Indulge & Imbibe

It’s that special time of year again — and no, we’re not talking about Feb. 14. Who cares about that when you’ve got a small army of celebrity chefs and foodies descending on South Beach to over-indulge in all things culinary? Want to learn about dim sum from Ming Tsai, or get sipping tips from the experts at Wine Spectator? Paula Dean, Giada de Laurentiis, Rachael Ray — the list is endless at The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We’re lucky to live in a city that attracts more than its fair share of world-class events, but this one tops the list; Feb. 24-27;

So Good
Anyone who’s anyone on Key Biscayne has been to La Boulangerie at least once. Most, however, have been countless times. If you haven’t visited this grand spot for delicious French fare, stop in for breakfast or an early lunch — just make sure to try one of their croissants; 328 Crandon Blvd. #125; 305.365.5260.

Love Potions
There’s a long and noble history of human beings attempting to augment their — shall we say, romantic? — experiences by way of the right foods. Historically, would-be Casanovas turned to substances from the humble oyster to ground up rhino horn or blister beetle (better known as “Spanish Fly”) to peak their performance. Scoff if you will, but if there are foods that can exhaust you (turkey) or perk you up (coffee), then what’s to say there aren’t others with effects that make it a bit easier to get in the mood for love? It’s simple science, folks. Here are a few real-life aphrodisiacs, and a bit of insight into how they work:
1. Chocolate: This time, there’s truth behind the cliché. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine and serotonin…the “feel good” chemicals our brains naturally release when we’re feeling happy or passionate.
2. Honey: Rich in B vitamins and boron, honey provides key elements needed for the production of testosterone — that hormone that had all of us squirming in our seats through puberty.
3. Licorice: You either love it or hate it — but for its benefits, all you need is its smell. According to a study in Chicago, the scent of licorice increases blood flow to an important part of the male anatomy by 19%. That jumps to 32% when combined with a lesser-known aphrodisiac: doughnuts.

› Jacquelyn Benson is Associate Editor of The Culinarian, a publication at The Culinary Institute of America. She is also an avid home chef and gardener who is currently working on a book about the tastes, history and politics of heirloom vegetables. Her blog,, gets under the surface of some of her wilder culinary experiments.

“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four,
unless there are three other people.”
— Orson Welles

Horse Cream
Everyone’s got a favorite ice cream flavor — chocolate, pistachio, rum raisin, raw horse flesh…Yeah, you read that right. Called basishi, raw horse is a Japanese delicacy. But we’re not sure that means you should have it for dessert.




Huge ‘Shroom
Oregon is home to the world’s largest mushroom — a 2,400-year-old, 3.4-square-mile fungus by the name of Armillaria ostoyae. Even better? Apparently, it’s totally edible — and pretty tasty!




Thirst Factor
Next time you’re thinking of indulging in a 7-11 Double Gulp, make sure there’s a bathroom nearby. At a staggering 64 ounces, it actually contains twice the amount of liquid capable of fitting into the average human stomach.