Side Dish

Yeah, it's nice to pay tribute to the ones you love. But instead of spending 25 bucks on some mediocre faux-French chocolates this Valentine's Day, consider taking that cash and sending it to India. Not because there are children starving there (though there are), but because earthquake relief is going to cost billions of dollars. And if you can't bear to give without getting, consider whetting your appetite for charitable concerns by attending the American Red Cross Indian earthquake relief fundraiser at Goddess nightclub on February 15. Sponsored by Tantra and Goddess owner Tim Hogle, who is an Indian-art aficionado, the event will feature a live auction of rare Indian, Hindu, and Kamasutra art, donated from his personal collection. Also on tap: a raffle, a live DJ, and munchies from Tantra chef Willis Loughhead. Tickets, available at the door, will cost only 25 smackers -- a pretty painless way to do some pretty important good.

•In the "ouch" category -- and we're not talking a love bite here: William Grimes, restaurant critic for the New York Times, gave Tuscan Steak a no-stars review this past week. Many statements he makes in the piece are equivocal, like when he writes about the fare. "A lot of it is heavy-handed and overproduced. Some of it is quite good. And some of it is heavy-handed, overproduced and still pretty good." But most are pointed barbs, such as, "At Tuscan Steak, you get the feeling that the cooks have been issued shovels rather than spoons. Restraint is not on the menu." In the end Grimes concludes that "at Tuscan Steak, more is more. Excess means success. And everybody" -- except him, that is -- "seems happy with the formula."

•At the risk of sounding overheated, I'd like to talk about sex for a moment. Well, not exactly sex but strippers. You see, just because I wrote an article about the food in strip joints, it doesn't mean I frequent gentlemen's clubs. So the reader who has been bugging me for the addresses of the nudie bars can do what I did in the first place: Check the phone book. And as for "Ira from NYC," no, I'm really not familiar with "good inexpensive lap-dance bars with nice-looking girls," and I'll pass on the invite to attend one with you. But thanks for thinking of me.

Kvetch: To the valets in South Beach who have been stealing (you know who you are) from the cars you park, take heed: Our Chevron card has been canceled. And while I'm not demanding the return of all my CDs -- you can keep the Go-Go's greatest hits -- I would like to see my Indigo Girls discs again. Mail them, care of me, to New Times, and in return I'll let you change my radio station and play with my seat setting again.


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