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An Unwavering Ode To Tour Guests
guest on melting pot food tours
Diane Scalia
Diane Scalia
September 8, 2009

Celebrating Our First Birthday

A few months ago, it occurred to me that it wasn't really possible for me to review my tour guests. It didn't seem fair.

By now all of those feelings have passed, and the only thing that seems unbalanced now, is that up til this moment, I haven't been able to sing the praises of my tour guests.

Melting Pot Food Tours officially celebrated its first birthday in July. We are very, very flattered by the reviews we've been receiving and, I promise that a lot of that credit deserves to be passed back to the guests who really, really add to the joy the tours have rendered ... especially in the last couple weeks.

diane teaching a customer on the melting pot tour

Quite honestly, when temperatures soar to a steamy 112 degrees and, for 3.5 hours at least one of us is required to be Miss Mary Sunshine, it's tricky business! And, for weeks now, I have been blessed beyond measure, to host some of the loveliest people, truly, in the world...considering they have vacationed in LA from Australia, Wales, Washington DC, Canada, Iowa, and beyond! And many of them have joined us to play tourists in their own city! They have made my job so incredibly pleasurable, to express my gratitude here seems like such a small token of appreciation.

Take my group a couple Saturdays ago, for instance. Some of them were from 'the (San Fernando) Valley' and humorously reminded me more than once that 112 was "cool" compared to their neighborhood. They came equipped with mini- and not-so-mini- spray misters, and kept all willing guests 'misted' and cooled off, and extended that free, generous service to me as well. As usual, we sat outside, we were sometimes welcomed indoors, we were in the sun, we were in the shade, and devil-may-care ... everything was more than fine with them. What a fabulous group!

Same deal this last weekend. It was a little cooler, but not much. Groups of 12 and 13, each person more enthusiastic, kind, complimentary, patient, cool-and-collected, than the last. We waited a long time for the bus at the end of the tour, postponing what relief I thought they'd be craving. No problem. We laughed and chatted more, they eagerly asked for what else there was to do in LA that would be this much fun.

It blew me away!

A lovely couple from Las Vegas joined us last Friday. She was a wringer for Serena Williams (and, we all liked her better). The first question he couldn't wait to ask me right at the beginning of the tour, was if I had a restaurant where they could go and eat, after the tour!? No, I was sorry to say, but I suggested that if they still liked me after the tour (I wasn't sure I'd even like me, lol!), and some of my recipe suggestions, maybe they'd like to come to my home for dinner!

Another wonderful young man was visiting LA for the very first time and told me this was one of the very best experiences of his entire visit. He can't wait to come back to LA because now he loves it so much.

Another young lady from the East Coast got very badly lost on buses trying to find her way, and didn't catch up with our tour until it was nearly over. When I told my group to kindly take care of her while I went to order another sample for her, by the time I returned they had broken out all of the leftovers they were toting and shared them all with her, telling her all the stories she'd missed. Afterward she and I spent one-on-one time around Farmers Market and I made sure she had both the Bob's donut she missed earlier, and everything she needed to carry on and enjoy the rest of her time in LA...which she ended up extending another 4 days.

There was the beautiful young woman earlier this year who told me the story of how she was named for Racquel Welch.

a few of the girls on a food tasting tour eating cheese

There was a four-generation family who all came to town for a graduation and made my tour a party of their own!

Another big Irish family

Another big Irish family, whose members had flown in from all over the map (Ireland, Scotland, France, NYC), enjoyed the tour immensely and, because they were staying at a big beach house, they stocked up on all the groceries I recommended for their family bbq that night. Their menu included a big box of Bob's donuts for dessert!

An adorable couple from Perth, Australia, also endured intense heat and smiled, laughed, and were profoundly grateful for the experience from beginning to end.

It would take a very long time to cite everyone who joined my tours and touched my life over the last 14 months, even in a mere blog post. So kindly forgive me if you are reading and I have appeared to overlook you because in truth, I have not taken any of this for granted.

I love to say that my work is really about meeting the angels in LA and introducing them to each other. As a native and now an ambassador of my great city, it is a post I take very seriously, responsibly and, with gratitude and great joy.

LA is a big city and it can be overwhelming to find one's way, it's true. But just because a place is big, doesn't mean its visitors don't deserve old-world, authentic, sincere hospitality.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone who came to visit felt like the young man who can't wait to return to our City of Angels because he felt so welcomed and just loves it here so much?

I think it would.

Til next time, I remain your Tour Maestra,

Diane Scalia

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