SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition
Artichokes were originally a Jewish specialty in Italy, writes Cucina Ebraica author Joyce Goldstein, but now carciofi alla giudia are considered a Roman specialty as well. Considering that we live less than 100 miles away from the nation's artichoke capital, it's not surprising that Jewish-style fried artichokes are a standard at Locanda, the Stoll family's newest bistro, which steers by two culinary pole stars: Rome and San Francisco.
It can be easy, snacking your way through a jar of pickled artichoke hearts, to forget that artichokes are a flower. But not with the carciofi alla giudia. Chef Anthony Strong dips an entire artichoke, stem-side up, into hot oil, over and over again until its leaves flare out, radiating from a choke-free heart. (Does it look like a boutonniere for a zombie wedding? Maybe a little.) The brown, stiff petals, each curled in at their edges, are showered in salt and a fine chiffonade of mint, then finished with a spray of lemon juice. Simultaneously crisp and creamy, earthy and flashily herbed, the artichoke is more than a snack. It's a mission statement.
Locanda: 557 Valencia (at 16th St.), 863-6800.
Other favorites in this series:
29: Memphis Minnie's 18-hour brisket
30: Custard buns from City View
31: Mission Chinese Food's kung pao pastrami
32: Panisse frites from Frances
33: Izakaya Yuzuki's chawanmushi
34: Fatted Calf's chorizo
35: Silvanas from House of Silvanas
36: Linden Street Brewery's black lager
37: Aged oolongs from Red Blossom Tea Company
38: Broken Record's crawfish grits
39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar