Week of August 18, 2004

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Roux the Day
The chef's special: I am not a spoilsport, but restaurant critic Michael Renner is one sandwich shy of a picnic ["Culture Clash," August 4]. Yes, Roux Cajun Café has flaws, like every other restaurant, but integrity is not one of them.

Renner failed in so many statements that I wish he would take a good look at why he wrote what he did. I remember Renner and his companion on both occasions that he did his shop-a-rama. Sorry, but you remember difficult customers and especially people that want you to kiss a little deeper to make them happy. You see, that is what he will never get. I made the decision, right or wrong, that when I opened this restaurant it would be fun. This beautiful building, staff and food should be shared by friends. So when you come in, don't sit in the corner. Meet people and have fun. When I say I am out of fried green tomatoes, it's because the plants in back of the restaurant need one more day to make them great. Could I buy them at Dierbergs? You bet. But then I am no different from any fast-food chain that Renner seems to cherish so much.

When you deal with people like Michael Renner on a daily basis in life, at some point you get tired of being pushed down by the bully. Where do I win? Well, Mr. Renner missed a great time. He may never know the feeling of having a chef make him and him alone something special just because they were nice. He should try sitting with a lawyer with a biker staring at a cowboy smiling at a hippie. You see, when it comes right down to it, you dance with the one who brung ya. Mr. Renner, open your eyes. Try a busy night and have a little fun. But please, try to take the chip off your shoulder before you come back in. We're not asking you for another chance. We're giving you one.

By the way, roux is made from butter and lard. Anyone worth their salt knows that. This month's write-ups: West County News, Bon Appétit, West County Courier, Restaurant News, Southern Living, St. Louis Journal, James Beard Foundation. Can they all be wrong? Now let's take a good hard look at that word "integrity." Do you have enough to print this?
Dave Mason, owner/executive chef
Roux Cajun Café

Southern distinction: Michael Renner seems to misunderstand the distinction between Creole and Cajun. Creole is the more well-known version of south Louisiana food, having been derived from the combination of the influences of Caribbean, African, French and Spanish cuisine. The "trinity" applies to Creole cooking. Cajun, however, is very plain food compared to Creole; and often the food is simply fried. It is said in south Louisiana that if it moves, a Cajun will fry it and eat it. At any rate, thanks for the assessment. Nothing is worse than anticipating good food and being badly disappointed.
Philip H. Witherspoon Jr.

Flack Flak
A message from the other side: I am Jenny Price, the sister of Jane Higgins' ex-husband David Price. I read Chad Garrison's profile of Jane while visiting my family in St. Louis ["Star Flack," July 21].

Jane is a talented publicist and devoted mother. She deserves a profile that raves about her. But I am not impugning Jane in the least to point out that every divorce has two sides -- and the fact that anyone, much less any reporter, should understand this. The fact that Garrison makes numerous claims about my brother's life and work and marriage and death that he couldn't possibly know to be true, with nary a quotation mark or "according to," is such obviously shoddy journalism. The fact that he makes these claims about a man who has been dead for three years and cannot defend his memory is doubly irresponsible. The fact that Garrison has practiced such careless reporting on a subject of such pain and tragedy is unconscionable.

It would take several pages to rebut the assertions about my brother point by point. David, in any case, was much more forgiving than I am and probably would not want me to. Suffice it to say that David was a man of exceptional warmth and talent and integrity. He is one of the last people I can think of who deserves to have had his name sullied in his hometown media.
Jenny Price
Venice, California

The Old Ball Game
Stoned: The cover of the July 14 Riverfront Times caught my eye and I realized that Jeff Stone was someone I knew in the past [Andrew Miller, "Stone Diaries"]. My husband, Steve Raab, and his supervisor, Don Williams, are the Phillies scouts who signed Jeff Stone in Bob McCulloch's kitchen. I am sorry to learn that things turned out so badly for Jeff. Steve thought very highly of him personally, besides his abilities.

It is good to know that he has found peace. Andrew Miller's story brought back many memories of Steve's 25 years scouting. I shall keep your article with other memorabilia I have saved. I do have a baseball autographed by Jeff Stone and a clipping or two. Thanks for the memories!
Margaret Raab
St. Louis

The photo on last week's Stage page was accompanied by a botched caption. In the photo Kevin Beyer appears at left as Salieri, with Maura Kidwell as Constanze and Jared Sanz-Agero as Mozart.

Freelancing Opportunity
The Riverfront Times is looking for freelance writers to contribute to our music section. Knowledge of dance music and hip-hop is a plus. Please send writing samples to:

Jordan Harper, music editor
c/o Riverfront Times
6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63130

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