Micro-Size me!

In a world obsessed with big plate sizes there’s a trend that seems destined to stay. I’m sure you’ve heard of small plates or Tapas. In Europe, namely Spain, where Tapas comes from, the plates are even smaller than the American version….but at least it’s a start.

There the meal is an event itself. With friends, a sort of moveable meal where you enjoy the time visiting….nibbling a bit from one plate and then perhaps moving on to the next location and doing it again. By time you’re done for the evening you have the total of one normal meal over a long period of time.

A slice of cheese and salami, a variety of crudo vegetables, a hot panni shared, a few bites of a sumptuous pasta dish and finally a bite of decadent dessert. Each of the plates are about the size of a butter dish and all are shared with the group of friends.

The Spanish are by no means the only ones. We recall a first trip to an alpine country where we experienced fondue. Presented with one small plate of: a couple of veggies, a tiny piece of meat, a few cubes of bread and some fruit; all on one plate. The night progressed as we shared the fondue pot cooking our bites and enjoying the company. The first thought was this must be the appetizer. Actually, this was the entire meal. And surprisingly by the end of the night we were full!

In Britain we were invited to supper at some new friends home one evening. After visiting awhile we were taken in to the dining room while a plate of fruit and cheese was brought out. Thinking this was a European appetizer we shared the selection of wonderful cheeses and variety of fruit. Before we knew it the time had flown and we were leaving.

On the way home we commented that was an odd meal. Later we learned that the main meal of the day was at mid-day and was provided by the employer. The evening meal was simple plates of a variety of items like we had and always shared.

Hum… sounds a bit like what we do on our adventures…. With friends, a sort of moveable meal where you enjoy the time visiting….nibbling a bit from one plate and then perhaps moving on to the next location and doing it again. By time you’re done you have the total of one normal meal over a period of time. We even add the enjoyment of some great street art and ‘taste’ other things too while we weave it all together with historic stories of the neighborhood.

Sound like fun? Well, why not try it out this Saturday morning as we step out in the hip Tower neighborhood on our Taste the Tower adventure. We include multiple stops for small plates at local eateries. Just $49pp and if you book online you can save 50%
So, get a few friends together and make it a fun day!

Welcome back!

We’re so excited about the re-opening of Ironbrid cafe. We’ve missed our old friend while those in charge worked through their problems and came out under new ownership.

The re-emergence of IronBird cafe brings new and interesting things like a cold brew coffee system that takes 6 days to work its magic, Turkish coffee, Vietnamese coffee and a new menu of other delights.

So, why not join us for a moring stroll through the cultural art district while we explore the murals, history and food of the neighborhood? There’s so much to the area we bet you don’t know….
Save $5 and book online at Brown Paper Tickets today.

Wurlitzer in the White

Truman White, a pioneer raisin grower and businessman, built the 1,500-seat White Theater downtown on Broadway St in 1912. Already having built the Pleasanton Hotel next to the theater site in the 1880’s, White was one of the backers who built the Hotel Fresno in 1910. Like most fellow pioneer gentlemen of the day, White was very active in the community serving as president of the first raisin cooperative in the state, on the County Board of Supervisors and helped organize the First National Bank of Fresno.

Considered one of the finest theaters in California, the four-story, brick-and-timber theater cost an astonishing $150,000 to build. The theater featured ornate box seats and was known for its excellent acoustics and was used as an opera house.

The local Musical Club sponsored concerts there while the Theater League brought in plays and performers. Even The Great Orpheum Vaudeville added the White Theater on its circuit. A short list of performers who played the White Theater included the Isadora Duncan Dancers, violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz, contralto Marian Anderson, composer and bandleader John Philip Sousa, Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, humorist Will Rogers, the Marx Brothers, entertainer George M. Cohan, singer and actor Eddie Cantor and husband-and-wife comedy team George Burns and Gracie Allen.

When White died in 1936 his son assumed ownership. In 1940, the White Theater was converted to a movie house. On opening night, the double feature was a double feature of Too Many Husbands, starring Jean Arthur, Fred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas, and Spawn of the North with Dorothy Lamour and George Raft.

The 60’s era ushered in new owners who thought a Nude-O-Rama show for “real girl watchers” was in order. By 1965, police shut down the theater and arrested five people for displaying obscene material. The theater was torn down in 1966 to make way for a diagonal street between Tuolumne and H streets.

The theatre had a retrofit Wurlitzer organ that came from the old Barton Opera House. Not a note has been played on it since it was removed from the White Theater in the early 60’s. That organ still exists and is owned by a Northern California instrument collector.

Happy New Year!

May you have a New Year full of joy as you reach out to bless others.

Hope to see you some time on a walking adventure!

New Year resolutions

The New Year brings all sorts of lists and predictions so we thought we’d chime in with our own local view. Here’s the way we see things happening for 2012 around town and around the world:

Never shop or eat alone again

Families may be smaller these days but the rise of food blogs fills a void for group food experiences. Food trucks tweet their locations and flash-food raves assemble underground at midnight. It’s not just about the food; it’s about connection, conversation and a sense of community.

Continued emphasis on the farm to fork journey
We have become increasingly interested in knowing where our food comes from. We’ve seen “buy local” become an important food trend; now we get to meet the people who are the farmers, ranchers and the mom & pop places that craft plates using their fresh wares.

Ethnic food revolution trucks on
Food trucks continue to replace gourmet and specialty stores as a way to discover new food experiences, especially when it comes to ethnic foods. Truck operators with ethnic roots are able to share the heritage and romance of their culture’s food, a way to ‘travel’ close to home.

A Taste of Culture with our food
A primary driving force in travel these days, particularly among Baby Boomers, are experiences that focus on culinary tastes with a dash of culture.

Hummmm… culled from across the net, the list looks like a walking taste adventure hits the mark in many ways. Connectedness, local artisans creating delicious plates and a way to travel the world locally, all wrapped up with a bit of culture and art too.
And let’s not forget many people’s New Years resolution, to exercise more…. So there you have it. Walking taste tours are a cutting edge way to bring a fun tasty adventure into your life!

We hope to see YOU on a tour some time soon and wish you the best for the coming year.