Archive for the ‘Food’ Category


My third and final batch of hot sauce (habanero, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, smoked Chilean merken pepper, organic apple puree, apple cider, honey, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar) is a lip-smacking (in both senses of the word) masterpiece.  It’s a scorcher…but delicious as well.  A true culinary capsicum achievement.  I don’t know whether to eat it by the spoonful or smear into the eyes of my enemy.  It’s THAT good!


Today, I had lunch with Dark Matter Episode 305 director (and Bitten Executive Producer) J.B. Sugar, a guy who’s as gracious and good-hearted as he is talented. It was a sit-down to review his experience on the show which, I’m happy to report, was nothing but great.  Like his episode, a manic adventure chock full of action, humor, bittersweet character moments, and the Android’s most bizarre undercover guise yet!

On our way, we happened across this familiar fellow adorning some sidewalk art in support of the local Canadian film scene…


Why, yes, it’s none other than Cowboy Bruce McDonald, indie film auteur and occasional Dark Matter (Episode 107, 202, 206, 302, and 312 so far!) director.


Speaking of the Android – she is also enjoying a well-deserved break from all the shipboard mayhem.  Pictured above in relaxed mode.

Hey, who feels like voting for another episode title?

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It’s a (Joe) Mallozzi Christmas tradition!  Dinner at one of my favorite restaurants – Au Pied de Cochon – with my sister and Daisy.

But beware!  It’s not for the fainthearted!


Akemi and I being affectionate.


Les cromesquis – deep-fried morsels bursting with liquid foie gras.


And, for Akemi – the mackerel.


The French onion soup – which was unlike any other French onion soup I’d ever had, highlighted by  some incredibly delicious smoked sausage.


The roasted bone marrow with caviar – the only miss of the night.  The marrow could have used another five minutes in the oven.


The beef temake tartare topped with quail eggs.  I ate the top (beef, toppings) and Akemi had the bottom (rice and nori wrap).


Charcuterie and foie pizza with ricotta and whipped mascarpone – my favorite of the night.


The stuffed pig’s trotters with foie and whipped mash.  Another fave.


For dessert, the super-chocolatey chocolate tart.


And, of course, the classic pouding chomeur.

Tomorrow, it’s Smoked Meat Pete and Bistro 75.

And in January, I am back on the program!

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While in Osaka this summer, I had one of the greatest katsu curries ever at Rika Shokudo.  Katsu curry, for those not in the know, is thinly sliced pork fried to golden perfection served a bed of rice and alongside Japanese curry which is a thicker, somewhat sweeter version of Indian curries.

Today, I discovered that Canada’s best katsu curry is served in a small food court mall on Yonge Street.  Kaiju, located in the basement level of 386 Yonge St. (#51) offers up a surprisingly authentic version.  The chew/owner hails from Singapore and apparently spent six years in Japan, mastering, among other dishes, a damn fine katsu curry.  According to the website, their homemade curry…

“… is made from over 14 different ingredients including various spices, fresh fruits, and vegetables. It is slow cooked for up to two days and the result is a deliciously rich, comforting sauce that balances fragrant spices with sweet and savoury flavours.”


They also serve up a delicious but potentially lethal homemade hot sauce.

Because it’s tucked away out of sight, the place doesn’t get much traffic but has persevered in its hidden location for some four years.  If you’re in town, check them out.  The food is great and the woman behind the counter is super nice.


After today’s lunch, we stopped by Infuse Cafe, home of Toronto’s tastiest teas and infused beverages.


The drink-making process is pretty elaborate.  Check out the website for the breakdown but, suffice it to say, their drinks are far superior to any rival shop in town.  Akemi had a hot jasmine tea that delivered a delicate floral flavor minus the typical bitter finish.  I, on the other hand, went with something a little…heartier.


The Ice Cream Sandwich Coffee contains three simple ingredients – espresso, ice, and three ice cream sandwiches – which are blended to a deliciously creamy finish.



I’m not really a coffee guy, but I’ll make an exception for this drink.


Hey!  Look at who got her stitches out today!

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September 20, 2016: Tokyo Day #6!

Well, I spent most of the day thinking and worrying about my french bulldog Lulu and how best to proceed with her soft palate surgery, then the other most of the day thinking and worrying about the show’s third season.  In the case of the latter – I mean, sure, I know where I want to go, have worked out all of the character and story progressions, but actually getting there is always the challenge as, invariably, you get these inevitable curveballs thrown your way.  It’s alway so unnecessarily complicated.  It shouldn’t be but, really, welcome to show business.

But I’ll save that little rant for another time.

Tokyo!  Day #5!  Another 22k_ steps!  We covered a lot of ground today!


Apparently, outside of Tsukiji Market, there’s not all that much to do in Tokyo early morning.  Rather than hang around our hotel room, Akemi and I decided to take a walk through Hibiya Park – a little oasis in the heart of the urban mayhem.


We’ve been missing our dogs so much that we’ve resorted to pestering local dog owners for some time with their pooches.  Pictured above – Akemi and her now pal.


