With Valentine's Day coming up, some restaurants are playfully trying to get you in the mood for love by serving meals with ingredients that are aphrodisiacs.
- The Yard House, the new restaurant in River Park, will offer a special menu that they describe colorfully: "Legend claims that truffles make women more yielding and men more amiable; ancient Egyptian priests abstained from onions because of their lusty reputation."
They say a lot more that I'm too embarrassed to print here. But dishes include seafood and seasonings the restaurant chain says are believed to "ignite passion." They include Kung Pao calamari with candied walnuts, red peppers and jasmine rice, with rice being a symbol of fertility.
Yard House has also named several love-themed drinks for the day, including Lost Lover, Love Letter and Shaggatini.
The restaurant doesn't take reservations -- and has had some long lines lately -- so be prepared for a wait. You can, however, call ahead to get your name on the list of people waiting for tables.
- The people at Erna's Elderberry House in Oakhurst sent their Valentine's dinner menu in a fancy envelope with a heart drawing.
Chef Gunnar Thompson has created his-and-her meals with aphrodisiacs appropriate for each gender.
For example, the gentlemen's menu includes oysters and caviar. "Oysters are high in zinc content, good for the male drive, and caviar are eggs, a proven psychological boost for male invigoration," he says in his letter.
The ladies menu includes artichoke petals, good for blood flow and heightened senses.
The restaurant also is hosting a Valentine's Epicurean dinner on Sunday.
Both dinners cost $115 per person.
The complete menus are available online at www.chateausureau.com/events.html.org.
- If it's wine and chocolate that puts you in the mood, and you're looking to spend a little less money, there are two wine- and-chocolate trails this weekend.
The Wine & Chocolate Weekend is in Madera County and costs $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Details: www.maderawinetrail.com.
The other event, the Wine & Chocolate Lovers Weekend, includes wineries in Fresno County. The event is free, and participants need to bring their own glasses. The wine trolley costs extra.
This year, the event is partnering with Piccadilly Inn Shaw for a Sweethearts weekend that includes a night at the hotel Feb. 11 or 12, two wine glasses, two chocolate-covered strawberries, a rose and a discount at Oliver's Pub for $79. Call the hotel for details: (559) 348-5520.
- Other Valentine's meal options include Bella Pasta, which is serving a five-course Valentine's dinner with entree choices of New York strip steak, potato-crusted salmon or chicken piccata. It includes two glasses of wine or champagne.
The dinner costs $100 per couple, plus tax and tip.
Details: (559) 325-5525.
- Trelio in Clovis has just a few seats left for its Valentine's dinner on Feb. 14, but more seats are available for its early Valentine dinner on Saturday, Feb. 11.
The four-course meal comes with a choice of Maine lobster tail with tarragon-Chardonnay risotto and asparagus, or prime Angus beef filet mignon with potato puree and red wine caramelized onions.
The dinner costs $89 per person and reservations are required.
- The Daily Grill will offer its regular menu Feb. 14, in addition to a "Cupid" menu for $34.50 and an "Eros" menu for $44.50. Both the Cupid and Eros menus feature three-course meals. Customers can choose from a variety of main dishes, such as roasted lamb chop, mahi mahi and Filet Oscar topped with asparagus, crab cake and bearnaise sauce.
Reservations recommended. Call (559) 435-5550.
- Elaine's Table at Trés Bien in Visalia will have a special Valentine's dinner on Feb. 14 with a steakhouse menu from 5-10 p.m.
The menu includes prime rib with au jus and horseradish crème fraiche, Cajun rib eye or filet mignon. Prices vary. The full menu is online at www.elainestresbien.com.
- If you want a Valentine's meal with a conscience, check out Mimi's Cafe and its partnership with the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women raising awareness of heart disease among women.
The restaurant has added a red velvet muffin, a red velvet muffin sundae and a red velvet cheesecake.
They all are available as part of Mimi's three-course Valentine's dinner for two for $26.99 between Feb. 9 and Feb. 15. The full menu is online at www.mimiscafe.com.
The reporter can be reached at email@example.com or (559) 441-6431.