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Passion plates: Where to find local aphrodisiac dishes

All is fair in love, including feeding the one you love something to get the romantic juices flowing. We are not scientists — we learned why these foods are considered aphrodisiacs simply by looking them up. It’s all in fun. With that being said, here are a few of our favorites and where you can get them.

 Sea of love — oysters

Oysters look like a dirty, sharp rocks, but are one of the world’s most-famous aphrodisiacs. Loaded with zinc (apparently the optimum sex mineral) these mollusks are the gold standard of aphrodisiacs, although some say they are difficult to…

Anyway, if you are going to indulge, these places get the best of the best on a daily basis:

At Oshun Oyster Bar (5 E. Huron St.; oshunseafood.com) fresh oysters on the half shell come from both coasts — three from the east and three west. Or have them flash-fried served with a Sriracha butter. Oyster happy hour begins at 9 p.m., with oysters half off. The bucolic frescos on the walls of a fair maiden make for an interesting backdrop.

Remington Tavern & Seafood Exchange (184 Sweeny St., North Tonawanda; remingtontavern.com) raw bar is fantastic, and provides diners with a free show to boot. (We are dying to say “aw, shucks” to the person working.) The place serves up to 3,500 oysters per week. Tuesday’s Oyster Happy Hour runs 4-7 p.m., $15 per dozen.

At Black & Blue Steak and Crab (5493 Sheridan Drive, Amherst; blackandbluesteakandcrab.menu), fresh oysters can be ordered individually or as a sampler (large and small).

 

Ancient Aztec love secret — hot chocolate

Want to relax and increase your desire at the same time? Some say chocolate’s serotonin makes you both happy and affectionate. The Aztecs believed chocolate (xocolatl) was an aphrodisiac. Montezuma supposedly consumed large quantities before visiting his harem of ladies. While there is no medical proof chocolate is an aphrodisiac, we know in our hearts that it is.

Public Espresso & Coffee (391 Washington St. in the Hotel @ Lafayette; publicespresso.com) is known for coffee, yet it does serve a mean hot chocolate, or rather three versions starting with its traditional Dark Hot Chocolate with Sea Salt. For something a little spicy, the White Mexican Hot Chocolate features hints of cayenne and cloves. Last but not least the Christmas Clementine is still being served. The white and dark chocolate combination includes orange peel.

The Chocolate Bar (114 Chippewa St.; thechocolatebar.com) offers p not only regular hot chocolate but, spiked hot chocolate, with the added ingredient of booze. The Chocolate Bar can add just about any liqueur, but we like something with chocolate, like Godiva or coffee, like Kahlua. The Cherries ‘N Chiles Hot Chocolate is described as “something you don’t want on the tender areas of your body,” and uses among several spices, cayenne. Which leads to our next aphrodisiac food…

 

Some like it hot — chili peppers

Capsaicin, a chemical in hot peppers, stimulates endorphins. You sweat. Your heart pounds as if in the throes of love. For this one, we like a restaurant that also has “hot” in its name or even a place that has a hot dish with flames.

Sweat over a dish of Singapore Angel Hair or Chili Peppers with Shredded Pork at Miss Hot Café (3311 Sheridan Drive, Amherst; misshotcafe.awardspace.biz).

On a casual date? Stop into Hot Mama’s Canteen (12 Military Road; hotmamascanteen.com) for an order of Passion Fusion Wings made with HeadStone Heat Hot Passion Sauce.

For romantics and fans of the Rogers & Hammerstein’s song “Getting to Know You,” we suggest the King & I (2188 Kensington Ave.; kingandibuffalo.com). Its Tom Yum Soup is served in a flaming hot pot for two. It can be made with any choice or meat or seafood, or served vegetarian. The broth is infused with lemongrass, galangal (ginger, which is also an aphrodisiac), kaffir lime leaves, garlic, chili, lime juice, fish sauce, tomato, mushroom, scallion and cilantro. The soup is spicy and sour, with the balance of sweet vegetables. It can be ordered in any heat you desire— one star mild to four, very hot.

