Tag Archives: McDonald’s

I like my Big King with extra King Sauce

I was at my in-laws’ house the other night, everyone was hanging out in the living room after dinner, and I saw these coupons sticking out of the stack where they keep the mail. Normally I wouldn’t just start snooping around someone else’s letters, or I’d at least wait until nobody else is in the room, but something about this particular piece of paper caught my eye, it drew me in. I found myself unable to resist the urge to yank it out of from the rest of the pile.


It was from Burger King. There was a picture of a burger. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Well, nobody really pinches themselves, but yeah, you get the point, I took a second to let it sink in, that what I was looking at was real. Because it wasn’t just any burger. It was two burger patties on a sesame seed bun separated by another piece of bread. The whole thing was dressed with cheese, lettuce, pickles, and a sauce that can only really be described as “special.”

Does any of this sound familiar? I thought so. It’s the Big King sandwich from Burger King, and it’s back. I read and reread the coupon at least a dozen times, in fact, I think someone had to snap me out of it, because I was just standing there, drooling on this piece of paper. When I finally regained enough of my sentences to string the words together, I let everyone know, “Guys, the Big King is back! It’s back!”

The Big King is one of the best fast food sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life. I remember when I was a little kid in the 1990s, Burger King introduced the Big King as alternative to McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich. And this is where you hear a lot of criticism, like the Big King is a rip-off, that they’re blatantly copying McDonald’s most popular sandwich.

But why is that a bad thing? It’s not like Burger King is making any secret of its intentions. No, they call it the Big King, so even the name is almost identical. But it’s great, and I love the fact that they’re not bound by such small-minded notions of what’s acceptable for a fast-food restaurant to offer on the menu.

The thing is, food at Burger King has a certain flavor, a unique Burger King taste. I don’t really know how to describe it, I’m sure it has everything to do with ingredients and preparation. But who cares? Burger King tastes like Burger King. McDonald’s tastes like McDonald’s. Yeah, all of the chains might have pretty different menus, but if you set up a blind taste test, if you lined up regular cheeseburgers from all of the different fast-food outlets in America, I guarantee you I’d be able to taste the restaurant of origin of each sandwich.And so why shouldn’t we have a Burger King Big Mac? I love the Big Mac. But I also love Burger King. I think it’s awesome that as a consumer, I have the option to experience Burger King’s interpretation of McDonald’s signature sandwich. And it’s a two-way street. Anybody remember the McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty?

And so why shouldn’t we have a Burger King Big Mac? I love the Big Mac. But I also love Burger King. I think it’s awesome that as a consumer, I have the option to experience Burger King’s interpretation of McDonald’s signature sandwich. And it’s a two-way street. Anybody remember the McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty?

The Big N’ Tasty is a giant burger patty on a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, dressed with mayonnaise and ketchup. Doesn’t that sound exactly like the Whopper? Because that’s the Whopper, that’s exactly what Burger King offers. And I haven’t had a Big N’ Tasty in a while, but it’s great, it’s like the reverse of what I was talking about before.

I wish this type of borrowing of inspiration was acceptable not just in the fast-food world. Like, wouldn’t it be great if you were reading a Batman comic book, and then Batman got bitten by a radioactive spider, resulting in a bunch of cool spider powers? It wouldn’t have to be permanent, but we could see a totally different take on a classic.

Man, I can’t wait any longer, I’m going out to Burger King right now. Do you know what Burger King calls its version of Special Sauce? It’s King Sauce. That’s brilliant. I think I’m even hungrier. Do yourself a favor, go to Burger King for dinner tonight. If you already went to the grocery store because you planning on making something special, shelve it for tomorrow. If your husband or wife has already started chopping or dicing, just throw all of that stuff in the garbage, grab their coat, and tell them that there’s no time to explain. Then go to Burger King and get four Big Kings. I’m telling you, it’s the greatest sandwich in the history of fast food.

Don’t be the person that orders fries with no salt

I come across the same tip every once in a while on the Internet: If you go to McDonald’s, ask for your fries with no salt. That way, they have to make a fresh batch, guaranteeing that your fries won’t be sitting around under the heat lamp, that each French fry you put in your mouth will be as made-to-order as possible.


But what about the seasoning? Won’t plain French fries taste a little bland? Easy, the hint goes on, once you get your super-fresh French fries, you just add your own salt. Bam, you just hacked McDonald’s, you cracked the fast-food code.

Every time I read this advice, because it always pops up, people think they’re being so smart, beating the system, I always get pissed off. Because you’re not beating the system. You’re throwing a wrench in it. And nobody’s benefiting, not even you.

Let’s talk about you. “No salt on those fries.” You know what you just did? You just added like five minutes to your wait time, not to mention all of the people behind you in line, watching you as you stand to the side of the register, they’re not ordering, even though you already ordered. Because you’re not moving. You’re just standing there. Everybody’s getting annoyed, nobody knows what’s going on. They don’t understand that you’re waiting for some ridiculous side-item special request.

Then you get your fries. “Whatever,” you’re saying, “I don’t care about the extra wait time, because it’s all worth it, fresh, hot fries.” And yes, everybody agrees that hot fries are better, right out of the deep fryer, they’re perfectly crisp on the outside with that almost creamy potato interior.

