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Sacramento’s Local Roots Food Tours are a fun way to experience Sacramento’s culinary scene by sampling different restaurants and learning new recipes, like homemade pasta noodles.
The tours began in February, and were created by Lisa Armstrong who is the owner and only tour guide at the moment.
“My first experience on a food tour was in Seattle,” Armstrong said. “After coming home from Seattle I couldn’t stop thinking about how much fun I had and what a great idea it would be to put together a tour for a city like Sacramento.”
At 11:15 a.m. on a Tuesday, Armstrong conducted her first official three hour tour with a group that included eight people.
“We are hoping to attract anyone who likes to eat, who likes to have fun meeting people: chefs, store owners and individuals who would like to learn more about the culture of Sacramento,” Armstrong said.
The group started the tour with a meet-and-greet at César Chávez Park in front of the fountain.
After introductions, Armstrong announced that the group would be sampling foods from seven different locations including Shine Coffeehouse, Sugar and Spice Speciality Desserts, Sampino’s Towne Foods and 524 Mexican Restaurant.
“Our tour locations vary anywhere from a farm-to-table upscale restaurant to a small and special bistro to a funky coffeehouse off the beaten path to a mom and pop deli market,” Armstrong said.
The second location was 524 Mexican Restaurant on 12th Street, where owner Jose Gomez served the tourists Albondigas, a fresh daily soup with meatballs, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and rice in a tomato broth.
“This restaurant is over 100 years old, and a lot of the recipes are from the 1950s,” Gomez said.
In addition to 524, the tour also stopped at Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts on F and 10th streets.
Carissa Jones, who owns the bakery, allowed the tourists to sample chocolate-covered mints and cream puffs.
“I started this bakery because it’s a great opportunity to offer people something other than just cakes,” Jones said.
The tour also includes several different historical neighborhoods such as Alkali Flat and Mansion Flats.
“We pause here and there to talk about a particular house or some funky fact about a person who lived in the home at some point,” Armstrong said.
The Sterling Hotel, Charles Lai Mansion, Sacramento International Hostel, Hubbard-Upson House and the Governor’s Mansion are just a few of the historical homes that are a part of the tour.
“George Pardee was the first governor who lived in the mansion,” Armstrong said. “It was built in 1877 and is now being used by the state and public for ceremonies and events.”
Armstrong said she received most of the historical information from the Sacramento Room located within Sacramento’s Central Library where she spent several hours of researching and reading publications. She also was able to find some history by talking with the locals in the communities where the tours pass through.
“Now I know about places I can go to when I come to Sacramento,” said guest Anne Winbush, who lives in Lathrop, but works in Sacramento.
“My favorite stop was Ambrosia Café I liked the southern red velvet cupcake samples. They were delicious and are one of my favorite cakes.”
Armstrong said that Local Roots Food Tours works closely with local farms, vineyards, orchards and businesses that promote farm-to-table food in their restaurants and supports other local businesses.
Tours are conducted every week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but will be expanded by this summer to offer more times and days.
“We plan on offering food tours in Midtown, as well as local farms and vineyards in the upcoming months” Armstrong said.
Tickets are $58 and can be purchased here.
The next tour will be on Saturday, April 2, at 11:15 a.m.