“You look like you’re on safari,” said Mike Albanese, tour guide for Melting Pot Food Tours. Admittedly, my decision to wear a wide-brimmed canvas hat for a Sunday stroll through Old Pasadena may have been overkill, but Mike was right about one thing. I was on an urban safari—in search of new (or new-for-me) eateries.
I’ve taken food tours in places from Boston to Sydney, and I’ve always been amazed at the lack of culinary tours in Los Angeles, one of the world’s great gastronomic cities. But in recent years, food tours have been popping up all over Southern California. Over a period of a few months, I took in four tours. All of them were terrific. Here’s a rundown of what I saw and learned—and, more important, what I ate.