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DC Food Tours

Food Tours With a Side of History

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Tour group listening to DC Food Tours guide

Tour group listening to DC Food Tours guide

© Melanie Renzulli
Updated April 04, 2013
Taking a walking tour that focuses on a city or neighborhood's culinary pulse is a terrific activity to put on your travel agenda. Such tours give you the opportunity to experience some of the best local cuisine, from indigenous recipes to fare from chic, new restaurants, and, if done well, provide historical and cultural context to the area you have come to see.

DC Food Tour of Capitol Hill
I recently had the good fortune of meeting up with DC Food Tours who took my group to a few restaurants and historic sites around the Washington, DC, neighborhood of Capitol Hill. Specifically, the tour was centered around 8th Street, SE, known as Barracks Row. This historic area near the Navy Yard, where ships were once built, is where the oldest Marine barracks in the United States are located. They were established in 1801 and the Marine Commandant's home has been located here since 1806.

Our menu for the day satisfied several gastronomic wishes. First, we visited a soul food joint known for its North Carolina barbecue, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, yams, and sweet tea. Because of its proximity to Virginia, its slower pace, the summer heat and humidity, and the number of residents with ties to the southern part of the United States, Washington is considered a southern city. So a stop for southern-style cuisine near the Navy Yard was the perfect introduction to some local fare.

After our first meal, guides showed us some historical and architectural elements of Capitol Hill. For instance, guides stopped to show the group the exterior of the Navy Yard and relay some history about the former shipyard. We also walked past the birthplace of John Philip Sousa. We resumed eating at a trendy restaurant on 8th Street that specializes in Greek mezze with a modern twist. Here, our group most enjoyed saganaki, a fried Greek cheese appetizer, and lollipop chicken, which were flash-fried and juicy chicken wings served with honey, Greek yogurt, and walnuts. The final stop on our tour was at a Salvadorean restaurant. The cuisine of El Salvador, particularly pupusas and carnitas, is prevalent in Washington, DC, because of the large immigrant community from this Central American nation.

My private group tour with DC Food Tours did not include as many stops as one of their typical tours of Capitol Hill. Yet even as a long-time resident of Washington, DC, I was surprised to learn so many new things about my city from the DC Food Tour guides. DC Food Tours not only knew the food scene but provided some excellent commentary on the history and culture of Capitol Hill.

DC Food Tours' Current Tour Offerings
The Capitol Hill tour is just one of DC Food Tours current offerings. True food lovers visiting Washington, DC, would do well to take DC Food Tours' tour of Little Ethiopia, given that Washington, DC, has the largest Ethiopian community outside of Addis Ababa; their U Street Heart and Soul Food Tour, which provides insight into the food and culture of African-American and Caribbean cultures in this corridor; or their Adams Morgan Food Tour, which samples the international fare in one of Washington's most diverse and lively neighborhoods.

Plan Your Trip
Tour length: Approximately 3 hours.
Group size: Minimum of 4; can arrange for private groups as large as 200 (mini groups)
Price: $30-$60 per person.
Transport: All on foot; motorcoaches are arranged for outings outside of the District and Alexandria area.
Booking: Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Phone: 800-979-3370 to reach ticketing agency Zerve; 202-683-8847 for information about non-standard and/or private tours.
Email: info@foodtourcorp.com
Website: www.dcmetrofoodtours.com

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