The husband and I go up to San Francisco a lot. We have friends up there, we like the city, it’s the gateway to Napa … So here’s the start of a 4 or 5 part San Francisco series. I’ll post the other parts of the series here, here, here, here, and maybe here.
First, a quick Los Angeles vs. San Francisco thing. While we were driving up to SF, my husband was telling me that there is supposedly a huge rivalry between SF and LA that LA doesn’t know about. (I think my husband read this article.) Apparently everyone in SF hates LA and LA just loves SF so much! I think there is some truth to it.
Second, I’m just going to put this out there that Mark Twain NEVER said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” You might want to Snopes the Snopes article that claims he never said it. But he didn’t. Yes, it’s a great quote. We don’t know who said it. I wish we did.
Ok, here we go. The drive to SF from LA. You can take the 5 and drive by cowschwitz (which I googled as I was writing this and apparently Harris Ranch supplies its meat to In-n-Out (which according to the book Fast Food Nation is one of the safest/cleanest burgers in fast food), plus cow-whisperer Temple Grandin has said that Harris Ranch “does a great job” of keeping its animals) and play death match leap-frog with the semi-trucks, or you can add an hour to your commute and take the picturesque 101. I recommend the 101 for Anderson’s Split Pea Soup, antiquing in Los Alamos, clam chowder in Pismo Beach, the Madonna Inn (Pink Champagne Cake, YES!), wine-tasting/antiquing in Paso Robles, and the fact that the first half of the drive is ocean view!
First stop, Anderson’s Split Pea Soup in Buellton. You can’t miss it. There are billboards for miles announcing it’s location. It’s the perfect amount of greasy diner and vintage kitsch. Upstairs above the restaurant is a tiny little Anderson’s and Buellton museum. I loved seeing all the old soup can and matchbox designs. You can also purchase split pea soup from Anderson’s in either dry form or in a can. My mom recommends the dry form. They also sell their adorable soup bowls with pea splitting characters. Outside is a photo face board for photo opportunities: There is also an Anderson’s in Santa Nella off the 5. It has an awesome windmill and a great vintage neon sign out back. It is also where I tried split pea soup for the first time. I’m sure if you like split pea soup, or even soup, you would like it. I don’t like soup. If you like all things tacky and kitsch, and have a love of the color pink, then you absolutely must stay at the Madonna Inn! (Or if you don’t want to stay, at least have breakfast, lunch, or dinner in their cafe or restaurant and eat some pink cake, and you have to check out the famous men’s bathroom!)
The restaurant is an amazing, tacky, pink mess. Please, please, please save room and get the pink champagne cake for dessert (which you might want to order with dinner so they set aside a slice, they often sell out). And pair it with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll thank me. This is the face you will make if they run out of pink champagne cake:Luckily, they always have more in the morning and you can have it for breakfast.