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Level of Intimacy

Tommie Taylor and her daughter, Jeanette Maier, ran the already-legendary Canal Street Brothel busted by federal agents in 2002. Their latest business, a restaurant called Two Dames, ought to open within the next couple weeks at 625 St. Philip St. The space adjacent to Flanagan's Pub most recently housed Gigolo Gianni's, a casual Italian eatery. The menu at Two Dames will mirror its predecessor's, offering Italian salads, muffalettas, pasta dishes and pizzas. The main attraction is not in the kitchen, however, but the dining room, where the mother-daughter team will perform "The Happy Cooker" cooking demonstrations at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Taylor organized meals at the brothel, and according to Two Dames manager Don Becker, she's an excellent cook; demonstration attendees will receive tastes of Taylor's gumbo, jambalaya and bread pudding -- "traditional favorites that were served at their previous establishment." As the dining room seats just 30 people, Becker adds that the demonstrations "should be quite intimate, actually." Two Dames will open daily from noon to midnight.

Victor's Shuts Down

Victor's, located inside the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans (921 Canal St.), closed on Aug. 2 for its annual summer overhaul. Only this year it won't re-open as usual. Victor's staid surroundings, and talented Chef Frank Brunacci's fancy (and often delicious) food, didn't steal New Orleanians' hearts during the restaurant's three-year run. The dining room was often empty despite reams of positive press both locally and nationally. When the space reopens in September, it will be as a more casual restaurant (jackets no longer required), and without Brunacci. Director of Public Relations Char Thian Schroeder would announce no names by press time, neither for restaurant nor chef, but she says the menu will focus on a more localized cuisine utilizing seasonal Louisiana produce and seafood.

One Door Down

In late September, Hussain Alsherees will move his restaurant, Lebanon's Cafe (1506 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-6200), next door. When Cavallino's restaurant closed recently, Alsherees took stock of its spacious kitchen and knew he had to have it; Lebanon's dining room will grow by about 20 seats.

Correction

Martin Wine Cellar (714 Elmeer St., 899-7411) presents "That's Amore: A Taste of Italy, "from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14. I incorrectly reported in last week's column the event was scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 12. My apologies. "That's Amore" features a wine and Italian food tasting; tickets $30, which includes a $5 gift certificate.

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