As a frequent reader of the OC Live! section of the Times, I have always enjoyed Max Jacobson's review columns of local restaurants. I have discovered a number of great eateries thanks to Mr. Jacobson.
However, I was a bit appalled by a section of his review (Sept. 16) of the Song Long Vietnamese/French restaurant in Westminster.
I am referring to his description of the pate chaud. As a frequent traveler to France and a Vietnamese-born person who is married to a French woman, let me assure you that the only thing French about the pate chaud is its name. It is entirely of Vietnamese origin, not French as Jacobson incorrectly suggested. A pate chaud is no more French than, say, French toasts here in America.
Jacobson wrote: " . . . tastes exactly like one you would get in Paris." Exactly where in Paris? Or maybe he meant to write Perris instead of Paris?
I found Jacobson's review of this restaurant to be generally accurate overall. The Vietnamese menu is good, and I believe that he was correct in pointing out that the restaurant's pseudo-French dishes, although not to be considered fine cuisine in any sense, deserve merit for exemplifying the cultural influence that France had on Vietnam. Nevertheless, I think even he would agree that this restaurant should not be recommended to anyone who is looking to experience authentic French cooking.
Max Jacobson responds: As you correctly point out, pate chaud is an invention. However, what this menu calls a pate chaud is actually similar to a saucisson chaud, found in many Paris restaurants.
Imports, for the Record
I enjoyed Jim Washburn's column in the Sept. 30 OC Live! ("For the Record: Used-CD Trade Is Not a Ripoff"), and I am wholeheartedly in agreement with the points he made.
However, as the owner of an independent record/CD store that specializes in imports, I would like to point out one inaccuracy: Washburn states that " . . . the recording industry squeezed out the import record trade a few years ago." While it's true that the American labels made a concerted effort to do away with imports, it was never completely successful.
We are one of many stores that do a substantial amount of business selling imports that have no domestic counterparts. This is particularly true in the realm of dance music from England and Europe, which the American companies just plain don't understand. And while new recordings by major artists like U2 and Depeche Mode have simultaneous worldwide releases, it's not uncommon for there to be a Japanese version with one or two extra tracks or British singles with different B-sides that aren't available here.
Which only goes to prove that the American record companies are just as inept at gauging their own market as they are misguided about the entire issue of used CDs.
Owner, Hyde Park Corner, Irvine
A Little Too Fresh?
I appreciated the article about the farmers' markets that appeared as the cover story in the Sept. 30 issue. Rose Apodaca supplied all the necessary facts and addresses.
However, Apodaca can be too cutesy sometimes. She spoiled her article by writing things like: "More than a thousand Orangenoes frequent the four markets"; "A Fresno grower brings down Oriental veggies"; and "Eggheads can buy brown, double-yolk or cage-free eggs . . ."
I have lived in Orange County for 13 years, and I have never heard anyone use the silly term Orangeno. Egghead is a derogatory term for an intellectual; it has nothing to do with grocery shopping. And I would expect the Times to know better than to use the word Oriental.
More dignified terms would be: Orange County residents, Asian vegetables, egg buyers.