Whats a Tour Guide to do?

(When last we checked in, I was saying how we are days behind on a web update)….I have a conference call with the web guys followed by several hours of edits.
Afternoon: Wednesday is organization day in my office. And since I woke up feeling a little stressed and frazzled by my lack of food rations at home, I think organization can only help. The month is nearing its end, it is time to update the dominant engine that drives our office: The Big Dry Erase Board.
Evening: A day of dates, details and difficult web edits can be so discouraging and I could use a laugh. And thankfully Rogue Festival starts around town. Tonight seems a splendid night for a little something silly. The lively and lovely Lindsay sells me on the cross promotion of my tours and her comedy shows. My stressful day falls seamlessly to the sidelines. Lindsay and I strike a great deal — suspecting my foodie fans might find Rogue’s comedy an equally delectable feast. rogue

ThursdayColor Me Happy
8:55am: I wake up in panic fearing I will be late to work. It’s five minutes to 9. Then remember I have the day off. and yet each and every Thursday I have the same heart pounding panic attack.
A few hours later: I meet my tour guide, former roommate and friend (that’s all one person) Nancy. Nancy is an excellent tour guide and a talented singer. We’re off to walk and talk on this soggy day. ladies-out-walking-tate-hamilton
7pm: There’s one meeting that I hate to miss: my weekly Weight Watchers meeting. When you do dinners out for work as much as I do, and especially after my year-long binge while designing our newest Food Tour, you need to figure out a way to reign it in. This way works. I love Weight Watchers’ old school approach with its equally modern and relevant ideas. I love walking into a room full of people all seeking a satisfying meal paired with a slender silhouette. I love the old lady who talks about things just seemingly off topic but them reveals some great pearl of age acquired wisdom in the weight department. And I love that this week I am down 1.6 lbs which means… I reached my goal. My Food Tour research pounds are gone and then some. And I stay loyal, week in and week out, to the one “diet” that actually worked after all my crazy juice fast frenzies had failed.

FridayNeed Some Lovin
7:30am: Up and excited to get to work. After a full day off, I suffer slight withdrawal. I miss my foodie friends and could use a hug from a sweet chef or a handsome host. Thankfully Friday is field day for me. I’m out of the office almost all day and off to foster my friendships with each establishment on the tour. I genuinely feel a kinship with these kitchen kings and queens and I love that About Town Taste tours has the ability to share their tasteful talents with our tourists.
9:30am – 12:00pm: I’m off to the famous Frosted Cakery. It’s a great day: Beverly & Megan, mother daughter baking duo, are here in the bakery and they’ve got a few minutes to spare for me. They remind me of my mom a bit – but will a full deck of decadent desserts at her disposal. We catch up for a while. They give me a little piece of chocolate and gently remind me: “Just one.” Frosted Cakery
12pm: Back to the office for lots of emails from customers and private tour requests.
4pm – 8pm: The very best part of my week has arrived. I’m off to visit the owners and managers of all the restaurants on our other food tours around town. I place all my food orders for tomorrow’s tours and use this as a chance to catch up and check on the tours and see how seamlessly they are running. I also love this part of my day because I am in awe of restaurant workers. I love these people — the ones that do this dinner dance in their dimly lit spaces as diners soak up that eternal evening energy.
Later that night: On my way to meet the boss I stop at Pinot Wine Bar to drop off my food orders for tomorrow. Pinot Wine SignEvery week I see the same man, sitting on the same bench, in front of the same shop. I don’t know his name. He speaks little English and wears a hearing aide. Every time I pass by he gives me a nod and a smile as is we have been friends for a lifetime.
Dinnertime: I engage in a regular Friday ritual, dinner with my boss and Erick (our friend, neighbor and colleague at About Town Taste). We dine at the most basic and nondescript spots in an effort to get away from all the fancy food and fine dining. Throughout the planning of our tours, these dinner dates and taste tests revolved around each of the neighborhood tours. It was (and is) a much-loved ritual.

