* Disclaimer: I was invited to go to the Indulgence Food Tour with Carlsbad Food Tours. Our tour tickets were complimentary. All opinions stated below are my own and I was not further compensated for this post.
At the end of January, I was invited to try out a food tour! The first food tour Jake and I ever went on was in Hawaii (that I never got around to writing about but it was fabulous) so we were excited to try one closer to home. Jake and I made the trip up to Carlsbad to attend a food tour with Carlsbad Food Tours. We’re not super familiar with Carlsbad so this was a nice way to get to know the area a bit. It took place in Carlsbad Village right off the 5.
Our tour guide for that day was Veronica, who grew up in the area and was very familiar with the history of Carlsbad.
We made 8 food related stops on our 3 hour tour of Carlsbad and we also did a few “history” stops and got to see some local murals and artwork.
1. Caldo Pomodoro
Our first stop with Carlsbad Food Tours was at Caldo Pomodoro.
We tried three dishes at Caldo Pomodoro. The first dish was their extra yummy garlic bread! The bread is full of buttery goodness and tons of garlic bits with a little hint of cheese (maybe Parm?) within its crusty walls. The marinara sauce was the perfect dip for the warm, buttery bread. They give out samples of their garlic bread to anyone who passes by – a great enticement, for sure!
We also shared a GIANT meatball that was packed with lots of goodness. The texture wasn’t my favorite, but I did like the overall flavor of the meatball.
Last but not least… artichoke dip! I don’t think any of us were thrilled with this one since it was the only item with leftovers but Veronica loves it. I tried it and honestly it didn’t strike a chord with me but it was fun to try!
2. Cicciotti’s Trattoria
Our next food stop was pretty close by at Cicciotti’s Trattoria. We all sat down at one table and were brought out these bowls of fresh tomato sauce with loaves of warm bread.
It probably doesn’t look like much but these tomatoes were incredibly fresh and flavorful!
It was the perfect topping for the warm crusty bread with lots of garlic flavor in the tomatoes.
We were also each given a small plate of ravioli with bits of sausage chunks on top of the creamy sauce. The ravioli had a luscious ricotta filling that I adored and I liked the sauce was creamy and not too heavy on top of the tender ravioli.
And to top it off, Cicciotti’s Trattoria also gave us each a slice of tiramisu! This one was like eating ice cream cake – very creamy, excellent crust, and not too strong on the espresso/coffee flavor. Very enjoyable!
3. Humble Olive Oils
The third stop with Carlsbad Food Tours was at Humble Olive Oils.
Humble Olive Oils has ultra premium extra virgin olive oils in their store front and tasting room along with a number of excellent infused olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars.
There are taps on the olive oils and vinegars so you are able to come in and sample the flavors! I was impressed with the variety they had and they white balsamic vinegar which I hadn’t tried before.
They have a number of flavors of the infused olive oils such as tuscan herb, basil, garlic, butter, persian lime, rosemary, and blood orange.
For the white balsamic vinegars, they had flavors such as ripe peach, honey ginger, grapefruit, sicilian lemon, cranberry pear, and serrano honey (plus more!). I loved the white balsamic vinegars so much that after the tour, we went back and I bought a small bottle of the peach and honey ginger and I have been using those to make my own very flavorful dressings at home. Great find and a great stop on the tour!
4. The Goods
And now it’s doughnut time! Carlsbad Food Tours has a doughnut stop on the tour at a place called The Goods.
Walking into the Goods and looking at the doughnut case filled my mind with delicious sweet thoughts as we decided which of the doughnuts to sample. Our tour guide had also prearranged for us to sample their cinnamon roll which came out a few minutes later, warm and fresh.
Doughnuts first though – this is the brown butter and sea salt.
Followed by the seasonal berry filled with house made jam.
And finally the gooey, warm cinnamon bun with cream cheese frosting.
I think I liked the cinnamon bun the best just because it was still warm when we tried it though both of the doughnuts we tried were good. It’s not my favorite doughnut in town, but they are worthy of a stop.
5. Barrel Republic
Now we come to the part in the tour that involves some alcohol! Our next stop was right next door to the Goods at Barrel Republic. They have a lot of self serve taps where you can fill up your glass on your own. We didn’t do that part but we had a couple of beer samples brought out to us while we enjoyed some more food.
We had two beer samples. I think one involved mango.
These are their Potato Barrels and they were sort of like the croquettes I’ve had in Florida – but not quite as smooth. The potato is mixed with gorgonzola and green onion and the outer crust has parmesan cheese in it. These were tasty little nuggets of fried goodness.
Finally some veggies! I had a good plateful of this Mediterranean Chopped Salad to try and balance out the carbs of the day. This was kind of like a fancier greek salad with garbanzo beans, feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, red onion, pepperoncini, and olives with a lemon tahini dressing.
Fried Pickles. Yuck. Obviously my pickle hating self did not try these but a lot of people in our tour seemed to like them.
The other beer!
Carlsbad Alkaline Water and Captain John Frazier
Luckily at this point in the Carlsbad Food Tour we did some walking to help digest a bit. I was getting full and needed a little break. We walked up to Carlsbad Alkaline Water where there is a statue of the founder of Carlsbad – Captain John Frazier.
Captain Frazier discovered mineral water on his farm which led to drilling three wells to share the “Most Healthful Water in the World”. Jake and I have been here a few times just to fill up on this water so we knew about it already but never really looked at the statue of the founder.
It was a good history lesson and a nice mini break in the tour. We got a bit more history and we looked at some murals on our way to the next food stop on the tour.
6. Señor Grubby’s
It’s a Southern California food tour so OF COURSE there has to be some Mexican food throw into the mix.
This stop comes complete with a photo op if you’re so inclined.
We had some pork adobada tacos at Señor Grubby’s and I quite enjoyed this tender taco with bits of pineapple and loads of onion and cilantro. Jake wasn’t as impressed as I was with the taco – he didn’t think the flavor was all that great but I liked it! Jake is actually really picky about adobada though whereas I’m not as picky in this particular case (haha).
7. Carlsbad Chocolate Bar
Only two stops left with the Carlsbad Food Tours!
Time to round out the tour with some desserts!
There are multiple cases of delicious looking chocolates at the Carlsbad Chocolate Bar. They also have coffee, wine, and gifts.
We each got one sample of a dark chocolate caramel with sea salt. I really liked those big pieces of flaky salt on top!
The caramel inside was rich and overall not too sweet. The sea salt on top definitely helped give this chocolate a touch of savory flavor to make it a good salty-sweet combination. I’ve discovered that I actually prefer dark chocolate now to milk chocolate. Man whoever thought I’d say that?!
8. Gelato Love
Our final stop with Carlsbad Food Tours was at Gelato Love. They had so many flavors of gelato!
We got four little sample cups with the following flavors: Vanilla & Amarena Cherry (front), Mint Chocolate (top left), Salted Caramel (top right), and Pina Colada (bottom right). My favorite was the pina colada which tasted very refreshing though all of the flavors were really yummy. They let you have more samples on a spoon, too, if you’d like to try out a bit more flavors.
Carlsbad Food Tours had a really wonderful tour with a good mix of history, artwork, and plenty of food to make you feel 110% full! There’s a nice mix of flavors plus some drinks and you can also order off any menu at the places you stop at if you want to try something else (though you have to pay for any additional items). It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially for out of towners, and great for locals, too. Jake and I had a fun time exploring and would definitely recommend the food tour.