asparagus were very good though.

1Brown rice crusted sweet breads with vanilla jus 

Hells yes!  One of my fellow diners called this Kentucky Fried Sweetbreads with good reason.  Probably not the kitchen’s intent, but it was spectacular nevertheless.  The accompanying rapini offered a nice bitter element to contrast the (odd) vanilla jus. The plate of the night!

1  Tea infused squab with tobacco chocolate jus

Qu’est ce que c’est ce “squab”?  Well, remember the opening scene in Blade Runner. The one in which Leon is being interviewed?  It goes something like this:

Holden: You look down and see a squab, Leon.  It’s sitting in front of you.

Leon: Squab?  What’s that?

Holden: You know what a pigeon is?

Leon: Of course!

Holden: Same thing.

More or less.  So, yes, one of them “eatin’ pigeons”.  And, yes, they’re supposed to be served medium-rare.

All in all, a very good dish – but the Kentucky Fried Sweetbreads are a tough act to follow.

1Cardamon and tangerine

Palate cleanser.  This would have been better served following the final course.

1Secret tea party: guava hibiscus tea ganache, tea meringue, lychee gel, and rose sorbet

Everyone else at the table loved this dish and Akemi declared it her favorite of the night.  A very inspired plate that, despite my general disdain for a: light desserts, b: fruit-based desserts, and c: deconstructed desserts, I was able to appreciate nevertheless.  My only quibble was the rose sorbet that proved rock-hard and near impossible to cut.  One of my fellow diner’s attempt to split his in half resulted in his sorbet firing off his place to land at my feet.  Careful.   You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!

1Eggplant wizard: compressed spiced eggplant, puff pastry flakes, liquid rice pudding, and croissant ice cream

If I could, I’d like to make another addition to my disdained dessert list: d) vegetables, in any form, incorporated into a dessert.  Seriously.  I half-expected the kitchen staff to be secretly watching us, giggling amongst themselves: “Look.  Look! He’s actually going to eat it!  Damn!  I knew we should’ve pushed the apricot pit sorbet.”  The eggplant was off-puttingly firm, as if it had been served raw and tossed in sweet syrup.  The “liquid rice pudding”, by the way, was actually cauliflower. Worse than I expected.

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch with…Childhood’s End!

1With the exception of those annoyingly precocious kids (with their – ugh – chocolate-smeared faces), I enjoyed this one on rewatch.  And Akemi seemed fairly caught up in the story although, in hindsight, I wonder if it was less a case of her enjoying the episode as it was her trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

Surprisingly, she had little to say about Childhood’s End.  On the one hand, she didn’t like Aries who struck her as exceptionally angry (and wore a “stupid hat”); on the other hand, she did like the fact the kids enjoyed chocolate (kindred spirits?). And her appreciation for McKay continues to grow: “McKay was funny.  I like him more.”

Overall, she thought it okay although: “Hard to understand the concept thought.”

You can refer to my thoughts on this episode – in which I discuss Martin Gero, wall, and Death Bird Fall From Sky – here:

June 9, 2012: Dark Matter! Comic Con! Days of Stargate Past – Stargate: Atlantis! Suspicion and Childhood’s End!

One other thing I noticed after all this time is that the actor who plays Aries, Dominic Zaprogna, was originally cast as Dr. Boone in Stargate: Universe, appearing in a couple of episodes (Light, Life) before  landing the role of Dante Falconeri on General Hospital.  Boone disappeared and was replaced by the character of Dr. Caine, played by Tygh Runyan.  We ended up slipping a little inside joke into the episode Visitation when, after being greeted by Caine’s voice from the mysteriously-reappearing shuttle, our crew have the following exchange:

ELI:  OK, trust me: these aliens built a planet from scratch and can just throw a shuttle between galaxies. I’m pretty sure they could impersonate Caine if they wanted to!

VOLKER: Boone used to do a pretty good Caine.

BRODY: I thought it was the other way around.

Now you know!

Tonight, we watch Poisoning the Well and then we take a break until Monday night when we’ll resume our rewatch with…Underground.

Mailbag:

arctic goddess writes: “This was your and Paul’s first script for Atlantis. Can you walk us through the concept for this episode and how you pitched it to the other writers? Or did you chose it from a group of show ideas?”

Answer: Actually, the idea for the episode (Suspicion) came from freelancer Kerry Glover.  Her name appears in the opening where she receives a “Story by” credit. Paul and I took over at the outline stage and ended up writing the script for which we received a “Teleplay by” credit.

Randomness writes: “Do you think had the situation been a lot less desperate that the attitude from some of the officers towards the Athosians may of been different? And maybe they would have been less suspicious?”

Answer: I don’t think desperation had much to do with it.  Bates and co. were suspicious because the wraith seemed to know where they were whenever the team went off-world, suggesting they’d somehow been tipped off.  In this scenario, the logical assumption would be that someone inside Atlantis was feeding them information about Sheppard’s team.

22 thoughts on “February 6, 2014: My Weirdest Meal of 2014! Our Stargate Atlantis rewatch continues with…Childhood’s end! And an inside joke revealed!

  1. Not sure what to add about the meal – there’s some weird stuff there.

    “Childhood’s End”, with its kind of awkward combination of “Logan’s Run” and that annoying original series Star Trek episode with all the kids where the adults were “grups”, was one of my least favourite SG episodes ever. Not that I disliked it (I never really disliked any SG episodes. Well, maybe “Emancipation”) but it’s definitely not among my favourites. If I remember the DVD commentary, I think even Martin G. was not that fond of it.

    Also why, after getting an arrow in the chest, did Keras then have his arm in a sling in the scene after? I just had my first aid refresher course, and I didn’t remember that as a solution!

