Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Discover Carlsbad Food Tours – A Taste of Carlsbad

Pasta with vodka sauce

Discover Carlsbad Food Tours – A Taste of Carlsbad seeks to reveal what Carlsbad Food Tours is all about. The following are detailed Food Tour Interview Questions & Answers for Carlsbad Food Tours.  See for yourself the who, what and why about Carlsbad Food Tours and their founders.
Tell us about yourself and your food tour:
Meet the Founders:

Owners of Carlsbad Food Tours

Cherimarie Poulos

  • CEO – Carlsbad Food Tours is a Women-Owned, Veteran Owned Business

Brad Poulos

  • CFO – 30 + years in the Marketing world and so it was a perfect marriage of her ideas and his marketing skills.

Cheri was born & raised in California. She has lived in San Diego over 20 years, her children were born in the area. She has a strong connection to Carlsbad, in fact one of her daughters was Miss Carlsbad 2005. So she voted herself to be Mrs. Carlsbad. Now the Chief Foodie and Founder of Carlsbad Food Tours! She loves Carlsbad and is happy to share her knowledge about the local history and great eateries in the Carlsbad Village.
Cheri had a wonderful career as a Registered Nurse for 34 years.  When getting ready to retire she realized that she was still relatively young and could do other things at this point of her life.  So she took her love of food and history and put them together to create “Carlsbad Food Tours.

When did you start the business?
May, 2014

How did you come up with the idea?
In 2013, during an anniversary weekend, my husband and went on a similar tour in Carmel and had a fabulous time.  The thought came to me that “We have a village, with some wonderful restaurants”, why can’t we have a food tour in Carlsbad? So after returning to Carlsbad and checking to make sure we did not in fact already have a tour.  I said to myself, “I’d better jump on this idea before someone else does”.  But where do I start, having not owned my own business before I was not sure how to get started.  So I decided to get counsel by calling the owner of the Carmel Food Tour, Stacy, and ask her for guidance. The first thing she said is I needed to contact Shane Kost in Chicago and do his Food Tour Pros course.  Shane is the not only the owner of Food Tour Pros a company that teaching people how to start their own food tours, but he is also the owner of Chicago Food Planet, one of the largest and most successful food tour operations in the country.  Chicago Food Planet does 5 tours daily and works with thousands of guests.  Taking the course with Shane was the best advice I could have gotten.  His course gave me a template on the how to set up my business.  He taught us how to present the idea to the vendors, how to price the tour and how to set it up to be successful from day one.  After going to Chicago, I returned with so much enthusiasm and ideas!  I immediately went about town pitching the idea and gathering my vendors together. I also spent an enormous amount of time studying the history and culture of Carlsbad, as well as getting the “back story” on the restaurants in town.

Choosing the restaurants and food tastings was fun but also difficult due to having so many great restaurants in Carlsbad.  So I initially focused on my two main items: Great Food & History!  I chose eateries that had both of these characteristics.  I also wanted to spotlight unique family owned places that we not easily repeated in other cities.  I wanted our tour guests to get a taste of what Carlsbad had to offer.

My other goal was to keep my route under 2-2.5 miles walking distance.  We did not want our guests to be exhausted at the end of the tour. So when I finally chose my eateries and set up my tour, I called Shane and told him I was ready for my walk thru visit.  He flew from Chicago to do my tour, and of course took a lot of notes and made several suggestions at the end of the tour on how I could improve my product.  It was hard to hear that my tour needed some improvements but in the end we created a better experience for our guests.  The first year of the business I continued to work as a nurse doing 9 hour shifts during the week and tours on the weekends. So, it was a pretty busy time, but the tours were doing well so I was happy.

The second year I did retire from nursing and decided I set the business up as a seasonal business because it is a retirement job and I had told my husband that I would do some sailing with him in retirement.  So I close the business from Jan – mid May and now go live on our boat, which is currently in the Bahamas. So we have the best of both worlds: traveling and enjoying the water and then back to Carlsbad to a house that does not move and a fun job to keep me busy.

Eat Your Heart Out in Carlsbad

Carlsbad Food Tours offers the tastiest history lesson in town, serving up tidbits about Carlsbad’s early years as well as samples from local restaurants.
This aspect of culinary tourism allows locals and visitors alike, experience the local scene through gastronomic offerings. Walking tours allow food lovers to explore what Carlsbad’s restaurant scene has to offer.  Carlsbad Food Tours is a 3 hour guided walking tour of the village with 6 stops at unique eateries, wine tasting and historical, architectural and cultural presentations.
Taking a walking tour of beautiful downtown Carlsbad-by-the-Sea allows you to experience the wonder of early Carlsbad California, while sipping some of our local wines. Our guides encourage our tour guests to slow down and appreciate some of Carlsbad’s charming restaurants while learning a bit of Carlsbad’s unique history and culture.  We believe food tastes better when you know the food “story” – the background of the eatery, the tasting recipe’s history and methodology, along with insider owner stories.  We invite our guests to indulge their “inner foodie” and act like a local, if only for a day.   We take you off the beaten path and give you an insider’s view of old and new Carlsbad.  Our tour includes historical stops like the Twin Inns.

Why going on a food tour can be a healthy lifestyle choice?
Our healthy foodie tour also encourages healthy lifestyle choices: walking, small frequent meals, and tastings that include a Mediterranean diet, red wine, alkaline water, dark chocolate and socialization! Come and see for yourself why going on a food tour can be a healthy lifestyle choice.

Why our vendors love our tours?
The tour brings customers to their venues; it highlights their specialty dishes and encourages repeat business.
We also give our tour guest coupons to entice them to return to their favorite places.
The vendors will also refer to each other’s businesses, for example if someone is looking for a great breakfast place, then Cicciotti’s Italian restaurant may send them to Café Topes.  It creates a synergy between the businesses.

Why does the city love our tours?
Our tours promote tourism in Carlsbad.
Our tours bring guest to our city, they learn about the history of our town and all the great eateries available.  Half of our tour guests are locals and half are tourist. When they love the town, they return again and again.
The Chamber of Commerce promotes our tours.
Our tours are prominently showed on the Visit Carlsbad Website as well as in the Carlsbad Magazine!
We love Carlsbad and they love us!

Carlsbad Food Tours
WHEN: Tours offered daily
TIME: 11:30-3:00 pm
COST: $70

WHATS INCLUDED: All Tastings food & wine are included.

WHO: Perfect for both local San Diego residents and visitors interested in indulging their inner foodie! Family Friendly!

Custom Private Group Tours are available upon request.

Visit Our Website  For more information, please call 760 215-9433 or email
2) Tell us about your city and what made you start a food tour there
Carlsbad is an upscale coastal resort city with old-world charm in northern San Diego County, in Southern California.  This quaint European type village has history and great food, which makes it an excellent location to start a food tour.

  1. The food: Carlsbad’s has amazing food and going on our food tour is one of the best ways to try it. Little Italy in North County San Diego is what we say here, because Carlsbad has a heavy Italian Population, which started with the Tuna Industry and now we have a lot of great Italian restaurants including: Cicciotti’s, Vigilucci’s and Gregorio’s just to mention a few. One of my favorite tasting is the vodka mushroom pasta from Vigilucci’s.
  2. The insider info. With a local expert giving you information and awesome recommendations for places to eat, how can you go wrong.
  1. You get to see the city from a completely different view point. It’s hard to see a city as it is when you are only there for a few days.

On a food tour you get to see it through the eyes and words of a local. You get to hear the cities story through a local’s voice… and you are pretty much guaranteed to have an awesome meal, or two or three.

The Village: 

Carlsbad history

The city has mild Mediterranean weather throughout the year and calls itself the golf capital of the world with four award winning courses within the city and many others nearby.
40% of Carlsbad’s land has been reserved for open space to protect its natural setting and beauty, resulting in miles of walking trails in its rolling hills and along its three lagoons. Seven miles of beaches and graceful historic buildings from the 1880’s add to its allure. Fortune Magazine has rated Carlsbad as one of the five best places to retire in the U.S.

Named after the famous spa in Germany due to the qualities of its fresh water, Carlsbad’s growth as a resort was quick in the 1880’s. Agricultural development followed with citrus, avocados and olives becoming the economic backbone of the area. Carlsbad now has a population of 112,000 and boasts the headquarters of medical technology and manufacturing firms as well as the first LEGOLAND outside of Europe.
Carlsbad is also proud of Flower Fields, an amazing early March through May display of colorful giant tecolote ranunculus and an entertaining sweet pea maze. In May and November, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce hosts the Carlsbad Village Street Faire, the largest one-day fairs in the nation with 900 vendors and 100,000 attendees each.

Beautiful panoramas a wait from the beaches’ bluffs, reefs and sand. Surfing, swimming, walking along the coast are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Carlsbad is a winning combination of resort, open spaces and historic structures downtown.

