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Food

Melting Pot Tours: Discover the Charm of Old Pasadena

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Walking tours are a convenient way for tourists to learn about the history and architecture of a city. Why not take advantage of these tours to learn about your own town? Los Angeles hosts a variety of walking tours, but one of our favorites is one of the newest. And only partly because they give you Chinese food and cake.

Enchanted by the diverse cuisines of Los Angeles, sisters Diane and Lisa Scalia started Melting Pot Tours in the Summer of 2008 to share their passion for the foods of their native city. Diane is a professional chef and cookbook author who has led food tours in Montreal and hosts a radio show. Lisa is a caterer, private tour guide, and expert on local neighborhoods.

The company started out with a walking tour in and around the Farmers Market. They are now offering a walking, food-tasting tour of Old Pasadena on Saturdays and Sundays.

Starting at 10:30am, the tour lasts for 3 hours, stopping at approximately a dozen sites, some for a luxurious first course, and sometimes for a quick snack on the go. As they describe the tour:

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...Colorful alleys and secret thru-ways will spice up our path as we seek out spectacular ethnic eateries and sweets havens for tastings including an authentic Mexican tortas cafe, a rare Nepalese-Tibetan restaurant, and an exquisite chocolate shop. Also included is the pleasure of a sensory experience at a handmade soap kitchen.

In addition to the tasting tour, the history of the area is explored from the very beginnings of Pasadena. For example, did you know Pasadena was home to both Julia Child and the very first Trader Joe's? Did you even know that Trader Joe is a real person? As the tour group walks along the brick-lined alleys of Old Pasadena, Lisa, the tour guide points out sites of historical, architectural and cultural interest. Her knowledge of local lore equals her knowledge of local restaurants.

The Old Pasadena Food Tasting WalkingTour is $49 a person, including all of the food and treats. The walk is about 1 1/4 miles over flat terrain, with frequent stops. There is slightly more walking than on the Farmers Market Tour, so wear comfortable shoes. Melting Pot also provides VIP and custom tours.

Come tour Pasadena with us in our photo gallery, and watch this beautiful tea blossom in the video below from Bird Peck, one of our stops along the way: