Aphrodesiacs for Valentine’s Day, Romantic Dining in NYC, Musings from Mom & Dad

“Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” ~Steve Jobs

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie — it’s amore.” ~Dean Martin

Ah,  love.  And pizza.  And love of pizza.   When I was a bright-eyed kid, my Dad made pizza for a living when he wasn’t working in “construction.”  Fellow Brooklynites will get the quotations joke.   While in grade school, I waited up for him for three reasons.  One, he brought home the next day’s New York Post and Daily News.  I loved feeling like I knew what was going in the world while everyone was sleeping.  Yes, New York was the WORLD.  Two, he always brought home large fresh pizza pies and three, quality time with Dad talking about  news and pizza.  So naturally, I associate pizza with love.

English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pi...

Image via Wikipedia

Turns out, pizza made Reader’s Digest list of Top 10 Love-Foods for Valentine’s Day.  Saying “Love Foods” the way Don Cornelius would say, “Soul Train” in his honor today.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, aphrodisiacs are based in “folklore, not fact.”  Still, people continue to believe in the love-inducing effects of certain foods, herbs and extracts.

Some say if you believe something, you’re halfway there.  Ah, the placebo effect.  None of these attract a mate, but if you already have one, they may help improve  your love life.

                                 “Love each other.” ~Nonna Angelina

Discovery Health listed some of these:

  • Asparagus: The vitamin E in this vegetable is said to stimulate sex hormones.
  • Chili peppers: Some researchers say that eating hot peppers makes us release endorphins, which might lead to “other things.”
  • Chocolate: This favorite for Valentine’s Day contains phenylethylamine, one of the chemicals your body produces naturally when you’re in love (see The Chemistry of Love).
  • Oysters: Oysters contain high levels of zinc, which reportedly increased the production of testosterone. Testosterone increases libido for both sexes.

Others include Ginkgo, Spanish fly (dead beetle parts) and Damiana.

Back to pizza.  READER’S DIGEST also compiled a list of sexy foods to boost your libido.  This one includes pizza pizza. Lots of ‘em are yummy, so enjoy!   The first 6 are in my favorite snacks.  The link that follows it describes the health benefits of each.

  1. WATERMELON
  2. SPANISH OLIVES
  3. STRAWBERRIES
  4. CHERRIES
  5. ARTICHOKES
  6. CHAI TEA
  7. PROMEGRANATES
  8. PIZZA
  9. WHIPPED CREAM
  10. STEAK
Reader's Digest

Image via Wikipedia

 
CLICK BELOW FOR READER’S DIGEST LIST with HEALTH REASONS to ENJOY THESE FOODS:

http://www.rd.com/slideshows/10-more-aphrodisiacs-for-valentines-day/

Reader’s Digest Magazine: Only $4.00 per Year! (livingrichwithcoupons.com)

 

You could stay in with your  love and one of the yummy items on the list above OR if you’re in NYC you can check out these special 2012 NYC Valentine’s Day deals and prix fixe menus OR do both.

By , About.com Guide

 

1. 21 Club

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at New York’s landmark ’21′ Club, where the romantic upstairs dining room has been the site of numerous wedding proposals. For Valentine’s Day 2011, ‘21’ is serving a sumptuous three-course dinner, including a Veuve Clicquot champagne toast, for $125 per person.

(We had Rush’s book signing at 21 Club and I found it a tad stuffy.  Although, it may have been in  a different room than the dining room they speak of)

 
 

2. Agave

Enjoy a laid-back Southwestern Valentine’s Day at Agave with a special three-course menu and a premium tequila tasting for $120 per couple.

3. Aureole

For Valentine’s Day 2011, Aureole is serving a sumptuous five-course, prix-fixe dinner featuring foie gras and lobster for $175 per person ($100 wine pairing supplement). While there are certainly more affordable Valentine’s Day options, Aureole is a great choice for a special occasion splurge.

4. Bouley

The legendary Chef David Bouley is offering a six-course tasting menu for $195 per person ($295 with wine pairings) this Valentine’s Day. You can also take your Valentine to lunch at Bouley for just $36 per person for the tasting menu.

5. Bun Soho

This fabulous Grand Street Vietnamese spot is serving up a four-course prix-fixe menu with specialty cocktail and dessert for just $45 per couple. It’s the most affordable Valentine’s Day deal we found in Manhattan for the second year running.

6. Bryant Park Grill

At Bryant Park Grill, Valentine’s Day specials include the seafood raw bar for two, romantic cocktails (Budding Romance for Two features raspberry vodka and an edible orchid), and a complimentary box of hand made truffles. The regular menu is also available.

7. Chez Josephine

Chez Josephine, the restaurant inspired by the legendary Josephine Baker, offers a romantic setting complete with red velvet walls and chandeliers. Pianist/vocalist Christ Curtis will serenade diners as they enjoy a prix-fixe menu of French American bistro favorites for $75 per person.

8. COMMERCE

Enjoy incredible food in this historic Greenwich Village space. The three-course Valentine’s Day menu  offers options for $69-$98 per person (depending on entree choice).

 

9. Gentleman Farmer

Make it an intimate local Valentine’s Day at Gentleman Farmer on the Lower East Side. This cozy 20-seat restaurant serves a menu that combines traditional French cuisine with fresh local ingredients. The Valentine’s Day 2011 prix-fixe menu is $55 for three courses.

