Last week I shared some details from my trip to Alexandra, Virginia and the DC Metro Food Tour I experienced while there. From black tea at a tea house to Mediterranean meat with pita bread, here are a few more of my highlights.

DC Metro Food Tour Highlights

Stop 2: Columbia Fire House

This is a collage of food from the Columbia Fire House.

Columbia Fire House’s food was delicious!

From the lunch menu we tried Seared Day Boat Scallops and Sweet Corn Fritters, and from the Bar Room Menu we enjoyed the House-Made Sausage Board with Chicken-Mango Sausage, Blood Sausage and Italian Sausages served with Whole Grain Mustard and Cornichons.

Although it wasn’t provided by the tour company, my wine pairing of the day was a 2012 Rose from Provence, France.

My thoughts on this stop? I loved the atmosphere! The seafood was cooked perfectly, which was a surprise to many on the tour. A long as you get fresh, locally grown or raised products it’s hard to go wrong! The sausages were also amazing and all made fresh on the premises.

Stop 3: Old Town Coffee Tea & Spice Co

At this stop, the tea house’s owner, Frank Poland, gave us a small history lesson with regard to tea. It was a revelation to find out that all tea starts off as green tea and as the leaves age and oxidize they turn into what we call black tea. His tea house’s shop may be small, but he carries over 250 varieties! We were able to sample a black tea blend that he makes for a local restaurant as well as a flavored coffee. At this tea house you’ll find a variety of gourmet food products: imported jams and jellies, cookies and crackers and even gourmet honey (I counted eight different jars of honey on his shelves, several produced locally and several from France). If you have a chance and are feeling adventurous next time you visit the DC Metro area, I recommend trying Chestnut-infused honey.

Stop 4: The Pita House (Lebanese Cuisine)

This is a collage of food from the Pita House.

These vegetarian entrees from The Pita House were amazing!

On stop number four, we were presented with a Mediterranean tapas style menu. In my opinion, this is the best way to sample an unfamiliar or new cuisine and is especially great for serving a large group. All of the items were served family style, where large platters of food were prepared for sharing and passed around the table.

We sampled these vegetarian entrees:

  • Roasted Eggplant Dip: Baba Ghanoui
  • Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Puree: Hummus
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves
  • Chickpea Patties/Balls: Falafel
  • Spinach-Stuffed Pastry: Spinach Pie
  • Fried Cheese: Sambouisck

We also sampled these meat appetizers and entrees:

  • Beef and Lamb Balls: Kibbeh
  • Roasted Beef with Pita Bread: Beef Shwarma
  • Baked Chicken with Pita Bread: Chicken Shwarma

Stop 5: Bittersweet Café & Bakery

This is a picture of the Bittersweet Cafe & Bakery's Jelly Cake.

This Jelly Cake tastes as delicious as it looks!

Our last stop included coffee and dessert. We were served a special teacake that is no longer offered on the regular menu, although we were told that it could be made for special occasions or large catering events. Once sampled, it’s easy to see why it was a favorite café recipe for over 35 years. To me the texture and taste was similar to a pound cake but lighter in texture and it had two layers of raspberry preserves. Our server, Gerber, called it their famous “Jelly Cake.” This slice of heaven is not to be missed!

Have you ever had a chance to tour the DC Metro area? Which food or tea house stops were your favorite?

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.