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Forget chocolates: Valentine's Day aphrodisiacs made in Alhambra*

Gelatinous textures that tickle the tongue, a steamy hot pot, hands buried in sticky Cajun crabs: There's no denying it, food is the fastest way to the heart. You may have already called in a reservation at a Downtown restaurant where a guy named Stan will do his rendition of a Frenchman's accent. But at the Alhambra Source we know there are much better places for culinary romance closer to home. Last year we turned to some of the best local food sources — Daily Gluttony, The Glutster, SinoSoul, Two Hungry Pandas, and Kevin Chan — for tips on turning up the heat. This year we got some additional ideas from readers about the hottest spots in Alhambra.

What's the best aphrodisiac dish served in an Alhambra restaurant?

Szechuan hotpot, aka the Chinese fondue. It makes you sweaty. It requires communication, team effort, and group think, which makes it the perfect V-day bonding food.

Szechuan hotpot | photo by SinoSoulSinoSoul

Many lovers opt for chocolate and strawberries during romantic nights out, but I think the Chinese desserts served at Phoenix Food Boutique are a nice alternative to the more traditional Western aphrodisiac sweets. There are puddings, shaved ices, mochi, and custards to choose from, and most are light, refreshing, and subtly sweet. Their cool and sometimes gelatinous textures tickle the tongue and make them perfect for sharing and feeding to your date. My personal favorites are Phoenix's custard cremes — creamy cubes of black sesame, mango, coconut, green tea, or cappuccino. I would not, however, recommend any of the durian desserts as an aphrodisiac, as the fruit's signature stench could potentially ruin an otherwise romantic evening!

Daily Gluttony

What the most romantic setting at an Alhambra restaurant?

I remember going to Bistro 39 years ago and they had a guy playing some slow French love songs on a guitar. It was quite nice as the restaurant was dimly lit with candles. The awkward thing was I wasn't on a date, but was going to watch "Iron Man" with my buddies.

Kevin Chan, author of Alhambra Source's Farmer's Market column

Crawfish, shrimp, and clams, seasoned with the "Whole SHA-BANG" from Boiling Crab on Valley Boulevard — a true test of love and comfort. Sitting across from each other with our bibs in an indoor dock, hands deep in Cajun, garlic seasoning, I soak in comfort knowing that [boyfriend and fellow Panda] Wesley will still love me despite the fact that my fingers and breath will reek of garlic for days to come.

Two Hungry Pandas

Where would I take a girl (if I should be so lucky) now? Well, probably Thai Purple: it's kind of hidden and the booths are usually filled with couples anyway. I'd impress her with a baked young coconut filled with fried rice and a sweet curry to sop it all up with. After dinner, a walk over to the theater across the street while sneaking in a bag of miscellaneous chocolate candy from Tempations.

The Glutster

*Originally Published 2.13.2011

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2 thoughts on “Forget chocolates: Valentine's Day aphrodisiacs made in Alhambra*”

  1. I’m not sure if groupthink best illustrates hotpot.

    It’s really more like… “Honey, I love you so much I endured the hot steam and braved through forearm cramps to cook this piece of beef for you…”


  2. I think the best aphrodisiac dish and eatery in Alhambra has gotta be 38degrees. It’s all about the lighting(and the alcohol helps too). That is a great place for a date. I LOVE the music they play there. They play an Internet based radio station that tunes you to classic and modern rock. I dislike eating to loud bubble-gum hip hop tunes while bothered by radio commercials. 38’s artwork and lighting sooths a couples mood and you can relax while having a draft beer or martini. Their portabella mushroom sandwich is amazing(smart chefs gotta have a great vegetarian dish on a menu) topped off with either a salad or sweet potato fries…it’s quite yummy on the pallet and heart.