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Went to McDonald's today. A couple of observations...

My daughter just HAD to have a My Little Pony Happy Meal today, so what could I do? Anyway, I hadn't been to Mickey D's for a while and, although I didn't order anything for myself, I noticed a couple of things on the menu board worth mentioning:

1. The combo meal for each of the new 1/3 lb. Angus Burgers was $5.69, but a Double Quarter Pounder (i.e., 1/2 lb.) combo was $5.39. Less meat for more money - is the "Angus" designation legitimately worth it?

2. The McVeggie burger was nowhere to be seen, and the manager informed me that as far as she knew it is indeed kaput. It used to be a favorite of mine, as good (if not better) a soy burger as one could find at a fast-food chain. But McDonald's never put much into its marketing, instead focusing on the salad side of its "Healthy Menu," so few people bothered with it and now it's extinct. I think if they had offered a soy Big Mac rather than just the fairly drab cheeseless plain burger, it could have been huge. By all appearances, the corporate side wanted it to fail, so it did. Anyone else care to comment or eulogize?

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  1. I actually had tried that Angus burger last week and it's pretty good. It tastes more like a homemade birger than the quarter pounder

    6 Replies
    1. re: globlamega

      Is it just me or does the angus burger meat have a really odd taste? It almost tastes as though someone put some kind of broth or other liquid that tastes like salty beef, but not quite, in the burger meat to make it seem like a juicy burger. I couldn't decide whether I found it offensive, but it was definitely off-putting. My husband thought it was disgusting and wouldn't finish his. I hope it doesnt end up like the McRib sandwich, which tastes kind of OK the first time you eat it, and the second time it's not so great and the third time it's disgusting -- the syrupy sauce and the ground pork slabs. That's why they never keep in on the menu year-round IMO, because people realize how gross it is after a while.

      1. re: Fuser

        Fuser, dh noticed the same thing from BK Angus. He mentioned several x's that it definately has an "angus broth" or sauce of some sort to "disguise" that it is subpar beef. Not worth a revisit.

        As for McD, I did like their yogurt & fruit with granola cups for a time.

      2. re: globlamega

        I think for the same price, 3.99, the carls jr 6 dollar burger is better.

        1. re: malibumike

          No Carls Jrs here on the East Coast. Just Hardees, and precious few of those.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            In a moment of desperation on a recent road trip, I tried Hardees Thickburger (East Coast version of a $6 burger from Carl's Jr.). Might be the closest thing to a real burger I've ever had at a fast food place. I'd get it on my next road trip.

            1. re: mojoeater

              We did the exact same thing on the way back from the beach once. And we were pleasantly surprised with the taste and quality of the burger.

      3. Yes, this is definitely a case of willed failure (re: the McVeggies). The only city that I knew these to exist was NYC. On a recent trip, my partner went into a few McD's looking for one for a quick bite, but didn't see it on the menu. Finally he asked at one location, and they said yes, that they had them, but not on the menu. To this I can only say... WTF??? Of course it's going to fail miserably if even the people who are seeking it out don't see it on the menu! Argh. While it would be nice to have more veg fast food options (especially at airports and rest areas and the like), I supposed McD's shouldn't be getting my money anyway.

        19 Replies
        1. re: spyturtle008

          This is weird, I was just talking with a co-worker this morning, and he was telling me that he is reading the book "Fast Food Nation". He wasn't real specific, but he said a lot of stuff in it is stuff "you wouldn't want to know" about the fast food and beef industry. : (

          1. re: aurora50

            The stuff you would'nt want to know is that there is Sh**t in the meat!

            1. re: serveitforth

              Perhaps, but then that's what our liver is for ...

