“Without exception, your recommendations are el supremo, for which all of my senses will be forever grateful.”


In last week’s Best of Chicago issue, Marcus Liberty was described by Ted Cox as a past player on Simeon’s basketball team. In fact, Liberty was a player for Martin Luther King Jr. High School under Landon Cox in the 1980s.

The Bakers’ Choice?

I thoroughly enjoyed the [June 26] Best of Chicago edition. Without exception, your recommendations are el supremo, for which all of my senses will be forever grateful. Buuuuuut, I do have one eensy-teensy, tiny-hiney disagreement. In the ever expanding world of restaurants, food, and cuisine we have a new distinction between bakeries and pastry shops. Though I thoroughly agree with your reviewer that my good friends Natalie and Nick Zarzour have deepened and altered the gastronomic geography of Chicago with their exquisite offerings at Pasticceria Natalina, I believe they too would agree that it’s a pastry shop offering only desserts, not necessarily a bakery.

A true traditional bakery also offers a variety of breads, scones, muffins, and cakes to be picked up on the spur of the moment, as well as delicious homemade sweets. With that distinction, I believe most of my contemporaries would agree that the Best Bakery in Chicago, for this year, and the previous 17, would be Bittersweet on Belmont. Whenever I discuss baking with a fellow business owners Bittersweet invariably comes up, and we always speak of it as the standard to which we hold ourselves. It’s the only bakery I know of that I’m truly humbled by the work they do every time I go in. Viva Judy Contino!!

Dan McCauley

A Taste of Heaven

Follow the Apostrophe

On the “Best of ’08” site, there are two groups listed in each category, one with an article and one without. What’s the differentiation between the winners that have articles and the pick underneath, such as the difference, in Best Theater Company, between the Neo-Futurists and Steppenwolf? Is it a winner/runner-up-type listing?

Bryan Wakefield

The Organic Theater Company

The editors reply:

Our critics’ picks are labeled “Reader’s Choice” (and marked with the backwards yellow “R” in the print edition); readers’ favorites, which were determined by a ballot that was distributed in the paper and available for four weeks online, are labeled “Readers’ Choice.”

One to Grow On

I grabbed the Reader last Friday. Thinking another copy found its way inside, I returned said copy to the pile. Meanwhile in another part of town, my girlfriend, after boarding the bus, found she had only the [Best of Chicago] insert. The covers were virtually indistinguishable. Serendipity brought both sections together for a good read and much merriment. So all is well. Thank you

Pat Doherty

A Taste of the Best of Chicago Debates

Re the Reader’s Choice for Best Building

You couldn’t have made a better choice! I’m a volunteer at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and we give 45-minute lunchtime tours of the Monadnock Building twice every month. It’s a great way to study this incredible building in-depth and learn about John Root’s genius, the vision of the Brooks Brothers, and the incredible restoration work done by the current owner, Bill Donnell. Sorry for the shameless plug, but it’s an amazing building and we want people to learn about it.


But an utterly predictable choice! Just like everything else in this Best of Chicago issue. C’mon Reader, you have to try harder.


Can You Trust the Herpes Test?

Re Savage Love by Dan Savage, June 19

My doctor, not a regular reader, recently mentioned coming across your column where you told everyone to get tested for herpes, and his reaction, he said, was “Oh no.” The reason, he said, was that the tests available for herpes are horribly inaccurate. There are apparently two main types of herpes, one more virulent than the other. Their is no reliable test for the less virulent of the two; not only might it give a negative reading for someone who has herpes, but it’s capable of giving a false positive, and this happens fairly regularly. He gave me the impression that the test is better for people who have the worse type of herpes, but the test is only a little more accurate for that strain.

We need some better tests, but maybe your readers should know about the limits of the reliability of the only available test.


All’s Fair in Congress

Re: Works columnist Ben Joravsky’s interview with David Sirota at Loyola University, July 21

During the Sirota event, you seemed to advocate punishing members of Congress for their alliances with the local machine.

Sirota thought it a stretch, and I think it is worse.

(1) Despite what you asked, there is a frequent evaluation of how congressmen vote. Indeed various groups from right and left publish their evaluations annually.

(2) Getting elected requires that one either build an organization or belong to one. Most progressives from Chicago in Congress go along with the machine locally in return for the machine leaving them alone about their votes on national issues. I think this is a fair trade. Otherwise, they would have to maintain their organizations to fend off machine challenges every two years.

(3) The last exception to that rule—although Jess Jr. seems to be trying currently—was Hyde Park congressman Ab Mikva. He supported the IVI every election, working his own precinct. The machine got their vengeance; he was redistricted into a mostly black district along with a progressive black congressman. Mikva moved to Evanston and ran in the 10th, but others were warned.

(4) Finally, how can we try to punish [congresswoman] Jan [Schakowsky] for endorsing the naval academy at Senn when we haven’t been able to punish [alderman Mary Ann] Smith for putting it there?

Frank Palmer


Ask and You Shall Receive

I have a request: now that the Reader is in tabloid form, would you consider moving the crossword puzzle to an even-numbered page? Since it is in the latter half of the paper, having the crossword on an odd-numbered page means one has to fold the paper behind itself to make it easier. If it were on an even-numbered page it would just slide out.

Jim McCarthy

Park Ridge

The editors reply: