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One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld involves the gang trying to get a table at a Chinese restaurant.  They put their name on A list and, after being informed a table would open up in “Five, ten minutes”, they proceed to wait – and wait…and wait. At one point, a guy breezes in, walks right past them and, after exchanging pleasantries with the manager, is immediately seated.  This prompts the following exchange –

Jerry: Excuse me… we’ve been waiting here. Now, I KNOW we were ahead of that guy, he just came in.

Bruce: Oh no, Mr. Cohen always here.

Well, pretty much the same thing happened to Akemi and I today at Bar Buca in Toronto.   We arrived a little before noon and the place was hopping.  There was no manager in sight, so we took up position at the front and waited.  About ten to twelve minutes go by when a family walked in – mother, father, and young son. Suddenly, the hitherto M.I.A. manager magically appeared to warmly greet the woman who stepped in front of us to announce her presence.  The manager informed her the wait wouldn’t be long and that a table would open up shortly.  As the family shuffled off to the side, the manager stepped up and informed me it would be a 30 to 40 minute wait.  I couldn’t help but point out that we were there first to which he replied the woman had put her name down first – this despite the fact that he greeted her like a long lost friend he hadn’t seen in ages.  And, no, she couldn’t have called ahead because that would be contrary to the restaurant’s “walk-ins only” policy clearly mentioned on their website.

Rather than argue, we left and I’ve scratched Bar Buca off my go-to list.  I’ll never go back.  At the end of the day, there are dozens of other brunch places in Toronto (and I’ll happily recommend some better ones if you’re ever in town).  Their “favorites to the front of the line” behavior also ensures I’ll never again set foot in their big sister Buca, formerly my go-to place whenever I’d host out of town guests and, up until this morning, my choice for our season 3 cast dinner.

Time to expand my culinary horizons!

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Woke up and liked/hearted/thanked all the well-wishers on Facebook, twitter, and instagram.


Cleaned the dog poop off the patio (Note: I originally wrote “Cleaned poop off the patio” but ultimately felt it was advisable to be specific).


Had lunch at Schmaltz Appetizing.


Took a stroll.

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Picked up substitute birthday cake.


Heard from two of my favorite Germans.

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Dinner at Piano Piano.

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Quality time with my girl!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes.  The celebrations will continue throughout the week!

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I was leaving the farmer’s market when I ran into an old friend.  It had been years since I’d seen her and, clearly, much had changed.  She was married, had a son, and had just moved into a new house.

“We should go out for dinner and catch up,”she said.

“Great,”I said.  I loved the idea of reconnecting after all these years.

“You’ll love Travis,”she said, referring to her hubby.  “He’s a real foodie.”

“Let’s pick a date,”I said.  Then, glancing over, noticed how her three year old son was completely smitten with my french bulldog Lulu.  “Hey, your son seems to like Lulu.”

“Oh, he’s obsessed with dogs.”

“Do you have a dog?”

“Oh, no,”she replied.  “Travis hates dogs.”

Travis hates dogs?  She may as well have said “Travis steals from charities” or “Travis just got out of prison for killing someone he was trying to rob” or “Travis is an executive for Air Canada.”  Travis hates dogs?  Well why the hell would I even want to meet Travis? And why the hell would I want to go out with someone who married a guy like Travis?

Needless to say, I did not get her number.

It reminds me of a couple I knew.  My ex had gone to school with the wife.  The husband became our financial advisor.  They had a dog who they kept in the garage from 9 to 5 while they were at work.  One day, I learned they had put the dog down because he had been destructive – as, I imagine, anyone would be if they were kept locked up alone without any interaction for 8 HOURS A DAY!  “It wasn’t fair to him,”they explained as though killing him had been an act of great largesse on their part.  Needless to say, I pulled my accounts.  The husband was upset, lamenting the fact that he had already dispatched their annual corporate Christmas “Thank You” gifts.  In retrospect, my feelings toward him and his wife were about a bad as that bottle of white wine he sent.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again.  People who like dogs are generally goodhearted folks, while those who don’t are jerks at best and serial killers at worst.  In both of the aforementioned cases, I cut my losses before I could find out which.


All good on the dog front.  Lulu gets her “zipper” of stitches/staples out next weekend.  She looks like a chihuahua in a french bulldog costume.  Bubba, meanwhile, is the toast of the neighborhood whenever he goes out for a stroll in his goofy hat or Hawaiian shirt.  He’s the McGarrett of downtown Toronto!

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Well, after a fitful night’s sleep, we woke up at 3:45 a.m. this morning so that we could catch the first Westjet flight to Toronto.  Bubba and Lulu were even less happy about it than Akemi.

We once tried taking the red-eye with Jelly in the mistaken belief that she would be tired and sleep through the flight.  Instead, she cried up a storm and kept the other passengers from sleeping. And so, this time around, we thought = Let’s go as early as possible so that the dogs won’t be as hungry on the flight (wrong!) and hopefully be tired as well (wrong!).  While Lulu was her usual laid-back self, Bubba moaned and wailed every time the food tray rattled by.  By the time we got into Toronto, Akemi (who was up in her seat and down on the floor consoling him through most of the flight) was even more exhausted.