What better way to spend your day, strolling the village while learning about our local history and eating your way through our town.  Carlsbad Food Tours has unique one of a kind tasting locations, that give guest a “Taste of Carlsbad”. We love sharing our town with both locals and visitors to Carlsbad.  Basically we at Carlsbad Food Tours see ourselves as City Ambassadors, concierges, historians and local experts. We provide our guest with information about Carlsbad, from where to eat, play and stay. We help to promote our town on our website by spreading the word about fun things to do in Carlsbad: Discover Carlsbad.

Our Mission Statement: To serve happiness: by giving excellent customer service while showing passion and love for our city.
Vision:  Serving up happiness: while sharing the local flavors, culinary delights, cultural and historical gems of our town.
Customer Focus:  Meet the needs and exceed the expectations of all of our customers.
Integrity:  Act ethically with accountability and a commitment to excellence.
Innovation:  Embrace change with creativity and innovation.
Social Responsibility:  Make socially responsible decisions related to the environment, economy and society in general.
Enjoyment: Utilize life-long learning to develop strategies and skills that maximize the celebration of culinary delights.

Highlights of our first 2 years include: 

Discovered the benefits of Local Communities working together for the good of all:  As a Food Tour it is a natural to promote other business, especially the tasting locations on the tour.

  • We Co-Promote Carlsbad & Carlsbad business by:
    • Telling interesting stories about businesses and their food or other products while on our tour.
    • We work with over 20 different business in the Village to promote their sales, which include Caldo Pomodoro, Humble Olive Oils, Vigilucci’s Gourmet Market, Witch Creek Winery, Carlsbad Water and Mineral Spa, Gaia Gelato, Gregorio’s, Café Topes, Lola’s Mexican Deli, Carlsbad Chocolate Bar and many other restaurants, specialty shops, clothing stores, gift shops, art galleries, antiques.
    • We give tour guest discount coupons to our tour tasting locations to encourage guest to return to business. Business to Business promotion/10 % discounts.
    • Sharing Facebook post/social media post about Carlsbad and its businesses.
    • We also introduce our tour participants to Carlsbad Magazines and Retrospect Newspaper.
    • We are preferred provider for local hospitality hotspots like Grand Pacific Palisades Resorts.
    • We also participate in Community Wide Events & Charity causes by donating tickets to The Carlsbad Friends of the Arts, The American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes, Hope Elementary, Rancho Coastal Humane Society, Energy 103.7 Radio station, Boys and Girls Club, Aviara Oaks Middle School, North County Women’s in Networking, and many others.
    • Wrote several articles about Carlsbad: Things to do in Carlsbad Summer of 2016
    • Created videos on YouTube about Carlsbad: Carlsbad Culinary Walking Tours

Carlsbad is our town and the businesses here work together for the good of all us!

  • Without the support of a Village it is a tough world out there, just as people need people; business need other business. So we all support each other in Carlsbad for the benefit of all.

3.)  What makes your food tour different and unique?
Location, location, location… Carlsbad is a great place for family vacations, getaways and staycations!  One of my mantras is come for the beach and stay for the food.  Carlsbad has a plethora of great restaurants in town.  We specialize in Italian eateries from Sicily to Milan we have got you covered.  Mexican restaurants are also very popular in Carlsbad.  We have a very strong Hispanic heritage, with some of the oldest businesses in Carlsbad having a Mexican flair.
Because Carlsbad is known as the Golf capital of the US, we have a good variety of luxury resorts and restaurants that cater to a higher socioeconomic level.  Carlsbad’s gourmet eateries include; Jeune & Jolie, Campfire, Cicciotti’s Italian and Polo. French classics like Paon Restaurant & Wine bar which is set in an upscale country-home space with gardens, patios, a piano bar & private rooms.

4.) What type of food do we get to try?

We will visit a California-style cafe, a European-style restaurant, an Italian eatery, a Mexican deli and other restaurants and specialty shops that are uniquely representative of Carlsbad! We will enjoy seven delicious food tastings and wine tastings, yum! Carlsbad Food Tours serve enough food that for most participants, lunch afterwards is not necessary. With the combination of drink and food tastings and breaks for architectural, cultural, and historical insight, most participants are comfortably full after our food tours. Tastings may vary from tour to tour, but we will sample both sweet and savory items. Most of our tastings are vegan-friendly. Come and eat like the Locals, find all the hidden gems in Carlsbad.