Melting Pot Food Tours launched in July 2008 at The Original LA Farmers Market in mid-city Los Angeles, along adjacent 3rd Street, offers tour guests samplings of Japan, India, Mexico, France, Brazil, and savory and sweet American fare.
Four year later, it's still hosting, and generously feeding, thousands of Los Angeles locals and visitors from all around the globe, on their highly-acclaimed walking culinary tours. Now with three tours, The Original Farmers Market and 3rd Street, Old Pasadena, and East LA Latin Flavors, guests are treated to stories of local color, introductions to merchants, and enjoy 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.”
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.
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.”
Melting Pot Food Tours