The Garlic Capitol of the World (Gilroy, California) and the Artichoke Center of the World (Castroville, California) are about 50 miles apart and we passed through both of them today. You always know when you are in Gilroy because the garlic smell permeates the car. We didn't stop however but headed down to Castroville.
Marilyn Monroe began her beauty-queen career by winning the "Miss California Artichoke Queen" contest in Castroville's annual Artichoke Festival in 1947...and there's still a bar (gay, now) in town called "Norma Jean's.
That was way before I was even born, but I grew up on artichokes and love them cooked almost any way. Marinated baby artichokes however are my favorite. Dominic's Market on Highway 1 in Moss Landing didn't have any nice minis (neither did the Giant Artichoke in Castroville) so we settled for very fresh medium sized ones that we will steam tomorrow for New Year's Dinner. They DID have some very nice looking brussel sprouts, which will also be on the menu.
Lunch at Phil's Fish Market was special. The $9.95 seafood salad is great - halfway between a crab louie and a shrimp louie. My brother had a pound of shrimp scampi and it was pretty good too. The place is no frills, with all kinds of fresh seafood from the Pacific Ocean just outside. You would not necessarily see Phil's from the highway, but turn off when you see "The Whole Enchilada" (also a good restaurant).
Phil's is famous for their Cioppino, and will be featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on January 28.
It was a perfect day on the West coast. Sunny and warm. We finished it off in Carmel where I got some Madeline molds at Sur La Table so we could make these delectible treats in the shop when I get back.
Happy New Years!