Celebrating the cuisine of the Mobile, Bienville Bites, the first and only food tour company in Mobile, began offering food tours in downtown Mobile in October 2017. Along with the tasty treats, the tour offers brief historical tidbits about the city as we walked through the downtown streets. Chris and Laney Andrews have embarked on providing tours of gastronomic fun and a bit of a history lesson featuring the best of Mobile.
Royal Scam on Royal Street was our meet up point. Owner David Rath opened the restaurant in 2006 and it has become a regular treat for Mobilians. A little bit of rain did not deter our group of seventeen food tour participants. Tour guide Laney Andrews offered ponchos to those who wanted them but down South, a little rain doesn’t discourage hungry souls from some of Mobile’s finest cuisine.
We sampled the Gumbo, a tomato based traditional Southern recipe created in 1702 by Madame Langlois. Their rue based broth made with onions, green peppers, celery, okra, and shrimp is an excellent offering of this tasty dish.
Once the rain shower passed, we were off down Royal Street to Panini Pete’s. On this holiday weekend, Labor Day and the start of college football season, the place was unusually quiet.
We were treated to Pete’s take on a scrumptious beignet, Pete’s own recipe based on the New Orleans delicacy. Here the doughy treat is served with a lemon wedge and adds a little twist to the powered-sugar treat. We also sampled a selection of Panini’s. I chose the Muffaletta which was full of flavor with its olive tapenade. The Roast Turkey, their most popular Panini, was described by Chef Guy Fieri as the “State bird of Flavortown.” Pete’s prides itself on “Real food in our food”. They are a scratch kitchen and make their own mozzarella cheese. Owner and executive chef Pete Blohme is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has made his mark with multiple locations in the area. Pete’s is open for breakfast and lunch.
Crossing the street, we sampled a small tasting of nuts from the A&M Peanut Shop. A fixture of Dauphin Street for over seventy years, it treats passersby’s with the aroma from the roasting peanuts. It’s hard not to stop in for a bag of goodies. You even get a musical treat.
Our walking party made its way up Dauphin Street to Three George’s, which at 101 years old is one of the oldest companies in the city.
Candy maker, Tasha Thompson entertained our group with her energetic praline making and a hardy “Roll Tide”. (Did I mention it was the opening weekend of college football)?
This Southern confection of sugar, butter, and pecans is delicious and having them hot out of the pot only added to their magnificence. The sugar buzz was well worth it.
We continued our stroll up Dauphin Street to Hero’s Sports Bar and Grille. The rain had left us so we sat outside across from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the glorious Catholic Church that dominates Cathedral Square.
Hero’s is a mainstay of sports bars in downtown Mobile and we were treated to one of Hero’s staples, Spinach, and Crawfish Dip. Served with pita bread, the smooth dip is a rich treat while watching the game on one of the many televisions showing the games of the day. Hero’s is open for lunch and dinner.
The next stop on our stroll was Wintzell’s Oyster House. An iconic landmark on the Mobile Restaurant scene since 1938, it began as a small oyster bar. It is a must do visit for visitors and locals alike. Surrounded by its signature signs, it offers a giggle for those who peruse the funny sayings.
We bellied up to the Oyster Bar for a tasting of several offerings of oysters, Chargrilled, Monterey and Rockefeller.
Those who were so inclined were offered a raw oyster in its shell. A small dap of Tabasco sauce and you have a heavenly mouthful of deliciousness. Wintzells’ is open for lunch and dinner.
The light shower began falling was headed back down Dauphin Street to our final stop, Von’s Bistro that opened in 2012. With its unique mix of Asian and Southern cuisine, this eatery is not to be missed. Our tasting included a wonton and spring roll, both light and delicious. You will enjoy Von’s flare on traditional southern fare. Von’s is open for lunch and dinner.
During our stroll, Laney treated our group to historical tidbits about Mobile as well as the restaurants we visited. Mobile’s First and only Food Tour is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. They offer tours on Thursday evenings, Friday and Saturdays. The Old Mobile Tour which features some of Mobile’s better nighttime restaurants and the Loda Stroll, featuring the seven eateries described here. During Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebration, they feature Floats and Food tour. Be sure to check the Bienville Bites website for details on the tour times and tickets.
Visiting Mobile or just looking for an afternoon of relaxing fun, seek out this gastronomical tour that will be a treat for all your culinary senses.