I love love love finding new and exciting things to do in the city of Los Angeles. I love them even more when it involves: 1) Food. Really delicious food, and 2) A healthy dose of Los Angeles culture and history. After living here for almost one year, I’ve been able to explore almost all of the main tourist attractions and now have more time to discover hidden gem activities and unique adventures. This brings me to an awesome experience I had this past weekend…the ever delicious and highly informative Melting Pot Food Tours!
LA natives, foodies, and sisters Lisa and Diane Scalia started Melting Pot Food Tours in 2008 to share with locals and tourists their love for both food and Los Angeles. Their tours have been enjoyed by many (read the very positive Yelp reviews here) and have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Candy, Tasting Table, AAA World Magazine, AARP online, Pasadena Magazine, and Pasadena Star News, as well as CBS Evening News and the KTLA Morning News with Gayle Anderson. They offer unique tours for food lovers in a variety of Los Angeles neighborhoods, and after reviewing the options, I chose to go on the Original Farmers Market Food & History Tour.
I’ve been to the Original Farmers Market a few times before and each time have been enamored by the 100+ vendors and the buzzing energy of the outdoor marketplace. I thought this tour would be the perfect way to learn more about the history of LA’s oldest farmers market and how to best navigate through all of the delicious vendors, and of course, try tasty samples from some of LA’s more adored local merchants. Melting Pot Food Tours' website shares this about the Farmers Market Tour: “Get the insider's perspective and understand why locals consider this the best restaurant and grocery store in town! This epicurean 2.5 hour stroll all takes place within the Original Farmers Market. Guests will be introduced to the Market's fascinating history, hear stories of the legacy families who have been part of this landmark location since its beginnings in 1934, and taste signature items from a variety of Farmers Market stalls!”
Andrew was my tour guide for the morning, and he was very friendly, engaging, and extremely knowledgeable about the history of Los Angeles and the OG Farmers Market. I had no idea this was the first farmers market not only in Los Angeles, but in the entire country! This large outdoor market provides a variety of specialty foods, meat, fish, bakery items, and produce to the many smaller farmers markets throughout the city of Los Angeles each weekend, which was also news to me. It was great to hear about how the farmer's market got its start in the early 1930's and what life was like in mid-city Los Angeles back then. Andrew had a great sense of humor and kept us engaged throughout the tour – and was a good sport when some members of the group didn't laugh at his jokes. :) It impressed me that he knew so many of the vendors personally and had special FYI's to share about many of them.
In addition to the overall high quality tour, the food was a great representation of the various cultures in the diverse city of Los Angeles. Some of my favorites tastes included Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts (the apple fritter was to die for), various cheeses from the gourmet French grocery store, Magee's no oil or sugar added in-house churned peanut butter, tacos from Loteria, Brazilian meats from Pamaps Grill, and Bennett's ice cream (you can choose a smalls scoop of any flavor in a cup or cone – I chose my favorite mint chocolate chip). Although I tried a good amount of food samples, I surprisingly wasn’t THAT full on the end of the tour. I wasn’t hungry, but I wasn’t uncomfortable either, which was nice. I also liked that we alternated between walking, standing, and sitting throughout the 2.5 hour tour. There was plenty of shade throughout the tour and, luckily, the weather was perfect. Basically, I now feel like the Original Farmers Market know-it-all and can’t wait to visit soon and be a tour guide to either friends or family. I loved the tour for many reasons, but mostly because I got to try so many food vendors that I may not have tried otherwise. You betcha I am inspired to go back try even more!
The Original Farmers Market Food & History Tour is $59 for adults and $45 for children, and the ticket includes ALL the food and beverages on this tour. There are a variety of other tours – the Old Pasadena Walking Tour ($75 for adults, $50 for children), Chef Jet Tila’s Flavors of Thai Town Tour ($175 for adults), East LA Latin Flavor Tours (I want to do this one next! $75 for adults, $50 for children), and Melting Pot Food Tours also offers private and group tours starting at $28 for adults. Special tip: you can use discount code DISC2014 to save 10% of the regular tour price. With the great variety of tour options, there’s something for everyone in Los Angeles to enjoy. These tours are all so unique and make for a great birthday present for a friend, a cute date idea for you and your boo, or for a special treat for yourself!
Don’t forget to wear comfortable clothing, good walking shoes, and come HUNGRY. :) Also, bring a camera or your phone so you can take pictures of all of the delicious samples. Aaand make sure to tag @MeltingPotFoodTours when you post to social media.
Click here for all of the details on booking your own Melting Pot Food Tour! Happy eating and exploring, my dear friends!
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
Follow along on my journey as I collaborate with various companies and attend fun events in the City of Angels!