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Dishcrawl San Jose


Dishcrawl is a new company that hosts walking food tours in select cities across the Bay Area. I love a good food tour where you get to sample new and unique eats. Mike and I decided to go on the San Jose crawl on Tuesday June 28, 2011 at 7pm. Each crawl features 4 destinations.

Our night started off at Billy Berk’s large outdoor seating area where we checked in and got our dishcrawl team assignment (we began as one large group then split into 2 smaller 30+ person groups). We stayed here 1 hour and were able to have cocktails (not included in price) and sampled Billy’s American fare which included very good flatbreads and so-so fried¬†zucchini.

Next we walked to¬†House of Siam a Thai restaurant maybe 2 blocks away. After we took off our shoes (thank goodness I wore socks!) we were seated and ate a plate of fried sweet potatoes, a pickled salad and a spicy chicken curry (I think….we were not given any formal description of what we were eating). We were here for 45 minutes which left plenty of time (maybe too much)¬†to chit chat with our fellow crawlers.

Then we were off to the Eat On Monday food truck which was parked a few blocks away to nosh on fried pork sandwiches with wasabi slaw, beef tacos and churros with strawberry sauce. This was our favorite spot of the night.

Last stop was the Dishcrawl San Jose office to nibble on¬†Li’l Puffs Artisan marshmallows¬†(they don’t have a storefront). They served up mini smore’s cupcakes as well as marshmallows.

The evening lasted about 2.5 hours and was co-hosted with LikeList who gave us some cool parting gifts (tshirts/flashlights).¬†The Dishcrawl organizers are young, energetic and ready to have a good time. The majority of the people on our tour were in their 20’s to early 30’s but there were a handful of older folks like us. Although outnumbered we didn’t feel out of place. Overall it was a fun time.

The only drawback I see is that they don’t let you know where you are going until the last minute – if at all. In the first few months they were good about telling you what restaurants you were visiting but now they don’t say anything until maybe 4 days before. If you watch their twitter feed you might find a couple hints. I don’t know about you but I’m not interested in crawling to a bunch of places I’ve already been so I didn’t order our tickets until 2 days before the event.

They seems to add new cities and states every month so there is bound to be a Dishcrawl you would like to check out. I look forward to seeing what they have planned for Saratoga, Mike’s old stomping grounds.

Website: http://www.dishcrawl.com/

Our night in pics:

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Washington DC Night Lights Tour

I know this has nothing to do with food but I wanted to share a cool tour we took of Washington DC at night. If you get a chance I would highly recommend the tour company OnBoard. They specialize in small tour groups (25-30 people) and if you’ve been to any monument in DC you should recognize that this is a major benefit. Most tour groups we saw were 50+ deep and forget about hearing what the guide had to say off the bus (if they even got off the bus) because there are hundreds of people (mainly loud kids) roaming around each site. This was a 3 hour tour (7-10pm) that flew by because it was filled with interesting information and even though a thunder/lightning rain STORM came pouring down on us we still had a great time. If you’re in DC for a short time this is the way to go to see it all!


*sorry the pics aren’t super clear but the rain made things difficult

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory Tour

chocolatefactory

Mike and I headed off to Berkeley to take the Scharffen Berger Chocolate factory tour. Scharffen Berger is a boutique chocolatier specializing in dark chocolate. Don’t expect a wild Willy Wonka adventure but a low key highly informative romp through the chocolate making process from bean to bar. This isn’t something for the small kiddies as 90% is spent sitting listening to a verbal presentation while looking at old laminated pieces of paper (super low-tech but interesting). The last 10% is allocated for the tour of the facility. Unfortunately we went on a day in which no chocolate was being made so none of the equipment was in use but still cool to see.

mike

NO HAIR IN THE CHOCOLATE! Mike with his hairnets

Throughout the FREE, 1-hour tour we got to sample 5 different chocolates! My favorite was the milk chocolate something Scharffen Berger just began to produce due to public demand. Even though we didn’t see a river of chocolate or any umpa lumpas we still had a great time.

UPDATE:¬† Sad news…I just saw online that the live tours have been discontinued and it was announced that Hersey’s is closing the factory sometime this year. We must of been one of the last groups through. Scharffen Berger was bought by Hersey’s in 2005. They say they plan to move operations out of California to save money. You can still take the virtual tour.
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Del Dotto Wine Caves

We have been going to Napa for many years. For the first time we decided to check out the Del Dotto Cave Experience & Barrel Tasting as it was recommended by a friend. The tour starts off with some history about the winery owner, some background about the caves and info on the different kinds of oak barrels. A guide then takes you into the caves and you taste their red wines directly from the barrel. Following the barrel tasting you return to the winery and sample a few bottled wines along with chocolate truffles and cheese. Our guide was fun and knowledgeable and the wines were good. The tour lasted 1 ¬Ĺ hours. You taste over 15 different wines so be prepared to be buzzed!

Tip: Make a reservation, not a walk-in situation ($40 per person)

Website: http://www.deldottovineyards.com/

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