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Where the Toys Are | Seductive Bars
Per the Food and Drug Administration, the very idea of an aphrodisiac is a fairy tale. No such thing. From their loveless ivory tower in Silver Spring, Maryland, these government-funded spoilsports claim that folklore is the only reason countless foodstuffs have long enjoyed their Viagra-like status. The FDA is wrong. You want evidence? OK, let’s start with garlic, whose magical powers go back centuries. Suitors of Aphrodite herself employed the “stinking rose” in hopes of seducing the goddess of love. And the last time I split a plate of the garlic and herb fries at CANDLELITE (7452 N. Western Ave.; 773-465-0087) with a woman, strange things happened. And by strange things, I mean: sex. It wasn’t the flatscreen TVs that got her in the mood.
A plate of asparagus will improve your blood circulation, if you believe in Indian medicine. I believe in Indian medicine. The fleshy green rods of grilled jumbo asparagus at MORTON’S (1050 N. State St.; 312-266-4820) are as manly as any vegetables in Chicago, and, as a special bonus: They look like penises. OK, weird green penises, but you get the picture.
Proto-foodie Jean-Anthelme Savarin wrote that the very word truffle “awakens lustful and erotic memories.” Good enough for a 19th-century French horndog, good enough for me. A fine place to test Savarin’s theory is at a seventh-floor window table at NOMI (Park Hyatt, 800 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-239-4030), where the Burgundy truffle and foie gras crème brûlée gives off a rousing scent that is both primal and musky. View’s not bad either.
Chocolate? Come on, FDA. Surely you scientists know it’s packed with serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, and all kinds of other fun stuff that stimulate your brain. Is this stimulation anything like an orgasm? No. But you know what is? The flourless “Kamasutra” chocolate cake at MARIGOLD (4832 N. Broadway; 773-293-4653), a sexual double whammy with its red Kashmiri chili pepper. Couple of bites and your date will go all Meg Ryan on you. Not When Harry Met Sally Meg Ryan. In the Cut Meg Ryan.
No plea on behalf of naughty food would be complete, of course, without mentioning the sea’s most erotic creation: oysters. It was while slurping a fresh blue point at the HALF SHELL (676 W. Diversey Pkwy.; 773-549-1773) years ago that I finally noticed its uncanny resemblance to a certain female organ. Not that you eggheads at the FDA would know anything about that.