              1. re: serveitforth

                I agree with uptown jimmy concerning the misperception of how these burgers---along with everything else---is processed. Lab rats make flavorings for everything and McDonalds happens to do most everything better (flavorings and soda dispencing systems) than anyone else for the price. I've noticed their regular burgers havn't been as dry (as they are kept warn in steamers) since 911. It may be a crazy thought but it seems like they keep them warm in meat fat, which is quite tasty. Or did they add more fat content to their 'meat'? My favorite passage in Fast Food Nation is the chapter on the french fry process after switching to
                %100 veg oil for frying back in the 90's. McDonalds was brilliant enough to spray a meat additive to the frozen potato strips!! Who would ever know besides the fact they produce fairly good tasting vegetarian dishes. Wonder what that veggie burger was made of.

                1. re: napolean

                  Why would they change the moisture level of the burgers after 9/11?

                  1. re: napolean

                    Their fries are coated with potato starch, I don't know where you got "meat additive". In the good old days they did cook them in lard.
                    And maybe their veggie burgers weren't vegan but I'm sure they were actually vegetarian. They don't have secret laboratories with evil scientists trying to trick you: I'm sure they got them from a certified supplier.

                    1. re: coll

                      their veggie burgers were vegan. they used the boca burger and steamed them separately, at least they did at all the locations i've visited.

                      there is a reason why people complain that it was dry; they didn't put cheese or mayo on it, only ketchup, lettuce and tomato. however, i've had good boca burgers at certain mcd's. That said, getting most vegans/vegetarians to try them was just about a lost cause. I saw a lot of forum posts that claimed that they fried the patties in grease along with the other burgers even though it's just not true.

                      1. re: coll

                        I think the "meat additive" in question is a reference to beef tallow, which MacDonalds used to (and might still?) put on their fries. It was a pretty big deal when people found out, since many thought they were eating a vegetarian product. The issue was even greater in India, where McD was also dipping their fries in beef tallow.

                        I think using beef tallow on fries is a fairly common phenomenon.

                        1. re: nc213

                          They fry them IN fat, but don't actually put it ON them, like ketchup: I'm not saying there's not some on the fry when it's done but only as a byproduct of the cooking method, not an actual additive. And very,very few places use non veg oil for frying nowadays.

                          1. re: coll

                            They did indeed coat the fries with beef tallow, prior to freezing and shipping to the various franchisees. That changed about two years ago when word got out in India. It caused an international uproar. They slowly phased out the beef tallow in all their stores. They have always fried in veg oil of some sort or other.

                            1. re: mojoeater

                              as far as i know, there is still meat flavoring used despite the whole shebang.
                              and to think as a vegetarian, i've been eating them for years. i was kind of pissed.
                              haven't ate them since, but do wonder if that is what makes them so damn good. drats.

                              1. re: lollya

                                Yep, they still list "natural beef flavor" as an ingredient in their fries. No clue what that is.

                                1. re: lollya

                                  As long as they didn't claim them to be vegetarian, I can't blame them for adding meat flavoring if that's what makes them so damn good.

                        2. re: napolean

                          Umm what do burgers have to do with 9/11?

                      2. re: aurora50

                        ...wouldn't want to know... Hmmm... I wouldn't call it pleasing information, but it wasn't a surprise.

                        1. re: aurora50

                          little jfood insisted her dad read this book. jfood complied. one of the worst books jfood has read. good fictions, some interesting passages and a few anecdotes for a poker game retell.

                        2. re: spyturtle008

                          The McVeggie was test marketed in L.A. I was hoping it would be good, but didn't like it at all.

                          1. re: slacker

                            slacker, the McVeggie may likely have been test-marketed at some early point, but after that it was around for a few years and I believe it was readily available all over the U.S.

                            1. re: Arthur

                              not that i frequent the place, i never noticed it in TX

                        3. A couple more:

                          - There is no better deal than the two double cheeseburgers for a dollar.

                          - I could eat about six double cheeseburgers per visit. Thats pretty good for $3.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Jimmy Buffet

                            If you like quantity, and they are nearby, check our White Castle!

                          2. The accouterments to the Angus Burgers make it more expensive than the Double 1/4-pounder.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Assuming that to be the case, it only applies to two of the three Angus offerings. One has mushrooms. (Is that a first for McDonald's?) Another has bacon. But the third is just a standard burger with lettuce, pickles, onion and tomato. And all three carry the exact same price.

                              1. re: Arthur

                                Well, from what I am told, the lettuce and tomato on the Angus burger is "thicker" than those found on other McDonald's burgers.

                                And perhaps the pickles are juicier, and onions more bitter and lettuce even more crisp ...

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  One rule I have when rushing thru the drive thru is NOTHING RAW. I'm sure management at McDonalds is top notch versus their competitors...but I guess it takes a lot for me to trust who handles my produce and salad trimmings...Easy access to bacteria, especially how they're processed and packaged. Spinach salad at McDonald's anyone?

                                  1. re: napolean

                                    Wait, so does that mean no Big Mac for you? It's got lettuce ...

                                2. re: Arthur

                                  A quarter pounder, to my recollection, which is spotty since I eat fast food about once a year, is that a quarter pounder does not come with veggies (other than the diced onions and cople meager, tasteless pickles).

                              2. FYI, there still is a veggie burger at Burger King....I never go there, and have never tried it, but have a vegetarian friend who swears by them when she is in the mood for fast food.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: nieves

                                  Yes, it's good as far as airport food goes -- when I'm stuck at a terminal w/ my tummy growling, I'm grateful for the option...

                                  1. re: nieves

                                    I use to work at BK. It was my first job. I won't get into details because I have tried to forget, but the BK veggie burger at that time was nothing more than a whopper, minus the meat, an extra slice of cheese, an extra slab of tomato and a couple more leafs of lettuce. With that said, it tasted pretty darned good.

                                    1. re: Nestra

                                      For the past few years there has been an actual veggie burger patty, which, if you ask them to nuke it, doesn't get cooked on the grill with other meat products.

                                      1. re: Nestra

                                        This is what I ordered the couple of times I went to BK in NYC. It was a very kosher, Jewish area and the people behind the counter were *never* surprised when I ordered this!

                                        1. re: GrillNextDoor

                                          they were marketing a black bean burger in europe a while back. i heard it was pretty good but it never came to the states.

                                          1. re: GrillNextDoor

                                            It's called a BK veggie and it's made by Morningstar Farms. Not the best thing, but if you are a veg and craving a fast food burger like product, no harm will come to you if you try.

                                      2. Whatever happened to McD's pizzas? I don't know if they only had them in certain test markets. Here in Toronto, I think all the McD's put in expensive convection ovens so that a fresh individual pizza could be baked for you in 4 minutes. They were actually quite tasty, IMHO. But after I think a few years, all the pizza ovens disappeared -maybe not enough sales? Anyone know about this?

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: FresserGuy

                                          Oh wow! I totally remember seeing pizza at McD's when I lived in Toronto (Mississauga) a few years back and thought it was the oddest thing. We've never had pizza at McD's on the west coast to my knowledge...

                                          1. re: FresserGuy

                                            Yechhh. Years ago I tried the test-marketed McD's pizza in Las Vegas, and it was dreadful. It was exactly like the cheapest kind of no-name, chemical-infused pizza that you can find at the very bottom of any typical supermarket freezer case. In terms of flavor, it didn't come close to competing with, say, the individual pies offered by Pizza Hut Express (which IMHO are pretty poor), and I also remember thinking it was overpriced. So its commercial prospects were probably dead from the get-go.

                                            1. re: Arthur

                                              Yeah, never tried 'em, but I figured as much. McDonald's food just kinda strikes me as plastic - why waste the calories on something that doesn't even taste good?

                                            2. re: FresserGuy

                                              They have been known to "test market" things to the point of absurdity. I don't know whether the McD pizzas in Toronto were an extended test market, or an intended product launch that ultimately failed.

