Did you know that the artichoke was considered an aphrodisiac by the Ancient Greeks? Well, I decided to put it to the test with this next foodecall. And what better way to do that, than to visit the Annual Artichoke Festival at Market City Café right here in Burbank California.
MCC Hospitality Group has partnered with Ocean Mist Farms to showcase their premium California grown artichokes. Each restaurant of MCC Hospitality Group, including Market City Caffé, will feature the hearty vegetable in different dishes, determined by the chef's creative interpretation and driven by local seasonal ingredients.
Now, to me cooking and eating artichokes seems like a lot of work for very little reward, so I have to say that I will gladly let someone else put in the work by taking out all the edible parts and putting it into a dish for me.
Artichoke dish #1: Artichoke Pizzata
I loved this dish. Instead of tomato sauce, they used a black olive tapenade, artichoke hearts, caramelized onion, fresh arugula, burrata chese, and drizzled it with truffle oil. I could smell the truffle even before eating it. Delicious and great for sharing.
Artichoke dish #2: Artichoke & Bacon Arancinis
Braised artichoke heart, apple-wood smoked bacon, mascarpone cheese, parmesean cheese, and parsley in a risotto ball, light panko breading served with a lemon artichoke aioli. This could easily feed 4 if you split them in half. Very different from anything I've eaten. I recommend this.
Artichoke Dish #3: Baby Artichoke Hearts Crispy Fried
This is basically what the title says it is. Lightly breaded artichoke hearts, flash fried and served with housemade lemon aioli. I've never had fried artichoke like this, so it was totally new for me. Another great dish for sharing.
Artichoke Dish #4: Free Range Chicken Zpesattino
Fresh artichoke, calamata olive, wild mushroom white wine cream sauce served with baby wile arugula. I devoured this dish because it had the protein and fresh vegetables I needed.
Artichoke Dish #5: Spinache Artichoke Ravioli
I call this one The Show Stopper. Served in a shrimp scampi sauce, baby heirloom tomatoes, and crispy fried artichokes. This was to die for!!
Pair it with one of their specialty drinks like a peach bellinitini, or a beer from their sister company Verdugo West Brewing Co.
I was extremely impressed with the food. Each dish had fresh ingredients, in the right amount, and were all so tasty and unique. That’s all for now! Arti-Choke you next time!