Side Orders: Try fried artichokes with this garlic aioli dip

artichokes on wooden surface artichoke tile food tile cooking / Getty Images

On a recent trip to California, I hit Highway 1 at the right season. Artichoke plants were in full bloom, and the fields were absolutely glorious. We were told to keep an eye out for food trucks in places serving fried artichokes because it's a particular specialty in California's artichoke country. And as soon as we hit Castroville, a city known for its artichokes, we happened upon one and had some of the best fried artichokes ever. I say ever, but I really should admit that this was my first time to enjoy such a treat.

The Choke Coach in Castroville has what many consider to be the best fried artichokes in the county. It's a colorful food truck that occupies space next to the farmer's market at Pezzini Farms and serves artichokes fried, steamed and grilled.