Week of September 3, 2003

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Orange You Glad
Pulp friction: After reading Rose Martelli's "review" of Tangerine, I'm slightly confused ["High Society," August 20]. You bury a great review of the food in an overopinionated diatribe about how you hate the atmosphere and how you feel you are above that.

I consider myself a regular customer at Tangerine. I've enjoyed their food, atmosphere and friendliness since its opening in 1996. I've been through many personnel and menu changes but wouldn't consider myself a "well-coiffed barfly." I would consider myself a 35-year-old woman who goes there because it's the only place in town that has decent drink specials, good food and great music.

Yes, Blake's food is good. So what is wrong with having some fun when thinking up menu selections? You are supposed to be a writer. Writers are creative, and chefs are creative. Simply put, it is just "stupid toasted ravioli with an unassuming tomato sauce." Toasted ravioli is a St. Louis tradition. So Blake put a little twist on a St. Louis tradition and gave it a name that fit. Last time I checked, no one else was offended by the title. Get over it.

Tangerine is not a restaurant. It's a bar that serves food. Really good food. You do commend the food, for which I commend you. However, if you are going there for a three-course meal complete with a wine list and dessert cart, you've chosen the wrong place. I've had the banana egg rolls, and they are delicious. It is a banana, with chocolate and some peanut butter, rolled in an egg-roll wrapper and deep-fried. It is served with a burnt vanilla sauce on the side, and in my opinion wouldn't be good with whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce. It's good just as it is.

Blake doesn't tell you how to write; don't tell him how to cook or what to serve on the menu. Oh, and do your research. The meat loaf was one of the original house specialties.

Your quote regarding the bar staff -- "bartenders who, guy or gal, tattooed or virgin-skinned, are as cute as a bug's fingernails" -- is completely uncalled for. You have obviously lived in New York for too long and can only judge the book by its cover. You make them sound like they just crawled out from under a rock. I won't go into beauty being skin deep or how we should judge people on their insides, not their physical appearance. Aside from that, none of them are unattractive. Tangerine doesn't hire bar staff because of their looks, they hire qualified, honest people who know how to pour a good drink.

And yes, I have gotten annoyed by some of the patrons at Tangerine. But generally they are people just like you. Do us all a favor: Stop giving yourself those pep talks you need so much to go to Tangerine. All us barflies will be a lot happier.
Janine Nathe
St. Louis

Center of Attention
Puglisi and the pee: The best place to put a center like New Life Evangelistic is where the homeless people are. Makes sense.

What doesn't make sense is trying to oust something that will never go away with people thinking the way Mark Puglisi Jr. thinks [ Letters, July 30]. Yes, downtown needs to be revitalized. And, yes, the city needs to attract people, which will bring money into the economy. But whatever happened to trying to use your own resources before going into debt over a bit of flash and dazzle?

People are the greatest resource any city has. Obviously, if there aren't people to maintain a city, there's no reason to try to revamp it. Honestly, I cannot understand how the quest to better ourselves became limited to those with cars or jobs. Being homeless at one time myself and living on those same streets Puglisi thinks random homeless men are urinating on, I know what it takes to revitalize a person. It takes time, effort and money! All programs like Larry Rice's try to do is just what Puglisi thinks they don't do: Give a damn.

A city with people in it is what we all want -- right, Mark? Try staying out of it, and you may find that the population has increased and poverty has decreased simply from one archaic thinker vacating the premises.

By the way, my own car was stolen. Try locking it when you're on your next drinking binge and urinating on the street. You'll find it works wonders!
Name withheld by request
St. Louis

False Alarm
Joe Edwards is God: I know you thought it was funny, but to even joke about Joe Edwards being behind the fire at Arcade Lanes is sacrilege. As far as I am concerned, there should never be a negative word printed about the man, even in jest. Let's face it, without his God-like -- and very welcomed -- presence, the Loop would not exist.

St. Louis would be as dull as Topeka and the Riverfront Times would have to create all new categories in their Best Of poll just to drum up more thank-you ads from the winners.
Peggy Keller
University City

Phair Enough
Long may she run: If Gina Arnold thinks it's tough being a Liz Phair fan, she should try to follow Neil Young for about 25 years ["Phair Trade," July 30].
Steve Maliszewski
St. Louis

A Phair phase? I am not intimately familiar with Liz Phair's career, so I can't comment much on it. But I do have a few words on her recent attempted foray into mass commercial acceptance: She wants to make some money!

She and her managers have made a decision to experiment a little with her sound and image. I would say that we should wait to see how this campaign develops and how it is reflected in her live performances and subsequent actions. I recall Joan Jett's brief fling with a sweet, soft femme image that was extremely short-lived, and this may be a repeat of that.

Here's hoping that the essence -- whatever that may be -- of Liz's heart and soul show through in the overall span of her career, and that it lives or dies by that.
John Korst
St. Louis

Tuned In, Tuned Out
Can we get a head count? I couldn't help but notice something that I found kind of disturbing in the RFT's music awards issue [June 18]. What do the Reactions, Asia Minor, the Dead Celebrities and Grandpa's Ghost have in common? Two things: 1. All of them just won awards voted in by readers of the RFT. 2. In the past six months I have seen all four bands play shows at reputable St. Louis venues that have been completely empty, despite good promotion of the shows.

It strikes me as funny, and kind of representative of St. Louis in a way, that people could care enough about the band to vote for them, but (despite these bands only playing locally about every month or so, if that) going out of your way to actually attend one of their shows is unheard of. In a city of around a million people, it's a rarity for 50 to show up for a band -- even those that just got voted for by readers of this publication.

It would be nice to see people in St. Louis put their money where their mouths are and attend a show every now and then.
Ryan Wasoba
St. Peters

Won Two
Riverfront Times staff writer Geri L. Dreiling was honored in this year's Clarion Awards competition, presented annually by the Association for Women in Communications. Dreiling's February 27, 2002 cover story "Nasty Boys," an exposé of how harassment of female workers at a prominent rent-to-own company led to the mother of all lawsuits, won a first-place award in the Newspaper Feature Story category. Additionally, earlier this summer the National Association of Black Journalists awarded former staff writer Jeannette Batz top honors in feature writing for "Judgment at Hookyville," her March 27, 2002 cover story about a group of volunteer jurists who were rudely awakened after entering the twisted world of St. Louis' truancy court.

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