Thanks for Different Views; What About Patches?; Metro Grill Review Was Lame 


Thanks for Different Views

How refreshing it is to have a major magazine in this town with the courage, creativity and vision to offer alternative perspectives on living. I especially applaud the perfect pairing of Melissa Sinclair's Dec. 18 cover story about utopia ("Brave New World (Revisited)") with Ann Hancock's Back Page ("Zen Economics") — the philosophy behind utopian visions is often more practical than we realize and this pairing brought that out.

In the frenetic rush of modern consumer life, we have little time to reflect on our level of satisfaction. We're afraid to consider whether different lifestyle choices might increase our quality of life. Nobody wants to be considered a "hippie," so we drone robotically along.

Though neither author mentioned them, let's not forget to look to Emerson and Thoreau, our founding philosophers of free thinking, fresh ideas and simpler living. Whenever I re-read their words, I find myself inspired by their wisdom.

Lee Carleton

Editor's note: Mr. Carleton occasionally writes for Style's Back Page.

What About Patches?

How sad to read that Strange's Garden Center in Short Pump has, once again, decided to promote its Yuletide business by displaying live reindeer — "Patches II" and "Star" ("Reindeer for Rent," Dec. 4). How soon we forget last year's fiasco when a reindeer named Patches escaped from his pen at Strange's.

Well goody for Strange's business! Maybe the frantic antics of this year's Patches II will surpass their wildest (economic) dreams! But what about the plight of animals used for entertainment and profit? And for those individuals who could care less about this issue, what about our tax dollars being spent on resolving problems that never had to happen in the first place? Many lives were recklessly endangered in the interest of promoting a private business. What did that escape cost Henrico County? Was Strange's billed for these costs?

Shame on Strange's for putting us all at risk once again. (I'm afraid to ask, but whatever happened to the original Patches?)

Eileen McAfee

Metro Grill Review Was Lame

I read Kevin Finucane's recent review of Metro Grill (Restaurants, Dec. 4). Then I read it again. Then I read it a third time. And still I was left with the nagging question: huh?

From your overall disapproving tone and snarky observations it seems you found something about Metro Grill to be distasteful — and it wasn't the food.

First there's the clientele. You write, "It is typically chock full of … Capital One types." What, pray tell, do "Capital One types" look and act like? Just the other day I found myself surrounded by some "Capital One types" — from various departments and areas of expertise, ranging in age from early 20s to late 40's and from places as disparate as Massachusetts and Texas, India and Turkey, Canada and Virginia. Tell me, Mr. Finucane, how do you "type" such a group of individuals?

Then you take issue with the alma mater of some of the clientele. You write, "The patient observer may even spy a daddiepayd" (sic — what's with the cutesy spelling, anyway?) "… known for bending down the sides of their ragged U.Va. baseball caps ..."

I don't have any idea where you matriculated, Mr. Finucane, but I assure you that U.Va. doesn't hold a monopoly on this particular "type" of Metro Grill denizen. U.Va. also has its share of "Iworkedtopaymyownways."

Then things get really confusing. You start your review by bemoaning the lack of menu variety in the Fan in general, and conclude that Metro Grill is no exception. Yet you praise the wait staff, calling them "accommodating and professional," and describe your crepes Margaret as "immensely rich" and "enjoyable in their own quirky way." How does "quirky" square with your general assessments of Metro Grill as offering "little variety"?

Is Metro Grill Lemaire? No. Is it Peking? No. Is it Europa or Millie's or Amici? No, no and no. And it isn't trying to be. So if you're looking for something more exotic —blowfish, perhaps? — Metro Grill probably isn't the place for you. But if you want a delicious meal served by a terrific wait staff in an inviting environment, then get down to Metro Grill ASAP.

Hope Dondero


Due to an editing error, the name of the architecture firm that designed the Richmond convention center was left out of "A Promising Beginning" (Architecture, Dec. 18). The firm is Thompson Ventulett Stainback Inc. of Atlanta.

In "Action Hero" (News & Features, Dec. 11), Style incorrectly identified the mother of Camille Olsen. Her correct name is Barbara Johns. Also, the Morton's steakhouse slated to open in June near the Canal Walk will be located in the Turning Basin building on the first floor, not in the building that resembles an old train station (Street Talk, Dec. 11). Style regrets the errors.

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