Dishcrawl -- a Restaurant Walkabout -- Debuts in Scottsdale. Buchanan Is Skeptical.

Tracy Lee hated her corporate gig, but she loved going out to eat with friends. In fact, she enjoyed taking whole groups of them on little tours of her favorite restaurants. And so three years ago, she created Dishcrawl -- a guided walking tour of restaurants in the Bay Area.

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One thing led to another, and before she knew it, Lee had created satellite restaurant crawls in New York, Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. And now, she's brought Dishcrawl to metro Phoenix. On Wednesday, January 23, Dishcrawl hosts its first four-restaurant crawl in Scottsdale. Where will its participants be going?

Well, that's a very good question, but not one that Lee is willing to answer. She feels that people may have "stereotypical assumptions" about a particular restaurant they have already visited, and she wants to help them open their minds, showing them a side of a restaurant they may not have seen before. Besides, she says, "the mystery is part of the fun." Really? Not in my world, but whatever.

So the first Dishcrawl, which begins at 7 p.m. and lasts between two and four hours, will take place in Scottsdale and will feature four restaurants within a short walking distance of each other. Hmmm, sounds like Old Town and possibly the area around Stetson, where you can't sling a cat without hitting a restaurant. But we'll see, won't we? Could be First Street, could be Main, could be God knows what and where.

Lee says participants can expect two or three dishes at each restaurant. They could be passed apps or plated dishes but either way, they'll be a sampling of what the chef does best. The idea, she says, is to give food lovers a chance to explore their local food scene and to give restaurants more exposure. She brings neighbors and neighborhoods together, revealing "the faces behind the food."

Call me crazy, but I don't know a bona fide food-lover in this town who doesn't already know the faces behind the food. So to my mind, Dishcrawl is actually for UNadventurous people who don't keep up with the food scene and don't have a clue where to eat. But am I being unnecessarily snotty and judgmental here?

Maybe so. Maybe people just like to get out and have some fun. In any case, the price is $45, and tickets can be purchased at dishcrawl.com.

As Lee grows her business here in town (with the help of local ambassador Leini Santos), we can expect other events down the line, including five-course chef's table dinners and self-guided walking tours of eight to ten restaurants, where one dish is sampled at each place.

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