I've always been disappointed in the fried artichokes at the Giant Artichoke in Castroville. Greasy, weak batter and tasting very processed. The idea, however, is brilliant. Driving through fields or artichokes you can't help but want to eat one. So driving up Hwy 1 today and feeling a bit hungry after a very unsatisfying lunch at the pho king Pho King in Seaside I spotted the Pezzini farms sign at the Nashua exit and decided to buy a few chokes. Now IMO, none of these roadside veg. stands are any better than my local shops, and some nice Swanton chokes would probably be better, but the convenience factor won out this afternoon. The pleasant surprise was to see a food truck on the outside advertising fried artichokes ($5.50). Now I am sure a good fritto misto including fresh artichokes fried in EVOO would blow these away but they were a big step up over the Giant Artichoke. The chokes themselves were overdone (though I am someone who quite likes raw artichokes) but they had much less of a processed/freezer taste. The batter was very crunchy, not too greasy or overly thick. They needed a bit more salt but that is easy to fix. I skipped the tartar sauce which makes no since to me and on a further visit I would ask for a slice of lemon or buy one at the vegetable stand. Plus you can eat them on the hood of your car while admiring the artichoke fields a few feet away (and there are a lot of chokes on them right now). Recommended as a roadside snack.
Nashua Rd. & Hwy. 1