Rione XIII in Capitol Hill is the newest of Ethan Stowell's restaurants, though at the pace he's pumping them out, it won't be the newest


Rione XIII Serves Up Lobes That Inspire an Earful of Mindful Sexual Advice

Rione XIII in Capitol Hill is the newest of Ethan Stowell's restaurants, though at the pace he's pumping them out, it won't be the newest for long. This one's a Roman-style trattoria that's typical of Stowell's formula of serving food that's straightforward and fresh. Count on the usual categories of small plates (including salads), pizzas, pastas (Stowell's noodles are top-notch), and meaty dishes. But there are also some surprises, like a menu section of fresh mozzarella options.

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In addition to a plate of puntarelle (a winter chicory, dressed with anchovy and garlic, that was deliciously bitter), my favorite dish at a recent media lunch was veal sweetbreads with artichokes, capers, and lemon. Sweetbreads can be either the pancreas or the thymus gland. Like brains, I especially like them poached, to preserve their pillowy texture. Here they were fried, still nice and fluffy, complemented by the citrusy, briny notes of the accompanying ingredients.

So what do Rione XIII's sweetbreads teach us about sex?

It's all about paying attention to the lobes.

The thymus and pancreas are both glandular organs (don't worry, I won't get all biological in discussing the different between glands and organs) that contain lobes. Many organs have lobes, which tend to be held together by connective tissue. Connective tissue (collagen) can be the toughest to break down, therefore requiring longer cooking techniques. The lobes, on the other hand, are often light and luscious in texture (think brains and sweetbreads) and considered delicious delicacies (think foie gras). I suggest you pay attention to menus, doing as I do, looking for lobes.

Pay similar attention to your sex life, as lobes play a key role in your sexual performance and pleasure. Four lobes come to mind: ears, liver, lungs, and brain.

The earlobes teach us to pay attention to the smallest details. Bodies have all kinds of erogenous zones, often at the extremities. Many people (though certainly not all) like having their earlobes touched, licked, and kissed, as that can feel quite arousing.

The liver reminds us to be careful about alcohol. Too much drinking can result in a cloudy mind, with an inability to give consent, use protection, and perform sexually. A clear mind, on the other hand, is receptive, responsive, and responsible.

The lungs remind us to breathe. Breathing provides rhythm and relaxation, resulting in a more fulfilling experience. (If you're willing to research, you can read about the tantric perspective on breathing.) Paying attention to your partner's breathing can also provide clues to his or her state of sexual arousal.

Finally, the brain, full of lobes, is your most important sexual organ. Your mind and imagination are integral to having a creative and exciting sex life. Sex doesn't mean that you stop thinking, though you should also be able to let go and not overthink the situation.

If you see sweetbreads, or any lobes, on Rione XIII's menu, don't overthink--just get them. I can pretty much guarantee they'll be delicious. And they'll serve as a sexual reminder to be in love with lobes, as lobes will give you a better love life.

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