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December Cover1. FOOOOOD FIIIIIGHT! Sorry, couldn’t resist. Our 18th annual Restaurant Awards drew many a nod of agreement — and a few burps of protest. “Someone please explain to me how anything (Chef of the Year Gerald) Chin is doing rivals the food coming out of the kitchen at Twist, David Clawson, Rose. Rabbit. Lie., Yusho, Yonaka, Le Cirque ... I could go on and on,” wrote Michael Uzmann. Oooh. Pass the butter — ’cause we just got toasted!

Dining critic Al Mancini, one of our judges, chimed in with some calming, explanatory caps lock: “I’ve followed Gerald Chin’s career for a long time. He’s one of those chefs who, every time I sit down with a brilliant chef, they start telling me how great Gerald is. And I’ve enjoyed his food at a lot of restaurants. Nonetheless, when he went to StripSteak I thought, ‘Oh well, he’s just gonna do steak for a while.’ But over the past year, chefs, foodies and critics kept telling me what great things he was doing. I ignored it. But when one of the other judges for the awards put his name forward, I finally went in for a meal. It was ASTOUNDING! I’m not saying your favorites aren’t all great. That’s the fun of awards — bitching about the ones you dislike. I’m glad you took the time to comment. But PLEASE check out what Gerald is doing again. It’s pretty astounding.”

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More succinctly, reader Branden Powers wrote: “Disagree with ethnic and best restaurant of the year.” Aw, come on. Try them. They, too, are both ASTOUNDING.

Meanwhile, reader Evelyn Laurie appreciated our warning that Hearthstone in the Red Rock Spa Resort Casino is (whazzat?) a fine restaurant but just (speak up!) a tiny bit (I can’t hear you!) loud. “Thanks for the heads up. That casino has a problem with realizing they are not on the Strip. I have asked employees if they could lower the noise level in the casino (you can’t hear the machines). My film club stopped eating at the café because we can’t discuss the movie we saw. A restaurant is not a nightclub. People go to restaurants to eat and have a conversation.”

 

2. Our story “High Alert,” about how the cops deal with the stress of policework, drew kudos from readers — including the mother of Sergeant Tom Harmon, the director of the Police Employee Assistance Program, Metro’s peer-support group. “What a great article,” writes Marie Harmon. “Being Tom Harmon’s mom, I have known for years how important his work is. He and his team have made a world of difference in so many lives. We are proud of him and his group of caring people for what they do and how they do it.”

 

3. Lonn Friend’s essay, “Senior matinées,” about spending quality time with his aging father, poked a few hearts right in the feels button. “Lonn is (and is destined to remain) one of my favorite writers. His insight, humor, skill, and perspective touch my heart in the most beautiful way,” wrote Sheryl Gail Cooper. “Such a beautiful story, Lonn. I am happy that you and your pop have this time to now hang out and just ‘be’ together,” wrote Leah Burlington. Jeff Kravitz was touched as well. “I, too, have a dad in his 80s who keeps on trucking and can’t stop doing what he loves! Long live dad!”

 

4. Poet Lee Mallory praised Launce Rake’s look ahead to life after the defeat of Question 3, concluding glumly, “Nevada eats its young. That’s all I could conclude, especially after the massive spending to defeat Question 3. After its demise, the deplorable state of our Nevada schools is clear. A whopping 79% of voters rejected the measure. Nevada kids must have been really bad to deserve that, when outfits such as MGM Resorts, Caesars, the Sands Corp., and even realtors ponied up $7.4 million to shortchange them. ...  Nevada business pulled the plugs on children while mining, the hallowed Chamber, and casinos counted their loot. ... I say that when Nevada employers complain about low graduate skills, and finally look for a better-educated workforce, big business may wise up. If they do (and support better school funding), they’ll invest in kids, rethink their miserly ways, and remember Mark Twain insisting, ‘A cat won’t jump up on a hot stove twice.’ That is, never again should business and voters leave our kids and schools in the lurch.”

 

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