Sound and fury
Checking the mail bag for rants and raves
This week's column is devoted to feedback and queries. Yours are always welcome.
We're going to make a second attempt at correcting a recent misstatement here about Michael Longshore. The former chef of Sundown Cafe works as a dining critic for atlanta.citysearch.com. I apologize for the two earlier errors.
It's too late for you and me to get on his service, but Hugh Lovel has scored a hit around Atlanta with his delivery service of organic produce. Sometimes Lovel is at Whole Foods on Saturdays, and I have bought unbelievably good greens, ginger, tomatoes and a few root vegetables from him. Next year, I will definitely be on his subscription service. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An irate reader responded to my review of Pappasito's with this:
"I have been a patron of Pappasito's for a long time. I think the write-up by your critic was way off base. There is no question where the best fajitas in Atlanta are — it's Pappasitos. The produce is always fresh, and the building is always immaculate.
"There is obviously somebody paying attention to the quality of the food they serve. While I do agree the chili rellenos are below average, I think the fresh-roasted salsa is excellent. If you can't tell that that salsa is fresh-roasted, you have absolutely no business being in the food critiquing business. By the way, I've also been to the Dairy Queen and it's no real treat."
I stand by my review. Although I understand the reader's misreading of my comment, I did not say the salsa was made from canned tomatoes. I said it tasted little better than chopped, canned tomatoes.
As for my "credentials," longtime readers of this column know that my favorite cuisine is Mexican. I lived in Mexico the better part of a year and also in Houston a few years. I know authentic Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. Pappasito's is serving a bad version of border cantina food.
I agree, however, that the restaurant is "immaculate" in its cleanliness.
It was great to see Geneva Francais cooking again when she was guest chef at Roman Lily Cafe two weekends ago. The former chef/owner of the African Brown Bag, cooked up a wonderful feast that included everything from barbecued pork and fried fish to sesame dumplings filled with sticky rice. Francais is attempting to market her own brand of sauces, but we wish she'd get back in the restaurant business!
My constant obscene caller, a former restaurateur I reviewed poorly, left two impersonations of orgasms while calling my name. Poor guy goes to the trouble to disconnect a fax machine he thinks can't be traced by Caller ID. A woman connected to another negatively reviewed restaurateur left a series of e-mails in which she attempted to represent herself as different people but — usually drunk, judging by the times she calls — got confused about which conversation the separate false identities had started, thereby exposing her fraud. Grow up, people.
I received a few calls about my recent dissing of a meal at Sotto Sotto. Don't get excited. The restaurant remains my favorite place for high-quality, casual dining. I just agree that the owner may need to practice a bit more supervision if he wants to maintain quality.
Adrienne Hobbs writes to recommend Twang, the recent replacement of Kiva, in East Atlanta: "The service was as good as the food (which isn't always the case in Atlanta)." I'm visiting this week.
John Hullum wrote this: "My wife and I would like to know if you know anything about Vietnam House Restaurant on Buford Highway. We enjoy Vietnamese food a great deal and would love to have your opinions." I haven't made it to Vietnam House but I'm passing this on as a tip for a new try. I still dote most on Bien Thuy when I want my favorite Asian cuisine.
From Mazie Hale, the PR maven: "Albert Luna, former owner of the recently sold Luna Si, and brother of Paul, is now the chef at Eclipse di Luna. He joins James Ehrlich, owner of the restaurant and former partner of Paul." As far as I know, Eclipse is continuing its menu of the city's best tapas.
Gerry Cooper writes for a paella recommendation. The best should be at the new Andaluz but, unless the recipe has changed, it's not a contender. The paella at Loca Luna can be good but has been greasy twice when I ordered it. I've always liked the quicky paella at La Fonda. I often like the paella at Mambo, too, which may be the city's best. But if you want a really heavenly rice dish there, order the rice cooked with squid ink.
This is from Meredith Bell: "Pasta Pulcinella used to be one of my favorite inexpensive spots when it was at its old location. When it moved, we went less as the parking was a nightmare and some of the old ambience was gone ... Decided last night to go again after a long absence. What a disappointment!
"The prices have skyrocketed and the quality declined. My rapini used to be $6.95 and now is $11.95. The once flavorful Caesar tasted like it was topped with lightly flavored mayonnaise. The final blow was when we heard someone at the table by us inquire about dessert and asked the waiter what tiramisu was. Scary enough, but worse yet, the waiter told him it was a 'French dessert.'
"Yet another Midtown restaurant 'grows up,' succumbs to catering to a new, less-local crowd and loses what made it initially appealing."
Contact Cliff Bostock at 404-688-5623, ext. 1504.