Food Tasting Walking Tour of Old Pasadena

Opera-CakeLarry and I LOVE touristy things, even in our own backyard. We’re both native Angelinos; been to Pasadena plenty of times. But never on foot for a tasting, history and architecture tour. When friend Chef Diane Scalia and her sister, Lisa, launched Melting Pot Food Tours, Larry and I were totally on board.

Huh? Pasadena, you ask? Yup, birthplace of Julia Child. Launching pad of Trader Joe’s. New Year’s Day annual Rose Parade. And one of LA’s poshest Old Money ‘hoods, both for residences and commerce. Pasadena had been through some tough times and then, in the 70s, the turnaround began and the place is HOT. Most especially for foodies.

Gelato-Display For only $49 a person, we engaged in “three hours of entertainment and a full meal in grazing fashion,” described Lisa. Starting at 10:30 AM, the group was so full, they split us into two. Our guide, Mike Albanese elegantly guided us through fascinating alleys, hidden courtyards and historic eating establishments all the while filling us in on how each spot came to be. Twenty-two (that’s 22!) sites and nine tastings later, we had full bellies and a greater appreciation for restored, renovated and revived Old Pasadena.

Cafe-Bizou I won’t give away the actual itinerary, experience that for yourself. But between incredible tortas, airy falafels, the history of Opera cake (above), an educational tea demo and tasting, California olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings, gelato, chocolate and much more, we gave this activity a big thumbs-up.

The Los Angeles Times Food Section featured Diane and Lisa’s Melting Pot Tours just a few days after this post: HERE IS THAT ARTICLE.

View Tours 2
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Worth The Whisk December 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Sounds delicious, will keep that in mind Grace and thanks for the heads-up.

2 Miami Culinary Tours December 14, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Patti, I would love to have you on one of my foodie tours in Miami! I dream about going to LA to try this food tour as I have heard amazing things about them. I promise if you come here I will make you sample some of the tastiest bites! like Faina, empanadas, chocotejas, Torrontes and Malbec wine, ceviche, mariquitas, and the Cuban clasico!


3 denise vivaldo November 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Love Diane Scalia -thrilled to read about her great idea.
She’s a gem.
Sounds fun!

4 Bettie Infante November 14, 2009 at 12:12 am

Learned something new. Can’t wait to go on a Melting Pot Tour! Will bring my culinary friends and make a day of it. Thanks for the tip!

5 Cathi Hofstetter November 13, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Ok! I’m on board. Sounds like great fun and being a native of Orange County its time I took a trip to Pasadena. Its been ages. Love your Blog!!!1

6 Vicki Thompson November 13, 2009 at 7:07 pm

What fun! Saw the wonderful article in the paper Veteran’s Day. On the same page was an article about another fun culinary excursion on The Gold Line which starts this Sunday – November 15. They are caling it the sushi-torta express…

7 Mary Hauer November 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm

My husband and I have done both of the Melting Pot Food Tours, and would and have recommended them to everyone we know! The tours are fun, and you get to sample foods you might not in your regular life (I’d never had falafel before the Pasadena tour) and learn some fascinating tidbits along the way. Thank you Diane and Lisa for starting these tours. I can’t wait to see what is next!!!

8 Lisa Scalia November 10, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Love this post and photos! Thank you, Patti!

9 Kelly November 10, 2009 at 3:38 pm

That’s awesome. I love the idea of doing a foodie walking tour in your own backyard.

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