We’re in the stretch run of our Hot Chocolate marathon!

Round #16…


High Society:  Earl Grey drinking chocolate.  Served with East Van Roasters’ signature gluten-free brownie and candied orange.

Available at: East Van Roasters, 319 Carrall St, Vancouver, B.C.

East Van Roasters

A great cup of hot chocolate with a  pronounced Earl Grey flavor,  served with an equally great brownie.   One of Akemi’s favorites.

1The Black Widow: Uva’s HC-inspired cocktail: reposado tequila influenced with cacao beans and coffee, Cherry Heering liquer, Amaro averna, Bittered Sling plum and rootbeer bitters.

Available at: UVA Wine Bar (and Bittered Sling)


Wow.  A nice depth of flavors but this one was so strong I only managed a few sips.

Verdict: Both respectful entries, but – DAMN – that was strong.

Winner: High Society (East Van Roasters)

Round #17…


Chartreuse Milkshake: Uva’s HC-inspired cocktail: Citadelle gin, green Chartreuse, cacao beans, lime and orange juice, Bittered Sling Malagasy chocolate bitters, egg white.

Available at: UVA Wine Bar (and Bittered Sling)


Another drink that packed an alcoholic punch.  The Chartreuse was front and center.  The cacao beans less so.


Black Magic: gBAR flavoured with black sesame and matcha tea.   Served with Erin Ireland’s “To Die For” Banana Bread.

Available at: Bella Gelateria, 1001 West Cordova Street.


I’ve found that, in my past visits, the flavors of the gelato bars got lost in the hot chocolate so I requested a cup with half the milk.  The result was a cup with a more concentrated hot chocolate that actually did a better job of showcasing the individual gelato flavors – in this case, black sesame and matcha.

Verdict: I’m a traditionalist, preferring my hot chocolates hot and chocolatey.

Winner: Black Magic (Bella Gelateria)

Round #18…


Red Hot Chili Pepper: gBAR flavoured with chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne.   Served with Erin Ireland’s “To Die For” Banana Bread.

Available at: Bella Gelateria, 1001 West Cordova Street.


Again, I had it with half the milk.  Pleasantly spicy.


Chocofraiche: A hot drink composed of slow-melted dark chocolate and heavy cream, infused with chili, vanilla bean and cinnamon with a dollop of creme fraiche.  Served with zeppoli (Italian doughnuts!)

Available at: UVA Wine Bar (and Bittered Sling)


A very nice sipping chocolate.  This one actually had more punch and a longer linger.  The accompanying zeppoli were a letdown – undercooked and doughy.

Verdict: I like my spicy chocolate.

Winner: Chocofraiche (UVA Wine Bar)

Round #19…


Sour Cherry Tisane: Cold mocha rooibos tea, sour cherry and Pedro Ximénez cordial, Bittered Sling orange and juniper bitters.  Served with zeppoli (Italian doughnuts!)

Available at: UVA Wine Bar (and Bittered Sling)


Pleasantly refreshing.  A wonderful flavor combo highlighted by the rooibos.  One damn fine iced tea.


9 O Clock Gun:  An aromatic cedar hot chocolate – perfect for a stroll around Stanley Park.  Served with an Elderberry Caramel Bar.

Available at: Soirette Macarons & Tea 1433 West Pender Street, Vancouver. (Coal Harbour)


Strange, but not for the reasons advertised.  Instead of the expected subtle cedar, I (and my friend Kathy) picked up notes of cheese – blue or roquefort.  I inquired and cheese was not one of the ingredients.  Hmmmm.

Verdict: I do prefer my hot chocolates hot and chocolatey – but not surprisingly cheesy.

Winner: Sour Cherry Tisane (UVA Wine Bar)


Hera’s Habit: Made from 50% deep milk chocolate with malted milk balls.  Served with vanilla bean cinnamon shortbread.

Available: At Cocoa Nymph 3739 W. 10th Ave (at Alma), Vancouver


Oh my!  You’ll be hard-pressed to find a thicker, richer cup of hot chocolate in this festival.  And the slow-melting malt ball at the heart of the cup was a delightful bonus.


Hungers Satisfied: Dark Chocolate with black pepper.  Served with a vanilla/maldon salt cookie.

