64 miles: Pea Soup Andersen’s
36 miles: Pea Soup Andersen’s
12 miles: Pea Soup Andersen’s
Next Exit: Pea Soup Andersen’s
From miles away, on both sides of the freeway, any commuter can see the billboards counting down the miles to Buellton, Calif. and the famous Pea Soup Andersen’s. The small town seems to be taken over by the last name with hotels, stores and restaurants named after the family.
I don’t know what I was expecting after I first saw the episode of “The Girls Next Door” a few years ago when the girlfriends of Hugh Hefner go to eat at Andersen’s but I was quite surprised to see that it really is just a popular diner. Serving breakfast foods, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and the occasional random entre all priced under $20, Andersen’s walls are even the color of their famous soup. Pea-soup green.
Their half sandwich, half soup option was perfect for my first time at the eatery 148 miles north of Los Angeles. The tuna sandwich was sitting on top sourdough bread and layered with 4 slices of tomato, 5 slices of onion and a generous helping of lettuce. There was so much tuna I had to finish it with a fork because my sandwich was over flowing. The side salad I ordered to go with the meal also came with a huge assortment of veggies that hit the spot.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I can say the same for the namesake of the restaurant. The pea soup wasn’t what I was used to, or what I was expecting. I am a fan of thick soups. Pea soup is usually thick and almost chunky with pieces of peas, carrots and ham in it. Not this soup. It was like, well, soup. The consistency was very thin like a chicken broth rather than a porridge.
A customer at the next table we began talking to said that he has been coming to Andersen’s for years and it just isn’t the same it used to be. He said peas and bacon used to be floating throughout the soup and it had a different texture. The waitress claimed the need to keep the soup vegetarian is why it is what it is today.
Overall, the little Danish diner was quite an experience. I don’t know if it’s worth the three and a half hour drive up from L.A. but driving through I guess it was worth the stop.
148 miles to Los Angeles.