Mod Betty is a sucker for a roadside billboard – (just ask Retro Roadsis about our trip to South of The Border circa 1995!) So it’s understandable that, just moments past eating pink cake for breakfast at the Madonna Inn, I insisted that we stop for some soup at Pea Soup Andersen’s in Buellton, CA.
(Props go out to my college radio buddy Bill, who told me about Pea Soup Andersen’s a few years ago – I had no idea we’d be driving directly past it on our journey from San Fran to L.A.- thanks BS!)
Truth be told – I don’t even LIKE Pea Soup – split or not, but when you see a roadside sign like that and pull up to see mascots like THESE…
Well, Retro Roadhusband was just going to have to eat a bowl of soup for the team.
Not to mix my food metaphors, but you probably already know what a good egg Retro Roadhubs is. And he’s cool enough to pose as Pea-Wee – the smaller of the famous Andersen’s Pea Soup making duo:
While I high-fived Hap-Pea on the way in – via the gift shop of course:
We were pretty early for lunch so we walked right to the dining room while admiring the vintage travel posters, stained glass, and bakery cases. And while
While I loved the look of the hammered copper counter, we opted to sit in one of the many comfy booths. It was while we were reviewing the menu and informative place mats that we learned that Pea Soup Andersen’s had been around since 1924 and that there are 2 locations. Oh how I love informative placemats!
The menu is varied and offers more than just pea soup. I could tell I wasn’t the first visitor to be less than enthused about the main culinary draw when our waitress was kind enough to suggest we split (ha!) the split pea soup and salad combo. And you can tell how enthused I was about pea soup, that I actually agreed to a salad, as I usually consider a salad a form of punishment (but I had just eaten a giant piece of pink cake. so the simple salad ended up being almost refreshing..!)
Retro Roadhusband again gets the thumbs up, not only for wearing an ensemble color coordinated to his meal, but also for waiting patiently as I photoed the soup bowl.
The folks ate Andersen’s must know that pea soup is an acquired taste for some of us, as they offer variety of garnishes to doll up the thick green liquid.
Heck, with all that stuff on it, I even had a bite or two and dang it all if it wasn’t pretty tasty! Kinda like a take on the loaded baked potato. Heck, I may even order pea soup myself the next time we’re there – shocker!
Retro Roadhusband ate all the way to the bottom of the bowl, where, just like a little kiddle, he was rewarded with the images of Hap-pea and Pea-wee on the bottom of his bowl! You can buy you own bowl – and a trillion other things with HP& PW’s likeness on them, in their giant gift shop.
The gift shop was a kitsch lovers delight, and I didn’t even know where to start. I’ve already got too many roadtrip related t-shirts that usually end up being scratchy and ill fitting, so I opted for a shield shaped charm for one of my many charm bracelets. Though I did not buy them I was amused to no end by the Pea Soup Andersen’s SOCKS:
And of course we went upstairs to the Pea Soup Andersen Museum to feed our minds as well as our bellies!
I bet you’re just GREEN with envy about our visit, aren’t you? Don’t worry – Pea Soup Andersen’s is an easy exit off of 101, so you can stop the next time you’re near Buellton.
Pea Soup Andersen’s
376 Avenue of Flags
Buellton, CA 93427
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