April 18, 2014: Akemi’s birthday festivities!Our Stargate Atlantis re-watch continues with…The Prodigal!

Akemi’s birthday…

Picking up a selection of home made marshmallows at Achimallows pop-up stand.
Picking up a selection of home made marshmallows at Archimallows pop-up stand.
The selection
The selection


Birthday lunch at Bel Cafe.  Banh Mi for me.
Birthday lunch at Bel Cafe. Banh Mi for me.
And spicy chicken salad and a matcha latte for Akemi.
And spicy chicken salad and a matcha latte for Akemi.
And some hazelnut drags to go.  I'm a sucker for those complimentary samples.
And some hazelnut dragees to go. I’m a sucker for those complimentary samples.
New running shoes, a.k.a. new chew toys for Lulu.
New running shoes, a.k.a. new chew toys for Lulu.
Then, over to Main Street to check out the Candy Meister truck.
Then, over to Main Street to check out the Candy Meister truck.


And, of course, her favorites - and the reason we chase this truck around town - the handmade marshmallows.
And, of course, her favorites – and the reason we chase this truck around town – the handmade marshmallows.
An afternoon walk/roll with the dogs.
An afternoon walk/roll with the dogs.
Doggy bath time.
Doggy bath time.
Sushi dinner at Miku Restaurant
Sushi dinner at Miku Restaurant
Drinks.  For her, some sort of Yuzi liquor.
Drinks. For her, some sort of Yuzi liquor.
For me, the sake sampler.
For me, the sake sampler.
And the "lotus root salad" that was served, completely devoid of lotus roots.  When I asked about this, I was informed that they were out.  Really?
And the “lotus root salad” that was served, completely devoid of lotus roots. When I asked about this, I was informed that they were out. Really? On the bright side, our sushi was served with the expected fish.
And, instead of birthday cake, Akemi opted for birthday gelato at Bella Gelateria.  Yes, it's that good!
And, instead of birthday cake, Akemi opted for birthday gelato at Bella Gelateria. Yes, it’s that good!

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…The Prodigal!

1Another Carl Binder-san spectacular.  I loved this episode even more on repeat viewing.  It’s got action, humor, and high-stakes developments with all of our characters in play (even Zelenka, Lorne, and Amelia Banks).  Fast-paced fun!

And Akemi agreed.  She laughed out loud a couple of times, jumped at others, and seemed just as anxious as Teyla when she was in hiding with her baby.  The night time establishers of the city all lit up never fail to amaze, and the “really cool fighting scenes” in this one wowed her as well, especially the final showdown at the top of the tower (Again, thanks to Mark Savela and our VFX crew and James Bamford and our stunts crew).  Her only quibble with this episode: “I’m so sad I didn’t see any scenes with Jewel.  Where’s Jewel?”  I dunno.  Night off?

She was at her most animated when Sheppard almost tumbles off the tower and is left dangling: “Now Mike Dopud can take over team!”

When Teyla approaches Michael hanging on by his fingertips: “Kick him off.”

And when she does just that: “What?!  He isn’t really dead, is he?”  And when I informed her that, yes, he was: “Wow.  Michael die.  Are you sure?  Who will they fight?”  No one!  The last six episodes of the final season will feature scenes of them sitting around, talking about their feelings.

And a closing observation as the end credits started to roll: “Sheppard never die, ne?  Don’t you think so?  Why not?”

October 27, 2012: Travel Day! The Top 11 Things I’ve Been Eating in Vancouver!

Planning a visit to Vancouver and looking forward to sampling some of the city’s finest – but not looking forward to playing hit and miss?  Well, relax and allow me to guide you through some of the city’s tastiest treats.

Here are the Top 11 Things I’ve Been Eating in Vancouver:


Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, its five-spice, hoisin-laced beef rolled in crispy onion flatbread.  The restaurant focuses on northern Chinese dishes, more robust and intensely flavored than their southern counterparts.  Lots to like on the menu but the peaceful beef roll leads the list.


