Competition is tight at BGR: Burger Joint (4827 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-358-6137), where patrons can order burgers inspired by each candidate’s hometown. Arizona Senator McCain’s burger is loaded with black-bean salsa, poblano and chipotle peppers, and pepperjack cheese. Obama’s Illinois background spawned a burger that’s more of a gut-buster—it’s topped with green relish, tomato, onions, pickles, and a Vienna-beef hot dog. Both burgers are $12.99, with $1 going to DC Central Kitchen. As of this week, the McCain patty is winning with 760 orders; the Obama burger is close behind with 732 votes. But really, would you want to eat a burger with a hot dog on top?
Which party do you think is sweeter? Cast your vote with a palmier shaped like either a Republican elephant ear or a Dem donkey tail at Buzz (901 Slaters La., Alexandria; 703-600-2899). So far, the donkey tails are ahead with 252 votes; elephant ears have 190. Each pastry is $1.95.
With nearly 4,000 votes cast so far, polling at California Tortilla (multiple area locations; californiatortilla.com) is heating up. Customers can choose between the McCain-Chilada Burrito, a spicy concoction of mesquite chicken, tortilla strips, rice, salsa, lettuce, cheese, green enchilada sauce, and cilantro, or the O-Chili-Bama Burrito, a similar dish with turkey chili instead of chicken, plus jalapeño peppers and green onions. As of now, 52 percent of voters have chosen McCain and 48 percent have gone for Obama. Each burrito is $6.89.
Party division is as common as sunlight when it comes to Capitol Hill, and visitors to Good Stuff Eatery (303 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-543-8222) are favoring Obama by a landslide—at least according to their burger preferences. The Obama burger, with applewood bacon, onion marmalade, horseradish mayo, and bleu cheese, has 726 votes. The McCain creation, straggling with 262 votes, has a red-pepper-and-corn salsa, chipotle mayo, and Monterey jack cheese. Each is $6.69.
Local sweet spot Georgetown Cupcake (1209 Potomac St., NW; 202-333-8448) has whipped up special Democratic and Republic cupcakes. The “red” cupcake is made with the store’s popular red velvet cake and the “blue” is a take on its chocolate-topped Chocolate Squared cupcake. As of this week, the Dems are winning 56 to 44. Cupcakes are $2.75 each.
Dupont Circle’s Hello Cupcake (1351 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-861-2253) has created a collection of donkey and elephant cupcakes. Choose between chocolate or vanilla filling, with a red elephant or blue donkey cutout on top. $3.50 each.
Taking inspiration from Arizona and Illinois, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s the Source (575 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-637-6100) is offering sweet-and-sour baby back wings and a half smoke topped with Chicago-style fixings such as sweet relish, onions, and tomato slices. You can support your candidate by ordering, but the restaurant won’t tally any votes. Each dish is $14.
Although there’s no voting system here either, the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s Degrees Bar & Lounge (3100 South St., NW; 202-912-4111) is getting into the spirit with dueling appetizers. It’s pitting Barack ’n’ Rolls ($14)—yellowfin-tuna sushi rolls served with cucumber seaweed salad—against sugarcane-skewered Shrimp McCain ($16). Fair enough, but the cocktails seem skewed. Obama gets frat-inspired drinks such as the Jäger Bama (Red Bull and Jägermeister) and Long Island Honest Tea (vodka, rum, tequila, gin), while McCain-focused cocktails—a 10 Cane rum mojito and a rum cocktail with peach purée—are far more civilized.
At the Ritz’s downtown location, Lobby Bar (1150 22nd St., NW; 202-974-5556) is offering items inspired by the vice-presidential candidates. An $18 plate of elk sliders (no, not moose) are on the menu for Sarah Palin fans, while Senator Joe Biden would likely order the miniature chicken pot pies ($16). As of this week’s voting tally, the huntress-inspired fare is winning 33 to 1.
If you’re still undecided, that’s not a problem at the JW Marriott’s 1331 Bar & Lounge (1331 14th St., NW; 202-393-2000). Customers can choose Undecided Sliders (three for $9), with fillings such as Angus beef, salmon, chicken, or pulled pork. Other bar snacks include $8 plates of Right Wings (honey-barbecue) or Left Wings (Asian-spiced). The polling has been open since Super Tuesday, and the tally has been consistently split: Right now, it’s 54 percent to the left, and 46 percent to the right.
Flash your “I voted” sticker at these joints on November 4 and earn some free fare.
• From 5 to 10 PM at the new Art and Soul (415 New Jersey Ave., NW; on Capitol Hill, voters who order two cocktails ($8 to $14) can choose a free appetizer. On the menu are rockfish tacos, pork ribs, boardwalk fries, and a cheese plate.
• California Tortilla (multiple area locations) is giving out free-taco coupons.
• Ben and Jerry’s (multiple area locations; benandjerrys.com) is handing out free scoops from 5 to 8 PM. Don’t fret if you lose your “I voted” sticker: According to its Web site, celebratory “I voted” dances will also be accepted.
• Krispy Kreme will give a free star-shaped donut to people with "I Voted" stickers on November 4.
•Starbucks will hand out free cups of coffee.
You've seen how restaurants have interpreted the two candidates through food. What candidate-inspired snacks would you serve to guests? Sound off in the comments!