We arrived early in Naka-Meguro, about an hour and a half before lunch, so we took a stroll through the neighborhood and came across this little dessert(ish) shop.  Akemi had apparently heard about it.  The shop’s owner incorporates vegetables into all her desserts in an effort to get kids to eat their veggies.  A few of the menu items on display…


Not so strawberry shortcake, in which the strawberries are replaced with Japanese tomatoes and greens.


Avocado cheesecake!


And the intriguing but daunting asparagus tiramisu.

I know, I know.  Perfect Weird Food Purchase of the Day potential.  But I didn’t want to ruin my lunch.


We ended up at my favorite pizza join in Tokyo – Pizza Seirinkan.  Your choices here are simple.  You can have the Margherita.  Or you can have the Marinara.


One of the cheapest meals of this trip and one of the best.


Akemi agrees.


For dessert, a stopover at Jean-Paul Hevin.  Despite the triple chocolate order, our waitress professed her faith in our ability to polish them off.  Her confidence in us proved well-founded.


I picked up this terrific Crayon Shin-Chan t-shirt at the T.V. Asahi store.  This way, there will no longer be any confusion when I visit set.


With the entire afternoon in front of us, we decided to broaden our artistic horizons by checking out some of the local exhibits.  First up: The Dali exhibition and a Venetian Renaissance Paintings exhibit at the National Art Center.


Then, we walked over to The Mori Art Museum for The Universe and Art, part of the TeamLab exhibitions Akemi was very eager to check out.  This one was more her speed.  Some of my highlights…


Part of artist Laurent Grasso’s Studies into the Past.


Artist Jia Aili’s “Hermit from Planet Dust”.

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Jules de Balincourt: “Cosmic Chaos” and “Space Investors”.


Sorayama Hajime’s “Sexy Robot”.


Artist Neri Oxman’s “Saturn’s Wanderer”: “Saturn’s Wanderer is created to adapt to the vortex storms on Saturn. It has a large surface area that would contain bacteria that converts the planet’s hydrocarbons into edible matter.”  Love it!


A little something to add to Melissa O’Neil’s wardrobe in season 3?


SEArch/Clouds AO: “Mars Ice House” – 3D printed resin model with wood base, internal light.

And then there was an amazing, full room video experience from TeamLab.  A small excerpt:

With that done, we headed to Roppongi Hills for a little more walking.  And I happened to come across these DC comics-themed characters –


Hey, check it out!  It’s Jason Momoa!


Finally, for dinner, we went to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.


The sea urchin in lobster jelly with cauliflower cream to start.


And a chartreuse souffle with pistachio ice cream.

Today, we head to Akihabara – Electric Town – Anime Central – Geek Heaven.

Perhaps another Periscope coming your way?

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Tonight, following the season premiere of Z Nation, it’s the season 2 finale of Dark Matter.

This episode changes everything.  Trust me.  Fans are going to be feeling passionate after this one.

And, while you’re all watching Dark Matter, I’ll be continuing my Tokyo travels.

Yesterday, we took the shinkansen from Osaka (arriving in a lightning 2.5 hours).  Check out the view outside the window…

Zippy, no?

We did a lot more walking, this time through Roppongi, before finally ending up at our very favorite sushi restaurant in the world: Sushisho Masa.  Now, the thing that differentiates Sushisho Masa from every other high end omakase sushi restaurant is the sheer inventiveness and variety of sushi.  All other places will serve a set number of pieces of nigiri, between 12 to 18, all usually top quality and fantastic. Masa, on the other hand, serves roughly 40 sushi bites, ranging from the grilled octopus shirako to melt-in-your-mouth tuna nigiri.  Last time we visited, Akemi could barely walk after her meal.  This time, she asked for the “josei portion” and, while she did leave the restaurant feeling full, she only insisted on an hour long post-meal walk.

Some of the highlights:

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Masa-san does something I’m never seen any other sushi chef do.  Before serving o-toro, the prized, highly marbled top end tuna belly, he carefully trims the paper thing individual fat layers.  He claims this results in a much more pleasurable taste and textural experience.  I’d have to agree.



Masa-san and part of his team.  ’til next year!

Well, I’m off to the Tsukiji Market.  If I have time, be prepared for a live Periscope!

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I always found it interesting that, despite the crazy amount of food I would eat every time I visited Japan, I would return home actually lighter than when I left.  At first, I assumed it was because I’d lost heavier muscle mass and gained comparatively lighter body fat BUT when I started measuring said body fat after subsequent trips, I discovered that I was actually getting leaner.  How to explain it?  Well, it could be the quality of the food I’m eating.  Or a possible change in my metabolism triggered by the time zone change.  But, more than likely, it’s the walking.  Lots and lots of walking.  Consulting my handy iPhone health monitor, I noted that, back in Vancouver, my sedentary lifestyle had me walking about, oh, 2000 steps a day.  Since arriving in Japan, my average daily step count is closer to 17 000.  Poor Akemi, with her tiny little feet, has probably hit 100k since our arrival!

I’d like to say that all this exercise makes me feel great, but the truth is I feel really, really, REALLY sore. Fortunately, while in L.A. recently, I invested in an incredibly comfortable pair of Ermenegildo Zegna’s to replace the pair of mail order Stacy Adams that, literally, fell apart on me while walking down Beverly Blvd.  It could have been much, much worse.

