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Letters to the Editor 

Week of March 5, 2003

High Tea = Veddy, Veddy Twee

And finally, an explanation of lemon curd!: Until about 15 minutes ago I had never heard of Dan Siegler, but Lovejoy's Tea Room is as familiar to me as a comfortable, warm pair of slippers ["Tea and Hormones," Dog Bites, Feb. 19].

As a regular visitor to Lovejoy's, I found Siegler's article hilarious and very well written. Just a little information for him:

Lemon curd is a wonderful spread (either very sweet or tart in taste) that one puts on sandwiches. Very tasty.

Although Lovejoy's clientele is predominantly female, there has been many a time I have been there when adult males have enjoyed the delights of female company and the tasty crumpets on offer!

How Siegler came to be at the tearoom for more than three hours is astonishing to me. Either they were not busy on the day he visited or they knew who he was and decided to let him stay for that length of time. I have been there on weekends many times and the most seating time they allow is one hour, as they are so busy and need the tables for other guests.

As an Englishwoman, Lovejoy's represents a little taste of home, which I can partake of as a "treat" when all things Californian seem crass, and at odds with my demeanor.

M.B. French
Lower Nob Hill

P.S. If Siegler ever feels like venturing to Lovejoy's again, I'll gladly meet him there to discuss the many cultural differences between the Brits and the Septics (that's cockney rhyming slang for Yanks -- septic tank/Yank).

And just when you thought we were done with cockney rhyming slang ...: Congrats to Siegler on his 200th Puni comic strip! It was really good, but "Tea and Hormones" was even better -- a real hoot! My sister has lived in England for over 25 years, and there was nothing offensive to Brits in the article.

There were more than a few pokes at pretentious Americans' idealized storybook fantasy of England, though -- and that certainly deserves some poking at! No one in England drinks tea anymore anyway; they all drink coffee now just like we do. Only American tearooms do the whole proper "tea ritual" these days.

Tell Siegler to keep up the great work!

Erica Freeman
Inner Sunset

P.S. BTW, does Siegler know that the phrase "ginger beer" is the cockney rhyming slang term for "queer"? As in "not heterosexual"?

Bring back Laurel the wannabe!: "Tea and Hormones" was the weakest shit I've ever read. It was unoriginal and unfunny, with its men-are-from-Mars, defending-the-cavemen rhetoric. Please. I expect better from my favorite Wednesday read.

I'm still missing Laurel Wellman (even if she is all wannabe bling-bling at the Chronicle now).

Heather Morra
Richmond District

Your guy doesn't know his scones from his scrotum: As a blue-jawed, card-carrying, Y-chromosome-bearing member of the guy persuasion, I have lunched, brunched, and munched at Lovejoy's more times than Siegler has hoisted craft brew. And I was born during the Truman administration.

Siegler's hairy-knuckled, man-of-the-booboisie pose had a fine heyday under Ring Lardner Sr. (though you might find it peaked when Damon Runyon was killing Little Miss Marker with speak-easy-induced pneumonia). Nonetheless, I don't believe a word of the Dog's putative bite from the Lovejoy crumpet.

- Just waltz in with a party of five and no reservation on Sunday? Tell me again about your 50-yard-line tickets to last month's Super Bowl between the Raiders and the Buccaneers.

- Didn't get a menu on arrival, making service seem scandalously slow? Didn't receive the quality advice that would have allowed this teahouse novice to tell his scones from his scrotum? Yeah. Now I'll talk about ol' George Bush, "The Education President."

- Took three hours at the table they book for 90-minute slots and turn around like a 78-rpm platter on weekends? Snort, snort, as Earnestine the Hello Girl would say.

- Didn't learn that a tisane is an herbal infusion, not a variety of the true tea plant (Camellia sinensis, to her friends)? Even Mike Hammer would learn that -- and he's not, you could say, a joker swift with the sly inquiries and lightning inductions (until the bells start to ring ...).

- Couldn't find out that lemon curd = lemon + egg yolk + sugar = heart attack on a crumpet, and just the food for a hamburger boyo like Dog Bites? Well, maybe.

- Didn't notice the chicken pot pie (savory and hearty; real guy food in a pastry-crusted dish) or the plowman's cheese-and-brawny-branny-bread alternatives to the queen's tea and crustless sandwich options? Danny-boy musta had his eyes too much on that 7-year-old to scope out the real eats. Or maybe he was never there at all and just bribed his Dogettes for some highlight details to spice up his fanciful account.

Pity. He missed the best teahouse in S.F. and the glory days of Pure T on Polk (1994-1997, RIP). And Tea and Company on Fillmore (likewise deceased).

He should drag his ducktail into the Ritz-Carlton if he wants to find mediocre tea with overpriced crustless sammies and cakes. (Try a weekend.) It'd do his palate proud.

Paul Moslander
Pacific Heights

Joe Blows

O'Donoghue should take a hike: Despite Joe "Blowhard" O'Donoghue's hubristic, Hinckle-fueled, anti-union hissy fit, the Irish community will still celebrate its diverse culture and heritage with an incredible literary and cultural festival for March 2003 ["Losin' It," Matt Smith, Feb. 19].

Joe has totally alienated the left, right, and center of the Irish community with his lack of judgment and out-of-control ego. He needs to take a long vacation. Right now Irish-American trade unionists, conservatives, socialists, and cops are united in opposition to his "all-Joe, all-the-time" shenanigans.

Daniel Cassidy
Glen Park

And he can take Matt Smith with him: Smith is not just an asshole, but a complete, unadulterated, full-blooded, capital-"A" Asshole. His column on Isabel Wade and the Neighborhood Parks Council, making light of the dedication and hard work that they have done for the city's parks and open space, is repugnant and disingenuous at the very least.

Wade has been a tireless and dedicated soul searching for ways to keep our neighborhood parks clean, safe, staffed, repaired, improved, and most of all funded. Smith owes her an apology for his callous comments about her and her dedication to the people of the city of San Francisco. May Smith be condemned to a life of stepping in dog s--t every time he sets foot in one of our parks. Shame on him.

Jeffrey Leibovitz

When Eddie Met Colin

Some exaggeration ensued: Enjoyed your Dog Bites item on the Chronicle's Washington bureau reporter, Edward Epstein, and how he puffed up his interview with Colin Powell ["A Not-So-Exclusive Exclusive," Feb. 5].

Is it just me or is the Chron making a deliberate attempt to use more original material instead of those incessant feeds from other papers? Even the Washington bureau seems to have awakened and filed a few articles.

Jim Sparkman

The Joys of Jolie

Thanks for turning me on to this girl wonder: Thank you so much to Dan Strachota and SF Weekly for the article on Jolie Holland ["The Littlest Songbird," Music, Feb. 19].

A friend took me to see Jolie play at the Rite Spot the last evening I was in San Francisco. Needless to say, it made my trip and the news that she is working on a new album makes me ecstatic. Her songs make me want to write my true love a letter, tear my hair out, and sing a song on the open road.

She is the spiritual heir of Walt Whitman and I am so pleased to be able to gloat that I saw her before she became famous. Kudos to SF Weekly for scooping her story.

Sara Burlingame
Cheyenne, Wyo.


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