                                              They never did have pizza at every outlet. Mall locations in particular, where a pizza franchise typically had exclusive rights to sell pizza, never had them. I recall signs at the Fairview Mall McD's apologizing for not having pizza.

                                              I don't know whether any Toronto locations are franchised, but some franchisees seemed to reject them because the made-to-order pizzas screwed up their service routines. (Ironic given McD Canada's current "semi-to-order" cooking systems)

                                              I didn't like them very much. They typically got ordered when a group went to McD's and one or two people who would not otherwise have gone would come along and order pizza. They would sometimes be waiting for their pizzas when everyone else had finished eating. But I don't EVER remember anyone I knew suggesting that we go to McD's for pizza.

                                            3. What about the McGriddle? With egg, cheese and sausage - yes, it's the very worst thing on the menu in every category. But oh so delicious...

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: pigtowner

                                                I'm so embarassed to admit I like the egg, cheese and bacon McGriddles. I do think it odd that the product name is McGriddles even if you order just one!

                                                1. re: Jpan99

                                                  I think it is because there are two "pancakes" on each sandwich. :-)

                                                  I am also a huge fan of the sausage, egg, and cheese McGriddle. I try to limit my consumption of them to once every six months or so though... It is hard, but oh so worth it when I do allow myself the indulgence.

                                                  1. re: Jpan99

                                                    No need to be embarrassed, they are great,even better if you ask for the egg the way they do them on the Mc Muffin, i also get extra sausage on mine ...happy times!, slummin at it's best!

                                                2. I used to stop by and have the rare Egg McMuffin. Then they stopped toasting the muffins -- they're all steamed, I believe, and taste absolutely awful! Haven't been there in a long time, and will probably will never go there again.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    Hmm the micky d's near my house toast the muffin....if they didn't my muffin would be toasted!

                                                  2. These posts show rather dramatically how the supposedly standardized McD systems don't come close to delivering the same customer experience at every location.

                                                    - They do so many different test market experiments, of so many things, in so many places, that it's hard to know what is or isn't a "real" menu item.

                                                    - They make some attempt, in some places, to meet a specific local taste, but they don't attempt this in other places. In much of Europe, they serve beer and wine. They serve kosher food at some Israeli locations, but not in areas of New York with large kosher populations.

                                                    - In a rural English village, they served fresh fruit and made the best brewed coffee, espresso, and latte available anywhere in the area (including at fine dining restaurants). They sure don't do this in Toronto.

                                                    - Things that are SUPPOSED to be universal definitely aren't. Although they keep saying they are getting rid of their trans fat frying oils in Canada, they somehow keep missing their promised dates to do so. When trans fat is banned somewhere, it will disappear from their system immediately. Where it isn't banned, they say that removing trans fat without compromising customer taste expectations is proving more difficult than anticipated. In Toronto, my understanding (not verified) is that McD's fries contain both trans fat and beef tallow. But they don't taste anywhere near as good as they did decades ago. So much for not compromising taste.

                                                    - They absolutely do set up menu items to fail. They will introduce, and even hype, something to show that they have met a demand, but then either omit it from the menu or create something so awful that few would order one a second time.

                                                    I recall a "low fat" burger they sold in Toronto in the eighties that was simply putrid. They are currently offering a very cheap natural fried chicken breast wrap (to compete with the KFC "Snacker" sandwich), but the "ranch dressing" on that wrap was so awful that I tried immediately - and failed -to find something that would kill the aftertaste. Chlorettes didn't do the job.

                                                    They still have menu items that are available in a store but not mentioned anywhere. Some locations posted a list of daily specials conspicuously; others made no mention whatsoever that they existed. They had a "Junior BigXtra" and that "Shamrock Shake" at many locations, but you needed to know they existed in order to get one.

                                                    - For "healthy food", they feature salads more expensive than anything else on the menu. Without their (not-so-healthy) dressings, they taste pretty lame. They don't sell a lot of them. I wonder why?

