Your “nothing better than the real thing” (The Food Issue, 10/27) piece was interesting to us as occasional visitors to D.C. Photos were good and useful as well. However, you need to recheck your palate when it comes to gumbo. Traditional gumbo was never, never, never thick. The soup as a flavor addition to a big dollop of rice is the classic recipe. The rice is there as an extender and can act as a sop for the relatively thin soup base. If you want thick, the classic recipe is rice and gravy with miscellaneous vegetables and any meat you can think of or catch in it: chicken, seafood, beef, deer, alligator, fresh or smoked pork, or even bologna as we sometimes had to do in the St. Josephs Diner (soup kitchen) for the homeless in Lafayette, La. The big debate on gumbo among purists is okra or no okra. Among those who live on this poor man’s dish, the cooks do or do not add it and sometimes do both depending on the season—as the Africans who gave us this dish probably did.

Paul and Mary Meredith
Victoria, Texas

I was thrilled to see the City Paper’s short article celebrating “real deal” Mexican tortas. Sadly, the text did not match the perfection of the sandwich correctly rendered: As a former longtime resident of Mexico, I’d offer—as any native also would—that the requisite bread is bolillo, not the bilillo twice committed in the article.

Jill Pike
Columbia Heights

I really enjoyed last week’s food issue, but I wish you had focused more on vegetarian and vegan eats around D.C. Washington has more vegan options than people might think, ranging from sweet desserts at Sticky Fingers to delicious soy-cheese pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso to out-of-this-world falafel and fries at Amsterdam Falafel Shop.

Sarah Farr
Silver Spring, Md.

Pocket of Resistance

Speaking as a veteran of D.C. streets, Jessica Gould’s story about WKYS’ go-go awards (Show & Tell, “Sloppy KYS,” 10/27) was of interest to me. I have seen and know some band members who have graced the stages and venues of this age and old. I know about some of the shortcomings of local radio stations regarding our indigenous music to this area. My verbiage may not reflect that of a streetwise, go-hard D.C. native, but believe me, I’ve been around since the Howard Theater, Chapter 3, the Black Hole, and the like. There are different generations of go-go fanatics, and each have their own set of values. Now, while the article seemed to focus on Michelle Blackwell and her issues with “Best Leading Lady in Go-Go” category, there are ups and downs that have been a plague to the go-go community. One observation is apparent and on my mind for discussion. Will there be go-gos at the Lincoln Theater on a regular basis now? There are a scarce number of clubs to go to and be able to celebrate and revel in the music that WKYS is inclined to hold awards for.

Rasaan Reynolds
Petworth

Admission Critical

I found the cover story “Shell of a Town” (9/29) saddening, mean-spirited, and one-sided. While College Park does indeed face many challenges, David Morton failed to paint a true picture of life in College Park. He must not have spent much time there if he couldn’t find any University of Maryland students whose vocabulary extended beyond epithets and stereotypes. What about Maryland’s Nobel laureates and Fields medalist? Or how about just the average bright, well-spoken undergrad—of which there are thousands? I fear Morton simply failed to report any of those positive interactions in the service of his “story.” And while Route 1 may lack the charm of Franklin Street in Chapel Hill or University Avenue in Charlottesville, to claim that this is what will keep Maryland from joining America’s elite public universities is shortsighted and wrong. College Park’s location inside the Beltway should be seen as a boon, not an albatross. Washington, D.C., attracts the best minds in the world. Having the capital of the free world just down the street gives the University of Maryland advantages that no other public research university can offer.

And by the way, David Morton’s reporting of how the riots started in College Park was wrong and gives a false impression of the spirit of student life at Maryland. The first “riot” actually occurred in February of 2000 after a Maryland men’s basketball victory at Duke. There were no arrests, no injuries, and minimal property damage, though thousands of students participated. It was a spontaneous event born of joy, camaraderie, and school pride—all things that David Morton would lead you to believe don’t exist in College Park. I just wish before you published “Shell of a Town” you had thought about all the thousands of us that love College Park and will forever hold it in our hearts—both the good and the bad.

Tim Tarvin
Arlington, Va.

This is easily the worst-written piece i have ever read in any “major” news publication. This article is circulating rapidly amongst U of M alumni and the response has been the same from everyone: “Terrible article”; “What a joke”; “How many times does an author need to write the word ‘faggot’ to get his point across”; etc.

You ought to be ashamed of yourselves for letting the jackass write a cover story for your publication. You’ve lost all credibility in many people’s eyes.

Ron Thomas
Annapolis, Md.