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Feb 15, 2010 07:28 AM

Culinary tours?

Wondering if any of you fine hounds can recommend any culinary/restaurant tours of Boston - the newer and edgier the better. Maybe with fun themes? Thank you!

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  1. I was in Salumeria Italiana recently when a walking tour came in, led by a former chef and GM I'd long admired -- Jim Becker, formerly of Rauxa and Caffe Umbra -- who was doing what looked like a very educational tour of North End shops. He provided a nice lesson on the provenance and makings of various Italian cheeses, salumi, pastas, oils, and other groceries, with pointers on how not to get fooled by cheap knockoffs. Info here: I don't know if the other guides are as good, or if you can request a tour specifically with him.

    Becker also does a Chinatown tour that I imagine would be equally worthwhile: He speaks Mandarin and Cantonese, and once taught Asian cookery at Cambridge Culinary.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      In a similar vein, there's a guy named walter rhee that posts over in the usenet group occasionally (ok, no one posts there more than occasionally anymore, it is usenet after all) that has both cooking classes and walking tours (of chinese eateries & markets) via CCAE (I think it is). If anyone is interested, you can see an archive of his usenet posts here:

      1. re: jgg13

        I believe Walter Rhee currently lives in Hawaii, though he does come back to Boston from time to time, and still does classes through CCAE when he's here.

        1. re: Allstonian

          I didn't know that's where he is, but yeah he's not here any more. His posts over the last few years about his classes always mention him coming back to do them. It seems to be once or twice a year.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. The Cambridge Center for Adult Education offers walking tours.

        This sprint they're offering tours featuring Russian food in Brookline/Brighton, a tour of the North End, Jewish food in Brookline and a day in Chinatown.

        I think these fill up really fast so there may already be waiting lists.

        1. Union Square Somerville has tours of its ethnic markets, I think through Union Square Main Streets.