It's not really a big deal to see Michael Caine hanging out in his expensive restaurant. Who the hell cares if he's there or not? I'm sure Mr. Caine couldn't care less. Nor could Jen Karetnick. After all, she is probably the hottest restaurant critic in town.

So one day on a whim she goes to his famous restaurant without telling the hostess who she is. The snotty hostess didn't have a clue that the woman in front of her was the voracious Jen Karetnick, ready to snap her up if she committed even one small mistake. And she did. A big one. For that, Ms. Karetnick must have thought, the brassy hostess had to suffer and be butchered in her column. And she was.

Brih Mendiola
Coconut Grove

Jen: Tell Her It's the Food, Stupid
Regarding Jen Karetnick's review of Capital Grille ("Putting the Sir in Sirloin," March 6), her diatribe about being a woman -- a guy rushing to the door to open it, a waiter trying to serve her first -- how terrible! She's lucky someone would want to open the door for her or serve her in a gentlemanly way. If she has a problem about being served first, she should say something. Instead she complains about it later in print.

Doesn't Ms. Karetnick try to look her best when going to dinner at places like the Capital Grille? Why bother, if the attention she then attracts upsets her so badly? What a hypocrite.

It's the food, stupid! She should stick to the review. Her commentary is a bore. And she should try reviewing some places we can all afford.

Ronald Richards

Jen: Her Reviews Are Food for Thought
The recent run of anti-Jen letters prompted me to write. Though I don't frequent the restaurants she reviews, she is my favorite columnist. I enjoy the vivid, detailed descriptions of the meal and the creative way she weaves stories of her life into the review. It's a wonderfully vicarious experience -- a cozy dinner with an entertaining companion, without the expense or calories.

Perhaps people rely too much on her recommendations. I would not give a friend a hard time if I did not like a restaurant he or she recommended. Food, after all, is a matter of taste. Jen simply states her experiences and opinions sincerely.

Lili Chambers

Jen: Does Her Universe Stop at Kendall Drive?
I am an avid reader of New Times and enjoy your reviews, especially those of local restaurants. Because I live in Homestead, however, these places tend to be quite a drive from my home. It seems you have fallen into the same trap as everyone else who lives north of Bird Road -- thinking that life as we know it ends after Kendall Drive.

We have some of the best restaurants down south, and the prices are usually half the ridiculous amount South Beach restaurants charge. One place I can recommend wholeheartedly is Rosita's, on SW 344th Street (Palm Drive).

Homestead has fully recovered from Hurricane Andrew and is growing into a delightful place. Please send Jen Karetnick down here. I am sure she will be pleasantly surprised to see what a wonderful place it is, not just for food but for cultural events as well.

Allison Cosens

Of River Rats and Men
Kathy Glasgow's article "Urban Shipwreck" (March 6) was a sad commentary on the state of government control of ocean shipping on the Miami River. Her subtitle, "This funky freighter is making people crazy," says much about stupid, lazy, and sloppy marine enforcement by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Marine Patrol, and the Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management.

Michael Zapetis is not and never could be "King of the Miami River Rats" because he's a moral pygmy compared to Capt. Fred Irving, who was the real king. I made a fortune with Captain Irving buying old World War II wooden Navy minesweepers for $15,000 each and selling them to Central American navies. He had an envious reputation on the Miami River, unlike some of the present sleazy waterfront scum who can barely operate stolen-bicycle freighters to Haiti without cheating somebody. I look forward to more stories about the Miami River.

Russell F. Nansen

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