  2. If only the team from Atlantis had some sort of a – I don’t know – directive . . . a prime directive perhaps, that they could refer to so they don’t get themselves into messes like these?

    A damn fine episode that I enjoy every time. I even like the little kids! Anyone that gets the better of McKay is OK in my books!

    I’ve had plenty of abalone before (called Pāua in New Zealand) but I’ve never heard of Buddha’s Hand! I’ve also had emu before which is close enough to ostrich. And I’ve had pigeon, too. Not squab but real pigeon. Nearly broke my teeth on the shotgun pellets still in it! Individually I wouldn’t call any of these dishes particularly weird but taken as a whole that’s a pretty meal. I’m with you – fruit deserts? No thanks! Vegetable deserts? Hell no! Carrot cake is about the closest I get.

  3. I doubt I could have sat through that many courses of that many …peculiar offerings. Still, interesting to see what chefs can come up with to challenge the palate.
    Childhood’s End definitely had its moments. Nice amoral streak on McKay’s part, with the women folk stepping in to anchor the expedition and the male lead characters in what the Expedition should stand for. The culture that evolved is indeed harsh, but it’s hard to fight the logic behind it. People live long enough to procreate enough to at least maintain stability, the society is tailored to assuring the children produced will be brought up lovingly when their parents are gone, And if nothing else, this episode earns its existence simply for what will happen to Zelinka in the future…
    thank you for the weekend break. Trying to slip in viewing time has been bit of a push this week, but I finally am on top of my duties for the moment. One more work day, then I can brace for whatever jokes mother nature is going to play on us with the weather.

  4. Secret Location, secret tea party, now I am getting the idea –keep it a secret –is a better idea…and like my desserts without vegetables please,,but thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh, one of your fellow diners called it Kentucky Fried Sweetbreads. I was thinking that was the dish’s name, which would mean they were referring to something other than KFC. I was wracking my brains for a Kentucky-specific method. Definitely not the rice breading. In Kentucky, we ate our rice with butter and salt like every other veggie.

  6. This episode always make me smile. The adults interacting with the kids is hilarious, particularly McKay. I also love McKay’s glee over the ZPM. And his running.

  7. weird
    adj 1: suggesting the operation of supernatural influences…

    Hmm. That might explain the Cthulhu. 😉

    das

  8. Oooo…I *LOVE* GUAVA!! – But, it’s really difficult to find here…

    BTW, the “size” of these “courses”… They look more like “spoonfuls”. And, a LOT of wasted Dish-space. – That has to be washed by some poor underpaid Smuck…

    ah-HA! — It’s been bugging me for ages, about WHERE I’d “seen” *DANTE* before!! Actually, more his Voice than anything else… And, speaking of “vegetable-desserts” — the “writing” on GH tastes even worse!

  9. Your meal sure beats what I had at O’hare tonight (Hot Wings, a Caesar Salad, and a beer at the Cubs Bar in Terminal 3). Still that was better than what I’ve had at some airports.

    I made it to Atlanta fine; I went from 7F to 70F! Now for meetings and then a weekend of driving to visit family.

    On Childhood’s End, I thought it made a nice stand alone episode. If I had been watching by myself, I probably would have skipped it, but after sitting through it, I was glad I re-watched it. The team interaction and banter really hit its stride here. And David Hewlett was at his best when being tormented by the kids.

    Did anyone notice that Courtenay J. Stevens (who played Keras) also played Lt. Kevin Elliott in three episodes of SG-1?

  10. I think I’ll pass on your meal even while my own din-din left a lot to be desired. I might have liked separate – real guava and the lychee. At least my dessert was dark choc coated thin pretzels…which were quite yummy.

  11. I agree with Ganymede. I have never understood the reason for ridiculously tiny meals at upscale restaurants. I know that they are supposed to be a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, but why spend several hundred dollars for something, then be forced to go out for a hamburger because you are still hungry?

    By the way, I love white asparagus. I lived in Germany for four years. It’s very popular there, so we had it quite often. If you ever get to Germany, try eating at a Gasthause as well as the fancy schmancy restaurants. They serve wonderful meals.

  12. Bluewater Cafe & Raw Bar & The Pointe Restaurant at the Wick for me – only a few weeks to go now…:D

  13. I think for once I may actually prefer my dessert to yours: sauteed tart cherries with Port wine over vanilla ice cream.

    But it looks like an interesting meal. Except the eggplant thing.

  14. It seems like the joke might not be entirely inside since it’s possible to get it without the explanation.

  15. More of a in your opinion question from me for Childhoods End

    Do you think team Atlantis ever returned to the planet to check on how things were going there? It seems like a whole new chapter unfolding on that planet what with the suicide pact not being needed, do you think they will progress a bit as a society now?

  16. The Stargate franchise seemed to do a nice job in bring back actors to fill roles like Courtenay J. Stevens. There was a very nice group in Proving Grounds who went on to other shows. Stevens (Lt. Elliot, Keras) has this really upbeat side that always seems to come through. It is something just can’t be turned off.
    But of course the kids enjoyed chocolate. It is one the unique items in the universe found only on Earth. And, Earth are where humans originated, correct?
    I did enjoy the fact that Wier did berate McKay for although being a bit too A moral. But in the scientific manner he had to find an explanation. I was a bit shocked that in a middle of a groups Sheppard goes off on the Wraith singling device.

  17. Wow, often your book list isn’t either my taste, or interesting but NOT in mood for. Annihilation, however! I went to look, it is in kindle but the next 2 in series set for may and Sept. Looks good!

  18. That food…. I…..just can’t…. Maybe they will serve some purpose for me to lose weight. Yeah…that’s the ticket.

    I liked this episode quite a bit. It had a lot of snark in it.

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