Vancouver’s best taco place (Sorry.  Nowhere else comes even close.) offers up a varied and delicious selection.  My favorites are the tender and tasty cacheta (braised beef cheeks) and lengua (braised beef tongue).  If you’re feeling less adventurous, go with pollo con mole or pescado (grilled fish), then wash it down with a horchata or Mexican coke.


This place specializes in chocolate, but they do so many other things well – like their irresistible salted caramel cream puff, a perfect marriage of sweet and salty, crisp and creamy.

ABURI SALMON OSHI SUSHI AT Downtown Vancouver Japanese Restaurant – Miku Restaurant

Local salmon pressed and dressed with Miku special sauce, topped with jalapeno then grilled topside using a blowtorch and charcoal. Whenever I go with first-timers, I always order two rolls (at least) because I know that one won’t be enough.


The greatest soft serve I’ve ever had available in a variety of inspired daily flavors.  My favorite (surprise surprise) = the delightfully refreshing cucumber!

CHOCOLATE PUDDING AT Fable Restaurant | From Farm to Table

Former Top Chef Canada contestant Curtis Luk makes some amazing desserts (including kick-ass macarons), but his chocolate pudding is my go-to after-dinner treat.  A brilliant balance of tastes and textures.

CHOCOLATE ZEPPOLE AT Giovane cafe + bakery + deli: a stunning cafe & retail emporium …

A chocoholic’s dream bomb: cream on the inside, ganache on the outside.  Bring back-up!


Juicy slow-roasted pork, crunchy crackling, and salsa verde served on a ciabatta roll.  We’ve gone so many times of late that Akemi has declared a temporary moratorium on near future visits.  I’ve already got a plan to work around the embargo.


The impressively-thin shell possesses a great chocolaty snap, giving way to fantastic banana interior.  I’m a huge fan of this particular flavor combination and have tried many variations.  My all-time favorites are those offered at Le Chocolat de H in Tokyo (ル ショコラ ドゥ アッシュ_) and Beta 5’s version.


Having grown up in an Italian household, I’m incredibly picky when it comes to pasta, especially spaghetti, so the fact that Campagnolo Roma’s version is on this list says a lot about the dish.  Perfectly cooked to a toothsome al dente and served with luscious tomato sauce and a touch of fresh basil.

CARROT CAKE AT cadeaux bakery

I’m a sucker for carrot cake and, after an in-depth (and thoroughly delicious) search, I’ve found my favorite.  But Cadeaux Bakery in Gastown offers more than just carrot cake – which is why, every time I go, we end up sitting down to a good half-dozen heavenly creations.

August 18, 2012: Dinner with Remi! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! The Game!

Back when I was in San Diego for Comic Con, I ran into former Stargate: Universe writer-consulting producer Remi Aubuchon who was in town promoting Falling Skies, a scifi series he is showrunning for Dreamworks Television and TNT.  He informed me that he would be back in Vancouver to start production on the show’s third season sometime in August and that we should definitely get together.

Well, the other day I received an email from Remi informing me that he was Vancouver, prepping production, and had a window of dinner opportunity before crunch time.  The last time he was in town, we went to Ki, an overall underwhelming dining experience.  I sought to rectify that misstep by suggesting we head on over to one of my favorite local restaurants, Miku.

So we got together, caught up, talked shop, and enjoyed a great meal…

Special Guest Diner Remi Aubuchon
The soft shell crab karage.
The aburi (flame-seared) nigiri selection.  Highly recommended.
The Crunchy Scallop Roll.  Scallop, flying fish roe, and aonori tempura bits.
The Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi – my favorite dish on the menu which, not surprisingly, turned out being Remi’s favorite.  It packs a delightful jalapeno/cracked black pepper kick.
The Aburi Ebi Oshi Sushi.  Here, it’s more sweet and sour than spicy, with a combination of ume and lime zest doing the honors.

A much more successful Japanese dinner this time out.

