GRAND AVENUE, WEST OF 580 – February 2017
This month’s blog describes the new Grand Lake Cultural Cuisine Tour presented by Local Food Adventures. The next tour will be on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m.
At 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 28, Lauren McCabe Herpich, owner of Local Food Adventures, cheerfully greeted one sleepy toddler in a stroller and six eager adults at the Lake Merritt Colonnade to begin the first Grand Lake Cultural Cuisine Tour. Following brief introductions, Lauren described her three goals for this activity:
- To leave guests neither stuffed nor starving.
- To share some historic knowledge about the area.
- To have fun.
Started in 2014, Local Food Adventures is a guided cultural food tour company that celebrates the history, present-day excitement and food culture of Oakland. Lauren, an East Bay working mom, believes in supporting local businesses and the community. She and her husband are frequent volunteers at the Alameda County Community Food Bank where every donated dollar is turned into $6 of food. Local Food Adventures donates one dollar from every ticket sale to the Alameda County Community Food Bank and supports other non-profit organizations through a fundraising partnership program that helps local nonprofit organizations raise money for their programs.
The new 2 ½-hour Grand Lake Cultural Cuisine Food Tour is added to Local Food Adventures’ other offerings, a 3-hour Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage Food Tour and a 1-hour Rockridge Ice Cream & Gelato Tour. “Because of the success with our tours in Rockridge and Grand Lake’s growing restaurant popularity, starting a tour in the Grand Lake neighborhood seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue our mission to provide something fun to do in the East Bay for locals and visitors alike,” said Lauren. As her business has grown, she has added three more tour guides.
The Grand Lake Cultural Cuisine Tour offered a guided “trip around the world” with samplings at six culinary stops. Lauren and the business owners provided background information at every tour location. The first two stops were at enterprises previously featured in Grand Avenue., West of 580 columns, Barlago Italian Kitchen and Oaktown Spice Shop. At Barlago, guests shared plates of two hearty appetizers, then proceeded next door to Oaktown Spice. There Javier provided an aromatic and tasty tour of spices — including his favorite, chilies. As the walk continued, Lauren added remarks about the two murals under the 580 overpass, Grand Lake Theatre, Lake Merritt Bakery (previously the Kwik Way Drive-In), Splash Pad Park, and the Grand Lake Farmers’ Market. The next food stop was on Lakeshore at Colonial Donut, a family-owned donut shop in the classic California style that is open 24 hours every day. The final two stops were on Grand Avenue at neighborhood newcomer Qi Dumpling Lounge where guests sampled several small plates, and La Parisienne where each guest enjoyed a French pastry for dessert.
Anticipate that the participating businesses may vary over time, and the abundance of cultures and cuisines offered in the neighborhood may lead to Grand Lake Cultural Cuisine Food Tour versions A, B and C in the future.
“Our tours provide East Bay locals something fun to do,” Herpich says, “but also help introduce our guests to the local businesses that make our community the special place that it is.” Participants at the first Grand Lake tour included people from Union City and Walnut Creek who experienced the neighborhood for the first time, as well as locals touring in their own backyard. As the group dispersed, guests planned when to return to use the coupons included with their reservations and to further explore the Grand Lake neighborhood.
For more information and to book a public or private tour, go to www.localfoodadventures.com or call 510-604-6546. All participation requires a reservation and all payment must be made in advance by credit card.
Lauren McCabe Herpich – Owner
Local Food Adventures