Every time my husband and I visit a new city, both here and abroad, we make a point of booking a food tour to familiarize ourselves with the local fare. We recently met the owner of A Taste of The Strand at a friend’s balcony party and were delighted to learn there was a food tour on island. We booked a spot on a group tour at our earliest convenience and thoroughly enjoyed being tourists in our home city.
Taste of the Strand Food Tours owner Karen Vaden launched her company in 2017 after she booked a similar excursion in New Orleans with her family and loved it.
“I wanted to create a relaxing, fun adventure while supporting and exploring the island’s local restaurants, art, history, and bar scene,” she said.
There are three tours to choose from including Taste of The Strand, Tapas on The Strand, and the Pubs N’ Grubs Tour. Taste of the Strand is family oriented and includes food but no alcoholic drinks, although cocktails may be purchased by those 21 years and older.
The Tapas Tour includes a pairing of food and alcoholic beverages. Both of these tours stop at five locations. If you want to play where the locals stay, you will enjoy the Pubs N’ Grubs Tour, an all-inclusive bars and bites jaunt.
Plan for two to two-and-a-half hours to complete each tour and wear your walking shoes. While the walk is not taxing - the longest stroll was from our starting point at The Peanut Butter Warehouse located at 100 20th Street to Fisherman’s Wharf at 2200 Harborside Drive -- our city streets are paved with cobblestones and make for a wobbly walk if you’re not in comfortable shoes.
The remainder of the stops were just a stone’s throw from each other, and we covered the ground easily in a few minutes.
Our tour guide had us at “hello.” The quirky, happy-go-lucky Rachel Hale was chock full of fun facts about the island’s history, structures, fountains, parks, murals, and harbor. Hale was born in Baytown, lives in La Porte, and has been traveling to the island most of her life. She also knows the Galveston food and bar scene.
Like all Taste of The Strand tour guides, Hale is Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Certified and a Certified Tourism Ambassador for the City of Galveston. Her knowledge and love for Galveston was obvious and her enthusiasm was contagious.
Don’t avoid these tours if you live here, they are designed for anyone. I have been writing professionally about Galveston for more than 15 years and I was pleasantly surprised that I learned something new at every stop.
We ate at old favorites and a few new spots we had not yet visited, including: Fisherman’s Wharf; Brewchachos; Playground Patio Bar & Grill; Rosario’s Flying Pizza and Pub; Axecade; Stuttgarden Tavern; and Hearsay on The Strand.
Our tour was a combined one of Taste and Tapas. Please keep in mind, all restaurants and food choices are subject to change and you may or may not visit the same restaurants.
We were greeted by happy servers and ate good, ample servings of food at every stop. Our host handled everything from the moment we entered an establishment - from ordering to tipping - making our evening seamless. We tipped our tour guide well and she was worth every penny.
Taste of the Strand Food Tours welcome private tours for two to any sized group. “The more the merrier,” is their moto and they enjoy meeting and conversing with new folks, both locals and tourists alike. These excursions would also be ideal for a family reunion or an extended stay before or after a cruise.
For booking, or for more information, call 409.599.5425 or visit www.tasteofthestrand.com.