Sarah Fischer brings props to work. So as she chitchats with those ready to embark on her Moveable Feast walking tour -- sort of like a snack run, only at a more leisurely pace -- she waits for someone to ask "what gives" with the funky drink in her hand.
"It looks like it has blueberries in it," one person guesses. Wrong. The milky beverage is bubble tea -- and it provides a perfect segue to her Washington Walks tour, which starts at the Archives Metro stop but has its first pit stop at Teaism (400 Eighth St. NW, 202-638-6010), where the Asian specialty drink is served.
The trip's food destinations are all truly homegrown -- you won't find a Bennigan's in the bunch. Between stops, Fischer shares stories about area history, from Prohibition to lunch-counter protests in the '50s.
At Teaism, Fischer's group bonds over drinks such as the orange lassi, iced tea and ginger limeade -- a refreshing concoction that's the basis for some of the tea house's alcoholic drinks. (Teaism fans, take note: Mixed-drink variations are at only the Penn Quarter location.)
Nearby, Marvelous Market (730 Seventh St. NW, 202-628-0824) peddles Route 11 Potato Chips, which are made in Virginia and share owners with Dupont's Tabard Inn. At Chinatown's New Da Hsin market (811 Seventh St. NW, 202-789-4020), the group explores the medicinal herbs and brightly colored Chinese food packages.
The Metro delivers the walkers to the U Street-Cardozo neighborhood. (Bring your own fare card; public transportation, like the tour's treats, aren't included.) There, the munchers learn that Ben's Chili Bowl (1213 U St. NW, 202-667-0909), home of many artery-clogging delights, used to be a silent movie theater called the Minnehaha.
Final stop: dessert at Love Cafe (1501 U St. NW, 202-265-9800), where cupcakes and chocolate-dipped strawberries are oh-so tempting -- and, for those who've spent almost three hours walking off calories, practically guilt-free.
Moveable Feast: A Taste of D.C. First and third Saturdays of each month at 1:30 p.m. $10, ages 12 and younger $5. 202-484-1565. www.washingtonwalks.com/moveable-feast.html.