Photo: bhofack2 (iStock), Graphic: Natalie Peeples
Takeout DraftFood. Fantasy sports. Debating over Slack. Welcome to The Takeout Draft.  

Welcome, dear readers, to our premiere edition of Takeout Draft, our new recurring feature that combines our love of food, fantasy sports, and arguing on Slack.

Every week, we will select a topic of conversation from the food and drink world. Takeout staffers will then field a team via the snake draft format. After five rounds, The Takeout commenteriat will vote on who they believe was victorious in that week’s draft. At the end of the year, the staffer with the most weekly victories will select a charity of his/her choice that The Takeout will donate toward.

For our kickoff draft, we have selected a topic in our namesake honor: Best take out/delivery food.

We randomly assigned an order for the draft via random.org, and the draft order was determined to be:

  1. Gwen Ihnat
  2. Kevin Pang
  3. Allison Shoemaker
  4. Kate Bernot

In the snake format, selections are made in the draft order, then reverses, so in this case Kate Bernot will make selections 4 and 5, and Gwen Ihnat will make sections 1 and 8, so on and so forth:

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With that, Gwen Ihnat now has 30 seconds on the clock for the first pick of Takeout Draft: Best take out/delivery food.


Gwen Ihnat: Pizza.

Kevin Pang: Naturally.

Allison Shoemaker: The Michael Jordan of Takeout foods

Kate Bernot: MVP

KP: Explain your reasoning, Gwen, though it seems fairly obvious...

GI: If you think of a delivery food person, you think of the pizza delivery guy. Pizza is one of those foods that likely tastes better than what you could make at home, or is much easier to call up and get 30 minutes later than to spend your time punching down some dough. (Yes, I know I did a whole series on making homemade pizza, which turned out pretty great.)

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In all my centuries on this earth, I will never tire of piping hot delivered pizza, or be less than thrilled to have that same pizza delivery person ringing my doorbell. Works as well for nights that I’m working late as it does for middle-school sleepovers. Pizza for the win. Fight me.

KP: I have the second pick, and I will choose: fried chicken. My criteria is it’s delicious, relatively inexpensive, a pain-in-the-ass to cook at home and better for someone else’s kitchen to smell like chicken grease. Mostly though, for reasons of deliciousness. The flavor of KFC’s Original Recipe chicken is entwined in my DNA, though Popeye’s spicy is closing in.

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AS: Harold’s forever, but man, every time I get food from a fried chicken place gravy spills everywhere. Probably just me though.

Okay, me next. I’m pretty torn here, but I feel like the amount of my take out budget that goes to the Mexican restaurant around the corner from me means I should probably go with burritos, a compact yet hearty meal that’s great for all of the following situations:

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  • Stoned
  • Tired
  • Hungry
  • Bored
  • Sad
  • Happy
  • Bean-deficient

KB: Strong contender. Highly portable. It’s like a hunger bullet.

AS: Despite loads of bad press, Chipotle is still everywhere all the time. Why? Burritos. And in choosing burritos I also claim burrito bowls, since it’s just a tortilla-free burrito. That’s fair, right?

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KB: Whoa whoa whoa

I’m throwing down my challenge flag.

Burrito does not also encompass burrito bowl

AS: If you get a burrito with no lettuce, is it still a burrito?

KB: ...yes?

KP: I would say most burritos do not contain lettuce

AS: They do at Chipotle, which is my take out frame of reference for this burrito bowl-specific conversation.

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KB: By Allison’s logic, poke bowl would also encompass sushi, which is clearly flawed logic.

KP: Kate makes a compelling argument

AS: Except it’s not called a sushi bowl

KB: I think we’re talking about each item in its most widespread form.

KP: Kate, you better pick burrito bowl for your 4th pick. What will it be?

KP: My pick is: Pad Thai.

