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Morsels from the inbox

OK. I'm not perfect, as a recent cleaning of my inbox only served to point out. First of all, I get emails like this one from a West Seneca restaurateur:

"I sent you an email some time back inviting you to visit my restaurant.

"You could not even have the courtesy of responding. You are not a very professional person, and you have bad taste in restaurants.

"Good day, Madam."

I obviously slipped up, and to that I plead guilty. I would have told you I keep a list of restaurants to try, but also would have added that it's a long list.

As for my taste, there is a Latin saying: de gustibus non est disputandum, which very loosely translated says there is no arguing about matters of taste (since taste is so subjective).

Ira Gershwin described it more succinctly. "You say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to," he wrote in a popular song standard.

But please, "Let's (Not) Call the Whole Thing Off."

Then I get helpful notes like this, which are much appreciated:

"Janice Okun -- For many years I have enjoyed your columns, even though I don't live in your 'restaurant' area. Now, it's my turn to help you with a couple items (I live in Mayville, three miles from Chautauqua Institution; about two from La Fleur (5031 W. Lake Road, Mayville; it will reopen in June).

"1. It is spelled La (not 'Le')

"2. It is not 'right across from Chautauqua Institution' -- it is almost one mile south (that's toward Mayville, county seat);

"3. And it is a charming old house in the Red Brick Farm (it's not called 'marketplace').

"The AAA Four Diamond Award is correct and has been so for quite a few years for its famous French menu.

"Personally, I've never eaten there because 1) there's no need -- too close to home, and 2) it's much too expensive. So, better tell Monsieur Michelin to bring his checkbook. Meanwhile, I'll keep enjoying your columns even though I'm not close enough to patronize your eateries.

"Happy summer.

-- AEW"

And then I get great suggestions like this one:

"Next time you are in St. Catharines, you have to try Coppola's Ristorante at 203 Carlton St. I am sure you will love it. Authentic Italian dishes and the decor make you feel like you are dining in an old Italian courtyard.

"One of the two owners, Gerry or Luigi Coppola, is always there to greet. My wife and I were on our way to Niagara-on-the-Lake for an anniversary weekend and we took a wrong turn. We wound up on a dead end and decided to turn around in a driveway ahead when we spotted the sign. Being a Coppola (no relation), I just had to check it out. That was almost 10 years ago.

"We've been going back ever since, and we bring friends as often as we can to show it off.

-- Marc C."

Send your dining questions and comments to former News restaurant critic Janice Okun at