So, for our last day in Osaka, Akemi and I met up for lunch with her mother, father, and brother.  This time, it was soba and udon…


I went with the cold soba set and tempura.  It’s accompanied by a dipping broth you season yourself with the daikon, wasabi and/or green onion.  By the way, can I just say how out of this world better tempura is in Japan compared to the heavy, greasy versions we’re usually served in North America?


Akemi’s dad, mom, and brother kindly treated us to lunch.  At one point, Mrs. Aota noted I was holding my chopsticks incorrectly.   I adjusted my hold and had my skills totally evaporate – to the point where Mr. Aota, clearly feeling sorry for me, suggested I go back to my original hand position and not worry about it.

After lunch, I did an impromptu Periscope (I think I may do a few more before trip’s end) and then, we walked.  And walked.  And walked.


Hey!  We discover a statue of what Akemi declared my “favorite god” because he’s surrounded by food.  Only, it turns out, he maybe isn’t a god at all but a street mascot.


We pass this clinic, it’s windows adorned with photos of hot young women.  When I asked Akemi about it, she informed me one visited this doctor “give more energy to your cincin”.  Ah.  That explained the photos.

Other assorted store and restaurant front mascots.  Osaka was full of them:

This guy looks like one angry S.O.B. Better eat his kushiage if you know what's good for you.

This guy looks like one angry S.O.B. Better eat his kushiage if you know what’s good for you.

Tako-yaki restaurant.

Tako-yaki restaurant.

Fugu restaurant!

Fugu restaurant!

Deadly...but delicious! Or so they say. I find it kind of bland.

Deadly…but delicious! Or so they say. I find it kind of bland.

Here. Have some sushi.

Here. Have some sushi.

Did I not tell you to try his kushiage?

Did I not tell you to try his kushiage?

According to Akemi, this giant crab is actually more famous than the restaurant it represents.

According to Akemi, this giant crab is actually more famous than the restaurant it represents.

I know it's nowhere near as elaborate as the other ones but, damn, I have a soft spot in my heart for this porcine waitress.

I know it’s nowhere near as elaborate as the other ones but, damn, I have a soft spot in my heart for this porcine waitress.

I love me some scallops.

I love me some scallops.

Found this one a little weird. I dunno.

Found this one a little weird. I dunno.

More tako-yaki.

More tako-yaki.



It was all fun and games until the steer vomited on her.

It was all fun and games until the steer vomited on her.

Alas, no, this place does NOT serve dragon.

Alas, no, this place does NOT serve dragon.

More Osaka sights:


The famed canal that runs through Osaka.  When the city’s beloved Hanshin Tigers won Japan’s version of The World Series, locals celebrated by jumping off the bridge and into the water.  Not recommended.


Osaka is known for many things – chiefest among them is takoyaki, battered octopus balls served molten hot.  Here, locals and tourists alike line up for the hometown delicacy.

They even do a dessert version, minus the octopus and plus the chocolate.

They even do a dessert version, minus the octopus and plus the chocolate.


Oooh, that’s sharp!


Purple Deadpool says: “Let’s party!”

For our farewell dinner, it was another Osaka speciality: okinomiyaki (seafood pancake…sort of).


And that’s a wrap on Osaka.  Sayanora!  Until next year!

The view outside our room.  I could get used to this…

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Hey, here’s another EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK CLIP from Friday night’s Dark Matter season finale.

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Good morning!

The hotel (Intercontinental) upgraded us to a suite complete with kitchen so we took advantage by picking up some items at the local farmers’ market and shops and making breakfast.


Giant figs, two types of dried mushrooms, Okinawa sea salt, garlic & thyme olive oil, three types of dried pepper, local honey, local tomato juice, local orange jelly, local thread peppers, and local yuzu-kosho paste.


Akemi looking and feeling quite at home.


The peppers were very tasty – and not particularly hot.  EXCEPT for the one Akemi got.  🙂

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They were selling three types of eggs that differed by what the chickens ate.  The ones we picked up were pretty rich and delicious.


Last night, it was unagi dinner with Akemi’s family: her brother, father, and mother.  We went to their favorite local eel restaurants (and mine!) Uoi.  We actually visited for lunch last time we were in town – and got a little TOUR as well.


Appetizer: tempura shrimp paste wrapped in shiso and lotus root.


Shirayaki.  Light, crisp, and possessed of a sweet, subtle flavor.


Kabayaki dinner – This sauced version is darker, richer – and equally delicious.


On the way back to our hotel, I couldn’t resist stopping for my favorite Japanese dessert.  Not macarons at chocolatier Jean-Paul Hevin.  Not the airy light seasonal maron cakes at revered patissier Hidemo Sugino’s shop.  Not the hand-crafted chocolates at La Maison du Chocolat.  I”m talking about the $1.50 Hattendon cream buns available in many fine Japanese subway stations.   I got the matcha (green tea) and the custard.  As amazing as I remembered them!

Hey, check it out!  It’s a sneak peek scene from this Friday night’s Dark Matter season finale:

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