Most people know how to eat an artichoke: Using your teeth, you scrape the meat from the bottom of each leaf.
But Miamian Arturo Carvajal, a doctor with a family practice in Hollywood and a litigant in one of the stranger lawsuits we've ever seen, was mystified by the vegetable.
"It takes a sophisticated diner to be familiar with the artichoke," says Carvajal's lawyer, Marc R. Ginsberg. "People might think that, as a doctor, he'd know how to eat one. But he was thinking it was like a food he might have eaten in his native Cuba, where you eat everything on the plate."
In May 2009, Carvajal dined at Houston's in North Miami Beach. He order a grilled-artichoke special. It was a vegetable he had "never seen nor heard of previously," Carvajal claims in court filings.
The server "fail[ed] to explain the proper method of consuming an artichoke," he says, namely that the "outside portion of the leaf should not be eaten; rather, only the inside portion of the leaf was safely digestible."
Anybody who's ever eaten an artichoke knows the outside leaves are tough, brittle, and nearly dagger-sharp. But apparently, Carvajal courageously gnawed his way through every leaf on his plate.
You can guess the rest of the story. Carvajal suffered "severe abdominal pain and discomfort." He went to the hospital, where an "exploratory laparotomy" revealed artichoke leaves lodged within his bowel, he claims.
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Among the alleged consequences of Carvajal eating an entire damn artichoke: "disability, disfigurement, mental anguish," and "loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life."
This October 27, he filed a lawsuit alleging negligence seeking unspecified damages. We've embedded the complaint below.
Riptide called Hillstone Restaurant Group, which owns the Houston's chain, for comment but have not heard back yet. A spokesperson for the group called Carvajal's claim a "silly notion," telling Business Insurance: "What's next? Are we going to have to post warnings on our menu they shouldn't eat the bones in our barbecue ribs?"