By Arrissia Owen
There is a very close relationship between love, sex and food. Very sensory-driven experiences, having sex and eating food and sweets are the two most satisfying human experiences we have. In our annual Sex Issue, we explore decadent and delectable ideas for you and your Valentine. Need inspiration? We’ve got food to inspire sex, romantic culinary activities for couples, sexy libations to enhance your libido and plenty of props and toys to make your playtime extra potent.
Nothing says “make loooove to me all night long, loooover” like an invitation to a fancy, white tablecloth restaurant with mood lighting, beautiful music and plenty of ambiance. Here are some tips and suggestions for the perfect romantic dinner . . . the kind that will ignite that Bananas Fosters dessert all by itself.
Build the anticipation. Leave an unexpected note reminding your loved one just how much you are looking forward to your big night out, or even a quick phone call will do.
Don’t be afraid to get gussied up. Show that special someone that he or she is worth the risk of a dry cleaning bill. Eye contact. Open doors. Oh, and your mom called: She said use your manners. Turn your phone on silent and ignore it.
If you’re heading out, picking the perfect restaurant for a special date can lead to plenty of agonizing. The Inland Empire is full of great eateries, but there are a few that specialize in casting an air of amour.
In the desert, there’s the bright and cheery Citron serving up eclectic California meals inside the Viceroy Palm Springs hotel. Chef Warren Cordoba does it up right with Short Rib Wellington, Mediterranean Lamb and much more. Finish the night poolside by the fire pits to take in the desert’s winter warmth.
Spencer’s Restaurant blends elegance with dressed-down formality and culinary excellence. The only thing that out-wows the eatery’s lantern-lit patio amid the ficus trees is Chef Eric Wadlund’s Long Island Duck Breast with Blueberry Port Reduction.
In Redlands, the quaint Farm Artisan Foods uses sustainable, local ingredients with a nod to seasonal availability while holding out for fine dining standards. Chef Roberto serves up delectable small plates, perfect for sharing. While the menu changes with the seasons, some of our favorites are the Curried Spaghetti Squash and the Smoked Wild Salmon. www.farmartisanfoods.com
If you find yourself in Riverside, you are a fool if you don’t hit up the Mission Inn. The historic hotel houses four restaurants and two bars. Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood is by far the best, but merely one of the Mission Inn’s offerings. It’s the IE’s only AAA four-diamond awarded restaurant. Its old school charm will hit the spot during the four-course prix fixe menu offered through Feb. 28. The meal starts with Amuse Bouche and finishes off with Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle. Reservations required.
Headed to our local wine country? The Pinnacle at Falkner, overlooking a 1,500-foot high hillside, offers a spectacular view paired perfectly with Chef Gianni’s Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese or Center-Cut Swordfish served over Artichoke Lemon Risotto.
There’s decadent and then there’s Flemings Steakhouse at Victoria Gardens. Chef Russell Skall is at the helm of one of the area’s ultimate date-night hot spots. If your little lady likes a good filet, they’ll be no fussing over the menu. Known for their melt-in-your-mouth chops, take a date to Flemings and they’ll be no mistaking you’re thinking of the future. www.flemingssteakhouse.com
COUPLES COOKING CLASSES
Nothing says intimacy like lacing up an apron with your sweetheart and getting hot . . . in the kitchen. Sign up for a local “couples cooking class” to bring you closer together and learn how to really get cookin‘. And you know what’s hot? Fellas who know their way around a filet.
At Get Cooking 101 in Corona, Chef Connie Beale spends Saturday nights cultivating an epicurean environment where singles, friends and couples over age 18 can sauté, sizzle and spice things up. Ditch the predictable dinner and a movie modus operandi for a little face-to-face time with fun and creative activities. Really, think about it: the laughs are limitless, especially if you’re a klutz in the kitchen.
“It helps make it special,” Beale says. “People have the chance to do something together and interact, not like at the movies sitting next to each other silent. You can see how a partner reacts.” Then, as a couple, you’ll enjoy your culinary triumph for dinner and you can bring your own red or white. Salut!
Sure you can have a romantic night out at a restaurant or cooking things up in the kitchen, just be sure to ditch the reservations when it comes to what you order. Don’t shy away from exploring foods that are good for your sexual health or appetizers that inspire your amorous side. You know, the foods that supposedly act like aphrodisiacs. When a banana . . . is more than a banana. Yeah, we just went there.
All joking aside, for centuries in cultures worldwide certain foods have been known to stimulate, due to their circulatory, relaxant and muscle strengthening effects. Or maybe it’s just that some foods resemble the lady bits or manly members.
Most of a humans’ cerebral cortex is devoted to visual processing. See, the banana doesn’t seem so, er, bananas does it? The body’s largest sexual organ, the brain, finds fodder in funny places.
What might seem counterproductive, even raw garlic apparently helps the libido by leaps and bounds. It’s the heat from the garlic’s allicin, which is believed to increase blood flow to the sexual bits and pieces. But just packin’ it in during a dinner date won’t do the trick. You need to consume it for about a month to get things going. (Pssst- you can also take it in capsule form. Your date thanks us.)
