Best Wishes

Plus: RAD Is Bad, In God's Name, and Ay, Carrabba!

I am sad for their loss, I cannot begin to image the pain and the sorrow of losing a child, but they are hypocrites to slam New Screen Concepts and people for watching it.

I understand that the point of the article was to point out the deception of New Screen Concepts, but to rehash such a moment makes me question whether they liked the publicity from Houston Medical. I personally like to watch reality programming and I often sit and cry as someone dies or a loved one rejoices, and I think it's human nature to want to view others' lives. Even Shani admits that she watches them now, even if it's to police the show. I wouldn't be surprised if the Walters watched reality television before the death of their son.

Name withheld by request

Victimized by the cameras: Thank you for presenting the Walters' experience within the parameters of good taste. Like many people, I saw the commercials of Shani Walter sobbing over her dying child and stood transfixed in horror.

I am astonished at what these people suffered through in addition to Nathan's heartbreaking death. New Screen Concepts and Memorial Hermann Hospital have a definite mark against them in my book for victimizing this family during their tragedy. It was obvious the Walters were focused on Nathan and didn't have the time or interest to pursue New Screen Concepts at the time. However, isn't it just plain courtesy and sensible to clear something so personal with the family before airing it over and over again on national television? I guess not anymore -- not when the bar of bad taste has been raised in the prime-time ratings war. How sad.

Kirsten LaBarbera

Dinging Ling

Favor the high rollers: Unbelievable! Ling & Javier says it was "too hip" for Houston [Dish, by Marene Gustin, September 19]!? You have got to be kidding. I seem to remember that place was filled with the who's who of Houston every Wednesday through Saturday night.

As a former service industry employee, I know a majority of the "VIPs" of Houston: people who spend a lot of money, tip well and are repeat customers.

I, among others, tried to tell the Ling & Javier management that since this was the hot spot to see and be seen they needed to treat the VIPs as VIPs. The response: "We don't give a shit who the VIPs are; they have to wait in line like everyone else. This is a restaurant, not a club."

Those restaurant reviews weren't exactly blue ribbons, so take what you're getting and run with it. Three months after being the hot spot, that place was a ghost town. They didn't take time to know their customers, nor did they have the common decency to treat the ones who were throwing money on their bar week after week with an ounce of respect.

If you are to implement a dress code, stick with it. Hire doormen who know your repeat customers and heavy hitters, and never make the women wait in line.

Treat those who frequent your establishment with respect and they'll keep coming back. Simple.

Name withheld by request

Thelma Still Thrills

Tripping out: A big thank-you for introducing me to Thelma's Bar-B-Que on Live Oak ["When Jeffrey Met Thelma," by Robb Walsh, July 11]. I've made four trips there in the last two weeks, tried all her food and found it to be barbecue heaven.

I've taken a number of business associates and the look on their face when they see the exterior is a trip, but once they taste the flavor of her bountiful portions, they all say they will be back. Kudos to your staff for finding such an offbeat place with five-star food.

Tom Vinson

Heavenly brisket: Thanks for this one. I have never been much of a barbecue (or red meat) eater. As fate would have it, your review of Thelma's coincided with my beginning of the Atkins diet, which requires almost total abstinence from all foods except meats and fish at its outset.

I have been successful so far and in large part because I found the best barbecue I have ever tasted, at First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main. I dragged my rather white-bread parents and brothers there, and they were floored.

Thelma is such a sweet woman, and she says business has really picked up since that article, so you've done a great thing in putting her on the map. Keep up the good work. I have found by and large your reviews to be rather reliable, and the one thing I never skip when I pick up a copy of your rag.

Bob Bridges

From Thelma to Selma

Superior interior food: I enjoyed your review of Maria Selma ["Just Like in Mexico City," by Robb Walsh, September 19] and look forward to trying the mole enchiladas. It's good to hear that someone in town is doing the real interior Mexico version.

I spent a summer studying in Mexico City several years ago and had some incredibly good food, especially from street vendors or small storefront restaurants. I have noticed that the chips and salsa so frequent in Tex-Mex food are not entirely unknown in Mexico City, but they are done differently and were probably imported from Texas. I was usually with Mexican friends, so I don't think it was all about making the gringo happy.

Thanks for the great depth of coverage and for exploring some of Houston's more obscure food opportunities.

Matthew Wood

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