For those of you who aren’t aware, we recently kicked off a Discover Arlington Walking Food Tour series. The first Walking Food Tour was hosted back in May in Rosslyn in partnership with WalkArlington and the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. This past August, we decided to listen to our followers’ requests and curate a Clarendon Walking Food Tour, and it was a huge success!
The first of its kind, the Discover Arlington Food Tour Series was created to build community, discover the gems and hotspots within the Arlington, VA neighborhoods and learn some interesting history and fun facts along the way! We offer unique tours on foot with an emphasis on food, storytelling and local culture. Our groups are kept small with intention to give guests one-on-one interaction while experiencing art, food, and more. We show you the sites that only the locals like us know. For this Signature Clarendon Food Tour, we had a total of 34 attendees broken up into two groups, which was the perfect size for this type of event. It allowed our guests to bring a friend or date, but enabled them to still meet a new friend along the way!
To top things off, we had Erica Baker photograph our event and the photos are absolutely stunning! You’ll find them scattered throughout this post and as well as on our Facebook page.
We began the tour at the Market Commons in Clarendon as a starting point to kick things off. After doing brief introductions and handing out Swag Bags, (yes we said Swag Bags), we began our walk! This particular tour had sponsored Swag Bags in which local businesses had the chance to sponsor fun discounts and branded items to put in the bags for attendees. Sponsors included (lululemon, Twins ACE Hardware, Stem & Thistle, Clarendon Animal Care, Clarendon Fitness, Ten at Clarendon, 19Nineteen Clarendon, Eat.Yoga.Drink, WalkArlington, Zoso Flats, + South Block Co)! Incorporating this into the mix was a great way to infuse retail, restaurants, and local fitness studios together to showcase to the local community.
Our first stop on the tour was Heritage Brewpub & Roastery. This particular brewpub is new to the Clarendon area and is owned by Heritage Brewing Co. in Manassas, VA. Located in the heart of Clarendon, Heritage Brewpub & Roastery is soon going to be a staple of this area. Not only is it perfect for families during the week, but it's also ideal for the young crowd for after work happy hours and late night weekends! Heritage incorporates beer into almost all of their dishes from the beer nuts, to the Shepherd's pie, to the Maple-beer glazed pork chop and many more. For the Food Tour, Heritage gave us a taste of one of their Flagship flight of five beers. The beer flights are served in the original barrel wood that was used to make the beer similar to how the booths were made (aka more character). The flight of beers were served with their house smoked beer nuts, which was a hearty mix of every nut in the book.
After diving into our first course, we headed straight to Oz Restaurant & Bar on Clarendon Boulevard given the proximity of the two locations. Founded nearly two years ago, Oz Restaurant & Bar is the DC area's first authentic Australian restaurant. With a nod to Australian comfort + cuisine, Oz does their best to transport guests to the other side of the world with their exotic menu. You'll notice everything from bison to camel, to even kangaroo on this menu, all specially created by Chef Brad Feickert. Guests had the chance to meet and speak with Chef Brad and hear more about the history. We then indulged in the classic Sausage Roll. A staple item in Australian cuisine is their variety of "pies". Chef Brad put a twist on this and created a Sausage roll "pastry puff" filled with beef and pork, sofrito, and tomatoes. The combination is almost like a mini meatloaf stuffed into a flakey, warm crust, served with ketchup. The roll was served with one of their Australian beers, and everyone loved the pairing plus the ambiance of the restaurant.
Next up, we made our way to talk more about the history of Arlington including looking at Clarendon’s Art Deco architecture. For instance, did you know that Clarendon used to be known as “Little Saigon” back in the 1970s due to the large number of Vietnamese refugees that immigrated to Northern VA given the proximity to the nation’s capital. One of the only remaining restaurants still exists from that time, Nam Viet, and is a huge hotspot till this day. The plaza in Clarendon is now home to the metro station along with the Wednesday Farmer’s Market.
After stopping halfway, we headed into the doors of Don Tito, one of Clarendon’s lively hotspots for nightlife and dining. Attendees were greeted by one of the Managers with the history of the restaurant along with a taco and margarita. It definitely hit the spot! Don Tito boasts 3 floors making it one of the largest spots for nightlight in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Our guides then chatted more about Capital Bikeshare after leaving Don Tito and heading down Wilson Boulevard. Capital Bikeshare launched in 2010 and is owned by the participating jurisdictions. Those who like to cycle daily to work or just on the weekends can obtain an annual membership for just $85 or a single trip costs you $2.00. Not too bad right?!
We then stopped at BABA Bar, Ambar’s sister restaurant located underground. BABA means “grandmother” in Serbian and they do their best to make all those who enter the space have the most lovely + entertaining experience. What is designed to look like a grandmother’s house, actually looks like an incredibly trendy bar that serves as a café/workspace during the day, and a restaurant/bar at night. We were treated to a delicious serving of their sweet + sour dough with nutella and it melted in your mouth upon first bite. In addition BABA is known for their expertise in mixology so we had the chance to try a variety of their signature cocktails which included the Zastava Sidecar and the Serbian Sombrero, both equally smokey but full of flavor.