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  (See 15 health benefits of chai tea according to science, which includes 5 chai tea recipes at https://www.jenreviews.com/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.   😀

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

Healthy StartUps by Maria Dorfner

If you’re a male or female entrepreneur who wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban, listen up.  No, I’m not casting another Shark Tank.  

[Link to SharkTank & how to be on the show:  http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank]

ABC-TV is safe.  Mark Cuban is safe. And so is Mr. Quiggly.

A start-up is a business or undertaking that has recently begun operation.

A Healthy Start-Up is one that has founders that make their mental, physical and spiritual health a priority.  They know that if they are unhealthy, it infects the rest of their team and their company.  The same is true if they are  healthy.  People emulate those they admire.  If you’re a leader — you have the ability to influence others.  Influence them towards daily healthy habits.  Neglect your health.  Neglect your company.  Great leaders have already learned this valuable lesson.

Lead your team towards  healthy habits. Build a healthy company.

Successful companies are built with a strong foundation. Think about it.  If your own mind, body or spirit suffers, how can you possibly bring your best to team, employees, clients, customers, board or investors? The answer is you can not. Taking time to nourish those things daily is not selfish or time wasted, it’s actually selfless and time/energy gained to serve all the aforementioned best, as well as family and friends to bring life balance.

I believe Entrepreneurs need to think of their HEALTH as a BANK ACCOUNT.

Make deposits now.

Benefit later.  Health is Your Greatest Wealth.  Talk to any old rich person to confirm.

Here are 5 things you experience when working on a startup, which may affect health.

1.  You will be excited.  New start-up.  Woo-hoo!   I’ll work 24/7 on this!

 

2.  You will get too busy to prepare meals.  I’ll just order in a pizza.  Again.
 3.  You will experience information overload and sit at a computer for hours on end.
  
4.  You will get bummed out and not know why. (Refer back to #1, 2, 3)
5.   You will get tired and have no time for family or friends.
      REPEAT.  WHAT GOOD IS IT WHEN YOU, THE FOUNDER, ARE NO LONGER AROUND TO REAP THE BENEFITS BECAUSE WHAT YOU’VE REALLY BUILT IS AN EARLY GRAVE.  ALL 5 MAKE WITHDRAWALS IN YOUR ACCOUNT.

The good news is every day YOU get to decide which one you’ll do.

Your aim is to make DEPOSITS into what I call a HEALTHY START-UP ACCOUNT.

HERE’S HOW: 

1.  You will be excited.

You are running on adrenaline.  Your dream team is in place.  You have a great team in place.  You have a vision. You’re executing on it. You’re making sales. You’re gaining traction. You’re meeting with potential investors. Exciting. So exciting you can’t sleep.

Tips to sleep:  Create a dark area at room temperature (not too hot, not too cold) with a fan or quiet music (no gadgets!).  Remember, you are excited and may be running off of adrenaline. But the same adrenaline will zap your energy and exhaust you if you don’t regulate your daily sleep.  Set a regular time for turning in and try to get away from technology and relax your mind beforehand. Step outside, stretch, breathe.

SLEEP is a DEPOSIT.  Repeat that with me.  Sleep is a deposit into your Healthy Start-Up.

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have. ~Winston Churchill

Here is expert advice from sleep specialists Dr. Kingman Strohl of University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Dr. Joe Golish of MetroHealth Medical Center, and Dr. Douglas Moul of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation:

Go to sleep an hour ahead of time.  Same time.  Every night.

Don’t just jump into bed — start your sleep ritual an hour or two ahead of time. And, this is crucial: Try to go to bed at the same time every single day. Discern what the best time for you is and go for that, consistently. Don’t tough your way through your sleepy hours and chance getting a second wind.

Avoid all stimulants.

• That means caffeine in any form (it’s OK to drink some in the morning, but not cup after cup after cup), watching TV, working out, doing anything online (the blue light given off by TV and computers have shown to be disruptive to the pre-sleep cycle), arguing with a family member. Consciously cultivate peacefulness before bedtime. No alcohol before bedtime either (if you fall asleep, you’ll likely wake up again in a few hours).

No worrying!

