Soup’s onBuellton, CA

Pea Soup Andersen's sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Now this is more like it. Solvang might have seemed a little too much like a polished Disneyland for my taste, but in the next town over was something much more my speed.

Pea Soup Andersen's sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Though its name has changed slightly over the years, Pea Soup Andersen’s has been a Santa Ynez Valley institution for over 90 years. And while I’m not sure their famous split-pea soup is quite as home-cooked as it may have been in 1924 (it tastes fairly processed, I’m sad to say), there’s something comforting and homey about sitting down to hot soup after a long day of travel.

Pea Soup Andersen's sketch by Chandler O'Leary

And the decor! This is the kind of low-brow charm I was hoping for in Solvang. Every inch of the place is Danish-ized to the hilt (but in a far less polished way than in Solvang), and there’s a heckuva gift shop that’s worthy of the best roadside attractions.

Pea Soup Andersen's sketch by Chandler O'Leary

And there’s one other thing Andersen’s has that Solvang doesn’t: killer neon.

(They had me at the neon.)

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