A revisit to Fairhope – Lunch at Panini Pete’s
After our exploration of Weeks Bay, we continued on towards my favorite town in the area, Fairhope. Nestled in this small lovely town is an alleyway which has been deemed “The French Quarter”. Here hidden between several very unique boutiques is Panini Pete’s Cafe and Bakery. Featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dive show in 2008, the chef and owner, Pete Blohme has earned an excellent reputation for his unique sandwiches and burgers so stopping here for lunch became a must do for us especially after exerting so much energy (well, not so much) earlier in the day exploring.
Since it was after 1:00 p.m. by the time we arrived there, we had no problem finding a table in the small courtyard, right in front of the fountain. I didn’t need much time to study the menu since I had read several reviews (thanks, Margery & Paul!) about how good the turkey panini was (hand roasted turkey with baby greens, roasted pepper, Dijon, garlic aioli and house-made mozzarella served on fresh baked foccacia) and I had already made up my mind to have that. Rob decided to have the Pete’s Muffaletta Panini which is on the “100 Things to Eat Before You Die” list (not sure who’s list that is). This panini has Italian meats and cheeses with olive salad on rustic Italian bread. We shared 1/2 of each sandwich so we each got to taste both. Yummy!
After lunch, we drove down to the municipal fishing pier, another place we visited last year. About halfway down the pier is the Yardarm restaurant which is open for lunch and dinner. Update 2017-11-30 the Yardarm is closed. We’ve never eaten there so we’re not sure if the food is good or not but you can’t beat the view! All along the shore front are tall poles with purple martin houses and one in particular caught my attention so I had to take a picture of it. It’s the “Purple Martin Riviera – 236 condos, Established 2001”.
When we got back to the car, an elderly gentleman approached the car and said that he had noticed that I had taken a picture of the Purple Martin Riviera. He then proceeded to tell us that he lived in Fairhope for many years and how the purple martin houses were his idea (not sure if he had any type of town position or not) and that initially the town didn’t want to install the houses but they finally approved the project. He told us we could read about it on the Purple Martin Riviera website. According to that website, the gentleman that we were talking to was Garland Sims of the Mobile Bay Audobon Society. Apparently the purple martins journey from their winter home in South America arriving in the area in January and February where they nest but then he said they were puzzled as to why they left each year on the same day, July 5th. They finally realized that it was most likely because they had a large fireworks display on the 4th which most likely spooked the birds. Interesting person! We chatted with him for awhile, then finally thanked him for the information and told him that maybe we would see him next year and left. But sadly, we learned that he died several months later. Read about his life in his obituary.
You’re probably thinking that this was the end of our day of exploring, well, you are wrong! Read about our last stop of the day in our next post!
We, too, visited Fairhope and was completely intrigued with the purple martins and their homes on poles in the water. However, we missed the “riviera.” Will have to check this out next year. Linda
Ironic that you got to be at the French Quarter the same time we’re here in the French Quarter in New Oreans. Also, the food at Panini Pete’s looked scrumptuous.
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