Washington DC is such a beautiful and vibrant city. I’ve lived here almost six years now (how is that possible?!) and still find myself falling in love with the district in new ways over and over again. There is so much to see, explore and, perhaps most importantly, taste. Even better when you can combine all three of those things into one adventure. We did exactly that this past weekend when we joined Mangia DC on their inaugural Georgetown Foodie Tour.
Mangia DC is a locally owned and operated food tour business, created by Chief Eating Officer Dave Saxon (above). Saxon started doing food tours to combine his passions for business and food and to utilize his past experience as a tour guide. It was a natural fit, and a decision that quickly grew to success with his first tour, an Italian food tour based in Dupont Circle. Over the past three years, Mangia DC has expanded from a one-man show to a team of six, and they are now expanding their operation to include a foodie tour in Georgetown.
According to Saxon, Mangia means to eat and enjoy, but also just coming together to enjoy good food. That coming together to eat and enjoy good food and good company is exactly what they want each tour participant to get out of the experience. We were excited to get started and do just that. Follow along below for a peak at what you’ll experience on this fun, new tour.
Mangia DC Georgetown Foodie Tour
We were graced with an absolutely perfect Spring day to embark upon our tour, as we set out to wander the gorgeous streets of Georgetown and sample food from four local eateries.
As we headed out toward our first stop, we made a quick detour to catch a glimpse of a very special Georgetown home – the Julia Child House on Olive Street. It’s so fun to imagine Julia in there at her stove giving informal cooking lessons to her neighbors. What good fortune that would have been!
Stop #1 – Stachowski’s Market
A short walk later, we arrived at our first stop – Stackowski’s Market. The Mangia DC Georgetown Foodie Tour focuses mostly on restaurants that are off the beaten path of M Street and the waterfront. Stachowski’s is a local deli and butcher, focusing on fine cuts of quality meats and charcuterie. They offer sandwiches, and a rotating menu of dinner items each day (announced on their website).
For our first taste of Georgetown, we sampled a Stachowski’s prime rib perozki. Perozkis are traditional Russian stuffed breads, or “mini pies” and can be found with a variety of fillings. These were served piping hot and stuffed with delicious tender prime rib, onions and spices.
After finishing our perozkis we hit the streets again toward our next destination. I couldn’t stop snapping shots of the beautiful, historic Georgetown homes. This neighborhood is just incredible for the real estate alone.
Stop #2 – Georgetown Olive Oil Co.
Next up, we stopped into Georgetown Olive Oil Co. to learn more about olive oil and sample some of the many offerings the local shop has to offer.
After learning about what makes a good olive oil and how to appropriately taste olive oil (book a tour to find out!), we were given free reign to taste as many oils and vinegars as we desired. I was especially drawn to the spicy olive oils (the harissa olive oil pictured above was phenomenal) and the fruity balsamic vinegars like coconut and mango – so good!
Stop #3 – Via Umbria
Our next stop, right down the street, was one of our favorite places in Georgetown – Via Umbria. We were thrilled to return to this adorable Italian market and eatery for an inside look at the operation.
After taking a look at the wine shop and meat and cheese counters, we were escorted upstairs for a private food and beverage pairing. The day’s offering was a beautiful porchetta sandwich, served with a refreshing Aperol spritz.
After finishing our delicious sandwiches and chatting with owner Bill Menard about his and his wife’s passion for Italian cuisine, we had the opportunity to view Via Umbria’s adjoining art gallery. The beautiful space is filled with natural light and features a rotating selection of art from local and Italian artists.
Soon it was time to head back outside toward our final eatery. On the way we stopped by another notable Georgetown house, the famous rowhouse once occupied by the JFK and Jackie O. As president-elect, JFK often gave press conferences from these very steps.
The walk from Via Umbria to our last stop was one of the longest of the tour, but the scenery was lovely, passing through a stretch of the C&O Canal.
Stop #4 – Dog Tag Bakery
After a bit of a hike, we arrived at our last eatery of the day – Dog Tag Bakery, a really special DC business that does so much to give back. In addition to a full service bakery, Dog Tag also offers a work study program for disabled Veterans and caregivers to provide valuable work experience and an avenue toward finding a career after leaving the service.
All graduates of the work-study program have their names engraved on special dog tags that form a striking chandelier in the center of the bakery. Patrons are also able to purchase a dog tag to dedicate to a special Veteran in their lives – such a beautiful tribute.
We were treated to two delicious Dog Tag Bakery cookies to cap off our food tour. Both were delicious, but I’m still dreaming about the chewy but still soft oatmeal cookie.
Bad Sentences’ Verdict
We had a great time on the Mangia DC Georgetown Foodie Tour. Walking through such a beautiful and historic part of the city and learning about new-to-us restaurants and small businesses is something we can definitely get behind. It was also nice to have the chance to burn some calories while engaging in our favorite pastime – eating!
Our only friendly suggestion for improvement would be a little bit more variety in the food offerings. Everything we ate was delicious, but a lighter, more veggie-centric dish at one of the stops would have been a nice change of pace to some of the heavier food we consumed.
What to Expect on Your Mangia DC Georgetown Foodie Tour
- The Mangia DC Georgetown Foodie tour is a fun, family friendly activity for tourists and locals alike.
- Expect to do a fair bit of walking, with occasional stairs and dirt paths. I would definitely recommend wearing a pair of comfortable shoes.
- Water is provided for each tour participant to ensure you stay hydrated.
- The goal of each Mangia DC food tour is to leave you feeling pleasantly full, but not stuffed. If you have a big appetite, you may want to have a small snack before arriving for your tour.
- To keep on pace, participants are not encouraged to order additional dishes or drinks while on the tour.
- However, there may be opportunities to purchase to-go beverages, snacks and gifts/keepsakes if time allows.
- Let Mangia DC know in advance if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions and they can accommodate you.
One of my favorite things about Mangia DC is their commitment to giving back to the DC community. They provide exposure to local eateries and drive business to the neighborhoods featured in each tour. Additionally, a portion of each tour ticket is donated to local charity S.O.M.E, So Others Might Eat, to help feed the less fortunate.
If you’re looking for something new and different to do in DC or have family coming to town, we definitely recommend checking out Mangia DC food tour.
We were treated to a complimentary food tour courtesy of Mangia DC. As always, all opinions are my own.