Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Half-Assed Gourmet: Grilled Chicken, Cheddar and Onion with WHAT?

I somehow developed an affinity for the McDonald's Dollar Menu's CBO burger--that's Cheddar, Bacon, and Onion to those of you who don't have kids who can envision no other restaurant in the universe--and I ate a couple of them for a several visits in a row. It's a simple, modest creation, but something about the way the ingredients combined made it an appealing choice. I decided to change up recently, though, and...go to Ruth's Chris for some steaks.

No, sadly, it was McD's yet again, but this time I got the crispy chicken version of the CBO. Ooh, what a radical change-up, Mr. Shark! Yes, I know, but, boy, did it turn out to be different.

First, let me mention that the chicken CBO is a whole buck more than the burger. That's 100% more. It's still only two bucks, but it's just funny that the addition of poultry elevates this burger out of the Dollar Menu ghetto and up to the big time. Well, technically it's still on the Dollar Menu AND MORE menu, but I think most of us right-thinking golden arches patrons consider the AND MORE section an illegitimate blight on the formerly pure Dollar portion.

Anyway, I sat down for a picnic with my kids and, anxious to try the new (to me) sammich, I tore it open without even acknowledging my fries or sweet tea (all part of a balanced meal, natch). Right away I knew I was in trouble. Big, big trouble.

I saw bread, I saw chicken, I saw cheese, I saw mayonnaise...

WHAT? Mayonnaise?

There was a time when I could count on McDonald's to be the one fast food chain that did NOT insist on treating that accursed extra as a standard ingredient. That time was...just about always. The closest burger joint near me when I was growing up was a Hardee's, which insisted on slopping mayonnaise on all its burgers. I insisted on insisting they remove it, and some of the time they actually did. I still remember my dad's look of defeat as I complained time and again, "Aw, they put mayonnaise on this!"  As Joe Pesci told us, they always screw you at the drive-through.

Yes, I did get this chicken CBO at the drive-through. But I hadn't asked them to remove mayonnaise. In fact, I often ask when I see a new sandwich on a menu, "Is there any kind of sauce on that?" I didn't say anything when I got the CBO. Why would I? There's nothing on the beef version. Who in the world decided the chicken version needed the devil's condiment to top it off?

And by the way, the mayo on this thing wasn't just a topper or an extra. It was all over the damn sandwich. My daughter saw my disgust--come to think of it, it's possible she also noticed me groan, "Aw, they put mayonnaise on this"--and in a calm, measured tone, told me, "You can just wipe it off, Daddy."

I wanted to say, "Oh, yeah? Let's see how YOU react next time I put something on YOUR food you don't like! I doubt you'll be so levelheaded then!" I wanted to say, "LOOK at this! It's smothering my food! I can't just wipe it off!" But I just said, "Yeah, I guess so," grabbed a few napkins, and removed as much of the disgusting topping as I could.

How was the sandwich? I don't know. The fries were piping hot, and the tea was sugary sweet (must be all the sugar), but I couldn't really enjoy the main attraction. Virtually every bite carried a trace of the mayonnaise, even after removing the top bun and scraping down the chicken. I don't know if I can ever order it again. Sure, I could ask them to hold the mayo, but now that I know how much they put on it, the whole item may well be forever sullied.

What happened to you McDonald's? Are you really in such dire financial straits--I think I read your revenues were down like .00003% last quarter, which made Wall Street dizzy--that you have to turn to inferior, un-American ingredients to pad your sandwiches? In protest, I am not returning to any of your establishments.

Well, unless my kids want to go there again. I mean, I'm not gonna be that stubborn about this.

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