Table Talk

To the Editor,

I got a good laugh when I read Peter Vassious of Evangelos wax poetic about his artistic abilities in the kitchen ("Call the SPCA," The Skinny, May 31) ... this from a guy who was at least partly responsible for putting up a blazing, tacky, neon-lit sign that would be more consistent decor for a used-car lot on Stone and Grant, rather than a supposedly swanky dive in the waning beauty of the Tucson Mountains. Gimme a break! He may be an artiste in the kitchen, but his sense of aesthetics when it comes to the decor of his restaurant is bush league through and through.

--Jeff Rogers

To the Editor,

I read with interest Keith Turausky's letter "Lamb to the Slaughter" (Mailbag, June 6). My wife and I picked up a copy of the Arizona Gourmet magazine in question at Evangelos after finishing our Mother's Day meal there.

After reading the puff piece about Evangelos, it was clear it was describing a place different from where we had just eaten.

Our first problem (this should have been a clue about what we were in for) was that despite having made a reservation for three a week earlier, we were seated at a table set for two. Why this table hadn't been properly set while we cooled our heels in the lobby is beyond me. Because our table was crammed into a corner, Mom suffered the indignity of having a busboy reaching over her to complete the table setting.

Our waitress arrived and asked, "Can I start you guys off with something to drink?" My wife and my 87-year-old mother are clearly not "guys." For a restaurant pretending to be upscale, according to the prices, anyway, this shows a severe lack of training. Maybe the Onassis family will put up with it, but we found it offensive.

I won't describe the complete litany of problems, but I must comment on the--to use Turausky's words--"over-produced" lamb. Mom, at her age, has a bit of a problem chewing tough food. So she ordered what she hoped would be a tender lamb dish. For some unimaginable reason, this was prepared tableside. I surmise that this "production" was supposed to impress, but if I really wanted to watch my meal being prepared, I'd ask for a table in the kitchen.

Our waitress was obviously untrained in the preparation of the dish. So the establishment decided to hold a training session at our table. The fellow who was the trainer actually told us that the portable burner he was using was really not hot enough to do the job properly, but he cooked and served it anyway!

The "lamb" (both Mom and my wife suspect that it was veal) was so tough that we had to send it back and order something else. As a consequence, Mom got to sit and watch us while we ate our meals and then we got to do the same when her meal arrived. But what the heck, they gave her a free dish of ice cream to make up for it.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Next year I'm taking you to Denny's. The food and service will be better and I'll save a hundred-fifty bucks.

--Wes Stewart

Immoderate Dems

To the Editor,

Your Newsreel comments about Chris Limberis in the June 7 Weekly were clearly on target. His report about changing the city charter ("Charter Chatter") was thorough, even including helpful historical notes. Obviously, the proposed changes are part of a Republican-driven plan, as Limberis suggests.

One major grievance I have with the article, however, is the portrayal of Steve Emerine as a moderate Democrat. Like Carol West and Shirley Scott, Emerine is clearly a conservative Dem, if not a de facto Republican.

Few, if any, moderate Dems would embrace the planned city charter changes, and certainly no moderate Dem would so vehemently oppose the liberal McKasson's bid for mayor and be equally strident in support of her GOP opponent, Bob Walkup, as Emerine was. Those positions belong in the domain of conservative Dems and Republicans, not moderate Democrats.

I emphasize this oversight, for one thing, because "moderate" Dems like Emerine, many business leaders, and the two major dailies have the voters quaking in their shoes over the likes of liberal Dems such as McKasson, as if she were the reincarnation of Madame Mao. For God's sake, there are decidedly more liberal and progressive Dems in the halls of Congress than McKasson, and there is no good reason to keep up this charade in Tucson any longer.

If we really want some positive change here, then we need to make the voters feel comfortable with liberal and progressive Democrats. Otherwise, we might as well simply watch as the Republicans use such schemes as changes to the city charter to turn Tucson--the last major Democratic bastion in the state--into just another GOP stronghold. Not much of a democracy, if you ask me.

--Michael Bowles