Leafing This Here: Artichoke Fest at Market City Caffe

A variety of chokie-based dishes have popped up on the March menu.

What to Know

  • Through March 30
  • Burbank
  • Multiple special dishes on the menu

Much ado is made about candy that hides a secret surprise inside, the sort of confection that must be taken apart, piece by piece, to find the ultimate goodie.

But there's a thistle that boasts the same amazing ability, and while it doesn't come wrapped in shiny paper, nor does it appear in a sweets shop, everyone who eats it is busily looking for the hidden heart.

And we're not using "heart" in a euphemistic way, for it is the artichoke we speak of, and it really does have a flavorful center, as well as plentiful leaves or petals, a can-be-seen stem, and the choke, which are those little fine threads that serve as courtiers to the queenly heart.

Courtiers that can sometimes get stuck in your teeth, yes, on your way to the ultimate prize. #worthit

Market City Caffe, in Burbank, knows that a lot of artichoke aficionados are in the area, and if that includes you, and you can't wait for June and the drive up to the famous Castroville Artichoke Festival, take (artichoke) heart: The Artichoke Festival has returned to the restaurant, through March 30, 2018.

What's that mean? This isn't like a food festival in a park or outdoor space, do note. Rather, there's a special menu, in addition to the eatery's daily menu, that's fully about choice chokie dishes. 

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Those leaf-scrape-able selections include grilled artichoke and pancetta-wrapped shrimp, topped with baby heirloom tomatoes and lemon butter sauce for $18 and crispy fried baby artichoke hearts served with housemade aioli for $7.75. Ocean Mist Farms in Castroville is Market City Caffe's partner on the special event, one overseen by Executive Chef Robert Chaidez. 

Pasta, pizzatta, ravioli, and dip also bring that quintessential green-spring chokie flavor to the annual tradition. 

A tradition that's now in its 9th year, so, yes, this festival has some real heart. For there really is a prize at the center of an artichoke, and there is some prize-worthy eating, each late winter and early spring, at this chokie-obsessed dining destination.

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