Our Food Critic’s Guide to Stuffing Your Face With Takeout on Election Night

Eat your feelings.

Republic Cantina's queso. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Never—or, at least in my lifetime—has there been a more pivotal-feeling election night. Right now, it feels like we’re living in a world that might soon be classified as Before November 3 and After November 3. Or, as Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffrey put it, “the entire country is awaiting a biopsy result.”

Or, maybe everything will go smoothly and be fine! Still, anxiety is high. And that calls for lots of self-care, which to me translates as eating something delicious and comforting. A few takeout and delivery ideas for tomorrow night: 

Fried chicken
The peppery buttermilk-brined kind.
Order it from: The French/American Unconventional Diner in Shaw, where it’s accompanied with gravy and biscuits. Get extra of the latter.

Roaming Rooster is bringing fried chicken sandwiches and more to U Street. Photo courtesy of Roaming Rooster.
Sandwiches from Roaming Rooster. Photograph courtesy Roaming Rooster.

Fried-chicken sandwiches
If you don’t care about leftovers, they’re a good way to go.
Order it from: Both Roaming Rooster in Woodridge and on U Street and Wooboi in Herndon and Alexandria do excellent spicy versions.

If you’ve got a few folks to feed, a taco package is a good way to go.
Order it from: Forest Hills carryout Muchas Gracias does a great short-rib barbacoa and its family meal feeds two to three people. It also includes fixins and tres leches cake. For individual tacos, I like Alfredo and Jessica Solis’s Mezcalero in Columbia Heights and El Sol in Logan Circle and Vienna.

I’m talking the Italian American kind, with mozz’ and parmesan and a big-flavored sauce.
Order it from: Olazzo, the red-sauce joint in Bethesda and Silver Spring; Osteria al Volo in Adams Morgan. For a spinach/fontina version, check out the Election Night dinner packages at Centrolina in CityCenterDC.

The Capo Special sandwich at Capo Deli. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Italian Sub
Throw in a Fauci Pouchy too.
Order it from: Capo Deli in Shaw, where you can design your own sandwich or go for one of many pre-set combos. Besides the Fauci Pouchy (an easy-drinking mix of vodka, lemonade, grapefruit, and elderflower), you can get a “Trumpkin spice latte,” or a cidery “Joe Imbiben.”

Keep it simmering on the stove all night, and load up on things to crumble into it, like cornbread or Fritos or Saltines.
Order it from: The Bloomingdale sausage shop Meats & Foods; or Gravitas chef Matt Baker’s new Ivy City cafe, Baker’s Daughter.

Detroit pizza at Red Light. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Detroit Pizza
A whole pie goes a LONG way—and it reheats well.
Order it from: Emmy Squared—I like the Colony Squared, with pickled jalapeños and pepperoni, or the cheese pie with vodka sauce; Red Light, where I stick to simple cheese or pep’.

Beef bourguignon
…or coq au vin or cassoulet. Really any wintery French stew.
Order it from: Convivial, Cedric Maupillier’s terrific French bistro in Shaw, does all of them well.

If you’re feeling fidgety and need something to do with your hands.
Order it from: The jerk wings at Forest Hills pizzeria Comet Ping Pong, are my favorite wings in all of DC. For buffalo style, hit up Duffy’s on H Street or Stoneys in Logan Circle and West End.

Peking duck at Q by Peter Chang. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Peking duck
Good for one—it’ll stretch for a week—or a group.
Order it from: Q by Peter Chang, chef Peter Chang’s flagship in Bethesda.

Charcuterie and cheese board
Election night is long: you’re going want something to pick at and come back to many times. Enter the cheese-and-meat extravaganza.
Order it from: Le Diplomate in Logan Circle and La Jambe in Shaw do nice takeout/delivery versions.  Or just hit the grocery store—there’s no shame in pepperjack.

The warm mezze platter at Afghan Bistro. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Along the same lines, gather up a bunch of dips.
Order it from: Bistro Aracosia in Palisades and sister restaurants Aracosia in McLean and Afghan Bistro in Springfield are where to go for Afghan spreads. Cava Mezze, which has four area locations, does big platters of its Greek dips (they’re also available pre-packaged at Whole Foods).

Yep, for dinner.
Order it from: Republic Cantina in Truxton Circle makes the best, and it’s selling the stuff by the pint or in a special election night package with margaritas for four (Also, we’ve got the recipe). I also like the versions at Spring Valley Mex/American spot Millie’s and the fast-casual Fish Taco in Bethesda, Cabin John, and Tysons.

Sheet Cake
Yep, also for dinner.
Order it from: Costco (pickup at multiple area locations)—nobody does it better, and you can freeze the leftovers.


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.