This summer, Melting Pot Food Tours celebrates its fourth year as the original, pioneering food tours provider for Los Angeles - offering walking-tasting culinary tours of the city’s best restaurants in the most historic neighborhoods. Travel experts, journalists, and tourists from all over the world consistently rave in print, on radio and TV news, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and anywhere there’s an opinion to be expressed.
Their three highly-acclaimed 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.
“Starting a LA-based food tour company just as the economy tanked in 2008 wasn’t precisely our plan,” muses Lisa Scalia, who changed careers mid-life to start the business with her sister. “But we knew we had a winning concept, and our continuing success in a down economy has certainly proven our instincts to be right.”
“We love that we were the first to do this in LA,” adds Diane Scalia, who is also a restaurant chef.
The sister team is supported by a vibrant group of friendly and enthusiastic tour leaders, all of whom 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,” gushes 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, 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 Publishing/Time Incorporated 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.”
With straightforward applause, 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.”
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 thoroughly enjoyed this tour. “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 time-honored, traditional, 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.
One fascinated tour guest hailed this Latin Flavors tour, “Although the food was great, this tour was about so much more than the food. We were totally inspired and enriched by this tour.”
Guests typically come away from a Melting Pot Food Tour feeling both happily full, and like they’ve enjoyed first-class, VIP treatment. “Our warmth and hospitality are the hallmarks of what we do and how we do it,” asserts Lisa.
“Just because people are in a big, unfamiliar city doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to receive kind, old-world consideration,” Diane hastens to add, smiling. “That would be our job.”
Hungry visitors to Los Angeles interested in learning more about Melting Pot Food Tours may visit http://www.meltingpottours.com. Private groups of 10-50 are welcome for tours, and may contact Lisa Scalia at 424.247.9666 for more details.
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 pure intention is to acquaint locals and tourists with extraordinary neighborhoods and the foods that make them so special and unique. Inspired by the rise in culinary and heritage tourism, Lisa and Diane Scalia are joyfully committed to showcasing the rich culinary diversity that is Los Angeles.