artichokes, garlic and sanfrancisco

Ever since we began planning this trip, Rico has asked for just three things: to have fried artichoke hearts in Castroville (the artichoke Capitol of the world), something garlicky in Gilroy (which holds the same title for garlic) and to hold his grandson. I am happy to announce, that we managed to satisfy all three of his desires in just one day.

We stopped at the Choke Coach in Castroville.
It's located right next to a pick-your-own-choke farm.  

I must admit that they look much weedier than I imagined, and if I ever found one in my California garden, I'm sure I would have unwittingly killed it, never knowing the awesomeness it would eventually grow into.

After that, we ran into the Garlic City Cafe for some garlic fries and hot garlic soup for dipping. 

Punk and Yoda slept through both of these adventures, which means we completely forgot about feeding them until we arrived in San Jose at the Winchester Mystery House, where I attempted to placate them with a lone Lindor truffle from the gift shop. (It didn't work).

The thing about the Winchester Mystery is House, is that the story behind it, is so much cooler than the actual building.  It's hot, it's old, and it's way less creepy than we hoped it would be. They also don't allow you to take photos, which means that you won't be seeing the "stairs to nowhere" on my watch, but there are plenty of bad-asses on Trip Advisor who were willing to do the dirty work for you, if you're so inclined. This is the only picture I got:

After hearing all about crazy-old Sara Winchester, we bolted toward San Francisco's Chinatown, where, Punk, Yoda and Kooka finally got to meet their new nephew. Which was of course the best part of all.