by Sheila O’Connor

One of the best ways to see the San Francisco is by bus, but have you ever thought of eating your way through the city? It’s a novel approach and one of the best ways you can get to know the City by the Bay.

Local Tastes of the City conducts off-the-beaten-track walking tours that can be enjoyed by epicurians of all ages and with most physical limitations. Each of Local Tastes of the City’s adventures explores a neighborhood in San Francisco, a city considered one of the culinary capitals of the world. The tour takes you to local bakeries, restaurants, and cafés, where you can sample the food while you hear about the local history. The guides know the restaurants because they’re the same places they like to eat!

With Local Tastes of the City, you get to visit eateries in the hidden corners of the city, allowing you to get to know the flavor of each neighborhood—just like a local. Leave plenty of room, though, because you’ll be eating a lot. (Forget breakfast!)

Local Tastes of the City offers five walking-tour adventures: Chinatown, North Beach, Golden Gate Park, the Haight, and Fisherman’s Wharf. All the tours include tastings along the way and an optional full meal at the end, all in the corresponding neighborhood.

Our tour took us through North Beach with Tom Medin, tour director and one of the founders of the company. In North Beach, we were greeted by the smell of fresh-baked bread, and we sampled some delicious Italian loaves. Then it was on to a café to enjoy brews made from fresh coffee beans, roasted daily. (they won’t do it any other way; to ensure that their coffee is fresh, the café has a huge grinder right there on the premises.) Next, we learn the history of an Italian cathedral that has served as the site of hundreds of weddings. And if you want to know where Bill Cosby, Phyllis Diller, Barbara Streisand and the Grateful Dead got their start, you’ll be intrigued by the Purple Onion, where you can stand on the very stage where these icons once performed.

The three-hour tour includes some of the best coffee, pastries, bread, and other treats to be found in San Francisco. If you manage to have room left for lunch, you can enjoy a full-course meal, complete with wine and dessert, at one of San Francisco’s top-rated Italian restaurants. We were so full with all the tastings that we had to take a rain check on lunch and return another day. It was definitely worth it!

Local Tastes of the City literally is a way to eat your way through San Francisco. And the city is delicious!

Cost for the tour was $69 plus an additional $20 for lunch.

Local Tastes of the City tours: t 888.358.TOUR (8687)

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