But you’re not getting that maximum fry experience, because they didn’t add salt. You think you’re somehow gaming the system by just sprinkling it on at the table, but you’re cheating yourself out of what should be the perfectly seasoned French fry. You ever see just how those fries are made? The fry cook takes the basket out of the fryer, gives the whole thing a few shakes to get rid of any excess oil, and then immediately applies the salt.

This is what you’re not getting. It’s an immediate application of salt. They have a giant shaker, like it has its own handle. And that salt they use, it’s not your average table salt. This stuff is super fine, it’s distributed evenly throughout the broad salt shaker opening, dispersing in a briny cloud, perfectly and evenly coating every inch of those fries.

And this is done as it’s being shaken. So you think about your fries, your super fresh, made-to-order fries. By the time you get them to wherever it is that you’re going to apply your own salt, those things have already cooled down. Sure, it’s only been a minute or two, tops, but that’s all it takes. You’re going to open up your salt packets and empty it on top. Guess what? Most of that salt is going to bounce off of the fries and land at the bottom of the bag. You need that ultra hot coating of right-out-of-the-fryer cooking oil. When that industrial salt shaker does its magic on the fries, immediately upon emerging from the cooker, the salt dissolves on contact with each piece. Plus you add the wrist-action, the up-and-down flicking of the basket, it’s like the salt becomes one with the potato, there’s not a spot that’s not perfectly seasoned.

I get this all the time at my restaurant also, “Let me get those fries with no salt.” And then I watch as their food comes out, they immediately grab the salt shaker, they’re shaking it up and down over each French fry, like, I wish I didn’t have to do this for each bite, but someone along the course of my life told me this trick about ordering fries with no salt, and even though it’s clearly an inferior way of ordering and eating fries, for whatever reason, I’ve never really examined what’s going on, I’m just blindly following ridiculous tips and tricks that I read about somewhere on the Internet.

Open your eyes. Heed my advice. You ask for no salt on the fries, you’re taking the fast out of fast food. What you gain in freshness and piping-hotness, you lose it deliciousness and I-can’t-stop-putting-these-in-my-mouthness. Plus, the McDonald’s worker is going to resent you for making him or her do extra work all because you don’t know how to order.

But won’t that mean that sometimes you won’t get super fresh fries? Yes, that’s just a reality that everyone has to deal with. That’s life, that’s fast food, OK, there’s a reason most of this stuff costs a dollar. Sometimes you get fresh fast food, other times it’s coming from the heat lamp. Trying to manipulate your way into a perfect McDonald’s experience every single time, it’s a recipe for frustration, you’re trying too hard to make it happen, you’re setting your standards way too high, and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be pleased by anything in the long run.

Plus, you really shouldn’t be eating so many French fries. Hasn’t your doctor ever told you to cut back on the fried food? Come on man, do yourself a favor, next time you’re about to head out the door to McDonald’s, grab an apple, all right? Go have a yogurt and drink a glass of water.

I know this is boring

I think I’m out of ideas. Yup. The best is behind me, everything that needs to be said, well, I’ve already said it, and that’s on top of all of the other stuff that totally didn’t need to be said, of which I’ve already said a lot. But that was that, said, done. All that’s left is to keep on going, saying anything, keep on keeping on as if I’ve got something, when really, nothing.


Like, what can I talk about, lunch? I had McDonald’s. I think I’ve already talked way too much about McDonald’s. So, yeah, I’m also drinking a cup of coffee. Nothing like a cup of hot coffee. Look, I know this is boring, and I could apologize, but what good would that do? I’ve said sorry before, it hasn’t changed anything, or added anything relevant to the discussion.

Nothing left to do but talk about how I have to go to work in a little while. Does anybody else have to work? Or is it just me? Me and all of the people that I work with. Is that it? That’s not much of a workforce. Maybe we’d make a good pro football team. Not in terms of skill or anything like that, but just getting a whole team fielded, and then backups ready. Or soccer I guess, yeah, there are a lot of people on a soccer team. But nobody ever wants to be goalie, and for some reason I find it so much more rewarding imagining all of the people I work with every day lining up to protect me from the onslaught of opposing linemen.

Because I’m definitely the quarterback in that fantasy. Whether or not my coworkers would agree with me, well, I guess they’re entitled to their own fantasies also. And since this is my fantasy, I don’t know why I’m settling for football, I can barely even throw a football. I mean, I can get it from point A to point B, or somewhere in the general vicinity of point B, but it’s never a nice throw, I’d say maybe one out of thirty times it’ll come close to that perfect spiral, the kind of smooth torpedo that everybody else in the world somehow seems to accomplish almost effortlessly. But mine are all topsy-turvy.

