Chicken and waffles at the Serving Spoon
Chicken and waffles at the Serving Spoon
Photo: Skyler Okey

Who Had the Better L.A. Food Tour: Bill Clinton or Bernie Sanders?

Sundays are for boozy brunches, taco lunches and visits to the farmers market — which is exactly how Bernie Sanders and Bill Clinton collectively spent time in Los Angeles yesterday. 

The former U.S. president, stumping on behalf of his wife, and the Vermont senator grubbed like locals at restaurants throughout the state ahead of Tuesday's California primary. Both politicians kicked off their weekends with Friday visits to In-N-Out — Clinton in Canoga Park and Sanders in the Bay Area city of Pinole — in a pitch to appease working-class voters (and their appetites for burgers). 

From there, Clinton headed West to a barbecue joint near the beach. Sanders mingled the next day at Echo Park picnics. They both chowed down on the Eastside and in South L.A. But which politician had the most authentic culinary tour of Los Angeles?

Here, we pit the candidates against each other in three rounds to rank the best things they ate all weekend — you know, the kind of important criteria you won't find on the ballot. 

Round 1: Breakfast  Clinton and Sanders began their Sundays in two very different ways: the former in a strip-mall soul food restaurant in Inglewood and the latter at a brunch with drag queens in West Hollywood. The Serving Spoon, a diner and coffee shop known for its chicken and waffles and catfish and grits, and Hamburger Mary's, a bar and grill renowned for its bingo nights, burgers and margaritas, have more in common than it might appear. Both are neighborhood institutions in their own right, each representing key Los Angeles communities that the Democratic rivals are vying to win over. But in between handshakes and hugs, it doesn't look as though either politician had time to sit down and enjoy the most important meal of the day. Still, we've got to hand this round to Clinton for picking a family-run joint whose website autoplays a Lucy Pearl song featuring Snoop Dogg and Q-Tip. 

Round 2: Tacos
Along with In-N-Out, there is perhaps no other eating experience that unites Californians quite like tacos — so it comes as no surprise that Sanders and Clinton embraced the state's unofficial favorite food while pushing for the Latino vote last weekend. During a speaking engagement on Sunday at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood, just north of Compton, Sanders was seen leaving La Huasteca, the 12-year-old Mexican restaurant and banquet hall that offers live mariachi music on the weekends. During a campaign event in the East L.A. neighborhood of Boyle Heights, meanwhile, Clinton catered pupusas and tacos from street vendors, according to a tweet from L.A. Times reporter Kate Linthicum, who was on the scene. Though we admire Clinton for offering grub to his supporters, we've got to hand this round to Sanders for opting for a sit-down restaurant favored by locals. 

Round 3: Wild Card Tie-Breaker 

Ahead of Sunday brunch, Sanders hit the streets to shop for produce like a true local — at the Historic Core Farmers Market on Fifth Street between Broadway and Spring streets. An advocate for family farming, sustainable agriculture and SNAP benefits, Sanders looked right at home strolling the stalls of this downtown farmers market — one of the newer ones in the city. Though he posed for photos with shoppers and farmers, no word yet on whether he bought any fruits and veggies to take with him on the campaign trail. If Sanders' visit to the farmers market was a pitch to vegetarians, then Clinton's surprise stop at Baby Blues in Venice on Friday was a slam dunk for meat lovers (although, ironically, Clinton is vegan). The Lincoln Boulevard barbecue restaurant was swarming with patrons who lined up to meet the 42nd president, according to LAist, which described the scene as "a story you can tell your kids about." Sorry Sanders, Clinton wins this round. 


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