On this tour, you will:
- Visit LA's first tortilla factory
- Taste time-honored family recipes
- Visit a nationally-renowned tamale restaurant
- Visit LA's first birrieria
- Hear stories of courageous spirit, community, and family loyalty from local merchants
- Visit a health-conscious pupuseria
- Visit a contemporary Latina café
Palates are pleased beyond measure to enjoy a unique medley of fresh, amazing Latin flavors that have graced family tables for generations. We travel both by foot and safe, scenic rails, riding between stops on the Metro Gold Line. The Metro Gold Line has been hailed by the LA Times as the "Miss Universe" of the local rail system.
Starting with breakfast, guests are treated to traditional handmade foods, some of which originated south of our border over 100 years ago! Foods tasted may be typically expected, yet are extraordinarily prepared.
The tour concludes back at our original starting point. The food samples served are filling enough so that for most people lunch afterward is not necessary.
What Is Not Included?
Gratuity to the tour leader is customary especially if you had a great time & would like to recognize the tour guide for a job well done. A 15-20% tip ($9-12/person) is considered standard and is greatly appreciated!
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance? Can I pay cash?
- Tickets must be purchased in advance to guarantee your spots. To maximize your chances of getting the tour you want, please book well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Cash is not accepted.
- Is it safe to ride LA's public transportation system?
- Absolutely. You will be safely and confidently led by a guide who is well-versed on riding our local trains and how to navigate around the train stations. It is strongly recommended that you stay with the guide at all times. We are confident that you will very much enjoy this special journey, especially if it's your first time riding the Metro trains!
- If I am bringing an infant or very young child, do I need to purchase a ticket for them?
- Children are most certainly welcome on the tour. Children under the age of 5 do not need tickets if they will not be participating in the tastings. Please let us know if you will be attending with an infant or young child when you purchase tickets. It is recommended that toddlers attend the tour in a stroller, as they may tire of walking for the duration.
- Do I buy my own train ticket before the tour starts?
- No, your ticket for the tour includes your train transportation.
- Can I use my own monthly MTA pass for the tour?
- Yes. There is a slight discount for those with their own pass, which must be presented at the beginning of the tour.
- It seems like a long tour. Do people get bored?
- We do our best to keep all guests thoroughly entertained for the duration of the tour, and most feel that the time goes by very quickly. We need to allow this amount of time to transport guests between tasting stops via the train, so we are subject to the train schedules and even potential minor delays on occasion. An important part of the tour is the train experience, so travel time must be included for the distance we cover. Rather than boredom, most guests are stimulated by an exciting sense of adventure!
- I might be on a tight schedule. Does the tour always end on time?
- Usually yes, but please be advised that we are subject to the train schedules and on rare occasions, we may experience minor delays that cause the tour schedule to be slightly extended. We recommend that guests allow for an enjoyable day out and not book pressing engagements immediately after the tour in the event that there is an unexpected delay beyond our control. If you know that you must leave the tour early, please be considerate and advise the tour leader when you arrive.
- If a tour is sold out, can I get on a waiting list?
- We do not provide a waiting list. If a date is sold out, there is always a possibility we can add one or two people to the tour group. Please contact us directly by clicking on "Contact MeltingPot" link to let us know which date you are interested in.
- Are there restrooms on the tour?
- Yes - at most tour stops a restroom is available. There are no restrooms at the Metro Stations. Be gently and firmly advised that there is no restroom available immediately before the tour begins. Our first stop with a restroom is visited about 20 minutes after the tour begins.
- Is the tour wheelchair and/or stroller accessible?
- The Metro Gold Line trains are wheelchair and stroller accessible, as are all of the stations (elevators), and all tour stops. Please let us know in advance if you are in a wheelchair or have any mobility issues, and we will do everything possible to ensure you remain with the group at all times.
- How much food is served on the tour?
- There are 6 stops for food tastings and servings are fairly substantial. For most people, the tastings provide enough food so that lunch afterward is not necessary.
- Is there time to shop on the tour?
- A limited amount of time is allowed for shopping at several stops. Some wonderful souvenir items, Latin groceries, and prepared foods are available for great prices, and we encourage guests to shop. You are welcome to bring your own lightweight canvas or insulated bag for carrying purchases.
- Are tours offered only in English?
- Yes. At this time we are only offering tours in English. If you would like to make arrangements for your own interpreter to join the tour, please contact Melting Pot Tours by clicking on the "Contact MeltingPot" link.
- What if I have dietary restrictions?
- Please let us know if you have dietary restrictions when purchasing your tickets and please be as specific as possible. This tour has limited options for substitutions. If you let us know beforehand, we can easily accommodate those with nut allergies, dairy and gluten sensitivities, and pork restrictions by providing alternate tastings. However, we can only somewhat accommodate vegetarian and vegan restrictions by providing alternate tastings on 4 of the 6 stops. Please be advised that vegetarian and vegan accommodations cannot be made on 2 of the stops. Our other tours are more vegetarian-friendly. Because of the culture and tradition behind the recipes, animal fats and products are dominant in the foods. Please be sure to let us know if anyone in your group has a dietary restriction. As long as we know far enough in advance, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Kindly be advised that we are not able to make adjustments upon your arrival for the tour.
