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Local Food Adventures owner Lauren Herpich talks about the local East Bay food scene with Aubrey Aquino, host of Comcast Hometown Network‘s CHN-NOW.

Many thanks to our food tour stops who supplied us with some yummy tastings to share with Aubrey on the set:


Aquino: Welcome back to CHN-NOW. Joining us for our Up Close interview telling us about the best way to tour the East Bay food scene is Lauren Herpich.

Herpich: Thanks for having me.

Aquino: So first of all, tell me about these Local Food Adventures that you’re doing.

Herpich: Yeah. Well, I have a series of guided walking food tours throughout the East Bay, predominantly in the Rockridge and Grand Lake neighborhoods in Oakland and then this summer starting in Lafayette with my Eat Stay Love Lafayette food tour since we live there now.

Aquino: So how did you come up with the idea? Are you a foodie? Do you have a food background?

Herpich: I love food, but actually my background is in campus tours. I was a campus tour guide in college, but I never thought I would give tours as a profession. After I graduated from the University of Arizona, I went off, had my career and then wound up in Chicago where I was getting my masters degree at Northwestern. And while I was there I was looking for a part-time job. So I went on Craigslist and saw a listing for a food tour guide (Definitely check out Chicago Food Planet when you’re in the Windy City!) and said “this looks like the job for me.” So I got the job in Chicago and I was doing that for three years. Kept doing tours while I had a corporate job; sixty hour a week, sixty-hour work weeks and then kept doing tours on the weekend because I loved it so much. I met my husband. We got married. We moved out here to the Bay Area and we landed in Rockridge. Rockridge, for anyone who knows Rockridge is such a great food scene. But it’s a quiet neighborhood that probably people outside the Bay Area probably wouldn’t know about. So my husband said, “you know what, you should start a food tour. Why not?” So I said, “Why not!” So I started knocking on my favorite places, restaurants that I know had a great story. What I wanted to showcase was sort of this neighborhood heritage that almost every neighborhood out there has a cool story and you can tell that story through food.

Aquino: Wow. So I guess it’s a tour that’s going to fill you up, in more ways … with knowledge and your tummy. So talk a little about these tours. I know you brought a sampling of what you might find on a tour.

Herpich: Yeah. So I figured I’d be a terrible tour guide if I didn’t bring food with me. So I brought some things from sort of each of my tours. So the first thing I’ll show you is amazing cheese. It’s a Toma Point Reyes Farmstead cheese. It’s paired with an apricot. That you can taste at Rockridge Market Hall. That’s one of the stops on my Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage tour. They are a fantastic marketplace. They are the Bay Area’s first European-style marketplace. So before the Ferry Building is how it is today, you had Market Hall. They’re actually celebrating their 30th year this year. So, I don’t know if you want to try, Aubrey. But I cut a piece of Toma and have a little dried apricot pairing.

Aquino: It looks delicious.

Herpich: It’s a really good buttery cheese. People on our tours really love it and especially you have that sweetness with the apricot and the saltiness of the cheese.

Aquino: This is really good.

Herpich: So we love sharing that with our guests.

Aquino: So you really get into the wine, the cheeses … um, it’s all kinds of food. Are there different types of tours depending on your interest.

Herpich: So yeah, my tours are a combination of restaurants, marketplaces like Market Hall, also just specialty shops. We also go to a butcher shop so I’ll let your guests try to imagine what you would eat at a butcher shop on a food tour. But I guarantee you that it’s very tasty. And I also do ice cream tours. So that one we started about two years ago. I was pregnant with my son and I was kind of getting into a kid mode and I said, “you know what it would kind of be cool to expand this for families. What do families love? What do kids of all ages love?” Ice cream. So I have an hour ice cream tour with three stops and that’s also in Rockridge as well.

Aquino: So what has been the response been like to the tours in the East Bay because you think of wine and cheese and you think you have to go to Napa, Sonoma or if you think, you know, just other culinary dishes you think you have to go to San Francisco?

Herpich: Yeah, you know Oakland and the East Bay has an amazing food scene and you see that not just in Oakland, but in Lafayette where I have my tour and where I live, and also Walnut Creek. Most of my guests are from the East Bay themselves so that’s why it’s a Local Food Adventure. I really want this to be for locals. It really is about exploring those places that are just in your backyard. You don’t have to go too far to try new food. And so you can have a good time right there.

Aquino: Alright, Lauren, so thank you so much for bringing all this. And real quick, you said it’s for all ages. You have something for everyone. I mean, you can find out on the website.

Herpich: Yes, localfoodadventures.com. Tours run mostly on the weekends. We do private tours during the week. They’re great for corporate team building. So if you’re looking to get out with your coworkers. Also, we do a lot of summer camps for that ice cream tour. So, kids love the ice cream. Adults love the ice cream. But yeah, it’s fun. It’s really for anybody. You don’t have to be a total foodie to enjoy a food tour.

Aquino: Alright, all levels of food knowledge?

Herpich: All levels of food knowledge.

Aquino: People will be surprised.

Herpich: Absolutely. And you know what, even people with dietary restrictions. I mean, my ice cream tour, a lot of people say, “I can’t do an ice cream tour. I’m lactose intolerant.” Well, we do soy ice cream as an ice cream alternative. We do nut allergy alternatives. We also cater to vegetarians. So if you have a restriction. I want this tour for about anyone who is just interested in food, interested in about local history and just wants to have a good time. So, that’s really what I’m about.

Aquino: Lauren Herpich of Local Food Adventures, I want to thank you so much for joining us.

Herpich: Thanks for having me.

Aquino: Sounds amazing.

Herpich: It’s fun.

Aquino: And that’s going to do it for this edition of CHN-NOW. Thanks for joining us and have a wonderful week.

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Food Tours Offered:

Join us on guided cultural walking food tours through Oakland and the East Bay! We take you on unique food tours to learn more about the area’s history, present-day excitement and taste its growing food culture:

Discover your local yummy by booking your Local Food Adventure today!

Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage Food Tour - Local Food Adventures

Sundays at 11:00 am
3 hours – 6 stops
Guest Price: $80
*add Why Not Adventurer option: $15

Grand Lake Cultural Cuisine Food Tour - Local Food Adventures

Saturdays at 3:00 pm
2 hours – 4 stops
Guest Price: $65
*add Why Not Adventurer option: $15

Eat Stay Love Lafayette Food Tour - Local Food Adventures

Last Saturday of Every Month at 11:00 am
2 hours – 5 stops
Adults: $65; Kids 12 & younger: $50
*add Why Not Adventurer option: $10

Rockridge Ice Cream & Gelato Tour - Local Food Adventures

Summer Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 pm – June through October
1 hours – 3 stops
Adults: $20; Kids 12 & younger: $15

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (510) 604-6546 up to two hours* prior to the start of the tour.

*Bookings for the Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage Food Tour will be accepted up until three hours prior to the start of the tour.

Private Group Food Tours

Can’t find a public tour date that works for your schedule, inquire about booking a Private Group Tour!