Saturday, March 26, 2011

The town whose claim to fame was Split Pea Soup.

Santa Barbara is the kind of town--the kind resided in by rowdy University students and a tamer set of wealthy retirees--that one comes to either to relax or to engage in the most touristy of activities.

One such activity is wine drinking. But when traveling with my mother, an avid non-drinker, we were left to other, less fermented journeys.

In the town of Buellton, one will find Pea Soup Andersen's--an inn, a restaurant, and the claimant to Split Pea Soup innovation.

In next door Solvang, visitors can engage in all the delights of a Danish Village which hasn't changed since its founding in 1911 save the addition of perhaps 3 dozen more gift and candy shops. When I'd passed through Solvang in my first and last trip to Santa Barbara, I'd discovered that the restaurant responsible for the famed Danish dessert, Aebleskiver, closed at 3 pm.

I was resolved to make it in time this time. I didn't. But determined to try the Danish donut, we made a mad dash for the Red Viking Restaurant, the only other resto in town to fry up the doughy balls. While the dessert underwhelmed me, the victory of finally obtaining it did not.

Solvang is famed for nothing beside its donuts and pancakes. But while outsiders don't know it for anything else, Solvang-ites are apparently well aware of the delights of the outside world. The local memorabilia shop features a life size (aka pint size) cardboard cut out of the one, the only Justin Bieber, a child I'm fairly certain has never made it to the quaint village of Danish architecture and plentiful tourist traps.

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