Win or lose, these comfort foods will see you through
October 22nd, 2012
02:00 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

It’s all happening right now. The election! MLB playoffs! The heat of the NFL season! BCS rankings! You’re probably either euphoric or miserable about something out there, whether it’s your guy’s/the other guy’s masterful debate performances; your team’s outstanding pitching/ineffective hitting; your team’s/the other team’s last second field goal; the Crimson Tide...I could go on.

Instead, I’ll offer some comfort foods that swing both ways: They can put the exclamation point on your party, or divert attention from your despair after you've thrown your flat screen to the ground.

Grilled Cheese

For a celebration
If you take celebrations seriously, you’re probably headed to Vegas. Happily, The Lobster Grilled Cheese at Lobster ME (in the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood) has the kind of show-offy grilled cheese - buttery lobster, Gruyère and brie - that’s synonymous with winning. The menu includes other dishes that say "Watch me celebrate," including the Lobsicle (fried, on a stick) and lobster ice cream.

For a pity party
At Chedd's Gourmet Grilled Cheese (which you can find in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Austin, Texas; or Eau Claire, Wisconsin), you’ll discover a number of punishing sandwiches. In particular, the Heartburn, which is a melty combo of horseradish cheddar, pastrami, onion, sauerkraut and spicy mustard on pumpernickel. If you want to make those around you suffer too, there’s the French Kiss, a foccacia-filled mix of garlic Jack cheese, gorgonzola, onion, sundried-tomato spread and pizza sauce.

Ice Cream

For a celebration
There’s no better party food in the world than ice cream, and the Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity 3 in New York City makes the ultimate party statement. The sundae, which clocks in at $1,000, features deluxe vanilla ice cream piled high with Amedei chocolate syrup, candied Parisian fruit and “exclusive dessert” caviar, plus more gold leaf than you’ve ever seen in your life. The Baccarat crystal bowl it’s served in is yours to keep. Just note that the Guinness World Record-breaking sundae must be reserved 48 hours in advance, so be confident in your team or candidate’s ability to win.

For a pity party
There’s no better misery food than ice cream, especially if it’s got a couple of shots of whiskey and a name that references drugs. Last summer, Cupcake Royale in Seattle teamed up with Woodinville Whiskey Co. to launch a very appealing flavor, Whiskey Maple Bacon Crack: maple ice cream packed with chunks of bacon whiskey brittle. The ice cream, made with Zoe’s Meats bacon and, obviously, Woodinville Whiskey, is inspired by one of Cupcake Royale's most popular cupcakes, the Whiskey Maple Bacon.

Macaroni and Cheese

For a celebration
Haute Dish in Minneapolis, Minnesota, isn’t for ostentatious celebrants. The restaurant’s "Hautmosphere" is Midwest '50s: a dimly lit space with a bar that goes on and on and red leather banquettes. Still, dishes there, like the Tater Tot Haute Dish, are all about celebrating. The mac and cheese is made with gigantic noodles (City Pages described them as "the size of throw pillows") smothered in Taleggio cheese sauce with huge chunks of king crab legs; it’s topped off with truffle oil. If you want to keep the party going after Haute Dish, the place is surrounded by strip clubs.

For a pity party
Sometimes misery doesn’t love company. You must have an emergency stock of Kraft mac and cheese boxes. Alternately, you can go out and indulge in a similar product: At Reata in Forth Worth, Texas, Yelper Sal G. argued that the Jalapeño and Bacon Macaroni and Cheese "tasted just like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. They added jalapeño, bacon and cayenne pepper to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese."


For a celebration
Go extravagant: The secret $100 MNO Burger ("Money's No Object") at Umami Burger in the Los Angeles area is a grass-fed Wagyu patty topped with shaved truffles and a 1977 port reduction sauce. Once upon a time, the burger had foie gras on it too; since the statewide ban, the burger can only boast truffles and port sauce. To compensate, you can take advantage of Umami Burger's multiple locations and eat the burger multiple times around the city (but note, it's off the menu and must be ordered ahead).

For a pity party
Go basic - and cheap. Insiders will note that the no-frills Petey's Burger (in Astoria and Long Island City, New York) is reminiscent of the ultimate cheap and awesome burger, In-N-Out. Though there's nothing fancy about it, Petey's does source fresh ingredients and makes everything from scratch in-house (including the hand-cut fries). As an added bonus, it’s only $3.99, so you can save money to replace anything you broke in a temporary fit of rage.

More from Food & Wine:

America’s Best Pizza Places

Best Burgers in the U.S.

Best Grilled Cheese in the U.S.

Best Ice Cream in the U.S.

Ultimate Halloween Party Recipes

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Filed under: Bite • Burgers • Content Partner • Grilled Cheese • Sandwiches • Tailgating

soundoff (7 Responses)
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    April 25, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  2. Kenny


    October 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  3. LynnAnn

    I just love preparing from scratch, healthy home cooked comfort foods for my home schooled children.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  4. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    Is it weird that my comfort foods are spaghetti squash and salmon?

    October 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  5. Truth™

    For grilled cheese, it is the Bonnie Brae tavern in Denver's West Washington Park neighborhood. For ice cream, it is my living room, while watching the late news before bed.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
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