The best freeway eats ever
Driving in I-5 is no fun. It straight and boring, but it’s the only reasonable way to get home from Fresburg (which is what the locals call Fresno) so there you have it.
There is one bright, shining value to I-5–Pea Soup Andersens. I remember go to their facility in Buellton with my family half a century ago (now there’s a scary phrase to type), and I still think it’s the greatest roadside food in the universe. Naturally, I try to time all trips so we are flying past at mealtimes, and today was just one of many, many meals I’ve enjoyed there.
They have a large menu, but you don’t need it. Just ask for the “Travellers special” You get fresh baked onion rolls; soda, coffee, ice tea or a milkshake and all the pea soup you can enjoy. It’s the very best pea soup your mother didn’t make. Completely vegetarian, low fat, hearty, filling and tasty. Nine and a half bucks, plus $2.50 for a plate of the ‘mix-ins’–one ounce cups of croutons, bacon bits, cheese, green onion and ham. It’s the best bargain since Peter Minuet went looking for acreage.
Pea Soup Andersens is a well-oiled machine. The service is excellent and swift–the customers want to get back on the road, the staff wants to turn the tables over to new diners. It all works together. There is a large gift store selling everything from cheapo souvenir junk to gourmet cooking oils. There is a bar, and a motel if you spend too much time in the bar. There is a plain dining room and a fancy dining room–although they both use the same menu. Restrooms are large and clean.
It’s just the perfect roadside stop. If life forces you onto I-5, the Santa Nella exit is just about exactly 100 miles from the bay area, a great time for your first break. You’ll love it, I’m certain.