Letters

Letters from the issue of Thursday, July 14, 2005

Food Fight

Let the poseurs beware: Loved the "Reality Check" review by Stephen Lemons (Cafe, June 30), because there's nothing I love more dearly than seeing the mighty taken down.

I'll bet Christopher Gross is screaming bloody murder to everybody who will listen about Lemons' being a hack who wouldn't know good chow if it bit him on his posterior.

I have said for a long time that Lemons is the best food critic New Times has ever employed, much better than Howie Seftel (New Times' loss is the Arizona Republic's loss), but what he needs to do is this: Stop turning us on to so many ethnic eateries and slap the shit out of the overpriced, living-on-their-laurels types like Gross and Chris Bianco.

I think it was Lemons who wrote that those who truly love New York- or Chicago-style pizza wouldn't go near Pizzeria Bianco's Gucci pies. Hear, hear!

And about living on one's laurels, there's no restaurant more guilty of that than Christopher's. His place was pretty good when it first kicked off, or maybe we just didn't have great restaurants here back then, but now it's just overpriced and below average.

Tell Lemons to kick more ass; his readers are savoring it each time he ravages a poseur.
T.C. Arnold, Phoenix

From one critic to another: Kudos on "Reality Check." I'd like to hear your take on some other overpraised, oh-so-pleased-with-themselves spots such as Pizzeria Bianco and Barrio Cafe. Here's looking at the naked emperor!
Elin Jeffords, via the Internet

Phoenix's best?: I'm new to Phoenix, and some friends took me to Christopher's, saying it's one of the best restaurants in the city. Well, if this is one of the best, I'm hightailing it back to Denver as fast as I can!
Teddy Gonzalez, Glendale

Those who can, do; those who can't, teach: I don't know what Stephen Lemons was smoking when he wrote the review on Christopher's, but it must have been some good shit!

He should be fired for that steaming turd he laid on New Times' readers about arguably the best restaurant in the city. I'm just wondering if Lemons even went to the same restaurant I've frequented for years.

One thing I've wanted to know for a long time is why New Times critics have to be so fucking negative. They are not doing anything to improve the cultural scene in Phoenix by bitching all the time.
Ted C. Pugh, Peoria

So-so busted: It's about time somebody busted Christopher's for its so-so food and not so so-so prices. Next up, I hope, Tarbell's.
Ren Tomlinson, via the Internet

Not up to par: Spot-on about Gross. His is one of the few decent places to go in the Biltmore area, and he's sleepwalking with the food. This place should shine. I think the best choice is Zinc Bistro [at Kierland Commons in Scottsdale].
Seth Goldberg, Scottsdale

Hell's kitchen: Wow! The "Egoführer" was finally exposed for what he is: a culinary sham! The menu you described is the same he presented in Christopher's and the Bistro in the '90s.

I would have to speculate that his behavior in the kitchen has finally alienated any talented cooks from his brigade. I would suggest that he return to Missouri and the fried bologna sandwich from which he sprang, but that is the "Show-Me" state, and as you so aptly pointed out in your review, he doesn't have it to show.
Name withheld by request

Pay no attention to the greasy curtain: I don't care what you say, I love Christopher's! It's a classy place and unworthy of the drivel you call a restaurant review.

I'm sure that the greasy curtain you mentioned was a figment of the writer's imagination, put in the review to sell papers. Your reviewer (whose name is some kind of inedible citrus fruit, I believe) should be dismissed posthaste. He is a cad who's unworthy of licking Christopher Gross' loafers.

Be gone, vile fruit! Be gone!
Name withheld by request

Mo' Better Food

Out of Africa: I've always enjoyed reading Stephen Lemons' restaurant reviews, and I often take his advice as far as interesting places to eat. I don't always agree with his observations about the restaurant scene here in Phoenix, but he's always an entertaining read.

The Somali place he wrote about recently ("Somali Sublime," June 23) intrigued a co-worker and me, and so we went down to Little Somalia to check it out. It was just as Lemons reported, particularly when it came to the Somali section of Juba Restaurant's menu.

