McDonalds: An Overseas Affair (Part 1/2)

After months of begging people to contribute to this blog, because I’m weird and like hearing other people talk about food and also because I’m lazy and want other people to write things for me, I finally got a bite! I mean, yes, he’s my friend and yes, he agreed to do it after I nagged him in the pub but I’m viewing this as a success. He’s also very good, and you should follow him on Twitter (@ThatChris1209 – coincidence that we both have ‘that’ in our social media presence or fate? You decide.)

First of all, hi. I’m new here. I’m Chris. How’s it going?

Second of all… McDonald’s, eh? My love affair with the Golden Arches has been long and, at times passionate, but as ever, the magic started to fade after a solid 15 year run. We fell into a routine, did McDonald’s and I: I’d come in, eat at least one more double cheeseburger than I ought, wipe the chip salt from my fingers, half-finish a Coke and leave. It was still satisfying. It was still good, even. But the spark was gone.

We decided to take a short trip. Maybe a quick change of scene would remind us what we used to have. Maybe we could try things that normally, at home, we were never able to. Minds made up, we hopped on a plane (me physically, McDonald’s figuratively, of course) and headed for New York. Maybe this could be our fresh beginning.

Okay, enough preamble. Having spent the previous evening exploring the city and one or two of its bars, it was time for a mid-afternoon meeting with my most trusted travelling companion. Waiting for me right outside the hotel was the familiar golden glow, and I wandered in out of the 30° heat and into an air conditioned heaven.

Eager, but unwilling to rush into things head-first and do something foolish, I studied the menu board. My eyes eventually settled on the Bacon Clubhouse Burger (Yep, we’re finally getting to the actual food part). I ordered, sat down with my fries and small bucket of Coke, and opened the box.

image1

It looked perfect. I’ve got a lot of love for McDonald’s sesame-topped buns, but the ‘artisan roll’, all shiny and unblemished, looked like nothing that I’d have found back home. Here, filled with a heap of bacon, onions, lettuce and finished with a quarter-pound burger patty covered in cheese, was what I’d flown over an ocean for. On sight, I knew I’d found what I was in search of.

Now usually, I’m a ‘fries first, build up to the burger’ kind of person, but this time I just couldn’t wait. Straight into the sandwich, and I don’t regret it for a second. When it was done, I was sorely tempted to dispense with the fries and get another, identical, burger to repeat the experience – possibly a testament to my hangover and how good the thing was. I didn’t. Quite.

Nothing about the experience was anything less than I wanted. The roll had held its shape impressively in the cramped box, and didn’t fall apart halfway through eating like so many of its predecessors. The liberal dollop of Big Mac sauce in the middle kept the whole thing from ever being too dry, and the lettuce actually crunched a little. McDonald’s lettuce! Crunching!

I still didn’t finish the Coke. Some things, not even distance can change.

If the Bacon Clubhouse ever makes its way to the UK, I’ll be there with bells on. It won’t quite be as special, but it’ll always be a memory worth revisiting.

PART 2 coming ?????????

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