Rather than order dessert, we walked the block down to Bella Gelateria for a couple of double scoops of gelato.

Continuing our trip down Atlantis memory lane…

THE GAME (315)

Great premise.

Hmmm.  For some reason I’m unable to approve comments.  I approve ’em and then they magically unapprove.  Was ist los?

Today’s entry is dedicated to long-time blog regular Anne Teldy.  Wishing you a speedy recovery!


June 2, 2009: Oishi Sushi! Yancha na Doggies! Omoshiroi Mailbag!






Green Tea Opera Cake served with Green Tea Ice Cream
Green Tea Opera Cake served with Green Tea Ice Cream
Hey, when’s the last time I checked out a new restaurant? Trick question. I checked one out last night. But, really, how were you to know?

We went to Miku, a fairly new Japanese restaurant on the Vancouver scene that specializes in Aburi-style sushi (“lightly seared and infused with savory French sauces”), sourcing local produce and ingredients for its artfully presented dishes. The room is colorful and contemporary, its open dining area surrounded by glass walls looking out onto an expansive patio.

We sat indoors and ordered six items from the menu. The first was one of the daily features, engawa nigiri, “engawa” being a choice muscle in a hirame’s (flounder‘s) dorsal fin. It was served three different ways – with a touch of salt and pepper, a spicy salsa, and the house Miku sauce – each one utterly delicate and delicious.

Our next dish was the Soba Peperoncino, Soba Noodle tossed in Olive Oil, Jalapeno, Squid and Bell Peppers. As she took our order, our waitress inquired whether we’d like it spicy or not. We, of course, requested the spicy version, but the Soba Peperoncino we were served lacked any real bite.

Next up was the King Roll – Prawn Tempura, Crab Meat, Avocado, Golden Caviar with Spicy Mayo Sauce. While tasty, it was a little unwieldy and struck me as more a menu item worthy of a less refined sushi eatery.

The next two dishes came together, two rolls – The Scallop Crunchy Roll (Chopped Scallop, Golden Caviar, Tempura Bits) and The Aburi Saba Oshi Sushi (Pressed Aburi Mackerel with Miso Sauce) – and proved out of this world. When I go back (and I will be back) I’ll be doing a double order of both.

Rounding out our mains was the Washugyu Carpaccio (American Kobe Beef with Avocado Sauce). The beef was very delicate – so delicate, in fact, that it was thoroughly overwhelmed by the accompanying sauce. Also, Fondy felt the meat could have benefited from a thinner slicing.

Now dessert rarely warrants a look at most Japanese restaurants but, Miku is different. It takes its sweets seriously. How seriously? Well, it apparently employs three different pastry chefs, one of whom hails from Kyoto. Impressive? You bet.

Fondy had the Yuzu Tart, a “Yuzu” Japanese Citron Cream Tart served with Vanilla Ice Cream. Although she found it a tad sweet, I had no problem polishing it off for her – and given my aversion to any trace of tartness in my desserts, that’s a huge compliment.

As for my dessert – well, just the other week, I had a Green Tea Opera Cake at Market. While good it, alas, in no way compared to The Greatest Cake I’ve Ever Had The Pleasure To Eat = The Green Tea Opera Cake at Sadaharu Aoki’s in Tokyo’s Roppogni Hills District. It turns out Mizu does their own version – Gateau and Almond Sponge Cake layered with Green Tea Cream and Ganache – served with an astoundingly dense and rich green tea ice cream. The verdit? Divine. Not as good as the Sadaharu Aoki version mind you, but remarkable nevertheless.