Available at: Beaucoup Bakery  2150 Fir Street (in Kitsilano)


Subtle hints of black pepper in a fairly restrained cup.  Akemi felt it tasted more like a latte than an actual hot chocolate.

Verdict: Did I mentioned that slow-melting malt ball?

Winner: Hera’s Habit (Cocoa Nymph)

Our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch continues with…Home!


As soon as my name came up on screen alongside the written by credit, Akemi was instantly on guard: “I’m very nervous about your episodes because you’re twisted.”

True.  And, as expected, she was plenty confused by the episode.  But that was the point!  The audience is supposed to be confused – until the big reveal at episode’s end.  Unfortunately, said big reveal only succeeded in confusing her even more: “Very confusing.  Very complicated.  Don’t you think so?  Were you okay when you wrote the episode?  Like person who did marijuana.”

But after I took the time to break it down for her, explaining the mist was sentient and responsible for their hallucinations: “Ah, interesting. Now makes sense!  Takes so long.  So fog was smart!”  Indeed.

Some other insights she offered while watching…

On Weir motoring around in her vintage car: “She is piece of Mrs. Old Fashioned.”

On Sheppard: “He seems to like girls.”

On McKay: “I like his t-shirt, I’m with Genius.” Thank you.  “I like the fact no one left message and he’s eating old chips.”

On the necklace Simon gifts Weir: “She seems to make a lot of money.  And he seems to make a lot of money, right?  Nice brand necklace is better.  Very cheap.”

Overall – in retrospect, she liked it.  Interestingly: “I feel like I’m watching SGU this episode.  Technical terms a lot.”

My thoughts on this episode in a previous blog entry: June 12, 2012: Pirates! Days of Stargate Past – Atlantis! Home and The Storm! Pick your favorite Stargate mid-season two-parter and WIN!

21 thoughts on “February 12, 2014: The final leg of the Hot Chocolate Festival! Rounds #16 – #20! Our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch continues with…Home!

  1. Speaking of which, I thought it was a shame that we never got to see a Lucius trilogy, he’s easily one of the most funniest/random(And annoying) characters in the Stargate universe. Irreplaceable would have been a good title 🙂

    Anyway the Mist in Home was kinda crazy, but you could almost feel sorry for the beings that lived there, what with the Gate killing them when its activated. I think had this happened in the Milky Way galaxy, an SG team could have just stuck a beacon on the gate and removed from the planet, to help the beings who lived there.

  2. Some of those hot chocolates seem to be wandering pretty far from what I consider hot chocolate. Like you say, I like them hot and chocolatey. That Black Widow one sounds… strong.

    I loved “Home”, it really did have me wondering and feeling confusion right along with the characters about what was going on – Everything’s right, and some things are not *quite* right. I really enjoyed (and probably was the highlight of the episode for me) Teyla’s wonder at Earth civilization and wondering without the Wraith if her people could have achieved something similar. I also really like it when aliens are REALLY alien – not just humanoid.

    Did you guys write all the technical stuff that Rodney was talking about regarding the gate dialing? It all made sense!

    Anyway, great episode – See Akemi, he’s not *completely* twisted!! 🙂

  3. I really liked Home. I can’t remember when I started thinking things were amiss, it’s been so long since I watched it the first time. A little insight into Sheppard’s backstory was welcome and the ability to control his “hallucination” was a nice touch. Was it due to him having the ATA gene or just being stubborn?

  4. I keep missing the hot chocolate festival! Maybe I need to schedule my business trips better next year.

    Speaking of which, I’m still recovering from my weekend of driving around Georgia (875 miles!) But I did get to spend a nice amount of time with my family, so that was good. And I left just in the knick of time. My cousin Debbie posted pictures of snow in Statesboro today, yikes! This is southeast Georgia…snow around there is a sign of the apocalypse! That and drivers that can’t handle snow.

    On the knee front, I’m finished with physical therapy and the orthopedic surgeon cleared me for exercise yesterday. All except running, and leg extensions. Those I’m banned from for life, or until I get a full knee replacement. I may even be able to get back to racquetball later in the summer, but I’ll need watch the knee-pounding. For now it’s swimming, the bike, or the elliptical. I start on Friday.