I also got another ten pages (of dubious quality) complete in my addled state.  Our assistant directors love the low scene counts (as does our line producer Norman as it usually makes for easily boardable, highly affordable episodes) and, as I started Act 4 on a very economical scene 42 I thought “They’re going to love this script”! And then I realized that I don’t really have a fourth act.  Damn these 5 act structures!

Spoiler Alert!

We finally made it to Toronto.

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October 10, 2016: Oof!

Oh, man, this is going to be a brutal 20 hours.

My flight out of Toronto was delayed hour.  I was seated across the aisle from a kid who cried through most of the 5 hours in the air.  When she wasn’t crying, her mom kept her entertained playing music videos without the benefit of earphones. And the internet didn’t work on my laptop.  So, I put my time to good use by streamlining Episode 301, doing yet another pass on Episode 303, and getting another 12 pages done on Episode 307.   Tomorrow, we’re up at 3:30 a.m. to get ready for our 4:30 a.m. pick-up enroute to our four and half hour 6:30 a.m. flight BACK to Toronto…with the dogs including Bubba, the cranky flyer, and Lulu whose steel-reinforced spine now make her, technically, a cyborg.


Oh, and my Snow Monkeys lost, dropping them to a record of 1-4 on the season.

On the bright side, I’m so exhausted right now that I’ll probably be asleep my 9:00 p.m., allowing me to get in a solid six and half hours tonight.

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Today, I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with my mother and sister in traditional fashion, with a dim sum lunch and sushi dinner.

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Lai Wah Heen is, in my opinion, the best dim sum in the downtown area – and mom agreed.  Pictured above: the lobster dumpling and the crispy pork belly.

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After dropping mom off at the hotel, sis and I did some extreme sock shopping.  We stopped by Nugateau for an eclair stop (pistachio and maple eclairs) and then, fortified with cream and pastry shells, we resumed our perusal of Toronto’s best sock shops.  In the end, Andria and mom bought me several awesome new pairs (Chewbacca, Darth Vader, sharks, dogs, and clouds) for my every-growing sock drawer.


Nothing compliments a three piece suit, tie, and matching cufflinks like a pair of dog-riding-a-bike socks.


Tomorrow, everyone heads home – mom and sis back to Montreal, and yours truly back to Vancouver…for all of most of a night, then back on a 6:30 a.m. flight to Toronto with Akemi, Lulu, and Bubba!

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You’ll never guess who I ran into this morning!  Unless, of course, you happened to read the title of this blog entry.  Yes!  None other than actor Brian J. Smith (Stargate: Universe’s Lieutenant Scott) who is in town shooting something.  I can’t believe it’s been almost five years.  In that time, Brian has been very busy on both stage and screen, earning a Tony Award nomination and most recent feature performance on Netflix’s Sense8.  Very happy for his success.  As Ivon’s always said: “He’s an easy guy to root for”.  Another Stargate alum I’d love to work with again.


Check it out.  There’s a Star Trek film fest happening at TIFF.  I was super excited to see they scheduled a marathon screening of five episodes from the original series and was going to suggest any locals with five hours to spare head down for a group viewing.  Sadly, however, the screening was held September 24th.  Too late.  :(

Next awesome marathon, maybe?


Having mom and sis in town has been a good excuse to revisit some of my favorite culinary haunts.  Interestingly enough, I was having a conversation with Andria just the other day about restaurant disappointments.  I told her that I usually have no trouble excusing a bad night at one of my favorite places UNLESS it’s an occasion in which I happen to be there with guests.  Back in Vancouver, I crossed two restaurants off my “regularly frequented” list after two disappointing meals there with visitors.   This weekend, scrutiny has turned to my Toronto faves.

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Last night, we went to my favorite Toronto restaurant, Buca, a place that has never failed to impress.  And it kept its record intact, delivering yet another great dining experience: perfect pastas, pizzas, and the best tiramisu ever created.


Dinner at another old favorite, R&D, was, on the other hand, a disaster.  The house fried rice and short ribs were great as always, but the various dim sum plates were hit and miss.  And then there was the eggplant dish.  Woof.  It came to our table half raw so we sent it back.  It returned to our table cooked through, but even that wasn’t enough to save what I can honestly anoint the worst dish I’ve had this year. 20 minutes after leaving the restaurant, my mother was still complaining about the taste in her mouth.


Nothing a little chocolate can’t solve.  Ah, good old dependable award-winning Soma.  How I’ve missed you!


On our way back to the hotel, we passed this sandwich board and I got all excited until I realized they weren’t offering coffee-espresso ice cream cupcakes but “Coffee, Expresso, Ice Cream, and Cupcakes”.


Back on the other home front, Akemi reports that Lulu hates the cage and doesn’t appreciate not being allowed on the bed, but she seems to be healing nicely.


Good news on the other dog friend.  Scrappy received a death row reprieve and is headed for rescue!

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