Letters - Part I

We read with great interest Mr. Baker's article, "For Goodness: Snakes," published in your August 21 edition. Mr. Baker briefly mentioned that some species and areas of "the Everglades" are closed to collection by law. The National Park Service and Big Cypress National Preserve have a huge problem with theft of natural resources from the public lands we are charged with preserving.

While some collecting of these resources is by tourists who desire a pretty plant or flower, a far greater impact is made by those who acquire nature for commercial gain. Misdemeanor fines for simple collection or possession of protected resources can range up to $500 and/or six months in jail.

The National Park Service is committed to the preservation of the native habitat of South Florida and all species contained therein. Preservation of these unique ecosystems will insure the survival of the species with a greater degree of certainty than the collection and preservation of these species in someone's living room.

We hope that you will inform your readers of the serious nature of collecting any protected fish, wildlife, or plant from the state or federal lands. Beyond this, we hope you will help us educate the public that the best alternative for any species, including our own, is the preservation of native habitat.

William J. Carroll, acting superintendent
U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service

In reference to Carlos Mendez's letter (August 7) criticizing Greg Baker's review of the 2 Live Crew, I'd like to point out a typical inconsistency often stated by censors: "Don't get me wrong - I strongly believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and I'm not trying to censor Mr. [Mendez's] opinion. But we've got to draw the line somewhere," preferably on Mr. Mendez's flawed ideas so he can get on with life after New Times.

Robert A. Boyte
Miami Beach

I think I've read one too many Sue Mullin restaurant reviews. Sure, I can grit my teeth and suffer through grating sophomoric puns. And maybe gloss over breathless prose galloping from the keyboard at breakneck speed. And even resign myself to an abuse of literary license which pummels us week after week with inane remarks about a fictional boor who goes by the devilishly original tag of "my dining companion."

But annoying as these stylistic deficiencies may be, what I find truly intolerable - in a politically correct restaurant reviewer - is plugging a restaurant, Cafe Cazando ("Surfin' Safari," August 7), that specializes in alligator, buffalo, elk, and mallard (a wild duck). Ms. Mullin has done a wonderful job of forwarding the cause of all those who oppose ecological, zoological, and human rights.

It's a pity that while Sue was playing war correspondent in Central America a few years back, she never took the opportunity to witness the shame and squalor of the many Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans who have never graced a Coral Gables dining establishment, and much less, gorged on "Costa Rican-style" quail in the company of reckless yuppies. I also bet that she has never been to the Dakotas to experience the "wild and woolly adventure" of a real stampede of buffalo. But then, why bother if you can have it fried or grilled on a plate with a "healthy portion of chestnut puree"?

I wonder what future columns have in store for us. How about an Albanian diner serving baby seal teriyaki with a garnish of rice pilaf? Or maybe her dining companion prefers a small bistro where Ethiopian gazelle is cooked to perfection by Haitian cooks recently washed ashore on Key Biscayne. No - much too much. Basta!

Francisco Garcia

This letter comes out of complete frustration. I have never written this kind of letter before, but I must tell you about my frustrations with your restaurant reviewer. My companion and I have wasted a lot of time and a ton of money and have experienced such disappointments and letdowns whenever we have followed the recommendations of your restaurant reviewer, Sue Mullin. Actually, that's putting it mildly. "Gag me" is more like it. Her reviews are ludicrous.

I have checked my perceptions with my dining companion, and he is in full agreement with me. Still, thinking that maybe both of us are weird or different, I began checking my perceptions with friends. It's unanimous: she's off the wall. She is completely inaccurate in the "feeling" she creates about the restaurant and in her judgment about the quality of the food, the taste of the food, and the authenticity of the food. Are these restaurants paying her to write the reviews? I am truly puzzled.

My companion and I most recently ventured to Kiko's Mexican/Cuban restaurant ("The Joy of Mex," June 26) on NE 167th Street in North Miami Beach. It boasts of fresh salsa. They cut up some fresh vegetables, but the result is a salsa that tastes of chemicals, preservatives, and metal. It's terrible. The waiter insisted it was made from scratch - except for the tomato base. Would Sue Mullin notice the bad taste? Would she ever figure it out? I don't think her inquiring mind cares to know. Furthermore, the restaurant's "Mexican" sauce is homemade, but its recipe must be for marinara sauce! The Mexican steak we had was tough and chewy and not well done, and the rice was dry and hard.

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