Thursday, April 7, 2011

A sad day for palm trees... (California '11 - #7)

Lonely palm trees in Pismo Beach

The rain is back! A few raindrops were falling when we left SLO this morning. By the time we drove out of Pismo Beach around lunch time, it was officially raining. We expected it, so we weren't too disappointed about it. Still, after five days spent outdoors in the California sun and temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the low 80s, it was hard. I did take pictures today, but my heart was not into it. There is something terribly sad about looking at palm trees in the rain. When we go on field trips in Seattle, I take pictures anyway. If you wait for the sun to shine to shoot away, you would never use your camera. Here in California, it is different. 

As I have just mentioned, our first stop of the day was a surf town, a.k.a. Pismo Beach. Le Husband always stops by on his way along the California Coast to walk on the pier and get a T-shirt at the local surf shop. Rain or no rain, a tradition is a tradition. Le Husband is adaptable, so instead of a T-shirt, he invested in a warm sweat-shirt because of Le silly weather.

Junior is a good sport and keeps the troops' morale high!
After Pismo Beach, we got back on Highway 101. It took us to our next destination, Buellton, a small town in Santa Barbara County, CA. Fewer than 5,000 people live in Buellton and I had honestly never heard about it until I watched the 2004 movie "Sideways". 

We had another reason to stop in Buellton today. Friends had highly recommended Andersen's Pea Soup as "one of the Central Coast's best kept secrets". Some of you may know what I am talking about. Others probably don't. Let me tell you: I just l.o.v.e.d. our visit chez Andersen!

This is a restaurant that sits in a building the exact same color as split pea soup! Even though there are other more "traditional" items on the menu (salads, hamburgers), the reason people really go to Andersen's is... you guessed it: Split pea soup. Mine came in a bread bowl with all the trimmings to turn it into a delicacy. Miam! (Yum!). I love a good split pea soup and Andersen's is excellent!

Split pea soup does not photograph that well,
but it is so easy to eat!
Andersen's: A piece of Americana!
I learned on the menu that Andersen's was created by a Danish man and his French wife. (Who would have guessed?) They opened the first restaurant in 1924 and today, Andersen's serves over two million bowls of soup each year! Incroyable! A true American success story, the company runs a profitable mail order business and the number of pea soup-related knick-knacks at the gift shop tells me that they have fans all over the United States - maybe all over the world!

After Andersen's, we made a quick stop in Solvang, CA, another town made famous by the movie "Sideways". I was not as impressed with Solvang as I should have been. 

1. The rain was falling hard when we drove through town.

2. There is a similar place in Washington state named Leavenworth. Even though Solvang is a Danish town and Leavenworth a Bavarian town, they seem to be related. Granted Solvang has several windmills, but both towns share quaint streets lined with boutiques, souvenir shops, eateries and pastry shops. Both towns hold Bavarian/Danish festivals. Both towns are big tourist attractions. 

I said I was not inspired today. I did take a couple of pictures of Solvang buildings and streets but my favorite is this photo... 

Danish dog in an American truck?
Our last destination for the day was Santa Barbara, CA. This is not our first visit. We both love Santa Barbara and this charming city never fails to remind us of the French Riviera. Let me tell you a secret: One does not expect rain when visiting the French Riviera. One does not expect rain when visiting Santa Barbara either. Unfortunately, the wet stuff and cool temperatures stayed with us all afternoon. We made the best of it: We checked into our hotel (overlooking more sad looking palm trees, bullied by the wind and rain), drove around town, walked to the local Yacht Club, had dinner downtown. We finally gave up around 8:30pm and retired for the night. 

Les Boys entertain themselves with old palm fronds

To quote Scarlett O'Hara at the end of "Gone with the Wind": "After all, tomorrow is another day." We hope the weather finally cooperates but if it doesn't, we will make do. You don't live in Seattle, WA for fifteen years and stop living when it starts raining. I guess after all that time, these French people have finally turned into true North Westerners!

In case the Weather-Gods are reading this blog, this is what we expect to see in the morning when we wake up (and if the thermometer could go past 60F, it would be wonderful too)...

A bientôt, yours truly, 
French Girl / Scarlett

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Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle