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Friday, April 6, 2012

Number 27: The Jewish-Style Artichoke from Locanda

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 1:15 PM

click to enlarge Locanda's carciofi alla giudia. - KIMBERLY SANDIE
  • Kimberly Sandie
  • Locanda's carciofi alla giudia.

SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition


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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:

28: Local: Mission Eatery's asparagus-egg sandwich

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 

40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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