    “Home” was fun for me, especially seeing some of the characters’ back-stories, but I was worried about how Akemi would take it. I’m glad to hear she enjoyed it in the end. Onward bound to The Storm! I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of Robert Davi.

  5. I loved this comment: Were you okay when you wrote the episode? Like person who did marijuana.” Has to be one of my favorites. 😀

  6. Jeff, you also missed the lovely ice we had today in Atlanta. The good news is that we all overreacted the other direction and no one was on the road unlike last time.

    Loved Akemi’s comments as always. Joe, really hope you will introduce her to Stargate SG-1 episodes too. I will even take them out of ordering, starting with later seasons.

  7. I remember watching this for the first time and thinking… they are going back to earth? And was it Walter? who said that many advancements have been made and inter-planet travel is now possible, just before they all stepped thru the gate. I remembering thinking, why wouldn’t SGC have told them before? It was like,”Oh glad you called, by the way… gate travel between galaxies is possible now.” lol.

    I did pick up on the Johnny Cash poster in Sheppard’s apartment, he took that with him to Atlantis, so how could it be in two places at once??? Something was awry.

  8. Hot chocolate would be nice right now…Deb, glad to hear you folks are handling the weather better. Up here in Virginia still too many idiots on the road, but so far at least the call load isn’t too bad.
    Home was another of those episodes that I didn’t warm to immediately. I am not sure why; Teyla’s shopping spree and Sheppard’s bemused reaction were subtle but fun. And I enjoyed the dual Weir/Rodney conversations, as both characters figured out how seriously wrong things were. Perhaps it’s because this episode does little to advance any broader themes. At least it did foreshadow the fact that Asgardian-enhanced ships would be coming to the aid of the expedition.
    Loved Akemi’s observations, and glad she enjoyed this episode. Things are really going to swing into high gear with the next episode, and if I can get off work on time, I plan to watch both episodes of the 2-parter while ignoring the miserable conditions outside.

  9. Gotta say, creme fraiche is good in my eggs, not my hot chocolate.

    I love Home. There’s a sense of nostalgia in all the “home” scenes as though even they know they aren’t real. And Sheppard’s track jacket is my favorite. Plus, General Hammond!

  10. In case you’ve been too busy to notice, there are new google hits on the subject of whether alligators can climb trees. We can now focus entirely on the zombies climbing trees question.

  11. My thoughts on Home:

    I watched it way back when, again a week ago, and again tonight.

    I think we all guess from the start that the mist is the energy source, but I like how we don’t know it is also sentient until later on. What I cannot decide is whether or not the hazmat suits would have protected our friends from being manipulated by the mist. Since McKay is an Overreactor Extraordinairre, I did find it odd that he was the first one to take off his suit, saying he thinks it is ok without them. McKay doesn’t deal in shades of gray like “think”. He deals more in terms of absolutes and usually states them as such. The exceptions to this are, of course, his many 11th hour life-saving situations during which he will use the words possibly, long shot, maybe, etc. But we all really know that he will save the day yet again in those times.

    Joe, I like what you did when you had Sheppard begin figuring out something was amiss before I, and probably most viewers, had reason to start thinking that. General Hammond in his uniform jacket seemed odd to me in the beginning, as well as the solo shot of Weir in front of the gate at SGC, but I couldn’t figure out the source of the strangeness. So, nicely done at keeping us confused and curious for a while.

    Lt. Ford seemed to be just along for the ride in this episode. I’m sure it would have been difficult to fit in a fourth storyline for him, but it felt kind of forced to have the real Ford in just one 30 second scene in the back half. His fake presence in Sheppard’s party scene worked for me, though. Funny…I found fake Ford to make more sense than real Ford.

    In generalities, I enjoyed the episode for the most part, though I do tend to enjoy SGA and SGU episodes a bit less when they are Earth-based in part or full because I feel it makes the characters and their situation not as dire, desperate, distant, or dramatic.

    Ok, I have to brace myself for the return of the Genii on Friday and Saturday. Blech. You know, if you combine Jinto with Genii, you would have a rapscallion, steam punk, militaristic agrarian named Jentii. Now, wouldn’t that be a strange smash up?

  12. OK, my regard for this so called “Hot Chocolate Festival” is seriously flagging. I can just about cope with iced hot chocolate (not really, it’s either iced chocolate or a chocolate milkshake. The clue is in the name!) but cocktails? I take my hot chocolate seriously and this is a farce! A farce I tell you!

