To the Editor:

Having eaten at both the French Laundry and Per Se a couple of times, it seems that Moira Hodgson’s Per Se meal was not the $175 tasting, but the special meal for those head chef Thomas Keller wants to impress [“Two Months of Waiting Yields Five Hours in Foodie Heaven,” Dining Out, July 25]. It’s not that the basic $175 menu isn’t wonderful, but I have been told that the foie gras collection (with salts) is only served to V.I.P.’s. Can Ms. Hodgson confirm this? It seemed she had 20 courses.

Maury Shapiro


Moira Hodgson responds:

Indeed, we must have had around 20 courses. I wasn’t aware that the foie gras tasting was reserved for special guests. I guess my usual disguise—the plastic Groucho Marx nose and mustache with eyeglasses—didn’t fool anyone at Per Se.

Toe Jam

To the Editor:

I hope that this summer is better for toe-watching than the summer of ’02.

I agree with George Gurley about the toes [“Bare Toes Closing In … Feel Faint,” Aug. 12, 2002, Observer Classics (Web only)]. I went to an outdoor wedding in the over 90-degree heat here in L.A. yesterday, and I wore closed-toe shoes because I didn’t have the time to make it to the nail salon. No need to show the world that. Would that others understood and showed the same kindness ….

My last boyfriend was in love with my feet. Foot massages, toe-sucking foreplay and “She has great feet” comments to our friends were an integral part of the relationship. Still, your article has inspired me. Tonight, I will go home and exfoliate, moisturize and repair the polish … and tomorrow, the world will be a little bit better off. Seriously.

Megan Sullivan

Los Angeles

I Got Your ‘It’ Bag Right Here

To the Editor:

I have to say, first of all, that I love The New York Observer: It’s the one sure way that I get all the latest “It” gossip about New York City. That said, I took issue with Molly Jong-Fast’s New Yorker’s Diary, “Park Avenue Ladies Long for ‘It’ Bag—What Does It All Mean?” [July 18].

I think we, as a bunch of ladies in New York, have an “It” bag—the “cherry bag.” According to Ms. Jong-Fast, it needs to have a celebrity following. Well, Jessica Simpson and Carmen Electra have been toting the Louis Vuitton Cerises Speedy 25 handbag this spring and summer. Voila, an “It” bag! Just take a ride on any New York City bus and count the ladies walking around on the street toting the bag—cherries, cherries everywhere.

Ellen P. Bloomenstein


A Fond Farewell

To the Editor:

I’ve admired Robert Gottlieb for so long.

And I wanted to thank him for his praise of Amanda McKerrow [“Cunningham’s Boundless Ocean; A First Giselle, and a Last,” The Dance, July 25]. I love the way she dances—it’s always dancing—and if I could have been there, I would have been. So I was grateful for your report.

Paul Parish


Viva Pearlstine!

To the Editor:

Various writers for your newspaper—Robert Sam Anson for one—have criticized Time’s editor in chief, Norman Pearlstine, for revealing that Karl Rove leaked the news that Valerie Wilson was a C.I.A. operative, while glorifying Judith Miller of The New York Times for going to jail rather than disclose what clearly must be the same information [“The Norman Invasion,” July 11]. I think these writers have got it backwards. Mr. Pearlstine courageously revealed that the powerful aide to the President, Mr. Rove, potentially committed a crime. Mr. Pearlstine thus performed much the same role that Deep Throat did in the Watergate investigation. Ms. Miller, on the other hand, is concealing knowledge of a potential crime—indeed, a crime that she may well have been an accessory to. Mr. Pearlstine is the patriot, and Ms. Miller is the cover-up artist. Had she revealed what she knew during the recent Presidential campaign, it could have changed the outcome. Of course, it’s clear that her story wasn’t the only information held back by the New York Times to protect Mr. Bush and his cohorts. It’s also clear that Ms. Miller slanted her reports to support the now-discredited Bush rationale for invading Iraq, a country that was no threat to us. Viva Norman Pearlstine!

Thomas Hoobler

Manhattan Letters