Many of us still have kinks
In a recent read of your critique of our new American restaurant in Bratislava, Sam's ["Try it again, Sam," By Keith Miller and Daniel J. Stoll, Vol. 6 No. 1, Jan. 10-16] I became concerned about a few erroneous points which I feel are necessary for you to address:
1) It was asserted in the article that the burger patty "lost a fair proportion of its 1/3 lb (200grams) precooked weight." Assuming that your conversion was correct, a one pound patty would be 600 grams. Since one pound is only 453 grams, one would assume that you were expecting a larger portion. This is understandable considering your mathematical error, but our burger s are 1/3 lb (151 grams), not the 200 grams you stated. On a side note: Upon conducting a surprise inspection of the patties in the kitchen, they all were found to be between 160-180 grams, well above the 1/3 lb we state in the menu for purposes of satisfying the Slovak Department of Weights and Measures.
2) It was further claimed in the article that "Buffalo Style Chicken Wings" were ordered. I'm not sure which meal was ordered, the appetizer or the entrée, but neither costs the 198 Slovak crowns stated in the article. The appetizer costs 86 crowns and the larger entree with coleslaw costs 159 crowns.
3) In regards to the "Buffalo Wings" not being actual wings, but thighs: there are restaurants in the US which serve thighs (or a mixture of wings and thighs) and loosely call them "wings." This was confirmed by me personally on a recent visit during the winter holidays. I feel that this is hardly a point of complaint as the customer actually gets the better end of the deal in that the thighs have much more chicken meat on them than the wings. Having the customer solely in mind, we felt it would be better.
We are aware, as surely you acutely are, of the 'challenges' of doing business in the Slovak Republic, and one surely cannot expect a business to 'work out its kinks' in the first 6-8 weeks after opening - or even in the first 6-8 months. Are you still doing the same after several years (I ask as I read your critique in the section mistakenly titled 'Rewiews' instead of 'Reviews')?
We are always open to criticism of any kind especially from our fellow countrymen. But I request that you please correct these inaccuracies.
Sam's Bar & Grill
Aren't we able to act independently?
I'd like to react to the statement of Deputy Foreign Minister Ján Figeĺ on January 3, 2000, when he said on television that Slovakia would soon be introducing visas for some of our neighbors. Our officials are now planning to follow in footsteps of another neighbor - the Czech Republic - and impose visas on the citizens of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.
Although I am neither Russian, Belarussian or Ukrainian by descent, nor am I directly affected by the potential measures, nor even an authority on the subject, it seems ridiculous to me to hinder the entry to Slovakia of ordinary Ukrainians and then explain that we are taking precautions to reduce our crime rates.
Are these ordinary Ukrainians responsible for this crime? The assertion that these people participate disproportionately often in crime does not persuade me. Mobsters certainly penetrate Slovakia from these countries, but in my humble opinion this step will not be a roadblock for them. What it will do is cause hardship for common people, those who just want to see their relatives in Slovakia.
Mr. Figeĺ said on TV that we would do whatever the Czech Republic did regarding this matter. I don't want to speculate if a visa regime for these countries would be good or not, but I expect our authorities to take into consideration our specific problems and to tell us in a professional way the real consequences of this move. Using compliancy [with the Czechs] to avoid liability and thus have an excuse reminds me of the "good old days", when we did not have to decide independently.
Whether under the thumb of the EU or the Soviet Union, Slovaks still need to use their own brains.
New transit number system senseless
I would like to blow a big raspberry to the Bratislava Transit Authority (MHD) for changing all of the bus, trolley, and tram numbers last month. Well, okay, they didn't change them all, only enough to ensure that I must now run to see if the 82 that just pulled up is in fact the old 23 that I had grown to know and love. At least I am getting a little more exercise during this long and cold winter.
I have spent long hours wondering how the MHD came up with the new numbering system. Perhaps it was the result of exhaustive meetings in which MHD managers fought tenaciously for their favourite numbers (why, for example, should the number '205' be better than the '215' it replaced? And who will finally explain any of this to the little old man at the bus stop who asks me every day if the 205 is really the 215?).
But, of course, the MHD made other changes worthy of mention. The newest Slovak sport, after one-pint curls, is "Waiting to Punch Your Ticket". Since transport is now timed by digital clocks on each city vehicle, you must work out how long you intend to travel, not how long you will actually travel, before selecting the correct ticket to punch.
If we wait a few months, I'm sure we'll have some fresh lunacy to report from the ministry in charge of Changing Bus, Tram and Trolley Numbers.