This may seem a little strange, but my husband and I stumbled upon this unusual, quaint, friendly and unique place called "Harlows" in an area named Nob Hill? (We're not from here) and the music beckoned us in after a hectic day of meetings and shopping. We had the best time there in years! A group called Le Chat Lunatique was performing there with an unusual mix of gypsy, Western, and jazz swing—they were incredible. So good, in fact, they gave me goose bumps. The audience went wild to the extent that they actually played for hours. It was so refreshing to see young and old dance swing, Charleston and God knows what else and thoroughly enjoy themselves. What a find, clean, refreshing and great atmosphere. We hope this place stays well and alive—it certainly deserves it.
That whole area was alive and awash with color, choices and was lovingly maintained. A jeweled mecca of inspiration and love. Your newspaper, which we nabbed by their front foyer, was informative, provocative and spicy! Great job, Alibi!
Dr. John J. Stevens Beverly Hills, Calif.
Cover to Cover
This week's cover of the Alibi [March 30-April 5] is the best cover ever (and I've been reading since NuCity). Not only are the pictures great, but it was all put together so well. Great job!
If I'm going to compliment the best cover, then I ought to tell you about the worst (it has been on my chest for months now). Worst cover? That would be the September 1-7, 2005 cover entitled "Globalquerque!" Great idea, but horrible implementation. Who drew that? That week several friends and I all found comfort by cover bashing that issue.
Finally, in this week's issue, I need to be told that "Cooking with Cat Food" is an April Fool's joke. Please, please tell me that nobody actually cooked and ate that stuff!
Adam Trionfo Albuquerque
Editor's Note: No one cooked and ate that stuff—that we know of.
Love the New Film Editor
Dear Mr. Lionidas,
[RE: Film Review, “ATL,” March 30-April 5]
First of all, I'd like to say that your review was intelligent, insightful and open. It's uncommon to read such a review about Black (or African-American, if you will) films in the Duke City (really, a big town). You are certainly not the garden variety film critic. Thank you! Initially, I thought that Devin D. O'Leary had undergone a metamorphosis. Then I read the byline.
Secondly, I'd like to inform you that the "ATL" has been in use by Atlantans—wealthy, middle-class and poor alike—for almost 20 years! The City of Atlanta, in the past few years, has campaigned to make this "moniker" familiar to the entire world. Many (other) big city dwellers have known Atlanta as the "ATL" since the mid-'90s. Hosting the Olympics in 1996 helped to "seal the deal,” so to speak.
So, like any metropolis, Atlanta now joins the ranks of NYC, LA, Chi-town, Motor-City, Frisco and others. Just thought you should know, since you put your words to print. Keep up the intelligent work! It could be contagious!
Wendy Baldwin Albuquerque
No Average Meatloaf
[RE: Letters, “A Tip for the Standard Diner,” March 23-29]
I've been fortunate enough to have traveled to large, metropolitan cities all over the United States. As a restaurateur, I'm always on the lookout for that one dining experience that sets itself above the average, predictable fare. Every big city has a restaurant like the Standard Diner. San Francisco has Fog City Diner, Dallas has Truluck's Diner, New York has the Odeon Cafeteria, in Atlanta it's the Buckhead Diner, Chicago—well—there are so many others to mention.
None of the above mentioned restaurants fit the stereotype of the greasy-spoon, piles-of-food diner. If you look in the dictionary, the word "diner" either means a person that dines or a restaurant that resembles a train car. The dining car on a train was often referred to as the Standard Dining Car. The word "standard" is defined as a benchmark, criterion for which something is judged or compared.
The Standard Diner is honored to have assembled a group of people that truly have a passion and understanding of what quality food is all about. Our staff came from places like Post Rio, Roy's, Olive's, Christina's, Sweet Basil, Spago and local greats such as Prairie Star, Bien Shur, Escalera, Artichoke Café, Scalo and The Range Café. They've been all over the world in search of great food, great chefs and great dining experiences.
It amazes me that Albuquerque diners are willing to wait up to two and three hours in line to get a table at a corporate chain restaurant where the most creative thing you will experience is how they sing “Happy Birthday.” They get lost in the concept and don't pay attention to the fact that they are paying prices reflective of the big city where the corporate office is located. Ms. Kaufman, I thank you for taking the time to write to the Alibi regarding your experience at the Standard Diner. We need to hear all comments, good and bad, so that we may improve on what we do. You mentioned paying $60 for two entrees, a glass of port, tax and tip. When I add up those three items it comes up to $34, add tax and a generous tip and it comes up to about $42. It's unfair to exaggerate a critical point such as pricing in restaurants. It is a kiss of death to have your restaurant labeled as "expensive" in Albuquerque, especially if it is an independent.
One might be surprised to pay $12.95 for something like meatloaf at the Standard Diner, but when was the last time you had meatloaf prepared with a real veal stock reduction and a Cabernet wine sauce and served with bread that was baked in-house—that day? This isn't your average meatloaf!
I hope Albuquerque is ready for someplace like the Standard Diner. Years of love and passion went into creating it. There is now another reason to come Downtown for a quality dining experience. The biggest challenge you'll have is that you might have to walk a block or two for parking, but we'll be sure to offer you a rewarding experience in a “finer” diner!
Matt DiGregory The Standard Diner
Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.