Side Dish

Curious ad in the Herald's "Weekend" section a few weeks ago: "We are pleased to announce the association of Linda Brandino, formerly known as Linda B., into our organization." Signed: Stefano's of Key Biscayne. Forget that the ad reads like dialogue from a B-movie crime caper, but do remember that Linda B. and husband Stefano were the original proprietors of Stefano's, Linda B. Steak House, and a handful of other respectable eateries. They made the society pages when they married, then went from local lobster to prison plankton when they were indicted on money-laundering charges (they'd planned on selling all four restaurants and their Key Biscayne manse to a federal agent posing as an Italian drug dealer with cash to burn). Stefano pleaded guilty to conspiracy and got seven years in the big house. Linda copped to a charge of making a false statement on her income tax return and was fined and sentenced to probation. Now, according to Rolando Garcia, manager at Stefano's of Key Biscayne, Linda B. is back, working as a hostess and PR handler for the restaurant -- a convicted criminal apparently being the ideal choice for such a position. Going on the assumption that he and everyone else I've spoken to has passed along my messages, I'd like to ask Linda: Isn't the first rule of public relations to return phone calls? Call me. We'll talk.

•Why insult our intelligence (such as it is) with the tag "on the Mile"? Only a few doors down from the yummy mouthful that is Ortanique on the Mile, Paninoteca on the Mile, an offshoot of the successful Lincoln Road gourmet sandwich joint, is due to debut soon. We'd probably be able to find the spot just by the Miracle Mile address. As it is, by the time we finish winding our tongues around these unwieldy appellations, we're too tired to open up for a sandwich.

•The hardest-working cookbook author in the city is at it again. Steven Raichlen is currently in the process of penning a companion piece to his expansive tome The Barbecue! Bible. He says it'll be on "rubs, marinades, and sauces" and will likely be in stores by May or June. Some title suggestions: Hitting the Sauce. Rubbing the Right Way, Baby. And Giving the Bible! a Good Belt.

Kvetch: Looks like the latest edition of the South Florida Zagat's Survey won't be out till mid-December. Compiled by our own Victoria Pesce Elliott, this year's survey boasts about 400 entries on eateries in Miami and the Keys. The book will appear in stores just in time to stuff info about Norman's (winner of the top spot in both the "most popular" and "food ranking" categories) into the Christmas stockings of your more sophisticated gift recipients, but it'll most likely miss the Hanukkah season completely. Pity. That's an eight-day orgy of consumerism, folks.

Send your tasty tidbits to Jen Karetnick at 2800 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137. Or e-mail


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