Top 10 least romantic local dishes

Valentine's Day is a perfect excuse for journalists and bloggers to inundate the masses with lists and recommendations of romantic restaurants.  Thousands of words are expended every year recapping which eateries boast the best wines or have the most intimate dining accommodations.  But here's a list that might be just as useful: 10 dishes to avoid when seated across from that special someone.

10. Jucy Lucy: Matt's, 5-8 Club, and others
One of Minnesota's signature dishes, the Jucy Lucy is doing our collective romantic reputation no favors. A cheeseburger of any ilk is unlikely to be equated with passion, but this version, with a lava-like cheese lode in the middle, ups the unsexy factor. A face smeared with molten cheese and beef fat = no nookie.

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9. Barbecued Ribs: Famous Dave's, Rudolph's, Market BBQ and others
Unless your date is particularly morbid, any meat on the bone tends to be a less than ideal option. There's nothing sexy about prying out strings of meat from the teeth, and it's virtually impossible to eat barbecue without getting sauce all over. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, avoid any dish that is customarily served with moist towelettes.

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Paul Keller/Flickr

8. Whole Fish: Numerous local restaurants
Foodies around the world all extol the virtue of cooking fish whole to retain the flavor. But staring at the unblinking eyes and gaping maw of a recently deceased sea creature puts few people in the mood for love. Add to this macabre display the problem of small bones stuck in the teeth and the sum is, pun intended, a "cold fish" of a date.

7. Meat Your Maker: Burger Jones
This mountain of meat and melted cheese is aesthetically unappealing with it's greasy gloppiness. An unassailable fortress of fried flesh that repels any attempt at invasion with psychological intimidation, Meat Your Maker is designed to be eaten by one, and, if you order it, that's how many people will be left at the table at the end of the night.

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6. Garlic, Garlic, Garlic: Numerous local eateries
In certain parts of the world, garlic is celebrated as an aphrodisiac for its role in aiding blood flow. But here in the U.S., the plant nicknamed the "stinking rose" is generally considered a turn-off. Besides the breath capable of melting your date's face, Raiders of the Lost Ark-style, garlic is also metabolized by the body in a way that changes the smell of sweat. Put simply: stinky people get no love.

Oh, those zany Germans...
5. Meterbratwurst: Gasthof's
While drinking alcohol from oversized footwear can definitely lead to a night of uninhibited bliss, other aspects of this northside eatery are less conducive to a V-Day date: forced socialization, lederhosen, and sinuses stuffed with snuff. In particular, avoid the Meterwurst. This meaty three-foot sausage can only elicit unfavorable comparisons, leading to a disappointing night marked by insecurity and performance anxiety.

4. Cuy (Guinea Pig): Chino Latino
This Uptown eatery may be a reasonable locale for a rendezvous, but steer clear of this dish. Besides the obvious risk of your date having previously kept your dinner as a pet, there's still the fact that there's a tiny little rodent carcass on your plate, which is something many diners would sue over.

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Photo by flickr user leafbug
3. Crabs: Numerous local eateries
First, no one looks good in a bib. Eating crab in the shell is uber-messy and leaves the hands smelling 'fishy." The sound of cracking carapace is one no sane person would label sensual. And let's not mention the awkward moment when the server comes to the table with loaded plates and asks the swooning lovers, "Did you guys have crabs?"

Ghost pepper
2. Ghost Wings: Girvan Grille
Eating these wickedly spicy chicken wings (which get their name from the pictured pepper) will leave your mouth registering clicks on a Geiger counter for hours afterward. Everybody likes to feel a spark when kissed by their special someone, but very few people like to feel a tingling, burning sensation. Imagination will lead one to consider another, much more painful potential location for that fiery liplock.

1. Raw oysters on the half shell
Oysters are another food long held to work as an aphrodisiac, despite their many drawbacks. They're ugly; covered in crusty, misshapen bumps, like a photo from the STD chapter in a high school health textbook. When eaten, they make a rude and unsexy slurping noise that sounds uncomfortably close to someone with the sniffles and no tissues. They also carry the high risk of gagging, which appeals only to a small portion of individuals that Hot Dish incidentally never allows into the house.

What local dishes work like saltpeter for you? Leave a comment below.

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Rachel Hutton
Rachel Hutton

Hilar! As for no. 2, I might offer that the jalapenos in a banh mi can provide just the right amount of sparkle to a smooch!

Michael Mattson
Michael Mattson

Oh, Rachel. I'm sure anybody kissing you doesn't need a jalapeno to feel a spark! :)

By the way, how did you guess that banh mi is my "safe word"?

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