Letters to the Editor

Week of January 8, 2003

Amateur Hour

Don't quit your day job, ace: I understand that you're temporarily without a restaurant reviewer, and assume you must be assigning staff writers to cover local eateries in what one can only hope will be the interim [“Noblesse Oblige,” Eat, Dec. 4]. And I'm sure that Lisa Davis carefully considered a wealth of options, from Mission pupuserías to East Bay dim sum palaces, before settling on the insanely expensive and luxurious Charles Nob Hill as her subject when her turn in the rotation came around.

But based on her review, she would be better advised to stick to the broad range of hard-news topics she's explored previously; not everyone, it appears, can make the leap to useful food reportage.

When Davis wrote, in her lead, that “three foodie friends and I” had decided to visit Charles, I assumed she included herself among the fooderati. If so, her reliance on pedestrian adjectives more commonly encountered in transmontane suburban weeklies belies any such expertise. A foie gras appetizer was “tasty” (the least precise, most overused term in the faux reviewer's lexicon), the scallops showed “luscious taste and texture,” a third dish was “particularly nice.” A parsley garnish to one dish “seemed dull,” the beans in another “seemed a little out of place,” the pear in a dessert “seemed somewhat under-ripe”: Damn it, Lisa, were they or weren't they?

After the meal was over, Davis and her crew “felt a bit cheated.” Not like me after reading this review. The capper was her hilarious malapropism in describing chef Perello as a former “garde manager” at Aqua. The term is garde manger, which translates poorly into English; our closest equivalent is “pantry chef.” In the traditional French brigade system of kitchen organization, this individual is responsible not for “artistic presentation” (as Davis put it), but for the preparation of cold foods: salads, hors d'oeuvres, dressings, garnishes, and the like.

Jonathan King

Clothes Make the Woman

Walking wounded: S.F. women can't put an outfit together [“Dressed Down,” Dog Bites, Dec. 11]? Hang on a minute! Take a step back. Let's start with walking. Go sit on Market for an hour. You'll never see such a graceless, awkward, inept parade outside of a rehab hospital. You get Toes Pinched, Heels Too Tall, Book Between Butt Cheeks, Pebble in Shoe, Spina Bifida, Club Foot, Sandals Too Loose. It's a sad spectacle.

Jim Fleegens

Mutton dressed as pork: Dog Bites misses the point in trying to tell GQ that San Francisco's women really do know the location of the nearest bebe store. Hello — fashion cannot be conflated with style.

This is a classic instance where the appalling overachiever types who patronize the Matrix and its environs really do need to apply a lot more care rather than cash.

It never ceases to amaze me, a European male, late 30s, how S.F. women can go out and spend $3,500 on an outfit and still come across as mutton dressed as pork. I guarantee that I can turn more heads from both sexes in my Versace fur coat, Maharishi snopants, and Oliver Sweeney snakeskins than any woman in S.F. — without even trying.

But that wouldn't be too difficult in a city where most women take their fashion cues from Blockbuster rented copies of Sex and the City and whatever they can remember from Monica Lewinsky's pictures in People magazine.

The only women in San Francisco likely to turn my head always seem to be wearing Muni uniforms. For the rest of you, a little travel abroad might help.

Prada Meinhof

It's all about style, baby: Having worked with several local independent fashion designers, I wanted to express some of my opinions regarding S.F. fashion: You can buy fashion but you can't buy style. Gucci Group and LVMH may have several boutiques in San Francisco, but they have little to do with local style.

Although I admire many designs and designers that operate under the consolidated fashion industry's two dominant purveyors of luxury goods, I opt for a more individuated style and one that is less recognizable. What we wear says so much about who we are as individuals and as social groups. Not only do our clothes reflect the geography and weather of the region, they also speak to one's financial and social status, trend awareness, and so much more.

I am very conscious of how I brand myself. I refuse to wear walking advertisements for corporations who exploit human resources and destroy natural resources. My fashion sensibility is political. That is why I opt to support local design which speaks more to my lifestyle and beliefs. I would agree that S.F. does not have the fashion sensibility of NYC, Milan, Paris, or London. But San Francisco does not lack style!

Michael Cohen
North Beach

You're Giving Me a Headache!

It's the noise, stupid: After reading Matt Smith's article on the diesel buses that may or may not be purchased by S.F., I wondered whether or not he actually lived in the city of San Francisco [“Unnatural Gas,” Dec. 4]. Given his attitude and zealousness for the diesel buses I assume he doesn't, or at least not on a bus line.

I hold no contention with his opinion on whether or not one is more “green” over the other, but arguing over it is the act of a “chump.” The fact is, the current diesel buses are above the city noise level. If he lived on any bus line he'd know that. Instead he writes as if he knows. He doesn't.

I don't give a fuck how “green” it is. What I do care is how much it infringes upon my right to peaceful existence. If Smith truly cared, he'd investigate the real problem at hand. The noise problem.

Robert Douglas

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