“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.
Twisted 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)
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?
Within 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!
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