• Let go of anxiety about going to sleep, and of worrisome thoughts. This isn’t easy, and it takes practice. “You can’t change the world,” Strohl says. “Remember that!”  It’s okay to read an enjoyable, but not too stimulating book, which can take your mind off worries.

lavender-as-sleep-aid.jpg
Lavender is surprisingly effective.

• Good sleep habits are imperative, says Strohl. It’s important to remember that everyone has insomnia at some point and hardly anyone falls asleep right away. We really shouldn’t, because it takes awhile for our bodies and brains to wind down.  In fact, says Strohl, “If you are falling asleep within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow, then you are sleep-deprived.”

Cool, dark room with lavender mist.

Do things to create a supportive sleep environment: Make your room cool and dark, don’t have a TV or computer in it, spray a lavender mist on your pillow (it is supposed to be surprisingly effective for promoting drowsiness).  If you still can’t fall asleep, get out of bed and read for a while in a chair or in another room. When you get sleepy again, get back into bed. This way you won’t associate your bed with your inability to sleep.

What about herbs and supplements?

• Some people use melatonin, a dietary supplement available over the counter, to help them sleep. But be careful: the strength of it varies because the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements. Your doctor, however, can prescribe a melatoninlike drug (Rozerem orthe generic ramelteon, a melatonin receptor) as an alternative.  Some people say valerian, another herb, works for them, but doctors say studies have shown that might just be a placebo effect.

What about prescriptions?

• Try reconditioning your brain. If you are taking a prescription sleep aidand want to stop, start taking it with a glass of warm milk, Strohl says. Tell your brain the milk is making you sleepy. Then, after a week or two, just drink the milk. Your brain is highly suggestible, so this will work — you will establish the thought that milk is what makes you sleepy.

• If you decide to stop taking your prescription sleep medication, it’s best to do it on a weekend or when you have a couple of days off. You will toss and turn for a few nights, but, doctors say, your body will adjust. You have to be patient and give it a few days.

What about coffee during the day?

If you’re tired during the day as a result, beware of compensating with caffeine. As doctors point out, a regular cup of the coffee that we drink today (and it’s usually not a cup if you measure it out, but two or three) has twice as much caffeine as it used to. The same goes for energy drinks or caffeinated soft drinks. They will affect your ability to sleep.

As I agree with staying away from coffee, this article is recommending which coffee maker to use.  A Tech Guy’s Version of the Perfect Cup of Coffee.  I kid you not.  http://uncrunched.com/2012/01/09/a-tech-guys-version-of-the-perfect-cup-of-coffee/.

I find it funny because I realize getting coffee away from people in Silicon Valley, NYC or any Urban Jungle is like getting shoes away from Imelda Marcos. Addictions to either (shoes or coffee) aren’t healthy. Period.  One or two cups in the morning  is fine, but most people crash mid-afternoon and reach for more.

It’s not going to be easy to stop drinking coffee if you’re addicted to it.

If it would completely stress you out to quit your coffee addiction right now, try taking breaks.  Try white tea (15mg caffeine) vs. coffee (120 mg caffeine).

2.  You will be too busy to eat right.

BREAKFAST, LUNCH and DINNER and spending time OUTDOORS are a DEPOSIT.

Remember when you wake up ready to go to work exclaiming you’re not hungry and just want coffee –that’s a withdrawal in a healthy company leader.  That’s you.   I’m a big fan of protein in the morning. Protein contains tyrosine, an amino acid that elevates the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. It makes you feel full too, so you don’t overeat. Protein keeps your metabolism steady. Two eggs in the morning. Ten almonds and water or tea mid-morning before lunch rolls around prevents  rollercoaster highs and lows.  If you can be outside –the fresh air will do you good. Breathe in the fresh air. If you’re in NYC, unless you  can see trees, disregard.  Also, whenever you have a meeting –if you can have it outdoors .  If you can walk and talk (I always say, “Let’s be like West Wing…”) –even better.  All healthy deposits in you and your team.  Relaxing together eating a healthy and leisurely meal is wonderful too.

 

3.  You will be on information overload.

MEDITATION is a DEPOSIT.

Emails, Meetings, Conferences, Phone, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Trade Magazines, Trade Shows, etc. can drain you mentally.  Take breaks. Once you do, you’ll take more of them because you’ll notice a positive difference in how you feel engaging in your real community instead of the on-line one.

