Never let it be said I don’t make sacrifices for you blog readers. For the past several weeks, I’ve made the ultimate sacrifice – sampling and reporting on the various (60+) flavors being offered as part of this year’s Vancouver Hot Chocolate festival…so that you can sip and experience vicariously through me. You’re welcome! Today, it’s a David and Goliath battle pitting two new flavors from two previously visited location: Thierry, which served up one of my early festival favorites (The Chocolate Trio), and Bel Cafe that definitely did not (Peppermint Patty). So, how did the two new offerings fair in our head to head taste-off?
The Ampamakia: The base of this hot chocolate is Ampamakia 68% chocolate – a premium chocolate from a special plantation of Valrhona and only available at Thierry. Served with a marshmallow dipped in 80% chocolate.
Available at: Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe, 1059 Alberni Street
I have marshmallow-averse (Also allergic to feathers apparently) so the chocolate-covered sweet sponges didn’t sway me – although Akemi is a fan and loved them. It was all about the hot chocolate and, once again, Thierry delivers a wonderful cup. Very good – but not as good as their Trio of Chocolate.
Banana Split: Made from 36% Valrhona Caramelia chocolate and topped with walnut marshmallows. Served with banana pound cake.
Available at: Bel Cafe, 801 West Georgia Street @ Howe (at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia)
I loved the Banana Split as passionately as I disliked the Peppermint Patty. The banana bread was good (although I prefer the Bella Gelateria/Erin Ireland version) and the marshmallow was as fine as a marshmallow could be, but the hot chocolate itself was spectacular. Sweet, silky, and substantial.
Verdict: Close, but the underdog pulls the upset here.
Winner: Banana Split (Bel Cafe).
Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch with…Suspicion!
Almost every series starts off a little rough before, eventually (hopefully), finding its way. Sure, there are strong elements in those first few episodes, moments that keep you coming back with the promise of bigger and better, but it’s usually further down the broadcast line when THE episode airs, the REALLY GOOD ONE if not the GREAT ONE, the one that makes you shout “I love this show!” and start recommending it to friends. And episode #4, Suspicion…
It aint it. But like the preceding episodes, it has its moments. And Akemi liked it well enough, again because of the humor (McKay rubbing his numb foot received special praise) and those establishing shots of Atlantis on the water. In fact, if we followed this episode up with an episode entirely made up of lingering establishers, I suspect it would prove her reigning favorite.
So, what else did our Japanese Stargate newbie think of Suspicion? Well…
On Bates’ attitude throughout the episode but during the Teyla interview in particular: “Why he so rude? So unprofessional!”
On Weir’s civilian outfit during said interview: “Why she not wearing uniform? Casual Friday?”
On angry Halling: “Jinto is crazy because his father is crazy.”
And when the Athosians decide to leave the city: “Hurray!” Evidently, not a fan.
On the black-clad wraith’s first appearance: “Beautiful hair!”
All in all, not a bad episode in her eyes. In her estimation, better than 38 Minutes but not as good as Hide and Seek. Still, after SGU, she’s having a difficult time adjusting to the shift in tone: “Maybe because of old and dynamic of the shooting scenes but feels like watching a kid’s show. Chotto sad. Anyway, good!”
My past write-up on the episode here offers a little insight into the episode, my writing partner’s failed attempt to come up with lyrics for the theme song, and a rare recorded duet of the SG-1 theme song with lyrics: June 9, 2012: Dark Matter! Comic Con! Days of Stargate Past – Stargate: Atlantis! Suspicion and Childhood’s End!
[Kathode informs me that link to us singing the theme to Stargate: SG-1 no longer works. Try this one instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owgOxV1V6Cc]
Jenny Horn writes: “Jinto should have been about 8 years old. It would have made his antics more believable, and it would made one line from his father far less creepy. It’s the line about nothing being as big as my love for you. Cute when said to an 8 year old. Kinda creepy when said to a kid who looks about 12. My Nephew is 12, so….yeah….”
Answer: YES! When we watched the episode the other night, I remember thinking: “AWKWARD!”.
Majorsal writes: “joe/Answer: As I said, if I sat her down to watch SG-1′s first season, she’d probably excuse herself and then secretly hop on the first plane back to Japan. That was a rocky first season with some very rough visual effects.
what about just showing her a few episodes from each season?”
Answer: No. Again, it has everything to do with the look of the show – and, the visual effects in particular. I think I need to slowly acclimatize her, like a lobster in a pot. I started with SGU and follow with SGA, then SG-1 seasons 9 and 10 and the movies, then SG-1 season 4-8, and finally SG-1 seasons 1-3.
Deborah Rose writes: “Good scripting. But things like the McKay/Sheppard horse playing and many of the other points could have easily crashed, had the actors not pulled it off.”
Answer: Ah, true enough, but the writer scripts the moment imagining the best-case version of what he has written, having full confidence in the actor’s ability to pull it off. And, in this case, it was confidence well placed.
gforce writes: “Update – Brio (the budgie) seems to be doing much better today. I guess he just didn’t want to eat while I was away?”
Answer: Well, great to hear. Separation anxiety maybe?
DP writes: “http://www.deadline.com/2014/02/fremantlemedia-to-adapt-fantasy-novel-american-gods-as-drama-series/ Ha! I’d heard Gaiman was working on a script for this. Just because he’s never written a pilot script only makes it MORE likely he’d do it.”
Answer: Don’t know if he’s ever written a pilot script, but Gaiman certainly has scriptwriting experience. In addition to episodes of Dr. Who, his screenwriting credits include Stardust, Beowulf, and Neverwhere.
arctic goddess writes: “As a Stargate writer/producer, were you ever surprised at how popular it was with female viewers?”
Answer: When I first joined the production at the start of SG-1′s fourth season, I was surprised. After all, SF is traditionally seen as a young man’s preferred genre. But it quickly became apparent to me that viewers may initially tune in for the bells and whistles – the action, adventure, dazzling visual effects, the star – but they’ll only come back for one thing: the characters. And, at the end of the day, the show’s characters and relationships seemed to resonate more with female viewers…which is not all that surprising.
skua writes: “Have you seen? Shingeki no Kyojin: Ilse no Techou; Attack on Titan: Ilse’s Journal. OVA”
Answer: Not yet. Is it available on Crunchyroll?