10. Guantanamera

Make it a Cuban Valentine’s Day with a three-course dinner, live music, and hand-rolled cigars for $69 per person.

If you want to impress someone special, choosing the right restaurant can make all the difference. These restaurants offer romantic atmosphere, as well quality food and service that are sure to impress — whether it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or another special occasion.
 
(Some of the following seem like nothing special when you’re  a local. Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe don’t seem particularly romantic to me.  The Sea Grill gets lots of tourists.)
 
More Romance in New York City:
 
 
 

1. Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern Dining RoomPhoto by Ellen Silverman, used with permission
Danny Meyer’s restaurants are reknowned for impeccable service, and Gramercy Tavern is no different. Serving creative American fare, Gramercy Tavern is the perfect place for a perfect meal, from start to finish. Reservations suggested, though the tavern area has reduced prices and a no-reservation policy.Gramercy Tavern Basics:
42 E. 20th St.
Between Broadway and Park Ave. So.
212-477-0777
 

2. Union Square Cafe

Union Square CafePhoto by Nathan Rawlinson, used with permission.
Another Danny Meyer destination, Union Square Cafe offers great service and delicious fare in a comfortable setting. Union Square Cafe is friendly to vegetarians. Reservations suggested, though the bar area offers you an in without a reservation.Union Square Cafe Basics:
21 E. 16th St.
Between Fifth Ave. and Union Sq. West
212-243-4020

3. One If By Land, Two If By Sea

One If By Land, Two If By SeaPhoto Courtesy of One If By Land, Two If By Sea, used with permission
Often considered the most romantic restaurant in New York City, One if By Land, TIBS is housed in a former carriage house that features nightly live piano music and working fireplaces. Exposed brick and dim lighting make this a great destination for a romantic evening.One If By Land, Two If By Sea:
17 Barrow St.
Between 7th Ave. S. & W. 4th St.
212-228-0822

4. Balthazar

I must admit, I’m a bit prejudiced, since Balthazar is where I went for dinner after I got engaged, but if being transported to a bustling Parisian bistro is your idea of romance, this is the perfect destination. Steak frites are fabulous, as is the onion goat cheese tart.Balthazar Basics:
80 Spring St.
Between Crosby & Broadway.
212-965-1785

5. Daniel

If you really want to dazzle your date, Daniel is among New York City’s most impressive restaurants, with prices to match. Decor reflects Daniel Boulud’s appreciation for Italian Renaissance design, but the menu features creative French cuisine. 3 Course Prix-Fixe $96.Daniel Basics:
60 E. 65th St.
Between Park and Madison Aves.
212-288-0033

6. Blue Hill

With an annual Valentine’s Day tradition of serving a “hands-free” meal, Blue Hill offers an off-beat take on your typical romantic evening. Serving American cuisine, Blue Hill builds a menu focused on seasonally available produce from the Hudson Valley.Blue Hill Basics:
75 Washington Pl.
Between Sixth Ave. and MacDougal St.
212-539-1776.

7. Savoy

This warmly lit restaurant feels more like a country inn — complete with a roaring fire in the colder months. Dine on fine American cuisine and if you’d really like to impress, reserve for the chef’s special menu.Savoy Basics:
70 Prince St.
Between Crosby and Lafayette Sts.
212-219-8570

8. The Sea Grill

Overlooking the ice rink at Rockefeller Center, The Sea Grill is a great choice for a romantic evening, assuming your date likes seafood. From oysters and clams to herb crusted skate, the menu offerings reflect a range of seafood options all well prepared and very fresh.The Sea Grill Basics:
19 W. 49th St.
Between Fifth and Sixth Aves.
212-332-7610

If it’s the perfect view that makes you feel romantic, you can do no better than The River Cafe on Brooklyn’s waterfront. Featuring delicious food combined with professional, attentive service, The River Cafe is well worth leaving Manhattan for the food alone, but the view of downtown Manhattan makes this an irresistable choice.The River Cafe Basics:
1 Water Street, Brooklyn
718-522-5200

10. The Place

This West Village restaurant offers all of the romance of New York’s finest restaurants, but with a more affordable price tag. The menu features both American and pan-European cuisine.The Place Basics:
310 W. 4th St.
Between Bank and W. 12th Sts.
212-924-2711

If anyone had a personal great experience at any restaurants listed –please let me know in comments.

More Romantic New York City

MUSINGS FROM MOM & DAD

 
MOM:      Love isn’t about getting roses or going to restaurants.
ME:          What is it?
MOM:      I don’t know.  Ask your father. (married 50 years and she doesn’t know)
 
ME:          Dad, Mommy said to ask you what is love?
DAD:       She’s crazy.
ME:          Well, what is it?
DAD:        What?
ME:           Love.  Amore!!!
DAD:       When you want to be with one person so you can be crazy together.
ME:           Brilliant.
 
 
 
 
 
Actually, Mom gave me a beautiful answer when I asked her once before. I always ask them that question.  If they have an epiphany, I want to be the first to know.  Mom said love was about two people who want to grow a garden together, water it every day, watch it grow, thorns and all.  Something like that. I wrote it down somewhere.
 
 
 
 
Post note:  If you’re single and alone on Valentine’s Day — you can’t go wrong with the pizza.     One of the few things you can still find for one dollar a slice.  Pizza = Love.   :D
 

Link below to find .99 cents pizza anywhere in NYC or click on City/State to find elsewhere:

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”                      ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery