If you Google just about any food and the word "aphrodisiac," you're probably going to get a result. Probably hundreds. Hy-Vee dietician Anne Cundiff, 34, said it's not so much the food that has any effect on the eater, it's the belief that it does. "It kind of has a placebo affect. I don't think anything has been absolutely proven chemically, but if it gives you a positive feeling it can act that way," Cundiff said.
So if you and your date want these to work, they probably will. The key is that you have to both know. Hiding some chopped up oyster in his or her drink at dinner isn't going to work.
Oysters on the half shell, Splash, 303 Locust St.
"Aphrodisiac" comes from the Greek goddess Aphrodite, perhaps best remembered emerging naked from an oyster shell in Botticelli's famed painting "The Birth of Venus." Oysters are often considered an aphrodisiac because their appearance is somewhat, um, vaginal. (Look, we're just reporting semi-facts based on thousands of years of folklore.) $2 per oyster.
Guacamole, Dos Rios, 216 Court Ave.
Ripe avocado, tomato, jalapenos and red onion are mashed tableside with cilantro and lime. Avocados are an aphrodisiac double-whammy, since the fruit is said to look like a woman's curvy body, and the Aztecs are said to have referred to them by the same word they used for testicle. $10, or $5 for a half order.
Salmon and asparagus
Stuffed wild salmon with grilled asparagus, Irina's Restaurant & Bar, 2301 Rocklyn Drive, Urbandale.
Salmon is a great source of protein. Plus the fish travel great distances upstream to spawn, so this is a species very dedicated to propagating itself. Native Americans believed asparagus increased blood flow to the genital area, and in Asia the vegetable is said to increase compassion. Also, it's kind of phallic, so its got that going for it, too. $17.
Django Dog with foie gras, Django, 210 10th St.
Just calling it "fatty duck liver" doesn't sound as impressive, but foie gras is a decadent, pricey food. Why is it an aphrodisiac? Since not everyone is happy with its production, there's a "forbidden fruit" element. Plus, it's served on a hot dog. That's just a little bit suggestive. $15.99 together, $9.99 for the hot dog only.
Chocolate lava cake, Alba, 524 E. Sixth St.
First of all, it's chocolate, which is said to enhance feelings of attraction and excitement, thanks to the chemical phenylethylamine. Second, it's a chocolate cake with a liquid core. For more information on that, turn to the knowledgeable older kid in every teen sex comedy. $8.