"Taste It Tours" Makes a Downtown Phoenician Want to Cry
Ever find yourself thinking, "Wow, I really wish there was someone who could show me around downtown Phoenix's bustling food scene. It's all so overwhelming"?
Lauren Saria Lobster Wraps from 1130 The Restaurant
Well . . . probably not. But anyway, Taste It Tours is here to satisfy your burning curiosity about all that downtown has to offer you and your stomach. And although the company advertises "Phoenix's premier food tasting . . . walking tour," the three-hour excursion can best be summed up as a food tour, yes, but not one designed for the culinarily enlightened (a.k.a. the foodie).
The tours take diners "inside the restaurants that have impacted Downtown Phoenix's culinary scene." Developed by Jessica Combest, the company takes tour-goers to three to seven eateries. Combest, an Arizona native, decided to create her own way to share downtown culture with visitors after going on several food tours herself.
Curious, we forked over $59 for a Phoenix Walking Tour and happened to get rescheduled/upgraded to the Dine Around Tour -- a $68 value -- due to a company schedule conflict.
The tour began at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Hotel San Carlos' Ghost Lounge. After introductions and a sample of the bar's margaritas, our tour guide shared a few nuggets of the hotel's star-studded history. Admittedly, even to this local, the tour offered a surprising amount of knowledge about the buildings and history of downtown Phoenix.
At the second restaurant, Hanny's, our stopover included a visit to the creepy-doll tea party in the basement (which had gone unnoticed during my previous visits) and a peek into the burned-out elevator shaft, which, our guide told us, Phoenix firefighters used to practice their skills. For those who've spent any real time downtown, Hanny's would be a familiar point of interest, but my fellow tour-goers seemed thrilled to take in the unique building and a few pieces of their flatbread pizzas.
Lauren Saria A sampling of prosciutto, Parmesan reggiano, olives, and cantaloupe from Hanny's
202 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