- Are there vegetarian options on the tour?
- Yes, we are able to provide alternate tastings on 4 of the 6 stops. However, we absolutely must receive advance notice. Please let us know your dietary restrictions when purchasing your tickets and be as specific as possible. Most tastings will include animal and/or dairy products due to the nature of the traditional cuisine. Please be advised that vegetarian and vegan options are not possible on 2 of the 6 stops. Those with allergies/aversions to meat, chilies, corn, tomato, and lard, may still enjoy the tour but please be aware that substitutions can only be made on 4 of the 6 stops for those with these restrictions. Our other tours are more vegetarian-friendly.
- What if I have a nut allergy?
- If you have a nut allergy, please let us know when purchasing your tickets. We should be able to easily accommodate guests with a nut allergy by providing alternate tastings, but please give us a heads up when purchasing your tickets.
- Should I give the guide a tip?
- If you had a great time on the tour and wish to recognize the tour guide for a job well done, gratuities are greatly appreciated and it is customary to offer 15% of the ticket price. Gratuities to the individual food establishments on the tour are included.
- What types of food are served on the tour?
- We taste foods from Latin eateries exclusively, many of which are prepared from traditional recipes that include animal product ingredients. Fresh salsas, tamales, roasted meats, fresh tortillas, Mexican chocolate, and pupusas are the signatures of this neighborhood, and those which are sampled on this tour.
- Are there any beverages served on the tour?
- It is recommended that you bring a bottle of water or non-alcoholic beverage of your own, as we do not provide bottled water. Especially in warm weather, we recommend staying hydrated. Coffee or tea is served at our first stop, and three subsequent tastings include a traditional beverage. Water is served at several stops as well. Food and beverages are not allowed on Metro trains or platforms, and we ask that all guests kindly respect this rule.
- Is there any alcohol served on the tour?
- There are no wine tastings or other alcoholic beverages served on this tour. We recommend that guests return to visit certain merchants after the tour, to leisurely enjoy an alcoholic beverage if they'd like.
- How far do we walk? Is it a fast-paced tour?
- We walk approximately one mile, between tour stops and within Metro stations. Most of the walking is on flat, easy terrain, with escalators/elevators in the metro stations. Walking is mostly at a leisurely pace, but please do be advised that it is necessary to arrive at train stations on time so that the tour maintains its schedule for everyone's benefit. Kindly contact us by clicking the "Contact MeltingPot" link if you have any questions about mobility issues and keeping up with the tour; we would like to welcome everyone possible for this adventure.
- Are cameras and videotaping allowed on the tour?
- Guests are welcome to take photographs for the most part, and we will advise in advance if any of our merchants do not allow photography in their establishment. Regarding videotaping, please be advised that no part of the tour itself may be videotaped. You may take video of sites along the way, and people in your own party.
- Do we just walk around and sample food?
- Not at all! Aside from sampling delicious food from a variety of eateries along the way, you will also get an insider's look at what life is like in this particular neighborhood of Los Angeles. The tour is fully narrated by your guide who will offer you colorful insight about the neighborhood, from its history to architecture to surprising local legends and more. The tour guide will also point out and discuss additional, noteworthy restaurants and other interesting places in the neighborhood which guests may choose to explore on their own at a later time.
- What happens if it rains?
- The tours are held rain or shine. While rain is a rare occurrence in southern California, it does rain occasionally. In instances of heavy rain or local flooding, you may be notified that the tour for that date and time is canceled, and you would be able to reschedule your tickets or receive credit for a future tour.
- How should I dress?
- Casual and comfortable is key. If you are sun sensitive, we strongly recommend a hat or a parasol and sunscreen, as depending on the time of year, some of the walking we'll do will be in bright sunshine. You will be on your feet for a significant portion of the tour walking between tour stops and within Metro stations, so please wear comfortable walking shoes.
- May I bring my dog on the tour?
- Animals are typically not allowed in food establishments in California, so we can't allow them either. Metro stations and trains do not allow pets except for service animals as well. Sorry!
- Why would an L.A. local take this tour?
- Unless you live in the immediate neighborhood of this tour, chances are good that you are unfamiliar with what is unique and special about it and you may have never explored these off-the-beaten-track tour stops! Trying something new and different keeps our LA local spirit alive and we think locals will find a food tasting tour to be a fun and novel alternative to the usual leisurely lunch, a great way to spend time with a group of friends, or even celebrate a special occasion. It's also entirely possible that one just might find a few new favorite dining or shopping haunts along the way. Finally, if you haven't experienced riding the Metro Gold Line, we are confident that you are in for a treat.
- Can I book a private tour?
- Yes, private tours can be arranged for groups of 8 guests minimum and 12 guests maximum. Please click on the "Contact MeltingPot" link to the left of the page and let us know what you're interested in!
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes indeed. You can order gift certificates online by visiting our website (www.meltingpottours.com) and going to the Gift Certificates page.
Melting Pot Food Tours
Given their lifetimes of experience living and working in the Los Angeles area, the Scalia sisters are particularly well qualified to select the most interesting and intriguing neighborhoods in the city and surrounding communities in which to conduct food tours. Their careful selection of locales for their tours ensure their guests an entertaining, fulfilling and memorable culinary experience.