I tried to get some friends to go with me to the Artichoke Festival with the following invitation:
I'm thinking about going to the Artichoke Festival this weekend
held in the artichoke capital of the world, Castroville, near Monterey.
Now, I'm not a big fan of artichokes or generally a fan at all, but this might be a fun time to try all the different ways they can be served: "Artichokes fried, sauteed, grilled, marinated, pickled, fresh, and creamed in soup. Plus foods from the many ethnic groups that give this area its character." Also a farmer's market and wine tasting (as well as other events), for those whose tastes lay that direction.
Sadly none bit, so on May 22nd 2005 I went by myself and later wrote:
The Artichoke Festival, it was pretty decent. And it wasn't just about artichokes; they had a lot of other food booths there and two stages for bands/shows, an arts fair, a farmers market, wine tasting, a classic car show... all the components of a food festival. But I concentrated on the artichokes. and got the opportunity to try
- grilled artichoke (pretty good, especially with olive oil)
- crab topped artichoke crowns (artichoke very mild, but served as a handy base)
- deep fried artichokes (oh so good.. better than buffalo wings or deep fried cheese sticks; might even be slightly better than jalapeno poppers, because of the internal texture)
- artichoke infused yogurt filled wontons (from a cooking class; they were very good but artichoke wasn't worth mentioning)
- sauteed baby artichokes (what you'd expect; from a cooking class)
My pictures from the trip, especially of the Agro-Art competition in which people build artwork out of vegetables (especially artichokes) and of some of the best crafts from some of the booths, are available.
And I grabbed some great fresh cherries at a stand off 101 on the way. Good stuff: infinitely better than those artificially colored sugar balls they call cherries in desserts at most restaurants and ice cream shops.