Miami Doctor Sues Houston's Restaurant; Should Have Warned Him Not to Eat the Whole Artichoke

Written by Scott Joseph on .

A Miami doctor is suing Hillstone Restaurant Group, the parent company of Houston’s, because he was not warned that the artichoke he ordered at the Houston’s in North Miami Beach in 2009 should not have been consumed in its entirety. Arturo Carvajal, a physician with a family practice in Hollywood, ordered the appetizer special of grilled artichoke, a food object that he claims was hitherto unfamiliar to him. The suit states that the restaurant should have instructed him not to eat the hard, pointy, nearly unchewable outer leaves and to savor only the delectable heart. (Thank God they removed the fibrous choke before serving.)

Now, in the doctor’s defense (and he’s the plaintiff here, so he doesn’t really need a defense, but stick with me), the grilled artichoke at Houston’s is smaller than the large whole globes you find in the supermarket, and it is split open, so there is no need to pluck the outer leaves one by one to get to the heart. For those still unfamiliar with how to eat a whole artichoke, one pulls off a leaf, places it between the upper and lower sets of teeth, biting down softly, then extracts the leaf; the teeth scrapes off the soft, fleshy part. Now this is the important part: the leaf should then be discarded; it is, as the doctor now knows, inedible and undigestible. Carvajal says he suffered severe abdominal pain and discomfort, and an exploratory laparotomy revealed that indeed he had artichoke leaves in his bowel. Here's a link to a blog post at Miami New Times with other details.

As coincidence would have it, I had one of these artichokes recently at the Winter Park Houston’s (which any day now will be fully rebranded Hillstone). Some of the inner leaves are fully tender and can be consumed, but as you work your way out, they become tough and unchewable. So a reasonable person wouldn’t try to fight his way through it. (In case you didn’t notice, my defense of the doctor just ended.) As a spokesperson for the Hillstone Group was quoted as saying in one news story, should the restaurant also have instructions not to eat the bones from the barbecued ribs?

What other foods should come with warning? Do you remember the first time you ate an artichoke? Discuss.

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Winter Park Harvest Fesitval is Saturday

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Harvest_Festival

Plan to attend the first Winter Park Harvest Festival on Saturday, November 20. It’s an all-day affair with farmers markets (real farmers, too), seminars, appropriate bluegrass music and a farm-to-table dinner at the end of the day. It starts at 8 a.m. and continues throughout the day. Events will be held in Central Park’s West Meadow (sounds so bucolic, doesn’t it).

Click here for the Winter Park Harvest Web site for a full list of events.

The dinner is from 7 to 9 p.m. and will feature cuisine from such restaurants as Ravenous Pig, Luma on Park, Mi Tomatina, Cuisiniers Catering and others using all local products. Tickets are $95 per person and may be purchased at the Web site.

This is an important event in Central Florida’s continuance toward embracing and promoting our local products. Even if you don’t go out for the dinner, I hope you’ll stop by and give your support during the day.

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Feast of Fonzo Tonight

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Looking for someplace fun for dinner tonight? There are still a few seats available for the Feast of Fonzo, K Restaurant owner Kevin Fonzo’s annual celebration. For a ridiculously low $50 (plus tax & gratuity) you get four courses paired with wines from Nobel Estates. And you get the wine knowledge of Linda K. Sullivan, the Wonder Woman of Wine. Dinner includes antipasti course, seafood/ pasta course, meat/gnocchi/polenta course, dessert course. Starts at 6:30. Call the restaurant (really soon) at 407-872-2332. K Restaurant is at 1710 Edgewater Drive, Orlando.

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Rice Paper Vietnamese Restaurant Closed

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Rice Paper, one of the first Vietnamese restaurants to locate outside the Mills50 neighborhood, and whose innovative cuisine earned it my Foodie Award, has closed. While the majority of Vietnamese restaurants were -- and still are -- in the area of  Mills Avenue and Colonial Drive (U.S. Highway 50), Rice Paper chose the Bay Hill Plaza on Turkey Lake Road in the vicinity of Restaurant Row to open in 2004. The small cafe was also distinct in that it went beyond the usual offerings of pho and vermicelli-based dishes to offer more stylized and creative cuisine that had a gourmet flair but was still based in tradition.

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