I love artichokes, especially when they’re fresh and in season. But it’s one of those delicious food that’s a pain to prepare, mostly because of all the prickly outer leaves.

So when I read about a four-course dinner featuring the artichoke as the main ingredient, I quickly signed up with the organizer, Jupiter Olympus, a cocktail partnership between noted bartenders Morgan Schick of the white-hot Trick Dog and Eric Quilty of Oakland’s popular Adesso.

The pop-up “Choke” dinner also featured Cynar liqueur, which was the night’s co-sponsor. And proceeds from the $30 admission went to Oakland’s People’s Grocery. Schick and Quilty’s Cynar-inspired cocktails were paired with dishes from chefs Chris Kronner of Kronnerburger and Kevin Cimino of St. Vincent’s Tavern.

In the dimly lit club environment of Bruno’s in the Mission, I enjoyed the light dishes that featured the artichoke, although sometimes I felt it was overshadowed by the other elements on the plate. It was my first time drinking Cynar, which is milder that absinthe but for some reason reminded me of it because of its herbal base.

Here’s a look at the four courses featured in Monday night’s Choke pop-up. Which dish would you be most interested in tasting?

First course: Shaved artichoke salad with raw peas, greens and pickled carrots and onions. Paired with a Cynar cocktail of fennel juice, champagne vinegar, and sparkling wine

First course: Shaved artichoke salad with raw peas, greens and pickled carrots and onions. Paired with a Cynar cocktail of fennel juice, champagne vinegar, and sparkling wine

Second course: Hot and cold soup where the hot soup was an artichoke brodo (which was like a consomme) and the cold was the Cynar cocktail of Fino sherry, Vin d'Orange, black pepper and sage

Second course: Hot and cold soup where the hot soup was an artichoke brodo (which was like a consomme) and the cold was the Cynar cocktail of Fino sherry, Vin d’Orange, black pepper and sage

Third course: Lamb served four ways with a fried artichoke ball (it was like a falafel).

Third course: Lamb served four ways with a fried artichoke ball (it was like a falafel).

The lamb course was paired with a Cynar beer cocktail of Flor de Cana 7-year rum, cherry, lemon, and IPA

The lamb course was paired with a Cynar beer cocktail of Flor de Cana 7-year rum, cherry, lemon, and IPA

Fourth course: artichoke and pistachio bread with dates, black cardamon and creme fraiche. Paired with a Cynar tea with creme de violette and artichoke tisane.

Fourth course: artichoke and pistachio bread with dates, black cardamon and creme fraiche. Paired with a Cynar tea with creme de violette and artichoke tisane.

Eric Quilty of Adesso manned the bar at Bruno's to create Cynar-inspired cocktails

Eric Quilty of Adesso manned the bar at Bruno’s to create Cynar-inspired cocktails

An apertif made with Cynar, an Italian artichoke liqueur that's bitter

An apertif made with Cynar, an Italian artichoke liqueur that’s bitter

Event organizer Morgan Schick serves up the soup course

Event organizer Morgan Schick serves up the soup course

The Choke dinner took place at the special event space, formerly known as Bruno's in San Francisco's Mission District.

The Choke dinner took place at the special event space, formerly known as Bruno’s in San Francisco’s Mission District.

One Response to Jupiter Olympus’ “Choke” Dinner Celebrates the Artichoke

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    I’ve tried that artichoke liqueur. It’s pretty potent. Have never had artichoke in a dessert before, though. Now, that’s intriguing.