THOUGHT FOR FOOD

I can forgive--barely--trendy writing in pieces like "Night Crawlers" (Fashion, May 1), but please spare me S. Irene Virbila's Vanity Fair prose in reviewing restaurants ("Fabulous Breakfasts, Splendid Lunches" (May 1). In her L'Orangerie paragraph, we're treated to: "Ignore the the ambitiously blond starlet in the red leather mini . . . ." What the hell does that mean? How can one be ambitiously blond? And regarding Valentino: "When I find myself missing Italy . . . ." When I find myself missing Italy, I usually have missed the turnoff.

Can't you find someone to give us honest food reviews and leave out the chic, self-serving baloney. As for allowing Michel Richard at Citrus to do her ordering: When I'm at Citrus and Richard is there, I try to have him order for me, but he always asks: "Do I know you?"

IAN BERNARD

Santa Ynez

Without listing prices, Virbila provides the names of 24 restaurants that she recommends for breakfast or lunch, most of which are the most expensive and formal in town. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that if you're willing to spend as much as $50 to $60 for lunch, you can expect to see swans swimming by. What readers might find more useful would be the discovery of more creative and affordable places--restaurants that put a fresh slant on the same old bacon-and-eggs fare.

There's nothing wrong with the inclusion, for balance, of one or two of the more luxurious, trendy and pricey places. But Virbila's articles seem to be targeted strictly at those to whom time and money are no object. In view of today's harsh economy, who wants to wear a tux to breakfast?

WARREN GARFIELD

Los Angeles

I've gradually come to the conclusion that your magazine is only for the wealthy. Even Linda Burum's report on "Street Food" doesn't cite the cost of a single muffin or poached egg. Most of the customers found at those places are people to whom the cost of food is of major importance.

BILL WARREN

Los Angeles

We residents of Redondo Beach take exception to Virbila calling our neighbor to the south, Laguna Beach, the St. Tropez of California. While Laguna Beach has zinc-topped tables and warblers, it has neither a harbor nor marinas, as do St. Tropez and Redondo Beach. The latter, too, has the ambience of a Mediterranean beach resort, with nearly as many espresso and croissant stops per mile as any town along the Cote d'Azur.

LOIS DRAKE, ADMINISTRATOR

REDONDO BEACH VISITORS BUREAU

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