GI: BOLD

Photo: KTM_2016 (iStock)

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KB: Homemade pad Thai is a pain in the butt. Take out pad Thai is tangy and sweet and savory and usually an order contains enough for roughly three meals. So pad Thai therefor also equals breakfast pad Thai the next morning.

GI: What do you put in there: Chicken? Tofu?

KB: I’m a tofu person myself but this encompasses all pad Thai permutations.

KP: Per snake draft rules, you also have the next pick, Kate.

KB: I’m going... rotisserie chicken!

KP:

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KB: I’d wager almost every family in America eats one each month. When done right, they’re so good.

GI: I immediately thought: “Kevin is going to be so sad”

KB: They’re $5 at Costco and feeds a family.

KP: Roast chicken tonight, chicken salad tomorrow, stock the day after that.

Allison, your next pick?

AS: I’m going to pick a weird thing and you tell me if it’s too broad: Soup. When I order soup, it is always because I feel like such hot garbage that I can’t even make it to my local Costco to pick up a sheet cake and a whole cooked chicken and some soup. And I don’t want a specific soup. I just want soup.

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GI: Right, I think soup and pizza are on equal levels.

AS: Soup: Number one take out food for people who just can’t make it happen today.

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KP: I have the 7th pick, and I choose sushi. Ready-made. Relatively healthy. Feels classy. Not very messy. Modular, in that you can get eat 3/8, 5/8, 7/12. Also, you can even buy it at Walgreens, for crying out loud.

Gwen, you have the next two picks.

GI: Egg rolls.

KP: What?!

AS: That is a wild but potentially excellent choice

KP: Explain yourself, Gwen

KB: Whoa

Bold, I like it

Photo: bhofack2 (iStock)

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GI: Again, another delicious thing that is difficult (for me, anyway) to make at home from scratch, I maintain that there are few things more delicious than an egg roll. What the burrito is to the Mexican food lineup, what the calzone is to Italian food, the egg roll stands up for Chinese food. Also Chinese is a classic, second only to pizza on the take out food realm. But when we order, I swear I’m good with a deep-fried egg roll, a little sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard, and fried rice. Dinner. Done.

AS:

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KP: One more pick from Gwen:

GI: Chicken tikka masala

AS: Dammit

GI: Indian, Chinese, and pizza constitutes most of my family’s take out orders, so I would be remiss if I did not include an Indian dish here. This is one that we do try to make at home, and my husband has actually brought his tikka masala in to our fave proprietor to see how it holds up. Brian’s is great, but there’s something about take out tikka masala that is so amazingly delicious, and, like the pad Thai, also makes a great breakfast—though it’s rare that there’s any left over. Added bonus of cleaning my sinuses: When I feel like I’m coming down with a cold, I pick up the phone and order this immediately.

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KP: With my third round pick, I choose: gyros. Of all the sandwich/wrap options, gyros are the most difficult to replicate at home. Plus it’s one of the few opportunities to eat lamb that’s not at a fancy French or Greek restaurant.

KB: Damn, that was my next one. A good take out gyro is so good. And I could eat tzatziki sauce on everything really.

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KP: You wanna trade gyros for rotisserie chicken? I believe trading is acceptable in fantasy food sports.

KB: nope

AS: haha

KB: Don’t try and trip me up, Pang

KP: Allison, you’re next.

AS: General Tso’s. I require no defense.

KP: Kate, the floor is yours with picks 12 and 13.

KB: [Cracks fingers] Wings. So many sauce options! Good for a crowd! Great for the sportsball viewing.

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KP: Hmm...bold choice, Bernot. Two chicken picks in a row. I guess every team needs two punters [drops mic]

KB: Special teams win games.

AS: Bernot: 1. Pang: 0

KB: Double doink, anyone?

For my next choice... fried rice

AS: DAMMIT

GI: Agree

KB: I can never make mine as tasty as the take out version. And again, quantity is always in my favor here.

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GI: Or The Takeout version. Okay, Allison, back to you.

AS: Does barbecue = pizza? Or do I need to choose the protein? Because barbecue.