So, all in all, a wonderful dinner. Next time out, I’ll be skipping the soba and steak to in favor of the Aburi and Green Tea Opera Cake. Oishikatta! http://mikurestaurant.com/

Well, the month of May has come to an end and, thankfully, my dogs’ twitter account (http://twitter.com/JellMaxBubLu) did not achieve its targeted 1000 followers, thus sparing us all a spoiler pic of the first page of the Stargate: Extinction script (my contact on the inside tells me that was their diabolical plan). Unfortunately, they have managed to sneak out a few little spoilers buried within the texts of their existing twitters (http://twitter.com/JellMaxBubLu) but, thankfully, they’ve gone unnoticed. Still, the fight to deny my dogs their 1000 followers continues (here: http://twitter.com/JellMaxBubLu). Please, do your part to avoid the risk of further Stargate Atlantis movie and Stargate Universe spoilers getting out by NOT sign up to follow my dogs on twitter (http://twitter.com/JellMaxBubLu)!

Oh, yeah – my bad in a recent post when I was trying to wrack my brain to figure out what story I’d failed to list in the back half. In fact, I forgot that Space was pushed to #11 – so they all move down a slot.

And speaking of slots, great news on the director front. Both Peter DeLuise and Alex Chapple will be returning to direct episodes in the back half.

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to birthday individual unegawaya.

The mailbag:

PG15 writes: “1. Did the same freelancer write Faith and #14, or were they written by different people?

2. Will you be able to tell us the Freelancer’s names eventually?

3. Any ideas on when more promotional stuff is coming out? Besides this blog, things have been pretty quiet on the SGU front.

4. Some over at Gateworld have been wondering on the action-quota of SGU, since it’s more character-focused. What can you say about the quantity (i.e. are there as many action scenes as in the past?) and quality (are they done differently than in the past?) of the action scenes in SGU? “

Answers: 1. Nope. Different freelancers.

2. Yep.

3. No idea what MGM and SciFi are planning on their end. My guess is this year’s San Diego Comic Con will be the big roll-out (late July).

4. There will be plenty of action for those of you into that sort of thing. The episode presently in prep for instance, Space, is going to be spectacular. The Visual Effects meeting started at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon and they were still in there when I left.

Arctic Goddess writes: “Of all the cool props and gadgets, as well as seriously hot costumes from the past decade and a half of Stargate, would you personally like to have in your home or to wear? “

Answer: Baal’s wardrobe. And probably one of those nifty Icarus uniforms.

DasNdanger writes: “1. How are you liking Y – The Last Man and Scalped??

2. Wasn’t there links to other sites/blogs over on the right side? Where did they go?”

Answers: 1. Liking Y: The Last Man, loving Scalped.

2. Yep, there was a list and it did, indeed, disappear. I had to go back into my widget controls to make it magically reappear. Thanks for the heads up.

Daniel Willis writes: “Is there a style of filming that the Stargate series has? What I mean is that there are always different directors making the different episodes, so do they have to be told what they can and can’t do with the episode? If so, what are the sort of limitations… Can you explain the process a little?”

Answer: The shooting style will be a little looser, allow the director more freedom to move the camera rather than have to rely on static shots. This doesn’t mean it’s going to be shot in a nausea-inducing handheld documentary style. Rather, it will be more visually dynamic than its predecessors. Before the season began, Brad and Robert sat down and talked to Andy Mikita about what they envisioned for the show – and Andy delivered big time in the opening three-parter. Ensuing directors took their cues from Brad, Rob, Andy, and the look of those three episodes.

Kathi writes: “1. Can you please explain the relationship between Teyla and John? Are they “Almost lovers”, or like brother and sister or is there only a team- relation?

2. Have you ever visit germany?”

Answers: 1. There is certainly a mutual attraction there but, alas, Teyla has settled down with Kanaan.

2. Not yet.

Ben writes: “Are you able to find out the progress of the Stargate Worlds game, and any prospective release/beta dates?”

Answer: Sorry. I’m out of the loop on the game.

Chevron7 writes: “I’m wondering if it would be useful to have a static page on the dogs, some vital statistics, which dog is which etc. In addition, maybe a static page of book/movie recommendations for SciFi & Horror, graphic novels & comics etc. What do you think? Too much work?”

Answer: It’s not that much work – just that my right sidebar is pretty busy as it is.

