Love Bites: Aphrodisiac Foods

Sexy lingerie and expensive cologne will only get you so far-- Aphrodite works in mysterious ways, and sometimes you need to introduce some tantalizing foods to intrigue a new date or spice up an existing relationship. While our list of aphrodisiacs may not sound sexy (fertilized duck egg and lumpy truffles, really?), they're known to work wonders on your taste buds--and your date.

Updated: February 01, 2009

Arugula

This dainty, bitter leaf, also known as the ?rocket seed,? is popular in gourmet salads and pasta dishes. It's rich in iron, which can't hurt, and has been prized as an aphrodisiac since ancient Roman times.


A 16

2355 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

For $3, lovebirds can add arugula to any of the wood-fired pizzas at this esteemed southern Italian restaurant in the Marina.


Beretta

1199 Valencia, San Francisco, CA 94110

One of this super popular Italian restaurant's prized dishes is an arugula-and-fennel salad topped with shaved Parmesan--a perfect late-night (pre-bed) snack.


Balut

If you really want to get exotic, try this Filipino and Cambodian delicacy: a boiled late-stage duck egg that tastes like a cross between a hard-boiled egg and cooked duck. Find it at Filipino grocers south of the city or at limited Filipino restaurants.


Turo Turo Restaurant

984 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

Good Filipino is hard to find, but Turo Turo, a homey spot offering low-cost delicacies, has a menu full of traditional delights, including this fetal duck egg.


Manila Oriental Market

950 King Plz Ste 112, Daly City, CA 94015

Much like the large grocery stores on Clement street, this Mission street market sells a diverse array of Asian specialty foods. You'll have to cook it yourself, but you can find balut here (and impress your adventurous sweetie at home).


Chocolate

For an easy pleaser, try a rich chocolate dessert to inspire your lust. Whether it's the serotonin in chocolate that gets you going or merely the sensual pleasure of eating it, chocolate has been celebrated throughout the ages as a sexual stimulant. The Aztecs considered it the food of the gods; tribal leaders consumed it in mass quantities to keep them going with hundreds of sex partners. Here are some local favorites.


Cocoabella Chocolates

2102 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

The owners of this Marina chocolatier modeled it after old-World European shops and take great pride in their luxurious creations.


Tcho Beta

Pier 17, San Francisco, CA 94111

Not only does this tech-friendly chocolate company serve some serious dark chocolate, they infuse their sweet bites with fruit, nuts, citrus and other qualities to bring out the best in the cocoa (and you).


Ginseng

Find this aphrodisiac in its many forms at grocery stores on Clement or in Chinatown. It's known to be especially powerful for men and can be consumed directly as a dried root or cooked into soups, teas and meat dishes. Add bits of fresh root or ginseng powder when cooking rice to infuse the starch with an earthy, bitter-sweet flavor--then brace yourself for the full effect.


Vinh Khang Herb & Ginseng

512 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

Beyond ginseng, this shop offers herbs to cure any ailment; ask to speak to the on-site Chinese doctor if you?d like a solution for headaches along with your love potion.


Tai Fong Wo Herbs

857 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94108

An herbal shop since 1922, this Chinatown apothecary boasts an endless array of herbs, spices and dried foods, as well as beauty products.


Oysters

The Greeks may have Aphrodite, but it was the Romans who identified many of the foods still used as aphrodisiacs in modern times. They cherished the oyster for its erotic symbolism. Today, oyster bars across the city afford San Franciscans this decadent pleasure. Oysters have been found to contain sperm-enhancing zinc and acids that may increase testosterone--so keep those contraceptives handy.


Hog Island Oyster Co

1 Ferry Plz, San Francisco, CA 94111

This is the place to be for fresh Bay Area oysters, served up for locals and tourists alike. Snag waterfront seating to dazzle your date.


Waterbar

399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

As if the killer views and solid drink list at this high-end seafood spot aren't enough kindling for romance, try the dollar oysters for the full effect.


Truffles

No, not the chocolate kind. Be prepared to give an arm and a leg in order to please the rest of you with this pricey, seasonal menu item grown underground. Black truffles are popular through fall and winter and may last even longer. White truffles might only be on the menu for one month in late fall. If the price of fresh truffles (and the gourmet meals that tend to go along with them) turns you off, try cooking your own dish with truffle oil, available year-round.


Perbacco

230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Truffle-herb gnocchi, truffle with rabbit, truffled meat balls?Perbacco has this aphrodisiac any way you like it. Call ahead during the off-season to make sure they have these menu items.


Oola Restaurant & Bar

860 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

If the truffle craving hits you long after dinner hours, head here for a midnight snack. Open until 1am most nights, Oola serves a unique truffle broth with their foie gras and incorporates truffle oil into many of their other dishes.


Wine

What better aphrodisiac than wine--and what better place to enjoy it than California? Some studies show that port wine is the most powerful alcoholic aphrodisiac for men, but other wines will likely have the same effect (when consumed in moderation!). Try one of these elegant venues or specialty stores, and let the seduction begin.


Terroir

1116 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

This wine bar and shop carries and serves organic and biodymanic Old World wines in a raw but comfortable space in SoMa. If the wine doesn't work, those sexy French accents will.