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Displaying items by tag: East LA

Thursday, 14 June 2012 14:03

LA Food Tour Company Celebrates Four Years

This summer, Melting Pot Food Tours celebrates its fourth year as the original food tours provider for Los Angeles. The company has pioneered walking-tasting culinary tours of the city's best restaurants in the most historic neighborhoods.

Their three tours--The Original Farmers Market and 3rd Street, Old Pasadena, and East LA Latin Flavors—are chock full of stories of local color, introductions to merchants, and exotic tastings of world cuisine.

LadiesSalad-Joans SMALLEnjoying a taste of signature Chinese Chicken Salad from Jones on Third.

Melting Pot Food Tours was founded by native Angeleno sisters Lisa and Diane Scalia, who share a passionate desire to put Los Angeles on the map as a world-class epicurean destination. Their aim is to acquaint locals and tourists with extraordinary neighborhoods and the foods that make them so special and unique.

"Starting a LA-based food tour company just as the economy tanked in 2008 wasn't precisely our plan," mused Lisa Scalia, who changed careers mid-life to start the business with her sister Diane, who happens to be a chef. "But we knew we had a winning concept, and our continuing success in a down economy has certainly proven our instincts to be right."

The sister team is supported by a vibrant group of tour leaders, who share their passion for LA's diverse neighborhoods and the special international cuisine that helps define the City of Angels.

"Los Angeles is incredibly blessed that immigrants came here and brought their foods with them. They're sharing a very important part of who they are," gushed Diane, who considers herself a gourmet storyteller. "We're so lucky to have amazing international cuisine around every corner. Foodies visiting LA really deserve to experience these special cafes and restaurants, some of which are hidden gems."

The flagship Melting Pot Food Tour launched in July 2008 at The Original LA Farmers in mid-city Los Angeles, and along adjacent 3rd Street. Guests sample a taste of Japan, India, Mexico, France, Brazil, and also savory and sweet American fare. Merchants add their personal anecdotes to the tour leaders' narrative, familiarizing guests with this neighborhood that holds allure for celebrities, tourists, and locals alike.

Harriot Manley of Sunset magazine heralded this tour as, "A great way to take a big bite of the Original Farmer's Market—especially for a first-timer like me. Lisa Scalia gave us intimate insights and a chance to enjoy it all in an efficient and enjoyable way."

Jessica Gelt of the Los Angeles Times stated that this tour is, "Not just for tourists, but for Angelenos looking to learn more about the splendid flavors of the city they love."

Simon Todd, publisher of Essentially America, the UK's leading consumer magazine about travel to the US and Canada, positively cheered. "Great tour guides. Great food. Great fun! Highly recommended."

Olive Oil Tasters SMALL 433728Do a comparative tasting of olive oils at Beyond the Olive in Pasadena. The Old Pasadena Tasting Tour, offered on both evenings and weekends, was added in July 2009. Guests explore back alleys and secret throughways while filling up on delicious tastings from the Middle East, Mexico, France, Peru, Italy, and Asia. Visits to an artisan chocolatier, unique handmade soap kitchen, and a California olive oil boutique round out the itinerary.Orange County's Coast magazine writer Denise Adams commented, "There is no better way to see the area than with Melting Pot Food Tours. The Old Pasadena food tasting and guided walking tour was the highlight of our stay."

LA's Latin core district at the eastern end of downtown, including Boyle Heights, is the site of the East LA Latin Flavors Tour since winter 2010. Adventurous tour guests savor both time-honored and contemporary Central American and Mexican foods whilst learning all about their origins, including birria (goat stew) that dates back to a century-old recipe.


Hungry visitors to Los Angeles interested in learning more about these tours may visit http://www.meltingpottours.com.


TravMedia.com contributed to this article.


Editor's note: This article also appears in the Drives and Destinations category of our Visit section. Visitors to the Los Angeles area will find links to hundreds of lodging and dining options in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.


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