January 14, 2012

Split Pea Soup on the I-5

If you've ever driven on the I-5, you know about this split pea soup.  Andersen's Pea Soup advertises hours away from its location.  It caters mostly to people driving between southern and northern California.  I mean, if you're hungry while on the freeway, you have the options of McDonald's, Burger King, gas station food....and then you have Andersen's Pea Soup,  a seemingly cute sit-down restaurant where you can take a break from being on the road!

This restaurant really attracts the tourists.  They even have a cut-out board where you can stick your head in and take pictures.  Plus, doesn't the big windmill makes it look like some kind of grand monument?

When I first walked in, I felt like I was entering a gift shop!  They had many different sections of items, such as cocktails, cheese, and trinkets.  You have to walk through this area to enter the restaurant section, where they make you wait ~5 minutes to "set up."  But we all know that they just want you to browse the store and buy some stuff.

You can even buy peas if you want to make your own split pea soup!

It was very comfy inside the dining area.  When we got there at 6:30 PM, most of the tables were already filled.  This made me even more excited to try the pea soup!

Now this is what I mean when I say Andersen's advertises like crazy.  On the placemat, there was a mileage chart, which showed how many miles away the restaurant was from various cities.  Some were up to 700 miles away!

Each table was served with the courtesy bread.  The poppyseeds in the bread added a nice texture to the chewy bread.

Split pea soup

Looks unappetizing, right?
Yup, you guessed it!

The split pea soup was very bland, yet salty at the same time.   The soup was so thick that it seemed like I was just eating mashed up peas + salt.  For a restaurant who has been splitting peas since 1924 and who has "pea soup" in their name, I was expecting much better.  All the hype made me even more disappointed.

After a few spoonfuls, I was about to give up on my soup.  I was in quite a dilemma because the Asian in me didn't want to waste ten bucks for soup, but my tastebuds were not happy.  I forced myself to eat some more, but in the end, I just couldn't do it...

To be fair, most of the people in the room seemed to enjoy their split pea soup, so maybe I'm just not a fan of mushed peas.

House salad with Italian vinaigrette dressing

I ordered the soup + salad combo.  The salad was also very sad, and the options for the dressing were very limited.  The salad was indeed "crunchy," as described in the menu, but it was just an ordinary salad.  

I was quite sad after this meal, since it was my Last Supper before going back to school.  After passing this restaurant so many times before and awe-ing from afar, the infamous split pea soup was a big letdown.  But although the food was not up to par, the environment was just lovely!  Both the insides and outsides of the restaurant were warm and inviting.  The next time I'm on the I-5, I might go back and browse around the gift shop area, but I'll just eat my McDonald's.

Eaten by Cathy.

Pea Soup Andersen's Restaurant
12411 State Hwy 33
Gustine, CA 95322
(209) 826-1685


Anonymous said...

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