'hood winked: How was the land surrounding the SRP San Tan plant ever zoned for residential neighborhoods? This is shocking ("Shock Treatment," Robert Nelson, February 22)! Was it the City of Gilbert or Maricopa County zoning that allowed this to happen? If it was done by the city, it shows collusion on behalf of not just SRP and the developers, but with the elected and/or appointed officials who allowed it.
Good job on the story. This should be looked into much more by the team at New Times. Something is definitely rotten in Gilbert!
Name withheld by request
Revolting developments: Amy Silverman's article on Sonoran News publisher Don Sorchych ("Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Man?" February 15) was somewhat well-researched and written, yet completely missed the reason he enjoys such wide support in the region. Here in the upper Sonoran Desert Foothills (the rarest of the rare), developers and/or developer enablers or advocates have subordinated environmental responsibility to their economic goals. These people have traditionally received kid-glove treatment from the media, as your publication's embarrassingly softball article on Continental Mountain devastator Wayne Smith illustrated last year. Mr. Sorchych changed all that, flushing out all the Trojan horses that lurked in our local and regional governments and "preservation organizations" like so many barracudas in the reeds. He has ruffled the feathers of only the most deserving (including all the miscreants interviewed for your story), and that is why he enjoys the broad mandate he has been given.
Blair Olsen, vice president
Flash 'n' the Pan
Nada chance: I just finished the Barcelona review and congratulate you for exposing "the Emperor's new clothes" ("International Food Bizarre," Carey Sweet, February 22). I have opened 15 restaurants and owned five, some for more than 20 years. I am amazed on a daily basis by the lack of substance in many of today's concepts. The emphasis seems to be on fluff and perception, not great food.
Spending six figures on your bar top does not make up for tortillas under your filet mignon. What is that all about? Pewter tableware is decor. The dishwasher will ruin these plates, if they are, in fact, washed. Capping your teeth and dyeing your hair does not compensate for lack of server training (the night we were there, the server had absolutely no idea what the menu descriptions were and could not describe any of the dishes).
While I generally dislike to read unsatisfactory reviews because I know the hard work that goes into opening any food operation, you were more than kind in this instance. Why do owners throw out all the business experience they gained in making their large fortunes when it comes to entering the restaurant business? If the Barcelona owner does "threaten" to open more concepts before working with the right people, he will certainly find out how to make a small fortune . . . start with a large one!
Please don't use my name so I can continue to get invited to openings.
Name withheld by request
Tasty licks: As an aspiring musician and songwriter, I've always been haunted by the idea that a lack of talent might ensure a long tenure laboring in relative obscurity ( Bash & Pop, Bob Mehr, February 15). Had I suspected sooner that a major prerequisite to success in the music business was the willingness to eat a dessert from the ass of another man, then maybe, and only maybe, I'd have more fame to enjoy. After reading the all-too-vivid description of what transpired in Howard Stern's studio, I feel justified in making the argument (hopefully without disturbing my smirk) that at least sour grapes have no funky aftertaste. Thanks to Gloritone's drummer for, if not giving us a metaphor of nearly mythological proportions on the cover charge to Making It Big, then at least providing us with a worthwhile paraphrase of some bumper sticker wisdom stated thus: "You can accomplish more with a good song and an ass-sundae-eating drummer than you can with just a good song."
Man-to-man: The usually excellent movie critics for New Times really flubbed the review of Before Night Falls ("Witness to the Persecution," David Ehrenstein, February 1). I am usually not a prude but had trouble watching a movie in which consenting males are regularly seen kissing or copulating. Definitely not my cup of tea. A word of caution on the part of the reviewer would have been appropriate.
Soy State of Affairs
East wing: I tend to agree with others writing in regarding Carey Sweet's critique of Temari ( Letters, February 15). How she rambled on regarding the movie The Breakfast Club made me think that I was reading a movie review and not a restaurant review.
I am interested in hearing what Ms. Sweet's credentials are regarding Japanese cuisine. Most individuals I know who have any experience at all in Japanese cuisine would know that the "accompanying sweet, creamy, sesame-seed-dotted sauce -- a sauce that comes, oddly enough, with tonkatsu, too . . ." is not sauce to be put on the mackerel or on the tonkatsu. That "sauce" is salad dressing and should be put on the salad that comes with the dinner. Even my 6-year-old son knows that you put tonkatsu sauce on tonkatsu, and, if needed, soy sauce on the mackerel.
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Every time I have eaten there, I, too, have noticed an overabundance of Japanese people enjoying their meals, which to me equates that the cuisine served at Temari is the real McCoy. Ms. Sweet obviously has never really eaten any good Japanese food, if she thinks that the food at Temari is lacking in quality. It makes me wonder if Ms. Sweet has actually even tasted authentic Japanese food (i.e., from a restaurant in Japan), because I personally have, and the food at Temari definitely deserves an A+ and tastes as authentic as any I have tasted in Japan.
Keep up the good work, Temari, and don't let critics like Ms. Sweet keep the readers of New Times from going and trying out your wonderful Japanese cuisine. I recommend trying the garlic chicken wings and the grilled salted salmon -- "o-i-shi de-su-yo!" (Translation -- "very delicious!")
Editor's note: Carey Sweet lived in Japan for three years and ate at many fine Japanese restaurants. She travels to Japan frequently.