Category Archives: mcdonald’s

2013: The best (and worst) in fast food


Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger: Yes, please.

It was a fun year for fast-food, if quirky new menu items are your idea of fun. In their never-ending quest to outdo each other, the big chains kept customers guessing with a steady raft of new concoctions, some better than others.

I sometimes get asked why I write about fast-food, since technology is my main purview. I generally give one of three reasons. For one, it’s something of a holdover from Sex, Bombs and Burgers, the book I wrote about how the military, pornography and fast-food industries are technology leaders. I don’t write as much about the other two businesses these days, but fast-food has strangely proven to be a popular topic with readers. I can also justify it with the notion that all these new products come through similar research and development pipelines as smartphones, tablets and other gadgets. Mostly, though, I write about fast-food as the occasional diversion - it’s nice to take a break from the routine every one in a while. As such, I’ve made it my mission to try the big new releases. I’m happy to report that I got to most of them this year.

McDonald’s had a busy year, especially here in Canada. The company finally gave vegetarian Canadians something to eat this summer with two veggie wraps. Coming in two flavours - spicy Santa Fe or garlicky Mediterranean - the wraps are sizable and pretty tasty (my vegetarian wife, normally a harsh critic of such things, approves). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Burger King, burgers, food, mcdonald's, taco bell, wendy's


Review: McDonald’s poutine a real mama bear

mcpoutineIt’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any new fast-food offerings, but truth be told, there hasn’t been much of late that caught my eye. Until now. Behold: McPoutine.

That’s not what McDonald’s is calling it - it’s just poutine - but the chain is finally getting with the times here in Canada by making the uber-popular dish a permanent menu item. It’s nearly impossible now to go into a food establishment in this country without having it as an option (is Tim Hortons next?). That’s good news for all of us poutine aficionados (links to PDF), or poutinados, as it were.

Upon hearing the news, I headed straight to the nearest Golden Arches to see how McD’s take on the Quebec staple stands up. After all, McDonald’s legendary fries meets the fundamental awesomeness of gravy and cheese curds - what could go wrong, right? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 5, 2013 in food, mcdonald's, poutine


Review: McDonald’s wings aren’t so mighty

mighty-wingsOne of the high points for me, if I can call it that, of heading down to the U.S. fairly frequently is getting to try new fast-food concoctions, which are inevitably released there before being exported internationally, if at all. This time around: McDonald’s Mighty Wings.

Chicken wings are an odd duck, so to speak, for McDonald’s. Sure, the chain has been a pioneer among burger peddlers in chicken, first with sandwiches and then with nuggets. But wings almost seems like a step too far, since they are a relatively difficult thing to get right. It’s easy to make them too dry, too bland, too small, too big or too greasy. It was accordingly with a good deal of trepidation that I tried them on a recent trip to New York.

The first off-putting thing: the portion sizes. Mighty Wings come in packs of three, five or ten, which is odd. Like McNuggets, a grouping of six just seems more natural - or 10, which is how they come in most bars. Yet 10 wings costs almost $10 and that seems like a bit of an obscene price to pay for anything at McDonald’s. At the other end, I can’t figure who might want just three wings. It reminds of that scene in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, where Chris Rock goes into a restaurant and tries to order just one rib. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in chicken, food, mcdonald's


McDonald’s new health focus could be bad news

mcsaladMcDonald’s made waves late last week with a big announcement that it will soon offer salads or fruit as side choices instead of fries.

Aside from the new, healthier sides, which won’t incur any additional charges over what fries would normally cost, the chain is also going to push low-fat milk, juice and water in its kids’ Happy Meals. It’s going to take some time to roll out all these healthier options, with the company’s 20 biggest markets all due to get them by 2020.

The move comes as part of former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative, a think-tank-y charity-type thing designed to “create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” as per its website. Obesity would be one of those.

McDonald’s effort is a noble one to be sure, but I’m wondering if anyone has stopped to think through the long-term effects of what it might mean. For one thing, it’s entirely possible the chain’s pushing of fruits and veggies could actually have the inverse desired effect, causing kids to eat even less of them. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 30, 2013 in food, mcdonald's


McDonald’s finally gets vegetarian-friendly

veggie-wrapNever mind the question of how they get the caramel inside the Caramilk bar, the real mystery that has plagued mankind for years is why doesn’t McDonald’s cater to vegetarians? Sure, the chain is known for burgers and yes, it has experimented with veggie versions of them, but why the borderline disdain for non-meat eaters?

Other fast-food restaurants, such as chief rival Burger King, have veggie burgers or other options for the five per cent or so of North Americans who don’t eat meat. The only choice at McDonald’s has typically been… well, fries. And those haven’t always been vegetarian either.

Lo and behold, the chain has finally added two main vegetarian entrees, at least here in Canada, with the Sante Fe and Mediterranean veggie wraps. Neither have any sort of meat in them - just vegetables - which means I can finally venture into a McDonald’s with the wife in tow. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in food, mcdonald's


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