Recently, on a press trip with Visit California, I participated in a tour with Eat This, Shoot That in Santa Barbara, and it was hands down the best walking tour I’ve ever participated in. Through the years I’ve joined in many walking tours, but what makes Eat This, Shoot That so unique is that it brings together all my favourite parts of travel in one perfect afternoon; history, architecture, food, and wine.
I am a big fan of organized tours when it comes to exploring a new city. Walking tours, in particular, are my favourite because they tend to be more micro-focused on a specific area, as opposed to a bus tour that gives a broader overview of an city. Ideally, when familiarizing yourself with any new destination, start with a bus tour, and then pick an area you want to focus on and find a walking tour in that neighbourhood.
Eat This, Shoot That offers two walking tours in Santa Barbara. The El Paseo Wine & Photo Tour explores the Presidio neighbourhood, while the Funk Zone Food & Photo Tour, takes guests to one of Santa Barbara’s trendiest new areas. Our group met our guide just outside Enterprise Fish Co., to start our tour of the Funk Zone.
Enterprise Fish Co. is one of Santa Barbara’s largest restaurants and is known for the Mexican grill that the seafood is cooked on. The kitchen takes centre stage in this expansive restaurant, literally, as it’s situated in the middle of the building surrounded by glass. Built in 1917, and converted to a restaurant in 1977, history and architecture buffs alike will love the old style charm this building has. Of course, kicking off the tour with delicious lobster bisque doesn’t hurt either.
From Enterprise Fish Co, our group was on the move through The Funk Zone. While the name “funk” refers to it’s hip status now, it received the moniker years ago when the fish market truly brought the funk. Today, the area is an eclectic mix of craft breweries, wine tasting rooms, restaurants, art galleries, and shops. The streets are filled with commissioned and as our guide pointed out, many non-commissioned pieces of art.
Here’s why I loved Eat This, Shoot That in Santa Barbara
- the group is kept from lingering too long at any one stop and believe me the temptation is great because the food and drink along the way is so good
- every stop is given a heads up that the group is on the way so there are no long waits
- our guide provided quirky tidbits and fascinating history notes along the way that kept the tour interesting
- The servings at each stop are perfect, not too much and not too little. By the end of the tour I was satisfied, not stuffed; that’s a great thing when you still have daylight to burn ahead of you.
- groups are small (typically around six people)
- Food allergies can be accommodated, just let them know ahead of your tour.
- the photo tips are great, who knew that that perfect drink shot should be backlit?
Here’s What You Need to Bring on Your Eat This, Shoot That Tour
- sunscreen, most of the dining is at outdoor patios
- This is a no-brainer, but good walking shoes are a must for this roughly 3.5 hour tour.
- Your phone camera. Leave the heavy DSLR at home and travel light. Your guide will provide best photo tips for iPhone and Android at each stop.