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The Artichoke Aficionado

Reviewing the best artichokes and artichoke-based meals in the world…one, or ten, at a time.

Sicilian Style Stuffed Artichokes From My Aunt Sandy!

Here’s a video from my Aunt Sandy making sicilian-style stuffed artichokes. I can’t wait to make them myself. Enjoy!

Stuffed artichoke at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, NYC

I have a complicated relationship with Artichoke Basille’s. You might assume that it would be one of my favorite places in the city. And I really want it to be. But alas, the one item on the menu I’m supposed to love, the artichoke pizza itself, fails to deliver. The crust is too thick, the sauce too creamy, and there aren’t more than a few artichoke leaves on it, much less any hint of hearts. However, their margherita and even their crab slices are very good. And they make a solid stuffed artichoke. As seen below, it comes in a flavorful chicken broth with plenty of breadcrumbs and parmesan. The leaves are quite tender and the flavor is baked on in.

7/10 on the chokescale.

Artichoke Basille
328 East 14th Street, New York, NY
(212) 228-2004
www.artichokepizza.com

Happy National Artichoke Hearts Day!

My favorite day of the year! http://www.punchbowl.com/holidays/national-artichoke-hearts-day

My own homemade Panko-stuffed artichokes!

When I make homemade stuffed artichokes, I typically use breadcrumbs, shredded mozz, olive oil and maybe some other secret spices ;) But this time I tried panko instead of regular breadcrumbs. Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb that’s a little lighter than regular breadcrumbs. It came out pretty good!

10/10 on the chokescale.

 

 

Fried Baby Artichokes at Tre, NYC

Tre is a great date spot and a very solid choice for Italian food.

The fried baby artichokes combined the texture of fried potatoes with a heavy olive oil veggie flavor. The tips of each artichoke leaf were crispy and perfectly burnt, and flakes of artichoke fall off as you crunch down on your first bite. I also had fried mozzarella which was deliciously chewy with a spicy marinara sauce.┬áThe bread served was also┬ávery good – both white and whole grain with a tasty chickpea dip.

The only negative points I would give are for the small pinky hole on the coffee cup!

8/10 on the chokescale.

Tre
173 Ludlow St
(between Houston St & Stanton St)
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
(212) 353-3353
http://www.trenewyork.com

Stuffed Artichoke Pizza at Nonna’s New York

I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking on this one. That is indeed a whole beautiful artichoke stuffed with cheese on a spinach slice oozing with olive oil and flavor. Like all of the slices at Nonna’s, the ingredients are fresh and the crust is CRUSTY!

9/10 on the chokescale.

Nonna’s LES Pizzeria
105 Clinton St
(between Rivington St & Delancey St)
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
(212) 477-2708
http://www.nonnaslespizzeria.com

Artichoke Dip at Bruchetteria in New York

Do you remember as a child how your feet would get stuck in the mud and you would have to pull them out slowly with a satisfying sticky tear? That’s how it feels to step into the hot artichoke dip at Bruchetteria. The dip is smooth, rich and creamy with sticky clumps of artichoke interspersed. The crunchy, buttery bread serves as a pizza-like base, creating a truly satisfying olive-oily artichoke snack. Pair with a carafe of white wine at happy hour for $8 (total!) and you have one of the tastiest artichoke values in the city!

8/10 on the chokescale.

Bruschetteria
92 Rivington St
(between Orchard St & Ludlow St)
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
(646) 415-8681
http://www.bruschetterianyc.com

Review of Cafe Evangelista, Rome – Artichoke specialty restaurant

Cafe Evangelista in Rome, Italy is close to artichoke heaven but just outside the gates. Most of the dishes are artichoke-based and excellent.

Firstly let me highly recommend the Villa Medoro Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. This is a wine full of surprises. It begins with a sweet fruit start, proceeds to an acidic middle, and finishes with a strong wood presence. There is a honeyish feeling that runs through the flavor. It has definite legs – my glass was stained like lipstick.

Let’s proceed to the fried, smashed artichoke appetizer. Crispy perimeter, creamy center, bursting with artichoke flavor. Judging from the tenderness, it seems to include mostly the heart of the artichoke, though the recognizable leaves are quite tender as well. Looks like it was smashed right down the middle!

Next up came the artichoke soup, also smacking of artichoke flavor, complete with green beans and artichoky broth in which the croutons soaked all the way through. Topped with fresh parmesan.

Finally, as is common in Italy, came the artichoke salad, featuring raw artichokes, tangy pecorino cheese, and crisp vertical slices of artichokes. Dashed with walnuts.

Dessert was custard between wafers in chocolate sauce – dig in with a crack that would make a falling tree jealous. Airy. Cottony. Just as dessert should be.

8/10 on the chokescale.

Cafe Evangelista
Via delle Zoccolette 11, Rome, Italy
06-687-5810
Meal as described 90 euros
Owners speaks good English, service acceptable

Stuffed artichokes at the San Gennaro Festival in New York

The first artichoke I had at San Gennaro was very close to perfection – extremely tender, just enough breadcrumbs with cloves of roasted garlic inside, and a nice surprise of melted parmesan and olives at the bottom. 9/10 on the chokescale.

The second artichoke was breadcrumbs-a-plenty. A little tougher, and a little messier. The saving grace of this artichoke was that the breadcrumbs were gooey and had red pepper and garlic interspersed. 5/10 on the chokescale.

I plan to review these and more artichokes at restaurants in Little Italy – stay tuned!

Homemade stuffed artichokes in the Outer Banks, North Carolina

When I cook artichokes, tenderness is both an ingredient and an outcome. Sometimes though, even the most masterful touch can’t make a tough artichoke tender. I typically cook artichokes for 45 minutes to an hour. These artichokes however, purchased in Corolla, North Carolina, were tough as nails after steaming for an hour and 15 minutes. Should I really be surprised? Perhaps not. After all, it’s not like I’m in Castroville. So what’s a guy to do but throw a lobster tail on top and enjoy as best he can. 6/10 on the chokescale.