No Sympathy for the Piggies
Naive city slickers: I was a bit disappointed at the slant Natalie O'Neill took in her December 25 article "Hog Huntin'." It portrayed hunters as an irresponsible bunch with zero morality.
The truth is there are as many types of hunters as there are people. To label knife hunting as extreme is unnecessary hyperbole. Knife hunting with dogs is the traditional way of hunting boar. There is no doubt it is dangerous. Irresponsible hunters put their dogs in danger, cross moral lines, and gain enjoyment by seeing the boar suffer at the jaws of their powerful dogs.
I am a responsible hunter, as are many others. Whatever I'm hunting I kill quickly and kill only what I can eat. I do not waste our natural resources. Even in a knife hunt, the boar should be dispatched quickly and the dogs should not be allowed to torment and torture the animal. You label knife hunting as a horrendous practice along with cage hunts. Cage hunts do not offer the animal any chance, and I concur they are not hunts at all.
I often wonder that if people were to see the inside of a slaughterhouse — whether it be chickens, cattle, or pigs — could they stomach the experience. Ever seen pig after pig being bled at a slaughterhouse? I can tell you knife hunting often pales in comparison. The general public doesn't know the process the yummy filet mignon or pork chop has to go through to make it to our favorite steak house. But it is quite similar to how your article described Mark Clemons's butchering technique. There is no pretty way to kill and butcher an animal.
Hunters kill responsibly and irresponsibly. Your article mainly focused on the well-to-do yahoos who have a twisted sense of self-entitlement. They do not understand that the tradition of hunting should be treated as a privilege and not a right.
The Grove Has Lost Its Charm
It's the chains' fault: In response to Natalie O'Neill's "Up All Night" on December 25: The reason why Coconut Grove's nightlife scene sucks nowadays is because most of its charm was sucked out when all the so-so chains moved in. Plus the Grove has an inferiority complex and wants to be South Beach, opening up lame SoBe-copycat clubs for which no white elitist who lives on Collins Avenue wants to cross the causeway, especially since the only types of people these broke-back rooftop lounges attract are tourists, UM's Greek society, and classless ghetto scum.
The Grove should take note from Scotty's Landing and South Miami's bar scene and crank down the pretentiousness a few decibels and bring back venues like the Hungry Sailor, which advocated a sense of community. Maybe then people will remember what made the Grove so special in the first place.
NT food critic not bad: I always look forward to reading Lee Klein's articles because I think he has extensive knowledge of culinary matters and brings credibility to his field. However, I was a little disappointed he didn't mention Ariston in his December 25 retrospective on 2008, "Through the Cooking Glass."
I understand he cannot mention every restaurant, but I think Miami deserves a good Greek restaurant that is reasonably priced and respects culinary tradition. I believe our efforts at Ariston go beyond those of other Greek-related establishments, and our goal is for Miami to have a Greek restaurant comparable to the very best in other big cities.
Thanasis Barlos, co-owner of Ariston
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A drawing of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez in last week's "Dirty Dozen" might have given the wrong impression. It was not Miami New Times' intention to imply any malfeasance on his part.