                                                    - They have been featuring deli sandwiches, toasted to order, a la Quizno's for a couple of years. They are small, unsatisfying, expensive, and don't taste very good. They frequently offer them "buy one, get one free" at dinner. Hmmm.

                                                    - We don't have the Angus burger in Toronto, but we do have the "BigXtra" - a patty larger than standard but less than a 1/4 pounder with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and onion. Many store menus don't mention it exists. (The "Junior BigXtra" seems to have disappeared.)

                                                    - In Toronto, McD's uses a purported "food cooked to order" system. It was supposed to deliver fresher, better tasting food. It means that hardly anything is ready anymore and one almost always needs to wait. It was conceptually a good idea, BUT: the burgers are now steamed, not grilled, and taste worse - not better - than when they were cooked in advance; the stores have not been redesigned to provide a waiting area, which messes up service - dramatically at busy times; and it has become more difficult rather than easier to get a correct customized order.

                                                    - I don't know how they cook the breakfast muffins, but they are now sodden pasty white things without a hint of any toasted flavour.

                                                    - Someone I know once made the comment that a Big Mac is not a hamburger, but rather some kind of Gestalt experience. I think she was right. Although I never crave anything else at McD's (I end up eating there out of necessity far more often than I'd like), I do end up craving a Big Mac several times a year. Each time I rediscover that special plastic taste and wonder "why?"

                                                    - Something I read about the development process for the McGriddles really says it all. McD's products are not "recipes" developed in test kitchens by chefs/cooks. They are products developed my molecular biologists and their ilk, in labs, to meet a predefined profile, and refined in the lab until they meet it. (One could say that Adria and Blumenthal are doing much the same thing, but McD's processes sure aren't molecular "gastronomy".)

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: embee

                                                      I always hate myself after I eat at McD's and vow to try hard not to return; I think it's been almost a year since the last time. The cheese is now like soft yellow plastic. About 35 years ago, Burger Kings were great, nice grilled flavor, decent cheese. Too bad they changed. KFC used to be a lot better, too, so I don't go there anymore, either.

                                                      1. re: embee

                                                        It's funny you mention the differences in international Mickey D's. Both times i've been to Tokyo, I was pleasantly surprised to find them the very best place to get an excellent cup of coffee early AM. Ground fresh for every order, it was fantastic! They also had a McTeriyaki burger that was quite tasty.

                                                        I just detested eating there, due to the high prevailance of chain-smokers. (thank god, usually the areas were seperate for non-smoking)

                                                        1. re: Honeychan

                                                          The new iced coffee at McDs is really quite good. Just make sure to say lowfat milk or they pump in tons of cream.

                                                        2. re: embee

                                                          Hmmm ..... So do you like McD's or not......


                                                        3. I've got a thing for their ice cream. It's smooth and you can get a small that is genuinely small. Believe it or not it's a good no guilt snack for basically anyone.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: amkirkland

                                                            I love those $1 baby sundaes. they're the perfect size for a small treat.

                                                          2. I can always tell when somebody at work is eating a breakfast item from McDs--their McMuffins and potato things emit this heavy, permeating odor of industrial grade cooking oil--or something. It's unmistakeable--like driving behind a diesel truck.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: whs

                                                              HMMMMM I drove a diesel truck for 7 years,and I've never smelled Micky D's that had the horrific odor of burnt diesel......but I will agree they do have a smell all their own,personally i love the smell of a Morning Mack!, i will say i have smelled bio diesel that was made from cooking oil ,and smelled like a fast food fryer mmmmmm grease 'n oil!

