Talk. Walk. Eat. And repeat – for four hours.
In a hemisphere where the weather is summer 98 percent of the year, fitness is a craze and global cuisine is a food group, it’s no wonder that Six Taste Food Tours is the fastest growing tour company in Southern California since its inception in 2009.
Capitalizing on visitors who want guided exploration and locals who want moral support to get outside of their comfort zone, Six Taste hosts themed tours throughout several historically diverse pockets in LA. Revealing some of the best (of the well-known and hidden gems) restaurants, Six Taste has mapped food walks in some of the most epicuriously laden areas such as Santa Monica, downtown LA, Little Tokyo, and Hollywood.
For the love of food, the passion of adventure, and the excitement for teaching, Six Taste will get locals and visitors alike outside of their usual culinary habits and an inside peek in to the all the delicious variety LA has to offer.
I recently joined the tour in downtown Santa Monica. My home stretch, if you will. Despite having actually been to every single stop listed on the tour, even after, I would do the same tour again. Our guide, Therese, did such a fantastic job of teaching, leading, and at the same time, babysitting our group of 10 as we slowly slid deeper and deeper into food coma by the time it was over. All I could do was wish there was more time to talk and more room to eat.
While each tour varies, here is the itinerary of the Sunday afternoon tour in Santa Monica:
Bay Cities Deli: Infamous Westside Italian deli, notably on the Food Network’s show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” We noshed on mini Godmother Sandwiches and discussed the best way to eat a Bay Cities sandwich (let it sit so the dressing soaks into the bread).
Rockenwagner Bakery: Ghost provider/baker to many local cafes and grocery stores, we nibbled tri-berry scones and cheese and bacon twists, sipped gourmet coffee, and learned how the pretzel croissant we were eating got its pretzely top (dipped in caustic acid).
Norcino Salumeria: First destination that gave us a table. Perfect place for an anytime meal of wine, cheese, and cured meat or to pick and pack a to-go box. Sampled two cheeses, ribbons of soft prosciutto, picked veggies, and a mini caprese sandwich.
Buddah’s Belly: Another table setting, this one served family style. Pan-Asian in palate, we guzzled Thai ice tea and used chopsticks to share Miso Eggplant, Chicken and Steak Shao Bing (tiny sandwiches), and Albacore and Avocado spring roll.
Tudor House: Browsed English imports such as tea, bulk candies, canned pudding, and crisps. Outside, we downed hand-held slices of chicken/mushroom, spinach/artichoke, and curry- chicken savory pies.
Angelato Gelato: Despite lagging a bit at the Tudor House, the group rallied like kids in a candy store for the last stop of gelato. At Angelato we got to taste three flavors and pick another to take with us in either a cone or a cup. I went with strawberry cheesecake after sampling chocolate peanut butter, passion fruit sorbet, and raspberry vanilla.
Waddling back to our starting corner, we had ample opportunity to debrief our highs and lows, as well as thank Therese for her time, enthusiasm, and insight. Despite being full for the rest of the evening, I found myself on the Six Taste website perusing the upcoming tours – which, in the world of fantastic food, means that the education and experience of the tour held its own. Check them out today!
What: Food tours led by an encyclopedia-brained local. Each tour lasts about four hours and has six to 10 “stops” where you get to taste the restaurant’s pre-selected “best of” items. At and between each stop you’ll learn fun facts that it would otherwise take several visits and a curious palate to naturally glean.
How: Sign up online at www.sixtaste.com for a scheduled tour where you get to select your region and time of day. Arrive with an empty stomach.
Why: Because you get to try six restaurants in one day with VIP treatment.
Who: Foodies, omnivores, carnivores, vegetarians, and gluten-free alike. Anyone with a hollow leg. All who love to learn historical facts, gastronomical factoids, and insiders’ gossip.
Keep in mind: Offers holiday tours, crawls, and specific food-themed events. Can create customized birthday or corporate tours. Just ask.