California produces most of the country’s artichokes, so it’s no surprise that Californians take this thorny thistle seriously. Beyond the traditional tear-off-the-leaves-and-dip-them-in-something-delicious approach, there are stuffed chokes, grilled chokes, pasta with artichoke hearts, and countless other preparations. And even though the harvest peaks in spring, “arties” are on the menu year round.
Artichokes are particularly popular in Monterey, and visitors staying at the Monterey Plaza Hotel may even pass fields of artichokes as they drive down Highway 1 from Santa Cruz.
Artichokes can also be intimidating for the uninitiated. At first glance they don’t look, well, all that edible. So if you’re an artie newbie and don’t want to look like one, here’s a primer on proper way to attack an artichoke.
And now that you know what you’re doing, here are some places to enjoy artichokes in Monterey:
Montrio Bistro: Baby artichoke risotto fritters; fire-roasted artichoke with Mediterranean relish
The Sardine Factory: Fried artichoke rings with prawn cocktail and calamari puffs
The Whaling Station: Chilled artichokes with tomato remoulade and mayonnaise