Michael Wise’s “Tel Aviv Modern” was a refreshing read. His descriptions of the city’s impressive culinary and arts scenes and forward-thinking leaders was a welcome change for those of us who only hear about Israel’s violence and despair. It was encouraging to read that the people of Tel Aviv refuse to let their country’s challenges interfere with their day-to-day lives. —Shira Nanus, New Rochelle, N.Y.
Garden State Pride
The Lee brothers did a nice job depicting the atmosphere and ethos (not a Jersey word) of “da Shaw” in “Unexpected New Jersey”. I spent my summers between Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach. The Shore of the 1970’s was unbelievable, just as the article noted. Next time, Matt and Ted should visit Max’s in Long Branch. That place has the best hot dogs in the world.
—Randy Rodgers, Scottsdale, Ariz.
All I knew of the Jersey Shore was the 48-hour Atlantic City weekend combo: Borgata, blackjack, and crab cakes from Barbera Seafood & Produce. But after reading about the Lee brothers’ road trip “Unexpected New Jersey”, I realized there might be more to the area than casinos and carousels. Without the faux Vegas-style glitter of Atlantic City, I can see some of the distinct “gonzo charm” of the coastline that the writers fondly describe. —Naomi M. Piercey, New York, N.Y.
Peter Jon Lindberg was on the mark in “Nostalgia at Saigon's Hotel Continental”. I stayed at the Continental Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City last year, and also found that the clocks were set incorrectly, the red-velvet drapes were outdated, and karaoke was a nightly fixture. I wondered why the property hadn’t been upgraded, but after reading Lindberg’s tribute (and hearing of the plans to remodel), I wish it weren’t changing. What the hotel lacked in grandeur, it made up for in character. The Continental is a symbol of old Saigon, and I wouldn’t change a thing. —Kate Goodin, Ledgewood, N. J.
An American Classic
You discovered my family favorite: Trowbridge’s, in Florence, is a great reason to love Alabama “50 Reasons to Love the U.S.A. Now”, and it certainly has the best ice cream in the South. Every time I go home, I head over for a classic cone. I just hope the line doesn’t get too long, now that it’s a landmark. —Scott Jackson, Melbourne, Fla.
Being in Bangkok
I loved the cadence of Gary Shteyngart’s “Bangkok Nights”. He captured the atmosphere of a city that I imagine to be writhing with a pungent humanity. I was transported, enjoying his experience as if it were my own. —Lindsey Averill, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Reader’s Find: Italy
When my husband and I travel to Venice, we always have dinner at Osteria Il Milion (1 Corte Al Milion; 39-041/522-9302; dinner for two $100), the oldest osteria in the city. Don’t let the touristy tagline throw you: this is where Venetians eat. It’s tucked away in a quiet courtyard, and the food is fresh and tasty. My favorite dishes are a leek soup, brothy with a clean finish, and scaloppine al vino bianco, tender veal served with fresh vegetables. There is also a lovely vino fragolino, a sparkling white wine with strawberry accents, made especially for this restaurant. Chef-owner and city native Roberto Bocus stays true to northern Italian cooking methods and ideals. He never uses heavy sauces that dominate your taste buds. —Janet Simic, Orange, Calif.
Correction: Thank you to the readers who noted that Wildwood is a city and Wildwood Crest is a neighboring borough in “Unexpected New Jersey.” The distinction was not made clear in the story, but the information in our Guide to the New Jersey Shore was correct.