                                                            2. Unbelievable too me that people still support McDonalds....tragic really, generic homogenised crap that it is...makes me ill...really ...to the bone.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: kiwichef

                                                                The last time I went to McD they hadn't introduced the Angus burger yet. But Friday we decided to go, so I ordered an Angus burger combo. It was actually not bad at all. The burger was big and the patty tasted like a real hamburger - I was surprised. In fact the next day we wound up going to a local favorite, T-Burgers (Monrovia, CA), a place known for great fast food, and honestly, the Angus burger was better than their 1/4 pound hamburger.

                                                                1. re: kiwichef

                                                                  I suppose I don't look at it with as much drama - I don't find it tragic that some people like a certain food and others don't. That's why they're called 'preferences' and 'opinions', not 'facts'.

                                                                2. I never ate fast food as a kid, and only ate it with any regularity in college. Since then, I try to avoid it except on road trips. I can honestly say that I never had a good burger (even in college) at McD's. With one glaring exception:

                                                                  We were driving cross country a few years ago and were in the middle of the desert somewhere and we were starving. We saw a sign for McD's, and having not seen any signs for hours we grudgingly took that exit (we will usually wait to see a Wendy's, Carl's Jr or BK or even Taco Bell rather than eat at McD's). There was a double quarter pounder with cheese on the menu. I got the sandwich, he got the combo. It was really, really good. It actually tasted like meat!

                                                                  We were so impressed that when we arrived at our destination a couple nights later, we made our way at 1am to the nearest McD's and ordered the same. It was disgusting. Not only that, but the fries were completely encased in salt. I mean not just salty, but completely stuck together in a big salt-ridden clump.

                                                                  Haven't eaten at McD's since. At least I know what I'm getting at the other joints.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                                                    I had not eaten at McD's in almost ten years but a few months ago I was seriously craving their fries....could not bring myself to order a sandwich. I got home my warm bag of very distinct smelling fries and began chomping away...they were just as I remembered, delicious. The strange thing was this super creepy layer of lard like film that formed over the roof of my mouth that took hours to wash away, I remember swishing Sauvignon Blanc like mouthwash trying to rid myself of the goo....will never crave those nasty little things again.

                                                                    1. re: bubbles4me

                                                                      Same thing happened to me at The Hat (a well-known chain in So Cal). Twice I've had their onion rings and twice my mouth has felt like it had some internal coating that prevented my tastbuds from functioning for pretty much the remainder of the day. It was not only on the roof of my mouth, as you experienced with the McD fries, but it coated my tongue as well. It may even have been bulletproof but thankfully I didn't have to find out.

                                                                  2. Veggie burgers have been on offer in the UK for years by pretty much all the fast food chains. There is a higher proportions of vegeterians there. My 1/2 yr. experience as a vegetarian made me realize how much cheaper and tastier it was to just buy some whole wheat buns and Boca Burgers and vegetables... Of course, at the time, I was very high and mighty about my all-organic vegetarian diet and was totally against fast food places like some of the chowhounds on here now. I'm not going to go into it now, but financial and other reasons got rid of that attitude pretty quick. Personally, I just think McDonald's sucks overall compared to the other chains. Anyway, I don't think that the overall market of American McDonald's customers would have any interest at all in a veggie burger, no matter how well it is promoted, unfortunately. I think the whole fast food promoting "healthier" choices era is sort of over. Personally, when I get fast food, I am getting it because I don't want healthy - I want grease! As far as the families and individuals who live and breathe on fast food, unfortunately I don't think they have any interest in healthier options at all for the most part...

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: deibu

                                                                      The CEO of the Carl's Jr./Hardees parent company recently stated that while consumers say they want healthy choices, they buy the giant burgers. (http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/22/news/...) I think people who are really trying to be healthy or vegetarian are much more likely to forgo fast food in general.

                                                                      1. re: mojoeater

                                                                        I read somewhere that the folks at Wendy's said the same thing: people may claim in surveys and polls that they want healthier food from the fast food chains, but when they add such stuff to the menu, hardly anyone orders it. People just want to act like they are health conscious but in reality, we're all saying we bring home the bacon to go buy the grease.