Goddess Takes a Holiday

It might have been a tip-off when general manager Karim Alaoui packed it in for Lombardi Mare in Addison. Then again, maybe not. But just a few weeks after Alaoui skipped the "swank" Venus Steakhouse & Supper Club, a message on the restaurant's phone suspiciously stated that the phone is temporarily disconnected. Temporarily? Then a sign on the door, scrawled in pen on a piece of notebook paper, read: "To line cooks, restaurant is closed, to reopen Thursday evening." That was confusing to one of the line cooks, who was trying to make sense of the sign last Thursday evening as he tried to jiggle open the bolted doors to start his shift. Venus owner Shelly Dowdy couldn't be reached to confirm anything, but it looks like Venus Steakhouse and Supper Club is closed. Or maybe it's on sabbatical. Yet what self-respecting love goddess would take a sabbatical?

The cigar craze may be on life support, but that doesn't mean publisher Marvin Shanken's Cigar Aficionado has gone butts up. On February 7, the magazine's Big Smoke event blows into the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency. For 150 bucks you get to stroll through and pick up complimentary cigars from 27 of the world's best-known cigar producers, maybe even brands like Tiparello and Tijuana Smalls. You can also nibble on food from some of the city's cigar-friendly restaurants including Del Frisco's, Ginger Man, Morton's, Nick & Sam's, Pappas Bros., Sullivan's, Wizard's Sports Café, and The Men's Club, though we hope the latter will keep their cigars firmly clenched in their jaws...Franki and Gabriela Kovacic, owners of Franki's Lil' Europe, just opened Café Lago near White Rock Lake, a casual counter service café serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Café Lago serves everything from pork chops, to soup, to pasta, to fresh baked goods and sandwiches. The Kovacics have been operating Franki's Lil' Europe in Casa Linda for some 13 years...Jerry Jones won't be going to the Super Bowl this year, at least not in his sideline-prowling capacity. But that doesn't mean there won't be Dallas players there. Chef David Holben of Bistral and Dallas Cowboys alumnus Don Talbert will represent Dallas in the 10th annual Taste of the NFL on Saturday, January 27, at the Tampa Convention Center. Taste is a charity food- and wine-tasting blitzkrieg featuring a top chef from each of the 31 NFL cities paired with a former or current NFL player. Yet somehow Taste of the NFL doesn't sound all that appetizing.