Plan Your Trip:Tour length: Approximately 3 hours.
Group size: 12-15 people. 30 people maximum, if two groups are run concurrently.
Price: $49 per person, $25 for children ages 7-12. Children under 7 who will not participate in the food tastings are free.
Transport: All on foot.
Booking: Tickets must be purchased in advance and are sold up until 4 hours before the tour begins. Tours often sell out, so booking ahead and/or before one arrives in Los Angeles is advisable. Buy tickets online or at (800) 979-3370 or (212) 209-3370 from 5 a.m.-7 p.m. PST.
Note: With advance notice, Melting Pot Tours can often accommodate those with dietary restrictions.
Interview with Lisa Scalia, co-founder of Melting Pot Food Tours:
Q. How is your service different from other tour operators in your area?A. Guests on a Melting Pot Food Tour are really given personal attention. Because our tours are small and intimate (with only 12-15 people), the person leading the tour interacts with each and every guest. It's a far different experience than being one of 25 or 50 on a tour bus with the tour guide communicating through a P.A. system. Melting Pot Food Tour leaders are long time L.A. locals who are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods they are guiding tours through and enthusiastically share their local's knowledge with the tour guests.
All of our food tours are on foot - no stretches of time sitting on a bus seeing the sites through the bus windows or sitting in traffic. Guests are constantly on the go on a Melting Pot Food Tour , and nobody is likely to get bored, because there's food all along the way!
Q. Who guides your tours? How are they selected and what are their qualifications?A. My sister, Diane, and I co-founded Melting Pot Food Tours in the summer of 2008. We're both Los Angeles natives, I'm a caterer and Diane is a chef. (Read more about us here.) Diane and I have been leading all of the tours, but now that we are expanding our tour schedule, we are in the process of hiring additional guides and are hiring people who are well spoken, who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about food, who love living in Los Angeles and are either life-long or long term residents of the area, and those who share Diane's and my passion for L.A.'s wide and diverse variety of cafes and restaurants from fine dining to ethnic 'hole in the walls' to everything in between.
Q. What's your most popular offering?A. Our most popular offering is our flagship tour of Farmers Market and W. 3rd Street in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. This tour currently runs every Friday and Saturday and will be also be offered on selected weekdays during the summer.
Q. Please share three or four unique experiences that a traveler will have on your tours that they couldn't experience on their own.A. Our tours are fully narrated with history, amusing anecdotes, fun trivia and colorful stories about the neighborhood, but more importantly, about the proprietors of the restaurants, cafes, marketplaces and shops where the tastings take place. This is truly inside information that a typical visitor or patron will not come away with during an ordinary visit.
Melting Pot Food Tours focus on independently locally (often family) owned and operated establishments where the owner is typically involved in the day to day operations of the business. The proprietors of these businesses are true entrepreneurs and risk takers who contribute so richly to the culinary landscape - their stories are ones you won't hear anywhere else!
Q. What are questions you're asked most often? (And what are the answers?)A. 1)How do you stay thin being on a food tour all of the time? Answer: The tour leader does not eat on the tour. All of the food offered is for the enjoyment of the guests.
2) Do you ever see celebrities on your tours?
Answer: Yes, very often, especially on the Farmers Market/3rd Street tour which takes place in a neighborhood with restaurants and shops which many television and movie stars frequent. It is not unusual at all on this tour to see an A-list celebrity hanging out enjoying a cup of coffee or a bowl of Japanese noodles with no paparazzi in sight! We have run into or seen in the marketplace: Billy Zane, Zach Braff, Jessica Alba, Sasha Baren Cohen, Isla Fisher and their child, Weird Al Yankovic, various cast members from The Office and BRAVO's Tabatha. Pretty cool, huh?
3)Where else are you going to develop food tours?
Answer: Los Angeles is such an incredibly diverse and intriguing city with over 100 different neighborhoods within its city limits and 87 other incorported cities in the county. Our newest tour is in Old Town Pasadena, and next on the list is yet to be determined. Melting Pot Food Tours' plan is develop over time a full range of food tours in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles from high end locales like Beverly Hills and Santa Monica to ethnically rich neighborhoods like MacArthur Park and Thai Town to eclectic and trendy areas like Silver Lake and Venice. The options are truly endless!