No matter where you go, remember to pack a few extra unromantic tissues in case your nose starts to run.

 

A is for — asparagus and avocado

Asparagus is a great source of vitamins, minerals and folic acid, which apparently boosts histamines necessary for, well, what the French call “La Petit Mort” (look it up). In the olden days, French bridegrooms were served the suggestive spears at their prenuptial dinners.

Now, think about the shape of an avocado. Put two of them together. Got it? Supposedly Mayans ate them to improve desirability while Spanish priests considered avocadoes “obscene” and forbid them.

At Kuni’s (226 Lexington Ave.) asparagus and avocado both hold a place of honor on the rolls portion of the menu. There is a simple asparagus roll, while avocadoes get paired two ways: Scallop & Avocado or Eel & Avocado.

At Sakura (3719 Union Road, Cheektowaga) load up on avocado with an Avocado Roll, an Avocado Mango Roll, an Avocado Salad or all of the above. We like the Joey, a roll that includes spiced tuna, avocado and lobster. It’s wrapped in seaweed, panko coated and then deep fried.

 

Monkey business — bananas

The shape is all you need to think about here. Those wacky folks from the Middle Ages believed that by consuming a banana it would, in fact, help that particular body part. That said, bananas are loaded with potassium and vitamin B, said to be essential for sex hormones.

Anderson’s (various locations; andersonscustard.com) serves a classic Banana Split perfect for sharing. We like the idea of The Fudgana from King Condrell’s (2805 Delaware Ave., Kenmore; condrells.com) with the added element of lots of chocolate. KC’s mathematics are: “FUDGE + BANANA = FUDGANA” — vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, bananas, whipped cream and fresh walnuts. We assume a cherry can be added.

 

“I pine for you” — pine nuts and more

Oliver’s (2095 Delaware Ave., oliverscuisine.com) has a dish that hits many aphrodisiac notes — the Grilled Marinated Eggplant. Eggplant (called “berengenas” or apple of love by the Spaniards) is paired with an odd twist — poached pears (long seen as the symbol of the female form). Also on the plate are raddichio, Pecorino Romano, pine nuts (zinc for male potency), olive oil and a saba syrup — a cooked grape juice that is similar, but lighter than balsamic. Grapes are long-time a symbol of virility and fertility, so eat up!

 

What? Garlic?

Hard to believe this makes the list. Garlic contains allicin (ironically spellcheck wants “illicit”), a natural stimulator, which increases blood flow. If you both eat garlic, maybe it won’t be so bad?

If dining at the Italian Village (6354 Transit Road, Depew; italianvillagewny.com) have the Pasta Puttanesca — green and kalmata olives (Greeks believed olives made men more virile), capers, anchovies, tomatoes, onions, garlic and fresh basil served with Romano cheese. P0uttanesca sauce was reportedly made by “ladies of the evening” (a “puttana”) because it was a quick meal that could be made in the pan and didn’t interrupt business.

 

Like Adam and Eve — figs

The sexy shape of a fig and its seeds represent fertility. The leaves represent modesty. Some believe it was the fig (not the apple) that was the forbidden fruit of the Bible. Figs have antioxidants and polyphenols that have been shown to help sex drive.

At Toutant (437 Ellicott St.; toutantbuffalo.com) have the “Gris Gris” Biscuit Sandwich. “Gris Gris” (pronounced gree gree) is a voodoo term we hope works its magic for you. The amulet protects from evil and brings good luck. (Some also believed it acts as birth control.)

Toutant’s decedent version is seared foie gras and duck leg confit that comes with house made sweet tea fig preserves on a sliced biscuit. Chef/Owner James Roberts uses a yeast-assisted dough to make angel biscuits that proof overnight and are baked to order, so they are fresh and delicious.

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