Unless you’ve been under an actual rock (and I’m currently based in the middle-of-nowhere of Scotland, so it’s really difficult to be further removed than I), you’d know that right now, America is in the middle of the Presidential primary elections for both the Republican and Democratic parties. And, come November, millions of Americans will cast their votes in the 2016 general Presidential election. It makes 2016 a really exciting year to be in, albeit a confusing one, considering how many moving parts there are to any given Presidential election.
In order to get informed, we enlisted the help of MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff, Delegate Hunter extraordinaire on the campaign trail. We came away with not just all we needed to know about the current Presidential primaries, but also the exclusive on why he’s obsessed with Snapchat, what his go-to juice is, and his recommendations on where you’ve gotta eat in the Big Apple (and, considering he happens to be an NYU alum, we’re definitely going to follow his recs).
Read on, foodies, ’cause you definitely don’t wanna miss out on what he had to say.
SPOON: Thanks for joining us today! So, you’ve been working as a “delegate hunter.” For those of us not yet tuned in, could you tell us what that means?
Soboroff: The biggest misperception of American elections is that it’s a one person, one vote situation when you go to the ballot and the person who gets the most votes wins. That’s not how it works at all. It’s actually private political clubs — both Democrat and Republican — making up their own rules.
So “Delegate Hunter” is something we came up with, because it’s actually the delegates who are the people representing the people from their state. Then the delegates will go to the national conventions where they’ll nominate who’ll be on the ballot in the general election. The short version is people don’t actually elect the nominees for President, the delegates do, so we’re trying to put faces to the names of these mysterious figures who are really the people who’ll pick our Presidential nominees.
SPOON: Considering how many people didn’t know that about the primaries, what do you think is most important for voters to know?
Soboroff: It’s important to know the system is not a representative democracy in either the primary or the general elections. For lovers of democracy, the system kind of sucks, and that’s what we’ve been hearing from lots of people on the campaign trail. It makes people feel like their vote doesn’t count.
The best way to counter that is to get informed about how it all works, and understand the process. Know what you’re doing when you show up at the polling places.
SPOON: Being on the campaign trail, where events can be apt to develop quickly, you’ve utilized your active social media presence. I see you like Snapchat a lot (we do too — just check out all the ways we’ve explained the new Snapchat emojis by food).
Soboroff: I’m addicted.
SPOON: What do you think distinguishes it from other platforms?
Soboroff: I use it to give people a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re doing when we’re not on the air. I think it’s so much fun — where else can you put dog faces on? I’m trying to get everyone on our team on Snapchat. We’ve got our camera guy, our producer — it’s a lot of fun.
The people who follow me on Snapchat are really invested in it — they send us photos of us from their TV screens when they’re watching us on MSNBC. They give us tips like “you gotta check this out” or “I just saw this happen” or they send questions… It’s like giving my phone number out and texting people for feedback without actually giving my phone number out. I don’t think my wife would like that.
SPOON: Between all of your on-air time and your massive social media presence, you can’t have much free time. I gotta ask. Any snacks that power you through?
Soboroff: We juice! We’ve been juicing a lot. We don’t get to exercise, so we’re trying to eat healthy. Literally every day, when we get to our first location, we check for good coffee places and good juice places. We try to hit them up in different parts of the country. We have a list of good juice places, good coffee places, good markets, we went to a cool co-op the other day… We’re constantly on the lookout. Our producer is the master of Yelp and we track that stuff down everywhere we go.
SPOON: Any juices you’re particularly fond of? (Side note: here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about juice cleanses.)
Soboroff: I go for an apple, kale, ginger, and celery mix.
SPOON: That’s a good combination!
Soboroff: Yeah, and throw a little mint in there, some cucumber, you never know. But for the record, I don’t just eat really snobby food. I like Starbucks protein packs when I’m really in a pinch — they’re so good. They have an egg, peanut butter, some grapes, and cheese. It’s crucial for when you need a quick bite.
SPOON: So I’ve heard you’ve been making it a point to find the best restaurants in each city you’ve been going to.
Soboroff: Always. Oh man, we’ve gotta treat ourselves after a long day.
SPOON: Any places you’d recommend?
Soboroff: Yeah! We mostly go to Whole Foods and make ourselves little meals to bring on the road. But we also check for healthy food markets, and there are just so many good restaurants. Centro is a great restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa (for more hidden gems in Iowa, read this list our Spoonies compiled).
SPOON: Cool! Any others?