JimFromJersey writes: “I read mostly Stephen King and Clive Barker for the years following, at one point owning every King book published until 2001.”

Answer: I was big into Clive Barker. I very much enjoyed King as well.

JimFromJersey also writes: “Williams masterfully recreated his London in minute detail. Including actual place names, streets, dates and minutiae that brought the story to life amongst all of that death. He poetically lays bare the beauty of horror, much in the fashion of Clive Barker.”

Answer: Agreed. As I said, The Unblemished had strong echoes of Barker. Regarding the “London in minute detail” comment – do you live/have you ever lived in London? Did your familiarity with the city make the horror all the more effective?

JimFromJersey also writes: “However, the detail is also one of my only criticisms. There was too much of it in places that didn’t bear the need for it.”

Answer: I thought Williams struck a fine balance. That said, I thought the same thing of a previous book only to have someone comment that they found there wasn’t enough description and detail. To each his own I suppose.

JimFromJersey also writes: “My other criticism is the lack of explanation of the missing authorities. The cops gone? Ok…maybe. But the military? Not likely.”

Answer: You know, that is a very good point. Even if, say, they dealt with the military as well, they did so awful quickly…

Chevron7 also writes: “ Any news with Paul & yourself on the comic series front? You were vision pitching last week weren’t you?”

Answer: Final conference call with the President of the company on Thursday in which we’ll pitch out our vision for the series: talking dogs and invisible monkeys.

Michael A. Burstein writes: “The Spider in the Hairdo” was a horror/SF story I wrote a few years back for an anthology called Urban Nightmares. I still can’t go back to it because it gives me nightmares.”

Answer: Extra points for the title!

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Besides Air, Earth and Life, will there be any episodes partially set on earth( you know, getting out of those sound stages for a breath of fresh air)?

2. When do you think we will be able to see some interesting SGU updates( such as MGM’s Secret Project)/ Us fans are dying for new news.”

Answers: 1. It’s possible.

2. Again, I’m not sure what the studio or network have planned.

Joshua writes: “Hey Joe; I would really not like to take comments made in interviews out of context. What is your thoughts on this statement(Just as the sentence itself, not some pissing contest with well…the other joe.)
“If Universe is successful, the prevailing theory among the writers and producers will be that actors are dispensible and not a critical part of the show(Joe Flanigan)””

Answer: Well, anyone who has frequented this blog for any amount of time knows that isn’t true. Over the past few months, I’ve expressed my excitement about the upcoming Stargate: Universe series and, more often than not, my comments have centered on our wonderful cast. From Robert Carlyle to our local supporting players, they are all very talented, professional, and genuinely kind individuals. As I told Michael Shanks and wife Lexa Doig the last time they dropped by the office: It’s an embarrassment of riches for us this year. And, speaking of actors from our former shows, feel free to search this blog for what I’ve had to say about actors like Michael Shanks, Lexa Doig, Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Don S. Davis, Beau Bridges, Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Robert Picardo, Jewel Staite, Rachel Luttrell, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, and David Nykl – to name just a few – and it will be readily apparent that we have great respect for the contribution cast members past and present have made to the franchise. Of course, it’ll be up to you, the fans, to form your opinion on this new cast. But take it from someone who has been working with them since February – every one of them is not only great at what they do, but incredibly down to earth. Not an inflated ego or demanding grandstander in the bunch.

Shanise writes: “I’m trying to find on what would be engraved on John Sheppard’s dogtags. I bought a set of dogtags and would like to get it engraved.”

Answer: “I’M NUMBER ONE”.

Nadine writes: “Just one question today: what are your thoughts on the proposal to close a lane each way on the Burrard Bridge for bicycles? Do you use it often enough for it to make a difference or are you rather ambivalent?”

Answer: I think it’s a terrible idea that will lead to traffic chaos. City Hall’s thinking is that the move will be good for the environment because it will encourage people to bike into town. Of course the reality is that this bonehead move will actually hurt the environment because of all the backed-up cars idling on the bridge.