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“What the world needs now is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…” penned way back in the “olden days” of 1965, by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and we sure could we use a mammoth heaping of that now!  Perhaps, we could get POTUS to issue an Executive Order to make love mandatory… but in the meantime MercerMe has assumed the mantle of spreading sweetness around.

Classic Love

Anyone who knows me knows that I have this deep connection with all things lunar, so it was only a matter for time before I approached my favorite shrine to that moody yellow-white nightlight in the sky, The Brothers Moon restaurant in Hopewell Borough.  Located on West Broad Street, this not-so-well-kept secret has been luring diners from all over for years with flavorful pairings and indulgent originals, by award winning chef, Will Mooney. That said, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Mooney has taken advantage of Valentine’s Day to offer his annual love day menu: Aphrodisiac XVI (that’s 16, for those of us numerically challenged).

“This is the sixteenth year we’re doing a menu designed to inspire love, using foods that are said to have an effect on people,” said Mooney with a glint in his eye.

Clearly, he knows of what he speaks. On a recent visit, Mooney handed me his celebrated menu along with a list of top 10 aphrodisiac foods, all of which make an appearance on his menu. If you don’t have plans for you, Chef Will and his staff clearly do.

Almonds, bananas, garlic, honey figs, avocados, chocolate and basil all make a decidedly strategic showing on this festive menu, and each one boasts of “powers” to woo any heart resistant to cupid’s arrow. Since we are going to keep this “G Rated,” it is easy to tell why some of these items would be found on such a list. From size, shape, texture and scent, The Brothers Moon staff weaves a melody of seduction so complete, I am sure we can probably predict a birth spike in 9 months owed to their culinary enchantments. From lobster bisque, grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and shaved parmesan, roasted scallops and oyster mushrooms in a roasted coconut carrot sauce, to braised short ribs, sun-dried tomato and caper stuffed salmon, to a decadent dessert for two… I may need a glass of champagne and a room.

“I want people to come in and have a sweet, slow, loving, tender meal,” Mooney blushingly stated.

All of this sounds like the beginning of a wonderful evening. Throw on that Sade CD, the spicy cologne and something that makes your beloved look at you just a little longer, hold you a little closer, kiss you just a bit deeper.  Chef Will offers his Aphrodisiac XVI menu for $79 pp. After you and your intended have indulged, you can go and bay at the moon together and then go and do… something else. Oh, and if you have any health reservations about making reservations, on the sheet Chef Will handed me was this comment, “Coincidentally, many foods long considered aphrodisiacs are low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals. These yield a healthy body with the energy, blood-flow and nutrients for ‘peak’ experience.” So, getting your engine going really helps you to keep it going. Now ya know!!!  The Brothers Moon, 7 West Broad Street, Hopewell Borough New Jersey 609-333-1330. Call them now….I’ll wait.

Warm and Yummy Oven Love

Staying in Hopewell Borough for a minute longer, I want to touch upon love on the run.  In all our busyness, we often forget that it is the little things that really do make the bigger things… big.  We take for granted our morning cup of java or a nicely baked muffin, but I dare you to let this February 14th be a bit different. The Boro Bean, just down the street from The Brothers Moon, with its eating-at-the-kitchen-table-feel,it is just the place to get a little mornin’ love this Valentine’s day. Owners, Johnny and Ellen Abernathy, greet customers like family members with breakfast sandwiches, chai, muffins and other favorites that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and loved – just like home.

When asked what she loves most about Valentine’s Day, Ellen gushed, ”People are thoughtful of each other and think of sweet, kind things to do for each other.”  Not able to eat regular chocolate, Ellen recounts one Valentine’s when Johnny arranged for her to have white chocolate covered strawberries. Awwww.

And the sweet, kind thing The Boro Bean is serving up for patrons is their signature, “Red Hot Latte,” made with cinnamon syrup, steamed milk, whipped cream, espresso and cinnamon red hots. While that latte is getting you all “hot,” Ellen has a bit of smooth chocolate magic to put a little Valentine’s Day bow on your morning.

“We have have this great chocolate chocolate chip muffin that we make. It’s four kinds of chocolate including a ganache center,” said Ellen.  Hot, dripping, cocoa love at 9am?  Yes, please!

The Abernathys understand that although The Boro Bean is not the first place that most would think of for Valentine’s Day, we shouldn’t count them out. Taking a few cues from their neighbor down the street, they are employing an aphrodisiac for their lunchtime offering.

“We are going to have our shrimp salad for that day that we’ll serve three ways —  as a platter, a sandwich or, for those who are gluten-free, we will offer a tomato stuffed with our shrimp salad.”

Lots of options and love to go around! In addition to these celebratory specials, their usual wonderful fare will also be available. So, before you go out and “turn the world on with your smile,” come a share a little red hot love with someone you care about.

 

The Brothers Moon 7 West Broad Street, Hopewell, NJ, 609-333-1330.  The Boro Bean is located at 9 East Broad Street, Hopewell, NJ.  Yum it up.  Tell all your friends.

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Renata Barnes
Renata is the author of "The Taste Chase," MercerMe's own food review column. She's a lover of all things poetic, colorful, funny and inspiring. A native New Yorker, who grew up in Hopewell Valley and spent the better part of her adulthood back in NYC, currently finds herself in a growing love relationship with “the Valley”. Latin food, Indian saris and mehndi, French perfume, African music, Middle Eastern spices, South American jewels, Asian fabrics and anything from just about any island (maybe not Riker’s Island) are things that remind her to go out and taste the world, live passionately and always wear deodorant. The mother of one rambunctious boy and the wife of a mellow fellow, Renata tries to put her too many years of university and her film and writing talents to good use here in NJ. “I’ve spent too much time trying to fit in some where when I probably belong everywhere. That slow revelation has been freeing.”

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