It's February and you live in Portland. You're pasty and sun-starved. You're tired of the rain. You need a reason to feel sexy. Well, Happy Valentine's Day! Don't let media-whoring schmucks like us make you forget that the essence of this holiday is rooted firmly in selfish hedonism. We are, after all, simple humans with elementary instincts. Topping the list: great food and sex. Sweetheart candy will rot your teeth, but it will do nothing for your palate—or your member.
To help ensure your successful congress on this increasingly Hallmarked holiday, dear reader, we've asked a number of Portland chefs, bakers, bartenders and purveyors to reach deep into their repertoire of panty-dropping recipes for the quintessential aphrodisiacal dish. What we found will not only surprise you, it might get you some.
Benjamin Dyer, Simpatica Catering and Dining Hall and Viande Meats
Benjamin Dyer is a man of immense pleasures. Co-proprietor of Viande Meats and Simpatica, Ben has been putting his pork all over Portland for the last couple of years. And with such a vast quantity of pork at his disposal, it's no surprise that when it comes to panty-dropping, Dyer is a reliable wingman. His recipe is simple: "I would go with a very light hors d'oeuvre, followed by lots of liquor." Dyer suggests a dozen raw oysters with spicy, spicy mignonette, and followed by an indefinite number of rounds of Maker's Mark. The fire fuels a simple equation: "The more spice, the more you both drink." Dyer assigns a healthy success rate, which could be hindered by one or more of the participants passing out, or a little-discussed male phenomenon known as whiskey dick. Simpatica, 828 SE Ash St, 679-7807; Viande Meats (inside City Market), 735 NW 21st Ave. 221-3012, simpaticacatering.com.
Jacose Bell, Vault Martini
Vault Martini bartender Jacose Bell is one of the few people who can talk dirty and sound classy at the same time. With as many one-liners as Vault has cocktails, Bell has been lubricating the Pearl District social scene with tasty libations and commentary for almost three years. "Great sex is slightly distressed," says Bell, and so is her infamous cocktail, the Last Temptation. Located on page three of Vault's encyclopedic cocktail menu, it's an alliance of red-pepper-infused vodka, black Sambuca, strawberry purÉe and a secret aphrodisiacal Italian ingredient (hint—it hails from Modena). At once pungent and savory, the Last Temptation provides a warm flash of heat and leaves a sweet, sour and slightly salty taste on your tongue that, according to Bell, "just makes you want to kiss...everything about it is sexy." Bell, who grew up on an organic strawberry farm, based the drink on a dessert she once tried and never forgot. And to accompany the Last Temptation: "oysters, of course...though a mussel may be a more accurate anatomical match." Bell personally guarantees a success rate of 100 percent, but only if she makes the drink. Vault Martini, 226 NW 12th Ave. 224-4909, vaultmartini.com.
Jen Buehler, chef de cuisine, Lauro
If your short-term goals include rib tickling, Jen Buehler's barbecued version could likely have you feeling abused, sore and guilty, naked and covered in sauce by morning. Why would the chef de cuisine in one of Portland's most creative kitchens choose ribs as her ticket aboard the hump train? "Are you fucking kidding? It's meat on a bone," replies Buehler enthusiastically. Apparently pork has aphrodisiacal qualities when dry-rubbed with Oaxacan chiles, slowly braised and finished on an open grill. The same Oaxacan chile peppers that have inspired great literature (see Italo Calvino's Under the Jaguar Sun) are a surefire catalyst for unforgettable bedroom frolicking. The perfect accompaniment to the ribs is watery, cheap beer: to get your already satisfied partner liquored to the point of consent. The likelihood of a grand slam? "One hundred percent," says Chef Jen. "Because it's me making the ribs." Lauro Kitchen, 3377 SE Division St. 239-7000, laurokitchen.com.
Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon
When Le Pigeon's Gabriel Rucker wants to get some, he goes lowbrow: huevos rancheros. The spicy sauce, the runny eggs, the zesty sour cream and the fact that the word "huevos" also refers to testicles in Spanish will all but guarantee amorous attentions from even the most frigid. He named his house version, the Roque Rancheros, after a dishwasher Rucker worked with for many years. "Roque would probably have sex with me just for naming them after him," he states, sadly noting his beloved Roque has returned to his native Mexico. Chef Rucker also points out that his huevos have been a big hit with his girlfriend. He claims the secret ingredient to be fabled Spanish Fly, and guarantees a success rate of 75 percent so long as the recipient appreciates spicy food. "Runny eggs can get anyone laid," he says. Chef Rucker adds that while his huevos are key in achieving a home run, any Le Pigeon creation involving lamb's tongue is a surefire gateway to mind-blowing oral sex. Le Pigeon, 738 E Burnside St. 546-8796, lepigeon.com.
"Duffy," Voodoo Doughnut
Can a doughnut get you laid? Hell yeah it can, if it's the Cock and Balls doughnut—only available at Portland's Voodoo Doughnut. Shaped like the male love accouterments of love, the Cock and Balls is a culinary celebration of male sexuality—deep-fried. It's a Bavarian triple-cream-filled phallus of dough covered in chocolate frosting and finished with an edible text message, which might read "blow me," "cock and roll" or, simply, "legal." Measuring nearly a foot long, the Cock and Balls was not modeled after the anatomy of any person in particular, according to Voodoo Doughnut Master "Duffy." Still, she says it remains a big seller, with as many as 15 feet of Cock and Balls sold daily. You do the math! Duffy says the perfect accompaniment is a glass of cold milk, and notes that the success rate tends to be better for gay men than anyone else. "We'll happily do special orders of boob- and vagina-shaped doughnuts." Voodoo Doughnut, 22 SW 3rd Ave. 241-4704, voodoodoughnut.com.