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The Cup Runneth Over

To the Editor,

I was, at best, discouraged when I read Diza Sauers' review ("Good Intentions," May 9) likening the Cup Café to an Elizabethan tragedy. I had not, until that point, ever read such an uncompromisingly scathing review of a restaurant. With hesitation, I wrote it off as the angry scribblings of a departing food critic getting her last digs at the expense of a funky cool little café. However, when I read the capsule review of The Cup in the most recent ChowScan (June 20), I could hardly believe you are still slinging the same misguided slants. Isn't this the same café The Weekly voted "Best Café" a year ago? After reading the review, it's hard to imagine that the Editor has dined in The Cup for some time. There have certainly been some very positive changes lately. It is irresponsible journalism to continue to print outdated misinformation.

To bring the Weekly up to date, The Cup's management has changed considerably in recent months. The new crew is boldly pursuing exciting new ideas. Scott Wheeler, Zen master of food, mainstay of The Cup kitchen, is staying on to showcase his talents in an atmosphere that supports creativity and demands constant re-invention. He has some great help, too. James Massey, the new executive chef, comes to The Cup from Canyon Ranch, where he sharpened his mastery for six years as the Chef de Partie. He's joined by Bill O'Dell, who recently departed a position as executive chef at McMahon's Prime Steakhouse. They're all excited to expand their culinary prowess and explore the fusion of food and technique that is fast becoming the culture of the Cup Café.

Together they've developed a new menu that could rival any in town. Adventurous Tucson diners may want to take note of dishes like "The Riders of the Purple Sage" (sage inlaid chicken breast with sweet vermouth butter reduction), the "El Dorado" (mahi mahi plugged with sea scallops and finished with Roma tomato concassa), and the "Ernest Hemingway" (grilled yellow-fin tuna over pineapple sticky rice and peach rosemary salsa with a ponzu dipping sauce). There's a new enthusiasm pulsing through the kitchen at The Cup. We're ready to challenge the culinary mundane and dazzle the seasoned palate.

Food critics and editors alike might want to pay another visit before they continue to dole out the same misinformation. Even the service is getting better. As the new manager, I've implemented a training program to help make the experience a little smoother, and we no longer require the staff to look like "they were cast for a remake of another Addams Family movie." I invite the critics, restaurateurs, readers and artists to come and check it out. The food is fantastic and the spirit is alive.

--Wayne McCallum
Cup Café manager

Editor's note: ChowScan, a weekly listing of local restaurants, reflects the views of our critics. Because restaurants do change, we pay a repeat visit to an eatery we've skewered after six months. Our new food critic, whose weekly Chow column will begin in September, will review The Cup Café later this year. An archive of Chow reviews can be found at www.tucsonweekly.com/tw/columns/chow.html.


But It's a Dry Humor

To the Editor,

In a recent letter (Mailbag, June 6), Jamila Nassar asked, "Do we really need our pathetic news stations to tell us to conserve water?" The answer is no. After much "complaining" about our water rates to Tucson Water, the city water staff actually invited me downtown on several occasions to hear my gripes and exchange information. One fact revealed to me was that we Tucsonans have been using less and less water per person per year for nearly 10 years now.

Yes, it is true: we are conserving water, moving slowly from green lawns and lush gardens to desert landscape and "parched" backyards. Gone are the days of green; soon dust and gravel will be the norm. Gone will also be the birds and bees that rely on those fountains and sprinklers for a cool drink. I can't wait for the day when the last creature dies from dehydration.

Tucson will make a great "dirty thirty" kind of place to live, don't you agree? NOT.

I thought we had a party in the Boston Harbor because some of us did not like being told what to do and how to do it without a "vote" on the matter? I believe if you want to water a tree or have a fountain, then go ahead ... after all, it is your water bill. Trust me, it won't be cheap, but the rest of us just might enjoy a little bit of shade and the ambiance of the fountain in this otherwise shrinking oasis we call Tucson.

--Dana Powers

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