Money's the problem
John Lamb's Nov. 16 “Spin Cycle” column about San Diegans' non-participation in local politics seeks a solution. In my opinion, considering the problem and my ideas about the cause, without a different voting system in the entire country, there is no solution; money-driven elections cannot produce qualified and experienced candidates who will not participate in this circus in which media measure electability by the amount of money behind candidates.
The novel, The FECMA Conspiracy, by Burton Ridgeway illustrates a system that could solve most of our problems, and the website TBEPP.com offers ideas that cannot be pursued by the products of our present system.
Don't tell anyone, but I wrote both.
Saul Harmon Gritz, Hillcrest
Persian, it's not
I respect Soltan Banoo restaurant for what it is, a restaurant with con-fusion cuisine, but it is certainly not Persian [“The Wandering Appetite," Nov. 9]. What Ms. Tran-McCaslin sampled at Soltan Banoo was not Persian food but a mish-mash of dishes put together with disastrous results while attempting to copy some elements of Persian cuisine.
Let's look at fesenjoon, a truly unique, sophisticated and delicious Persian dish. The original recipe calls for dark poultry meat, pomegranate molasses (not pomegranate juice), and ground walnuts along with a few other specialty spices. Yet, Soltan Banoo restaurant makes a mockery of this delightful dish by replacing poultry meat with tofu and adding wheat gluten and call it a “vegetarian fesenjoon.” It's no wonder that even Ms. Tran-McCalsin thought “bewildering” was an appropriate description of this dish. I would have called it “disastrous” rather than “bewildering.”
Another famous Persian dish, Albaloo Polo (sour cherry, rice and saffron) has also been butchered by the Soltan Banoo restaurant. I have never seen, heard or read of this dish being cooked with any type of meat but chicken. At Soltan Banoo, it is served with leg of lamb. Imagine coq au vin with lamb. You get the picture.
Finally, I would like to remind Ms. Tran-McCalsin and your readers that there is no such thing as a “Middle eastern” restaurant, or “Middle eastern” spices, or a “Middle eastern” platter. The Middle East consists of many countries with different languages, ethnicities, cultures and diverse foods. The items described in the “Middle eastern Platter” (hummus, tabouli and pita bread) are all Arabic, not Persian. This is not particularly surprising, knowing how confused the menu items offered by Soltan Banoo restaurant are.
A quick Google search or a trip to the local branch library would have provide Ms. Tran-McCaslin with a wealth of information about Persian cuisine, so she would not have so blindly taken a mish-mash of dishes offered by Soltan Banoo as Persian.
Bijan Arya, University City
Well, friends, just what we need: a lineup of the usual suspects with their hands out for the sake of the arts [“Is a countywide arts council needed?,” “Seen Local,” Nov. 16]. The beneficiaries of these promotions are the promoters. Art and artists and the community at large are not well served by these professional leaches.
Witness the travesty of the paint jobs on the walls in La Jolla brought to us by a self-appointed committee of cognoscenti whose qualifications, according to the La Jolla Light, include the payment of $1,000 a year in dues.
Let the consumer of the product pay for the product, not with public funds. I don't care to pay for another's taste. There ought to be enough in that surreptitious $600,000 loan to Art Pulse, claimed as new revenue, to fund quite a few projects, after salaries and expenses, of course. Well, maybe not.
D.K. Ryan, La Jolla