Chili peppers are loaded with capsaicin, which promotes the release of chemicals that can raise your heart rate and trigger the release of endorphins for a sort of natural high. And its natural accompaniment, the avocado, made Aztec-era Spanish priests so shy due to their sexy shape that they forbid followers from tasting the testicular-tastic fruit. The trifecta—garlic, chili peppers and avocado—gives some credence to the Latin lover lore, eh?
And yeah, buying your beloved a big red heart-shaped chocolate sampler seems a little lazy, but the cacao bean is also known as a superfood chock full of antioxidants. But what makes it a super superfood is its phenylethlamine, which stimulates the sense of excitement and wellbeing. There’s even a study that found that women who downed a piece of chocolate daily had more active sex lives. Aww yeah. Pass the sampler.
Cleopatra’s fave, the fig, has been known to resemble a certain female organ, making it more valuable to the ancient Greeks than gold. Many cultures associated the figgy fruit with fertility, as well. Pair those figs with some phenylethlamine-loaded cheese, and bring out your inner monger, as well. Cheese contains 10 times as much of the pheny stuff than chocolate, which makes it easy to be cheesy.
Reportedly, many Italian men swear cheese smells like a woman. Australian researcher Dr. Max Lake backed that up with findings that shows the five-carbon fatty acid that gives most cheeses their flavor is a close relative to a mid-cycle vaginal pheromone. If that doesn’t get you hot, what will? Come ‘ere, Tiger.
And yeah, you can always fall back on Casanova’s love drug, the oyster, which is known to increase dopamine and in turn boost libido levels. But what about the sexy watermelon?
The melon is suspected of having Viagra-like effects such as relaxing blood vessels throughout the body to increase the libido, as well, thanks to its citrulline amino acid. The citrulline also helps improve blood flow. The two effects combined are exactly what Viagra does to increase sex drive. You’ll never look at melons the same. Oh wait, you already couldn’t.
They say alcohol is the social lubricant . . . but we all know it can be a romantic lubricant (pun intended), as well, when consumed in moderation. It helps lower inhibitions by taking the edge off, and can lead to other things coming off, too. They don’t call it liquid courage for nuthin‘.
A study at the University of Florence in Italy (we swear! Those Italians) found that women who were moderate drinkers of red wine, one or two glasses a day, were hornier than their counterparts who consumed mixed drinks, drank less or abstained. They excluded the guzzlers for obvious reasons.
But it’s just not as fun to order a petite syrah at the bar as it is to shout out over the loud music for a Buttery Nipple with DeKuyper’s Buttershots liqueur or the esteemed Bailey’s Irish cream and amaretto filled Blowjob. Liquid libations intended to pave the way for lovemaking can take many forms.
The list includes the Between the Sheets with brandy and light rum, Liquid Viagra with Jägermeister and Red Bull, the Slow Comfortable Screw with sloe gin and Southern Comfort, and the Deep Throat with Baileys, Kahlua and whipped cream. Then there’s the lifetime achievement award that goes to Sex on the Beach, the perfect drink to down before, well you know.
ADDING FLAVOR TO THE BEDROOM
Now it’s time to loosen up and enjoy all the erotic (and edible) pleasures. We’re talking edible underwear (and toys), flavored condoms, flavored powders, lickable body oils—the list goes on and on.
If you’re looking for a 24-hour raunchy retail establishment with an equally educational website, check out Romantix. (See “The beginner’s guide to Ben Wa balls” or “Penis Pumps 101.”)
With three local sites—Rialto, Upland and Riverside—this chain offers everything from Kinky Kim Love Dolls to a Doc Johnson Topsy Turvy for your titillating endeavors. If you’re looking to make your twosome tastier, Romantix also offers Sex Tarts, a tangy lube.
If you’re looking for a particularly female-friendly atmosphere, Lotions & Lace—with locations in Riverside, Montclair, San Bernardino and Lake Elsinore—is heavy on the lingerie and libations. Dive into the Love Candy by Kendra Kit filled with aphrodisiac appetizers like edible body drizzle. That’s right, we said drizzle: goji berry, mangosteen and pomegranate to take you from bath time to get-down time. There’s even a box of rose petals to lay the way to the sheets. Make sex smell sexier.
And if you’re looking to get your ya-yas on the go-go, Kama Sutra offers a travel kit that meets flight regulatory standards. The carrier case is filled with vanilla cream oil of love and body soufflé, sweet honeysuckle honey dust with a feather applicator and liquid lubricant. There may even be extra room to throw in Oral Sex Candy, which comes in four non-sticky, mouthwatering flavors including watermelon, cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Yup—watermelon. Sex is always in season.
Last but not least, how about ditching that ol’ bean bag and trying a piece of furniture that really lends itself to imaginative, uh, arrangements and positions. Sumo Lounge has a whole line of ginormous bean bags (Sumo Sultan, Sumo Gigantor, Couples Sway, etc.) tailor-made for cuddling and friskiness that’s simply too freaky for your bed. It’s super comfy, made of rip-proof nylon and made of machine-washable material—a good thing in case you spill, ahem, liquids, on this bad boy.