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The In Crowd

July 24, 1994

Excellent piece on the pleasures of becoming a restaurant regular ("The Regular," by Jonathan Gold, Three on the Town, June 19). But becoming one of the anointed is easy to arrange. Simply order a good bottle of wine, then send what you don't consume to the chef with your compliments.

MARYA CHARLES ALEXANDER

South Pasadena

I always thought the point of being a regular was getting "the usual" without having to place an order. When I was 10 years old, I attempted to achieve this distinction by ordering a hot roast beef sandwich and a chocolate soda at Benton's coffee shop in Laguna Beach every day for an entire summer.

On our way back to Los Angeles at the end of August, my parents agreed to stop at Benton's for one last lunch. Showing off, I confidently ordered "the usual," but the waitress--the same one we'd had all summer--peered at me over her pad and said, "Now what would that be, honey?"

Thanks to Gold's piece, I see now that it was me and not the waitress who missed the point.

VICTORIA BRANCH

Encino

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