Computers can be illusions.  You won’t recognize when your inbox or online activity really looks like THIS.  But you’ll feel it. Before computers, we could visually see when we were “swamped.”  Now, it’s hidden. Ten thousand emails. Five are vital. Don’t sweat it. Set technical boundaries. Give yourself at least an hour each day when you are away from all electronic devices.  The more, the better.

Whenever you stop to check in with the real you without devices —it re-energizes you. Just 3-minutes of meditating will make you more alert.  I recommend doing so first thing in the morning when you wake and again at noon and 3 p.m. These mini-meditation breaks will energize you and keep you focused.  Smile at and deep breathe.  Breathe 10 seconds (count to 10 slowly) inhale and 10 seconds exhale.

Science and technology reporter, Daniel Sieberg wrote a book called, “The Digital Diet”  I recommend.   His 4-step plan to help you regain control, focus, and true connection in your life are as follows (but pick up the book for details):

Step 1//Re: Think:

Consider how technology has overwhelmed our society and the effect it’s had on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Step 2//Re: Boot:

Take stock of your digital intake using Sieberg’s Virtual Weight Index and step back from the device.

Step 3//Re: Connect:

Focus on restoring the relationships that have been harmed by the technology in your life.

Step 4//Re: Vitalize:

Learn how to live with technology—the healthy way, by optimizing your time spent e-mailing, texting, on Facebook, and web surfing  in  this book.

4.  You will get bummed out.   Meetings will get cancelled.  Things may not move as quickly as you’d like.  Frustrations at limited resources to compete will happen.  You will get bummed out.  That is why it’s so important for you to stay in top mental, physical and spiritual form.  You will be able to overcome challenges when you are healthy.

On a daily basis,  projects can pile on stress.  Get up every 15 minutes and stretch or walk around.  Exercise.  Break  it up into 15 minutes of activity if you can’t break away for longer. Walk. Run. Climb stairs. Breathe deeply.  Repeat. Take breaks to get outside as often as you can during the day.

Be centered. Centered people do not react. When something happens outside of them –they can reflect on it.  Anyone who reacts immediately in a highly emotional state isn’t centered.  No good decision is ever made out of anger. Remember that.  If you are going to run a company –your ability to remain calm and make good decisions is a must.  It sounds odd, but you actually have to practice being calm.  Test it out with family members. When someone says something that pushes your buttons –practice not reacting.   Breathe. Observe.  Don’t react.  If you have to silently count to 100 inside. The situation may diffuse by the time you get to one hundred.

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. John F. Kennedy

5.  You will get tired. – Start back at #1.

In summary, don’t be one of those founders that brags and boats about not  getting any sleep or living on coffee. It sends the wrong message to your team.  Be a healthy example.  Surround yourself with a healthy team.  Build a healthy company or companies.

Consider this advice (some is the same) from local CEOs, published in SMART CEO Magazine.

Meditate: You don’t have to be a monk,
but find that one activity that can
always relax you to re-center your mind.

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...
Image via Wikipedia

Make it a plan: Schedule your activities
like you would schedule a meeting –
and don’t skip it. Personal time is just
as important as business time.

Get involved:

Supporting community

events and nonprofi t organizations
provides a great opportunity for teambuilding and giving back.

Define your goals: What do you want to
accomplish? Defi ne it, and chase after
it. You’ll be more likely to succeed if you
have a vision.

QUOTES:

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
Mohandas Gandhi

Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.
Mohandas Gandhi

Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching around for what it gets.

Henry Ford

RELATED ARTICLES/LINKS:

I recommend a copy of Mark Cuban’s book. In one day, the slim under-100-page book, titled “How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It,” soared to the top of the bestseller charts at the big online book-buying sites, with particularly strong sales onAmazoniTunes and Barnes & Noble.

Here’s an excerpt from Mark Cuban’s book:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222524

For More Information on Mark Cuban and Mr. Quiggley’s red matching Skechers, please visit:

http://www.skechers.com

 

Related articles:R

 

Surround yourself with healthy, positive, can-do/will-do people. It makes a huge difference in execution, results, growth, success and being a healthy founder with a thriving, healthy company that values a balanced life and health as your greatest wealth.

 

 

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have. ~Winston Churchill