Soboroff: Pretty sure it was in Arvada, Colorado — there was this great Indian restaurant. Yak and Yeti. We’ve been to so many good ones. We’re obsessed. We’re always looking for the best grub.
SPOON: That’s awesome. That’s what we like to hear about at Spoon.
Soboroff: Oh yeah, we’re definitely all foodies and coffee snobs here.
SPOON: Speaking of coffee, any recommendations?
Soboroff: Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure in Des Moines, Iowa was amazing. Colectivo Coffee is a great chain in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We just went to a place, Bean & Bean in New York, and another place called New York Muffins in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which was so good. We’ve just been cruising around and eating like crazy people. Also, I’ve gotta give a shoutout to The Smile, my favorite restaurant in NYC. (Bonus: Spoon is really plugged into NYC too, and here are our favorite foods.)
SPOON: Yum. Any other good eats?
Soboroff: If you’re ever looking for a breakfast place, we went to a totally fun place in Colorado Springs called Omelets Etc. Breakfast is key when you’re on the road. Gotta have energy for the day. (And, if you’re not sure what you should do for breakfast this morning, we have your back.)
SPOON: For sure. That, and coffee.
Soboroff: Yup. You ever have a flat white before?
SPOON: Can’t say I have. What is it?
Soboroff: Our audio guy is Australian, and he taught us about the flat white. It has a bit less milk than a latte. It’s like a latte meets a cappuccino, with Ristretto espresso. It’s amazing.
SPOON: I’ll remember to try it next time!
Soboroff: Oh, and if you’re ever in Miami, one of our main anchors on MSNBC José Díaz-Balart told us to go to a place called Chico’s in Hialeah, which is this community with more Cuban-Americans than anywhere else in the country. Everyone else goes to Versailles, but he told us to go to Chico’s and they took such good care of us. It was delicious.
SPOON: Any hidden gems, or weird foods you’ve discovered on the trail?
Soboroff: Actually, in Vegas, we went to this Chinese-Mexican fusion restaurant by José Andrés, the famous chef. That place was amazing! I didn’t think Chinese and Mexican together could be delicious, but it was incredible. (Spoon Tip: If you’re craving some of this, try out this crazy Chinese scrambled eggs recipe with a twist.)
SPOON: Any stand-out dishes?
Soboroff: Yes! The Poblano shrimp. Now you’re making me hungry.
SPOON: Well, we’re all about the food at Spoon. Since you’re currently in NYC, and you’re an NYU alum, any places you’d recommend in the city?
Soboroff: Falafel. When I went to NYU, Mamoun’s Falafel on MacDougal Street was the best! I would eat that all the time. I’d get pitchers of beer at MacDougal Street Ale House across the street then eat like seven falafels from Mamoun’s.
SPOON: That sounds so good.
But The Smile is my all-time favorite New York restaurant. Oh, and Joe’s Coffee is also very good — now it’s a chain, but when I was in college it was the first one down in the Village and now they’re everywhere.
SPOON: So I guess you could say you discovered it. You made it big!
Soboroff: I know, I have pride! But again, I gotta direct everybody to go to The Smile when they go to New York.
SPOON: I’ll be sure to remember that one. Any foods you’d cook a lot as a student at NYU?
Soboroff: I cooked nothing as a student. I would go to the cafeteria in my dorm in Hayden Hall. It was a great cafeteria. We’d also go to Weinstein Dining Hall (here’s some ways to totally hack your dining hall).
SPOON: Any dining hall you’d prefer?
Soboroff: Hayden Hall for sure. It was where I lived. 1512B. That was my dorm room. Shoutout to 1512B!
SPOON: We know your schedule is all kinds of crazy right now, so we’ll just quickly wrap it up. But before you go — we gotta know this — after the general election in November, when they announce which candidate won, what’s the first thing you’re going to eat?
Soboroff: Well, Ben Carson recently said life is like a fruit salad in one of the Presidential debates. So I think I’ll eat a red, white, and blue fruit salad with blueberries, strawberries and some coconut shavings. You know what? Let’s just call it an acai bowl.
SPOON: A very patriotic, and very delicious choice.
Soboroff: Yeah, I’d say so! We’re actually just pulling up to the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council polling station so we’re going to hop out and get back on TV.
SPOON: Awesome — thank you for talking with us today!
Soboroff: Thank you!
Or, check out some of his reports from on the trail, like the time when he visited Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” Hat Factory or when he got the inside look at how the Bernie Sanders campaign makes some pretty persuasive phone calls.