Not only are John McCain and Barack Obama competing to win the highest office in the land; they are also fighting for burger immortality at a new favorite Capitol Hill burger joint, the Good Stuff Eatery. Owned and managed by Season 4 Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn and his family, the restaurant, which opened in July, now has an Obama burger and a McCain burger on its menu. The folks at Good Stuff are keeping a tally to see which specialty burger is more popular and, in addition, will keep the president-elect's burger on the menu.
The Obama burger, which boasts bacon, blue cheese, onion marmalade, and horseradish mayo, is currently winning at 717 to 257. The McCain burger contains chipotle mayo, corn and roasted red pepper salsa, jack cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
Besides the obvious choice of ingredients with red and blue in the names, Chef Spike wanted to capture the candidates' personalities in their burgers. "We thought for McCain something a little more Tex-Mex, something a little more maverick, a little more spicy, and came up with a burger that would represent that," he told Whispers.
For the Obama burger, it was about finding ingredients that were tasty and mellow, which is why he selected the bacon and blue cheese combo. "It kind of represents what Obama is like," Spike says. "He's a very calm gentleman, but there is a lot of flavor in his campaign."
One of the funnier things to happen since the contest began in early October is that patrons often explain to the restaurant workers why they are ordering each burger. "There's always a story behind everyone's vote," Spike tells us. " 'I want to order an Obama burger, but can you sub the McCain ingredients because I want to try the McCain burger,' " he says, mimicking some of his guests.
Why is Obama's burger popular? "Everybody loves bacon, and everybody loves blue cheese," says dad Harvey Mendelsohn. And Harvey's right: Our Whispers taste-testers found the Obama burger to be more delish. The bacon was cooked to perfection, the onion marmalade was a yummy touch, and the horseradish mayo added a nice zest. On the other hand, the McCain burger was indeed tasty, but the mayo and salsa mix makes the bun slide around.
As for Spike's personal choice of burger and candidate, it's obvious from looking at the ingredients. "Well, the burger I put bacon in," he says, which seems to be the family consensus. The only downside—the clan won't be able to vote. The Mendelsohns are Canadian.