December 1999

Feasting on Crete
What a joy it was to read Anya von Bremzen's article [Food, September] on the tavernas of Crete. It brought back a vivid memory. Nine years ago, after a long ride from Herákleion to Mátala, I dismounted from a rented motorbike for a simple yet spectacular meal at a cliff-top taverna overlooking a beach. Dining there on tomatoes, olives, and zucchini blossoms, I felt as lucky as a Greek god.
Kent St. John
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Tama's Castoffs
In "I'd Rather Be in the Amazon" [June], Tama Janowitz writes about a trip to the Peruvian rain forest -- "one of the last unspoiled jungles." I was appalled to read that she and a friend disposed of magazines, nail polish, and other consumer products by trading them with villagers. Most ecotourism companies encourage trading only with useful items such as fishhooks and wooden matches. At this rate, the next ecotraveler to stumble onto this part of the rain forest will be greeted by natives in Seinfeld T-shirts.
Todd Yasui
Los Angeles, Calif.

Manhattan on the Edge
As a native of New York City, I have always loved the Financial District. "Here Comes the Neighborhood" [September], Karrie Jacobs's report on the new social and cultural scene in the Wall Street area, rekindled my enthusiasm. There's so much to do there, with its architectural and historical landmarks, its parks and stores and romantic views of the skyline. A story like this puts my hometown in a good light.
Dorit Pourdavoudi
Westlake Village, Calif.

Not So Grand
Malia Boyd, in "20 Fall Getaways" [September], recommended the Grand Hotel on Michigan's Mackinac Island as a classic resort. I stayed there recently. The rooms are "individually decorated," as she wrote, but nothing in mine matched: kelly green bedspread, matted red rug. A friend's room had the same spread and rug along with chairs covered in flowered vinyl. The Grand does not live up to its name.
M. Houde
Lowell, Mass.

The Ultimate Massage
On my plane ride to Thailand, I read in September's T&L that readers had rated the Oriental, Bangkok, the world's top spa hotel. I reserved some treatments there: the herbal Body Glow followed by a massage in a private room. The setting, with its luscious wood and clean design, was nurturing and very comfortable. It was a perfect welcome to Bangkok.
Bret Johnson
Saratoga, Calif.

Reader's Find: Antigua
During a recent vacation in Antigua, my wife and I discovered the Home Restaurant [Lower Gambles, St. John's; 268/461-7651; dinner for two $90], a few blocks north of downtown in the capital. A local guidebook said it was a good place; in fact, it's one of the best and friendliest dining spots we've ever been to. After many successful years as a cook in New York City, Karl Thomas decided to return to his native island. With his wife, Rita, he transformed the first floor of his childhood home into a casually elegant restaurant. There he creates excellent local and international dishes, such as sautéed chicken and shrimp with ginger-soy sauce, cilantro, and coconut milk, and grilled-plantain mousse with local herbs and butter.
Robert A. Landthorn
Dublin, Ohio

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