On the Culinary Campaign Trail

On the Culinary Campaign Trail

Food & Drink

On the Culinary Campaign Trail


By this point, everyone has campaign fatigue. The presidential race has been droning on for nearly two years now—it only seems longer. It’s like we’ve all had an early Thanksgiving dinner and just want to watch a little football and/or take a nap. But with the finish line in sight, we thought this would be a good time to wrap things up with a look at the highlights of the race for the White House—from a foodie perspective.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by what they eat, so let’s look back with that in mind.

McCain and Obama’s favorite restaurants

Raymond Sokolov of the Chicago Sun-Times analyzed the eating establishments favored by each candidate. John McCain appears to be a ‘regular guy diner out,’ Sokolov says. He enjoys a Tex-Mex combo platter commonly served all over his home state of Arizona. But he also likes to try more adventurous gourmet fare served in establishments near his ranch north of Phoenix. One of his favorite spots is the Asylum, where he usually orders the BLT, which they serve on ciabatta bread.

The Obamas frequent Chicago’s Mexican restaurant Topolobambo, owned by award-winning chef Rick Bayless. Barack and Michelle also enjoy burgers, ribs and Tex-Mex food served at RJ Grunts, a midscale eatery located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area.

Both candidates are fans of pizza. When campaigning in Brooklyn, McCain dropped into Verrazano Pizza and bought a pepperoni slice, press accounts say. Obama opted for vegetarian pies (all-cheese and the classic tomato-and-mozzarella Margherita) at American Dream Pizza in Corvallis, Ore., says the blog Pizzas and Other Stuff.

John and Cindy McCain like to go to Tee Pee, a Tex-Mex saloon in Phoenix, where President George W. Bush ordered the ‘presidential special’ on January 21, 2004, commemorated there with a picture on the wall. Sokolov wonders, does that indicate a McCain presidency would result in a continuation of the policies of the Bush administration? Nah, he concludes, he probably just likes the big, crispy homemade chips and spicy salsa.

What do the candidates like to cook? According to chow.com, Obama’s favorite is chili, while McCain likes to grill baby back ribs.

What foods do they dislike? Obama hates beets. McCain says he eats almost everything, but sometimes doesn’t do well with vegetables.

The aroma of scandal. You may have heard about ‘recipegate,’ in which the McCain’s ‘family recipes’ proved to have been lifted verbatim from the Food Network. According to McCain’s campaign, the whole mess was ‘a low-level unpaid staff debacle.’ Or we could blame it on the media elite.

What about the Veeps? Joe Biden loves Italian food according to the Boston Globe, and often orders penne with tomato sauce and basil at Toscana Kitchen + Bar in Wilmington, Del. Sarah Palin? The Globe reported that the Alaskan governor’s favorite food is moose stew, made with moose she hunted herself.

So there you have it. You’re now a well-informed voter ready to go with your gut instincts on November 4th, and select your favorites from the menu of candidates.


20 Sep

If you haven’t had pumpkin soup, you are missing a delightful dining experience. This savory soup is ideal for one of those first (…)

28 Aug

Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette of Little Donkey in Cambridge, Massachusetts, add miso to their addictive banana bread to give it a (…)

More TFC