I went to an excellent restaurant last night to catch up with a friend and we started by ordering the grilled artichoke appetizer. I rarely pass up anything with artichoke on a menu and I always get them when they’re in season and available at my farmers’ market. This one we ordered was very good—but not nearly as good as the ones that Mr. MVP and I grill at home. That sounds like a big boast, but we give credit to the Hitching Post restaurant in Buellton for the grilling technique. Mr. MVP met the chef from the restaurant (yes, it’s the one from “Sideways”) and asked about how they grill the artichokes so that they’ve got that great smokiness but still remain tender. The trick: Steaming them first, then chilling them before you halve them and put them on the grill with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Ours are so good I don’t even bother with dipping the leaves.