The very best piece of travel advice? When you first arrive in a new city, get out and walk. Not only to ease the jet lag but to get to know your surrounding. Meet the locals, eat a little, drink a little. It’s easy to stroll in the great cities of the world like Paris, London, New York or Rome. Not so much in the pedestrian unfriendly and sprawling Los Angeles.
Melting Pot Food Tours give you an insider’s take on the City of Angels – on foot. The tours entertain visitors and locals alike with stories about this city of immigrants and the amazingly diverse cuisines they brought to LA. Sisters Diane and Lisa Scalia started the tours to highlight LA as a world-class culinary destination. Chef and cookbook author Diane and caterer and tour guide Lisa share their finds off the beaten path in LA’s neighborhoods and communities. There are tours for lovers of Latin delicacies, a tour of Old Pasadena, Chef Jet Tila’s Flavours of Thai Town and the Farmers Market and 3rd Street tour.
Los Angeles’ oldest market, and still the best, The Original Farmers Market at West Third Street and Fairfax was started by the Gilmore family in 1934. Today it is a world-class destination for foodies, food nerds and just lovers of great tastes. With over 100 restaurants, one-of-a-kind-stores and grocers all under roof it’s a mecca for those who want authentic and fresh food in an old world atmosphere.
On this site in 1934, farmers started selling their produce from the back of their pick-ups and flatbeds. It was an instant hit. When Blanche Magee saw the farmers there all day, she reasoned they might have a hankering for some lunch and Blanche’s daughter in law is still serving home-style roast or corned beef with coleslaw and homemade horseradish.
Melting Pot Food Tours starts at Bob’s Doughnuts and Coffee with the freshest and most delicious doughnuts (made on site) and caffeine hit of choice. Our guide Kendall starts filling us in on all the vendors including the multi award winning Bennett’s Ice Cream – churning ice cream in front of your very eyes since 1946. This still family owned business only uses real ingredients and has to be contender for the world’s greatest milkshake!
Patsy D’Amore bought pizza to LA in 1939 at his famed Hollywood restaurant Villa Capri. It was a favourite haunt of Old Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Jackie Gleason and Humphrey Bogart. He started making his old school pizza at the Farmers Market in 1949 and the same brick oven still bakes perfect pies.
The next tasting spot is Monsier Marcel – a gourmet market with artisanal treats and plenty of expert advice for dinner parties. The petit bistro is the perfect stop at the Market for a little charcuterie, cheese and glass of wine.
Light My Fire must have LA’s if not the continental United States best selection of all things chilli from Ass Kickin’ Popcorn Seasoning to Burnin Hell Osama Hot Sauce. Loteria Grill serves up light and fresh Mexican from Chiles Rellenos to Quesadillas.
We leave the market and Kendall leads us down 3rd Street home to some of L A’s finest eateries. We gobble lighter than air macarons at Little Next Door, enjoy sampling at the LA institution Joan’s on Third, taste great Indian curry at Electric Karma and multiple Japanese courses at Mishima – one of the city’s best kept secrets. Insider tip – some of LA’s finest dining experiences are located in strip malls.
There is so much more to learn and delight on a Melting Pot Food Tour it seems to go by in a moment. Lisa and Diana have built lifelong relationships with all the vendors, shop owners and restaurateurs and it shows. Tour guides like Kendall go out of their way to make you feel at home in this decidedly non-touristy experience. There can’t be a better way to spend two and a half hours in LA – it’s full of laughs, anecdotes and way too much food. http://www.meltingpottours.com/