DIPPABLE DIVERSIONS: Thinking about those places that are good for a dip? You mind might first roam to several dippable diversions, the sorts of spots where you might take a quick dip while clad in a bathing suit. Swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and your favorite stretch of surf all likely fill this lovely list, with every dip-ready destination you've enjoyed making its playful presence known. But there's another sort of dippability that's at prominent play around the Golden State, specifically in Castroville and other notable destinations found around Monterey County.
THIS PARTICULAR DIPPING... isn't about bathing suits and water, however, but the time-honored act of peeling a petal off a grilled or boiled artichoke and dipping it in a small ramekin of olive oil, aioli, or your favorite condiment. Of course, the obsessed-over thistle isn't only eaten by dipping it, leaf-by-leaf, in a pool of something garlicky and good; there are lots of ways to approach an artichoke, and the restaurants of Castroville and the artichoke-lush region truly know them all. How, though, can you get better acquainted? By following the new Artichoke Trail, a just-released map from the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
THE NEW ARTICHOKE TRAIL... spotlights several 'chokie must-visits, with the well-loved Choke Coach at Pezzini Farms making the luscious line-up. The Flying Artichoke's Choke Burger in Salinas is also one of the stars in the spotlight, as is the Artichoke Fontina Ravioli at Gusto Handcrafted Pasta & Pizza in Seaside. Specific weekly events, like farmers markets, are also celebrated, as are shops specializing in the globular goodie and all of the dips that bring out its best (so, yes, basically every gooey condiment ever made). And is the picture-ready giant artichoke in Castroville, dubbed The World's Largest Artichoke, on the map? Thistle please you: It is, sweet. To peek at the online map, and the various categories the trail covers, dip into this page now.