KP: I think you’d have to be specific, since they’re all smoked differently. BBQ chicken different from ribs different from brisket different from pulled pork.

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AS: Okay, let’s go with ribs. And here’s why: Ribs are great but every time I order barbecue it’s an excuse to order the sides. I am not claiming the sides.

Photo: Fudio (iStock)

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GI: I like ribs as conduit to sides

KP: Heresy

AS: I am saying that ordering barbecue ribs puts you in a position to also order red beans and rice, banana pudding, coleslaw, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, the list goes on.

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KP: Heretics, all of you!

AS: That is why I order barbecue.

KP: I grew up in a world where American barbecue has a very specific definition of meats smoked with hardwood. I’d say the majority of ribs are just boiled baby backs slathered with a KC Masterpiece-like sauce. Which is why, in my opinion, most take out ribs are sub-par, unless you’re lucky to live near an actual barbecue restaurant with a pit and you can UberEats or GrubHub it. End of sermon.

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AS: Again, just a conduit to the sides. For me the meat is a bonus.

KB: Isn’t that true of most take out barbecue? Like not arguing Jiro is making my take out sushi.

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KP: That’s an issue of quality; I’m talking about the textbook definition of barbecue. When I want barbecue, I want to taste the smoke infused in the meats, that’s all.

My turn again, and wow, I’m so surprised no one picked this yet: Burgers! Specifically, Wendy’s Junior Back Cheeseburger, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

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KB: Whoa, are those take out? Is fast food take out? i guess.

KB: Drive-thru? Absolutely.

GI: Another one I am surprised no one has picked: Subs!

KB: Oh man, a good sub with olive and vinegar... so good.

AS: Yep, solid choice

GI: Specifically, Potbelly’s, but sometimes there’s Jimmy John’s

KP: Is Potbelly considered a sub? Let me ask Twitter:

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AS: I think grinders are a subgenre of subs, and essentially that’s Potbelly.

GI: Plus there are few things as heavenly as a tuna/cheddar melt.

KB: I think warm sandwiches (melts) don’t always fare as well as take out.

GI: Okay, final pick coming up.

And it’s...

Tacos!

Again, easily personalized for a large crowd, and although I try to replicate an al pastor taco at home, it is much better coming from my neighborhood corner place.

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AS: Really solid pick

Also: trucks

Love a taco truck

KP: Imma blow your mind with my last pick

For my last pick: Beef Shawarma Bowl

Grilled beef: check. Basmati rice: check. Pita: check. Lots of veg: check. Sauces galore: check.

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It is a complete meal.

KB: Awfully close to gyro, but alright

KP: Completely different!

One’s Greek, one’s Turkish/Middle East

KB: Just seem to hit the same spot for me

in terms of a craving

KP: Pang: ∞ + 1

OK, Allison, last pick

AS: Ice cream. Boom.

DQ, McFlurry, Baskin Robbins, ice cream truck, the guys with the carts.

COSTCO

GI: Who gets ice cream delivered? or doesn’t eat it there in the ice cream place, so it doesn’t melt?

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AS: You eat it and walk

KB: Costco’s is fro yo 🤓

GI: Logically it is a poor takeout food

due to melting factor

AS: No way, ice cream trucks bring ice cream to you. Delivery

McDonald’s! Love a dumb McDonald’s sundae.

KB: This is the part where Allison turns to the colosseum: Are you not entertained?

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KP: Kate, bring us home with the last pick of the day.

KB: Breakfast sandwiches

For when you are so hungover, you literally can’t even scramble an egg

They are there in your hour of need

Absorbent, savory, handheld

KP: You are saved because of McDonald’s 24-hour breakfast sandwich option + Starbucks.

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KB: More places are starting to do extended breakfast hours

Because sometimes you want an egg sandwich at 2 p.m.

And this is America.


The results of our very first Takeout draft:

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Now it’s up to you, Takeout readers. Who won week one? Vote now.

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