Saturday- Winter Weather Advisory
7:30am: I wake up to winter wind advisory on TV News. Gusts and blowing, icy wind expected. What might be normal non-important small talk for some is make-or-break for our walking tours. A weather warning worries me and I wonder what alternative tour routes I can come up with: Skip the park even though it has loads of art, linger at the Galleria longer since they have multiple eateries in one space for the tastings, do your overview in the sunshine, make sure your tour attendees are warm enough and happy and that no downed trees are in their food-laden path. cold day tour
9:00am: Saturday is our busiest day with several tours all occurring around midday. My job on Saturday is to hang out in front of The Pacific Building (our meeting location and tasting spot on our Urban Taste adventure tour this week) and greet the early arrivals and the latecomers so the tour guides can focus on what they do best.
11:00am: I chat with Nancy about the weather scenario and give her a few tips for which streets are safer to do her tour overview today.
11:30am: I race from one neighborhood to the next to greet the tour attendees on tour. I race back to Fulton to…12:15pm: Greet a gaggle of girls that I set up with one of our Private Food Tours. It’s a bachelorette party but thankfully, a relatively tame one. Moms and Aunts and sisters and friends — all eating their way down Olive Ave with Erick, my guide, at the helm.
4:30pm: Quick visit with a special friend before he starts his evening shift. Then back to my apartment. Rest.

Liquid Poetry

Looking at retirement, Daniel Renteria decided to venture into the world of wine; wine bars, tasting rooms, vineyards, and wineries. “I met some interesting people whose eyes lit up when they discussed picking grapes, making wines, and of course drinking wine. I could hear the passion in their voice. I also felt a sense of fulfillment as they described their own experience with wine”, shared Daniel.

Stories told a thousand times were expressed as though it was their first moment of discovery.

There is something about wine that is hard to explain. Yes, Mother Nature does her share of the work. It is also knowing that the wine maker develops an instinct of knowing when to harvest the grapes and then adding their personal touch making the wine their own. Daniel learned that “the wine maker is a weatherman, a chemist, a poet, and one who understands the journey of wine from the vineyard to the bottle.” This is the magic of wine that only the wine maker knows.

After learning and experiencing this passion, Daniel wanted to bring the same passion and poetry of wine to the Tower District, and greater Fresno. Pinot Wine Bar and Bistro features excellent wines as well as creative and delicious bistro bites. “Our focus was on preparing exceptional food and handmade desserts. And, knowing that not everyone is a wine lover, we offer craft beers”.

Pinot also features melodic local artisans many a night and during the summer they even have movie nights on the patio, weekly. Between Chef Martin’s delicious plates and Pinot’s excellent wine line up (not to mention affordable prices), Pinot Wine Bar and Bistro is a favorite stop on our Tower Art Taste walking adventure the 4th Saturday of the month. Come along and taste some poetry as we step out on 9/22
Advance tickets are a must…. So go to BrownPaperTickets.com today!

A Voice from the Past

Thomas Edison came up with a way to play back recorded sound in 1878. But 20 years before the inventor patented the phonograph, French scientist Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville was fiddling around in his laboratory trying to come up with a way to record sound. The science of acoustics was in its infancy. His achievements were long-forgotten until a group of historians, audio engineers and scientists searched for his work.

“His machine would capture the vibrations out of the air and write them on to a moving piece of paper,” said David Giovannoni, one of the founders of First Sounds. “When you look at the writing that this machine made, it looks exactly like a sound wave would look on audio editing software today.”

Analyzing Martinville’s work with audio software, they unlocked the sound held in the waveforms. The result is like listening to a ghostly time machine, the voice of a man from 150 years ago singing French song “Au Clair de la lune.” The earliest known sound recordings can be heard at http://www.firstsounds.org.
Nearly 20 years after Scott de Martinville experimented with recording his voice in Paris, Edison perfected a way to record and play back audio at his laboratory in New Jersey. His invention would spark a new industry, the recording business.

A new window onto history was recently opened up at Edison’s laboratory in NJ. As the place was undergoing renovations, someone discovered a long-forgotten box containing cylinder recordings. Now the group is researching the earliest recordings ever made!
As we like to say: You never know what/when history reveals itself.

On our next adventure through the hippest neighborhood in town, the Taste the Tower adventure will include a stop at Spinners where you can put your hands on many of rocks oldies. Better hurry because our half-off special is fading fast. Purchase your tickets on BrownPaperTickets.com!

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!

New Friends in Tower

Exciting things have been taking Place in the Tower District lately.
Businesses now and old are thriving and we explore the neighborhood this coming Saturday. How does a taste of an Arabian magic carpet ride sound?

At Meze House we stop in for some delicious, and artful, tastes; while at FreeBird you’ll think youve stepped back in time with their tie die clothes and vintage items. Twee Boutique always has something crafty and original to choose from. And we’re so excited about Pinto Wine bar too!

The newest addition to the hip neighborhood, Pinot, offers our tours a taste sample of their great family boutique wines.

Join us this weekend for an adventure as we tread into and through the hippest area of town. Saturday 11a-1p.
Tickets a must and we give you a discount if you do! Go to Brown Paper Tickets.com and click away!