Back when we were Los Angeles residents, we used pretty much every excuse we could to get the hell out of the city and go explore the rest of California. While we headed south a few times to San Diego, the majority of our trips took us north of LA, to San Francisco or Central Coast. And on each of these excursions, we passed signs for the fabled Pea Soup Andersen’s.
(You can even see one of the billboards up close and personal from the site of the new Clesi Winery, just off the 101.)
So, basically, for the year and a half we lived in LA, trips out of the city would go like this:
Until finally, on the way home from what I feared would be my last-ever trip to San Luis Obispo, Michael FINALLY agreed to stop at Pea Soup Andersen’s.
Full disclosure: I don’t even LIKE Pea Soup. I just love the idea of this place. It’s a restaurant and gift shop that shares space with a Best Western (and yes, it’s the Best Western where they stay in the movie Sideways). But they have mascots!! And Pea Soup! And WHIMSY! Okay maybe not so much with the whimsy, but JELLY!
So this year, since we were staying in Solvang, the town right next door to the original Pea Soup Andersen’s of Buellton (yes, there’s a second location off the 5 in Santa Nella), I finally convinced Michael that we should have some real food and a *real* Pea Soup Andersen’s experience.
(It is not required to preface all of the food you order with ‘Pea Soup Andersen’ but I do believe that it adds to the magic of the experience.)
All in all, Pea Soup Andersen’s is pretty cute. It’s a nice little diner for lunch, kind of like Denny’s, if Denny’s had a Danish theme and 2 adorable mascots who split peas with comically-large hammers. If you love dips and jellies like we do, I recommend popping in to their gift shop. There are all kinds of souvenirs (shot glasses, coffee mugs, magnets, t-shirts, and even socks with Hap-Pea and Pea-Pee – errr, Pea-Wee – on them), as well as a bunch of mustards, seasonings, jams, and jellies.