A food tour. One of those phrases I’d heard a lot but wasn’t completely clear on what it actually meant. A few weeks ago, I met Lisa, the owner of a food tour company with a great name, Edible Excursions. “Uncovering delicious treasures one bite at a time”, the award winning culinary tour company offers food lovers a stroll through San Francisco’s Ferry Building, Mission’s 18th St District, Mission’s 24th St District, Japantown and Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.
On a Thursday afternoon, I joined a group of people, most of whom lived in the Bay Area for an afternoon spent learning and eating in the Mission. Kay gave us a historic overview of the Mission and let us know a few of the key spots we’d be visiting on our tour. Her warm personality, knowledge of the Mission and clear passion for food, made her a fun and engaging guide. At each place along our tour we were met by a very well informed member of staff who would talk us through the produce, cooking methods and company ethos and while I know the Mission well, have read about and visited a lot of the great restaurants in the area, it was fascinating to hear more about each company from people with a passion for their job and strong knowledge of their craft.
From September 1st, Salumeria has joined Edible Excursions as the first stop on the 24th Street Tour. We’re looking forward to meeting you! More info and ticket info here: http://www.edibleexcursions.net/#/web/17/tours/mission-24th-street
We met at Tartine and were greeted by our tour guide with a mini ham and cheese croissant sandwich. A classic and a favorite choice and the added bonus of no lines!
From Tartine, we walked over to Bi-Rite Grocery where we were met by Rosie, the Program Director of 18 Reasons.
Rosie gave us an overview of the Bi-Rite group history, company ethos and then we were shepherded in to their packed grocery store where we got to sample a wide variety of fresh produce (I went for the berries and mangoes) then we all got a little taste of their housemade gazpacho. Rosie showed us round and talked us through the selection process of brands they carry and produce they buy. We got a sneak peek into the kitchen and then we were off again.
Next up was Bi-Rite Creamery. We were taken in to the kitchen of the Soft Serve section and like magic (with no lines) appeared a tray of salted caramel and balsamic strawberry ice cream. How do you choose between delicious and delicious?
Then we walked a few doors down to 18 Reasons where we were greeted by this delectable spread.
Rosie talked us through the class offerings, community outreach and the history of the company’s interest in learning and sharing that information by educating people.
Onto Delfina for some of their pizza. Sous Chef Danny met us outside and talked us through the pizza making process and the delights of San Marzano tomatoes. It’s tomato season in the Bay Area so we are very spoilt for choice. I had thought heirlooms were my favorite but the slightly sweet San Marzano definitely won a special place in my heart.
As a quick break from the food and for a little cultural information, we were met by a curator at the Women’s Building who talked us through the history of the Maestro Peace mural. As many times as I’d seen the building, there was so much information I learned that afternoon. Did you know each corner has a painting of a woman from a different race? One African, One Chinese, One Mexican and One European woman.
Then we walked over to Tacolicious where we were ushered into a private dining room at the back with rustic decor and a table of striking greenery.
We were given a tequila lesson (with an extremely generous pour). Can you tell the difference between the water glass and the tequila glass? Quite a lot of fun was had getting that wrong. We learned about the process of making tequila, the tequilas Tacolicious chooses to serve and why. Have you seen such an extensive tequila menu before?
And back to the food. Carnitas. With chips, guacamole and spicy dips.
Then it was over to the new kids on the block, Craftsman & Wolves which was our final destination. We were met by Kate who talked us through the design ethos, their food style, their positioning in the neighborhood and then she answered the question we all wanted to ask, how did you come up with the idea for the fantastically named ‘The Rebel Within’?
At that point, with very full bellies, our tour guide Kay walked us over to the Mission Community Market where she set us free armed with new knowledge about fantastic and locally sourced produce. A highly enjoyable afternoon at a relaxed pace for locals and tourists alike, there’s something new to be learned and experienced by all who join Edible Excursions for an epicurean journey.