I found the aromatic rice to be delicious, along with the chicken and beef dinners one can choose to go with them. I even liked the Somali iced tea.

But as Lemons also reported, it is a new place, still "working out the kinks," and there were a couple of items not available.

Anyway, please have Lemons keep telling us about the new ethnic food places in the area. He's the only food writer I know of who's willing to go this far off the beaten path in search of them.
Nick Heimert, Glendale

Ethnic is where it's at: Just a note to thank Stephen Lemons for his Cafe reviews in general each week, but especially for the one on Stanley's Home Made Sausage Co. ("Sausage Fest," May 19).

Because of your article, my wife and I drove in from Chandler to the store on McDowell Road, where we had lunch and took home more sausage for later consumption.

I agree that ethnic is where the eating adventure lies. It's disappointing that, to so many, eating out in the Phoenix area is about the usual steak and/or barbecued-rib places.
Don Langlois, Phoenix

Stopped Up

Cutting through the crap: That was a shitty article you guys did, but it was really great reading ("S#&t Storm," Bruce Rushton, June 30).

Dissolving pipes, sewage backing up in people's houses. Why should this surprise anybody?! We live in an area where taxes are so low that the government can't keep up with the demand for services.

What I'm getting at is that with 100,000-plus people moving to the Phoenix area each year, our antiquated pipes have got to give way. This may be the actual thing that bursts the real estate bubble in Maricopa County.

Because, you know, something's got to give sooner or later!
Frank Connelly, Phoenix

Urine a lot of trouble: Bruce Rushton's story proves one thing once and for all. There has to be some sanity about how much development can go on in this city.

You can't keep building when the pipes are already overflowing. If the building is to continue, taxes have to be raised, as much as we all would hate it, so more and better sewer lines can be put in.

As long as development is what drives this economy, can we expect any rationality here from our government? Somebody needs to wake up!
Jeff John, via the Internet

S#&t for brains: Great article on the sewer problems in Phoenix. Very informative and timely (for me). I live at 56th Street and Osborn, which is one of the capacity areas.

[A developer is] trying to build 40 new homes right behind me. There is a planning meeting with the City of Phoenix because the new owner of the property is trying to get it rezoned for residential. I will bring up this article at that meeting.
Richard Milder, Phoenix

Illegally Wed

Slave trade: The problem with polygamy as practiced in parts of Utah and Arizona is that little girls are being bought and sold as sexual chattel ("On a Wing and a Prayer," John Dougherty, June 30).

"Marrying" a child is, and ought to be, considered sexual molestation of a child and should be prosecuted as the crime it is.

By the way, anyone who approves of George W. Bush's efforts to inflict theocracy upon the United States ought to take a hard look at the fundamentalist Mormon church. No sane community would wish to be subjected to theocracy, no matter which cult holds the reins.
David Rice, Abiquiu, New Mexico

Scratching the surface: Excellent reporting by John Dougherty on the polygamists, but the article only scratches the surface of the FLDS cult.

To see how deep the rabbit hole goes, I highly recommend Jon Krakauer's book Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, in which New Times' and John Dougherty's April 10, 2003, article ("The Wages of Sin") is quoted. Jack Jones, Phoenix

Editor's note: Also check out "Polygamy in Arizona," a compilation of New Times articles on the fundamentalist Mormon church in northern Arizona and southern Utah. It can be found online at phoenixnewtimes.com.

Revised Draft

Serving the public good: I take issue with people who object to the military recruiting of people on high school campuses ("Uncle Sam Wants Them," John Dougherty, June 2). In the first place, the draft never should have ended, largely because drafted people keep or help keep the military honest.

Also, the draft motivates people to do other things, like go to school to avoid serving in the military. In short, the very act of avoiding the draft serves the public good.

The military has to fill its ranks and needs to do whatever it can to accomplish that end. The military can be a great start in life. There are many advantages to joining. Not all jobs involve combat.

I spent eight mostly good years in the military. We must defend our free country. I think there should be a draft so people can be taught the basics of how to do that. To wait until something happens is too late.
Ronald A. Young, Waianae, Hawaii

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