The Astronomer and I had no intention of dining at Pea Soup Andersen’s during our stay in the Central Coast. However, the spectacle of a restaurant seemed to beckon us in from the moment we arrived with its cheesy cartoons and garish color scheme. Not to mention that our hotel was located directly next door, which meant that there was really no escaping the allure of a big bowl of pea soup. On our final morning in town, we finally gave in to Pea Soup Andersen’s undeniable mystique and grabbed a table for two.
The restaurant, which Anton and Juliette Andersen opened in 1924, is something of an institution in these here parts. The clientele is comprised mostly of tourists looking for a diversion while traveling from Southern California to points further north, and vice versa. The Pea Soup Andersen empire includes the signature restaurant, a Danish bakery, a gift shop, and an inn where we stayed.
The dining room has held up well considering how long this place as been around. The vibe is a cross between a down-home diner and a medieval castle. Service is efficient, but mostly indifferent.
Continue reading ‘Pea Soup Andersen’s – Buellton’
Before making the long drive home to Los Angeles, The Astronomer and I made one final stop at The Fremont Diner in Sonoma for lunch. The restaurant has been garnering significant buzz ever since it opened in 2009, but it didn’t come across my radar until my friend Lien enthusiastically recommended it. She promised me that Chef Chad Harris’ brand of gussied-up down-home cuisine would rub me in all sorts of right ways.
Situated on a lonely stretch of Highway 121, the two-year-old diner captures the feel of a weathered roadside diner down South. Rusted truck parked out front? Check. Chickens roaming around the building? Check. Grease wafting heavily in the air? Check. If it weren’t for the lush rolling hills and acres of carefully planted grapes, I would’ve sworn we were back in sweet home Alabama.
After placing and paying for our order at the front counter, The Astronomer and I grabbed a table inside. There were a dozen inviting picnic tables set-up out front, but the essence of manure in the air discouraged us from outdoor dining.
Continue reading ‘The Fremont Diner – Sonoma’
Whenever I stumble upon a promising recipe that highlights cinnamon or raspberries, I immediately forward it to The Astronomer. If it’s an insightful piece on quinoa, my friend Diana is the lucky recipient. And a feature on the wonders of woopie pies or Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is sure to land in my friend Laurie‘s inbox. The food-lovers in my life each have their own special passions, and I feel that it is my duty to treat their eyes and ears to the tastiest recipes and latest literature on the subject.
When I came across an article about Crest Cafe‘s Butter Burger on A Hamburger Today, I wasted no time posting the link onto my cousin Jimmy’s Facebook wall. For as long as I can remember, Jimmy has inhaled sticks of butter with enthusiasm. During family feasts of bò nướng vĩ, Jimmy always sat next to the butter dish. Every time he added another stick into the sizzling brasserie, his face lit up with great joy. Knowing his penchant for the pale yellow stuff, it came as no surprise when Jimmy replied back with, “let’s go!”
The Astronomer, Jimmy, and I rolled to Hillcrest on my most recent trip to San Diego to taste the famed Butter Burger. We arrived at the colorful diner hours after the lunch crowd had departed.
Jimmy stepped up to the plate and ordered the Butter Burger ($10.25), whose centerpiece was a half pound beef patty stuffed with garlic herb butter (tarragon, basil, and parsley). Following a hot minute under the broiler, the burger was topped with additional butter for extra flavor and richness. Cheddar cheese and a spicy garlic mayonnaise offered the final flourishes. And because Jimmy’s gluttony knows no bounds, he requested slices of bacon to top it all off.
Continue reading ‘Crest Cafe – San Diego (Hillcrest)’
After spending the afternoon shopping with my gal pals Kelly and Brenda for the perfect Spring Dance frock, we were in dire need of something good to eat. Brenda suggested that we hit up a diner a few blocks away because her brother was working the dinner shift. I wasn’t in a burger and milkshake mood, but Brenda’s twin brother Brandon is pretty hot and is known to offer up freebies when the restaurant’s owner isn’t looking.
We pulled up to a retro-style restaurant emblazoned with the words “Peach Pit” in neon lights. Once inside, we were greeted by Nat Bussichio, the restaurant’s amiable proprietor. He pointed us towards a comfortable corner booth near the back and handed each of us a menu, knowing very well that neither Kelly nor Brenda ate much of anything.
As we settled into our seats, I glanced around the room to admire the decor. The brightly lit space was accented with chrome trimmed tables and waiters sporting fetching maroon and teal shirts. The records pasted on the wall and penny jukeboxes gave the Pit a decidedly throwback feel.
Brandon came by soon after to recite the daily specials and to take our orders. The Peach Pit offers classic diner fare, from fries to burgers to ice cream sundaes. The Mint Chocolate Marshmallow Jelly Bean Extravaganza Sundae is our friend Donna’s favorite for when she’s feeling traumatized (like that one afternoon when she witnessed her mother cheating on her father and missed hanging out with Color Me Badd). Quite a few menu items caught my eye, but I was told that the thing to get here is the famed Mega Burger. I went ahead and ordered the signature dish and a malted milkshake to go with it.
Continue reading ‘The Peach Pit – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)’