    Home is a great episode with excellent re-watch potential. I love spotting the little differences between each reality.

    Joe, how much of the differences were scripted and how much were the decision of the director?

    Why do you think Akemi has trouble following these complicated episodes? Is it because she doesn’t watch much sci-fi (where these sorts of things happen all the time) or is it a language thing where she just misses a lot of the dialogue? Or maybe it’s a cultural thing. Most Japanese shows are completely incomprehensible to me!

  13. Gluten-free brownie? What are we, Rainbow Family hippies, beating drums? Gah. And Chartreuse? Nope. However, melted malt balls seem right up my alley. When I do make hot chocolate, I prefer to use whole milk with a dash of cream/half n half, and a melted candy bar. Milky Way Dark is my personal favorite. Unfortunately, I rarely have milk or candy bars on hand anymore. I drank a lot of milk until lately, when the calcium began bothering my joints. I can get by with a small portion of dairy now and then, but tall cold glasses of milk have vanished from my life.

    Now I’m sad.

  14. Wow – full-blown nor’easter right now. Had a little snow last night, but all rain now and the yard is flooded because the ground’s frozen and the water has no where to go. ugh. I hope it doesn’t pop any of my patio pavers! Wind is about 20 mph sustained (not unusual for us here near the water), with gusts up to 57 mph. Kinda breezy outside. 🙂 I just hope the power doesn’t go out since my house is all electric. 😛

    I think I’ll hunker down today and stay home. Maybe take a nap (since I went to bed about 3 am, hoping to sleep a good 5 hours until 8 am, but that damn Julien woke me up running from window to window, pawing at the blinds and making all sorts of commotion at 6:30 am. 😛


  15. Did you get free DVD retail sets of the 3 series you co-produced/wrote by SciFi or MGM once it came out, or did you have to buy the 3 series at the retail store on your own dime?

  16. Ok. Suggestion. For next year’s Hot Chocolate festival(provided you’re still in Vancouver and not in LA or some other town running a new show), how about developing a tournament bracket structure to find the ultimate hot chocolate? A few things would have to be established on the side of objectivity. You’d have to blindly assign the numbers to each of the many incarnations of hot chocolate before you lay them out in the bracket(think names going into randomized envelopes with the number of their bracket seats). Then, before you find out who’s going up against whom, you go out and taste test all the “contenders”. Granted, you’ll have to come up with a type of scoring system that is quite objective and standardized, yet leaves enough room for the artistic flair that so many of these hot chocolates have. Then, once everybody’s got their respective scores, you open up the envelopes and start the tournament!

    Either that or you pair matches off by which two establishments are closest to each other and decide a winner right then and there(kind of like you’re doing now). The only problem with that would be you wouldn’t know how one place would necessarily do against a place that was across town. That’s where the scorecard idea comes in and makes it work a bit better.

    Or you could pick the one that just stood out to you the most. Make it easy. 😉

    I dunno, just a thought. Might make it more fun, might make it more work.

    -Mike A.

  17. Hey Das, I didn’t know if you saw my post yesterday so I’ll repeat it. Sherlock’s parents are played by Benedict Cumberbatch’s actual parents. Cool huh?

    Loved Akemi’s comments! Especially, “I’m very nervous about you’re episodes because you’re twisted.” 😆

    On the Hot cocoa picture, is the creamy cocoa with the heart on it called Hungers Satisfied? You described a cookie and the one above it had a cookie. Anyway, by the descriptions I’m leaning toward the Hera’s Habit. I’m not sure about the Sour Cherry Tisane because I’m not a coffee drinker. Gained any weight with all these cocoas?

    Hubby is in Portland Maine and they are supposed to get 8-12 inches of snow. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to fly back tomorrow. 🙁

  18. It sounds sounds like the Hera’s Habit would be something I would enjoy.

    “Home” was okay for me. Initially I was annoyed that they were “home.” I remember people saying that they would be on Atlantis, cut off from Earth and already it was just a few episodes in and they were back on Earth. But then, ah, yes, must be some type of mind control, but it was fun trying to figure out what and who. I enjoyed seeing Torri’s real dog in this episode.

Leave a Reply

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