Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but there are plenty of other reasons to feel the love in Bend. I mean besides the fact that Livability.com named us one of America’s most romantic cities, or the fact that there are so many fab spots to kiss, get married, get engaged, or honeymoon in Bend.
Incidentally, this is what happens when you have a romance author writing a tourism blog.
But today I’m talking about aphrodisiacs. You know, those special ingredients that leave you feeling happy, loving, and maybe a little frisky.
Here are 7 popular aphrodisiac ingredients (and the best spots to find them!) in Bend.
Let’s start with the obvious. Oysters have long been touted as aphrodisiacs, and for good reason. They’re high in zinc and contain amino acids that have been found to trigger the production of sex hormones.
So where can you find good oysters in landlocked Bend? One of my favorite go-to spots for tasty seafood in Bend is Anthony’s Home Port. They’ve got a wide variety of oyster preparations ranging from baked to pan fried to barbecued to oyster shooters. Several are included on the happy hour menu, and all are served up with stunning views of the Deschutes River.
High Tides Seafood Grill is another fab option if you’re looking for a quaint, locally-owned spot that not a ton of tourists know about. Their pan-friend oysters are legendary, or try their tasty oyster bisque when it’s in season.
Yes, it makes your pee smell weird. But if you’re sniffing pee on a date, you likely have issues that aphrodisiacs won’t solve.
In any case, asparagus is packed with potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin E, all of which help boost energy and libido. You’ll see it popping up on a lot of menus in March and April around Bend, though plenty of places offer it year-round if you know where to look.
The Green Hornet omelet at the Victorian Café features fresh spinach, asparagus, jalapeños, scallions, and Gruyere cheese in a three-egg omelet topped with avocado. That’ll pep up your morning!
If you have a hankering for sushi, try the Shogun Roll at Kanpai. It’s made with escolar, asparagus, and avocado, then tempura fried and topped with spicy salmon, tobiko, and unagi sauce.
If you’re looking for a hearty winter meal, check out the pork chop at Stihl Whiskey Bar. It’s served with a melt-in-your-mouth pan sauce, along with mashed potatoes and a generous helping of asparagus.
This leafy herb has several libido-boosting nutrients like vitamin A, beta carotene, and magnesium.
While basil tastes good in almost anything, one of my favorite uses is in pesto. Cibelli’s Pizza lets you add dollops of the green goodness to any pizza, so load up and chow down.
Another great use of basil is in caprese salad. You’ll find it at oodles of restaurants around Bend, but one of my personal faves is the one at Ariana Restaurant. They shake things up seasonally, depending on what’s fresh, but their use of olive oil crumbs, heirloom tomatoes, and burrata (not to mention fresh basil from their summertime garden) take this caprese to a whole new level.
This tasty fruit contains bromelain, which some believe can trigger testosterone production. Whether you’re interested in testosterone or just a tasty smoothie, check out Mother’s Juice Cafe.
Tons of their smoothies include bananas, but my personal fave is the one called Digestion (I know, I know…not a very romantic name). But the flavors are fab, with pineapple, banana, avocado, mint, ginger, cinnamon, honey, and coconut milk.
You’ll also find banana pancakes on the menu at Original Pancake House, which has a location in Bend as well as one in Redmond right by the airport (perfect if you have an early morning flight!)
A little spice can stimulate endorphins, which are the brain’s natural feel-good chemicals. They can also speed up your heart rate, and is there anything more stereotypically romantic than having your heart flutter just a bit?
The Crying Tiger at Noi Thai Cuisine is particularly tasty pick, made with grilled flat iron steak marinated Thai style with dry chili and dipping sauce. Both Barrio and El Sancho offer a huge array of unique twists on Mexican street food, with plenty of chili-filled options to choose from.
To get your chili fix for breakfast, order the Eggs Ala Caesar at Chow. The dish features poached eggs, cheesy corn cake, roasted chilis, avocado, queso, and chili hollandaise. Bonus: Chow makes their own fresh salsas that are guaranteed to add some extra kick to your meal (and possibly your love life).
I hesitate to include any alcoholic beverages in this roundup, since consent is kinda vital when we’re discussing amorous exchanges.
But if you’re limiting your intake to one drink, sparkling wine has some definite perks. Besides the fact that it lowers inhibition by slowing down the central nervous system, it also has a “giddy effervesce” that lends itself to quicker absorption.
Lots of spots around Bend offer champagne cocktails that give me the aforementioned giddiness, but I’m particularly fond of the Mellow Yellow at 10 Below. It’s made with whipped cream flavored vodka, lemon juice, and champagne syrup.
There’s also the Mirrorball at Astro Lounge, which is made with Crater Lake vodka, infused watermelon vodka, cranberry juice, simple syrup, and champagne.
I’m also smitten with the Pear to the People at Stihl Whiskey Bar, which is made with pear vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and champagne. Cheers!
I’ve loved beets long before I knew they had aphrodisiac properties, but I love them more knowing they’re a good source of tryptophan and betaine, which promote a feeling of well-being. They also contain high amounts of boron, a trace mineral that increases the level of sex hormones in the human body.
There are dozens of beet salads in Bend that make me swoony, but some of my faves can be found at Worthy Brewing, Craft Kitchen and Brewery, and Jackalope Grill. The varieties are endless, too, ranging from your standard purple-red beets to more exotic candycane beets.
I recently discovered the roasted beet salad at Stihl Whiskey Bar, which has the added bonus of an orange clove vinaigrette dressing that’s super-tasty and an amazingly unique complement to the flavors of beet and goat cheese.
Oh, and if you ever happen to find yourself at 5 Fusion on an evening they have the beet martini on the specials menu, ORDER IT! You’ll thank me later.