And that’s not even a real regulation sized football. I always thought the footballs in my parents’ garage were like pro footballs, but one time I came across an NFL sized football at the Sports Authority, and I could barely hold it with one hand. And I have giant hands. No, no more football fantasies. From here on out, I mean, I’ve got nothing to say anyway, so it’s right back to sci-fi fantasies, it’s me, I’m the captain of a gigantic spaceship, and all of those same coworkers that were defending me on the field before, this time they’re manning Ops, rushing toward battle stations or preparing the torpedoes for launch. “Ay-ay captain!” they’ll respond, sometimes just at random, like they won’t even have to necessarily wait for an order to say, “Ay-ay captain!” that’ll be something that’s encouraged on my ship, just say it whenever you feel like it.

Even my boss. Especially my boss. Maybe he’s cut out to be the boss at work, but on my ship, I’m the boss. And I’d call him boss still, but as a really ironic nickname, like, “Hey boss, remember when we were all back on Earth? How you used to be in charge? Haha. Go make sure there isn’t any space mold in between the engineering conduits.”

Or, I don’t know, that’s a lot of responsibility, managing that big of a crew. And in space. Maybe I’d prefer one of those really small boats, not tiny, but just big enough for one cabin inside, something quaint. I’d have cable still, but no Internet. Just me, the eternal ocean, and the incessant chatter of all of the twenty-four hour news channels. All of them, right-wing, left-wing, British, whatever, I’d watch a different channel every day and I’d try my best to completely alter my opinions accordingly, like not just an act, I’d see if I could really get myself to believe in whatever they were saying. I’d have plenty of time, and nobody to talk me out of it.

But then what if one of the channels started running specials, “This just in. Never, ever, ever watch another cable news channel, ever again, only us,” and even though I do my best to believe, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but for whatever reason on this day I really nail it, I so thoroughly absorb that message, I’m like, yes, just this channel forever.

But wasn’t I on a ship? I don’t know. Maybe the cable is too much. And maybe it’s a submarine. Although, I’m kind of tall, so I’d need one where I’m not constantly ducking underneath all sorts of low hanging pipes. And yeah I guess you need a pretty big crew for a submarine. Maybe I could just be like a consultant, or a VIP guest, nobody could boss me around, but I wouldn’t have to worry about management. And again, lots of headroom. I’ve banged my head on pipes before, and it sucks, it really, really hurts.

I found a twenty-dollar bill on the sidewalk

I was walking down 21st Street the other day when I noticed a twenty-dollar bill lying on the ground directly in front of me. “What are the chances?” I said out loud to myself as I bent down to pick it up, which I realized right away was a mistake, not picking up the twenty, but saying out loud, “What are the chances?” Because as soon as I did, there were these two guys pretty close to me, and I definitely caught their attention.


I wasn’t trying to flaunt my good fortune. I was genuinely happy. But one of the guys stopped and looked toward my direction, he said, “Hey, uh, I think that’s my twenty,” and I knew I was screwed. What was I going to do, protest? I didn’t have any defense. It wasn’t my twenty. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t his twenty either.

Still, I didn’t know how to proceed. In a situation like this, you either act or you don’t. If I hesitated at all, it could have started a fight, the guy might have gotten aggressive. And what if he did get aggressive? For all I knew it really was his twenty. I just had a gut feeling that it wasn’t. I know that if I were in his position, and it wasn’t my twenty, but I wanted the twenty, I would do exactly like he was doing, I’d try my hardest to pretend that it was mine, getting really upset that this other guy wouldn’t hand it over.

I just kind of stood there stuck in thought, until he started moving in to take it out of my hands. Luckily, that third guy chimed in, “Hey man, actually, I think that’s my twenty.” Now I could safely recoil my hand, even if just to help get to the bottom of this. Whereas before, I only knew that the twenty wasn’t mine, coupled with a hunch that the first guy was lying. Now I had two guys, one of them definitely lying, maybe even both of them lying.

“Really? Because I’m pretty sure this was my twenty,” I surprised even myself when those words came out of my mouth. It was a ballsy maneuver, but I figured, worst case scenario, two of us would be lying, meaning that there was no way I was getting teamed up on here.

But for real, I could just tell that all three of us were lying, because, again, I’m putting myself in a situation where I drop a twenty and then two other guys come over and make a claim on it, I’d be like, “All right, that’s my twenty, I’m taking it, bye.” But we were all just kind of a little too hesitant, nobody ready to make any direct accusations, everything was pretty civil so far.

And I still had the twenty in my hands. Should I try to make a run for it? I could have gotten away, again, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten away. I’m really fast, but I always like to keep a slight check on my abilities. The more and more I get used to just assuming that I can sprint my way out of any situation, it’s just setting me up for a huge fail when I try to get away from that one person capable of chasing me down.

“How about …” it was guy number three, “How about we all just split it?” and guy number two immediately jumps in, “Nope. That just proves that it wasn’t yours in the first place. My claim still stands. You?” He was talking to me, damn, did this guy have some sort of experience in situations like this? I didn’t know what to do, it was that same indecisiveness that I was dealing with when it was just me and him. I kind of held out my hand, he slowly moved in to make the grab.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s just hold on a second,” guy number three again said, “That’s not your twenty,” I recoiled my hand slightly, “You’re faking it. Tell me, where’d you drop it from? What pocket do you keep your wallet in? You got any other cash in there? Why didn’t that cash fall out? How you going to prove it’s yours? Huh?”

I couldn’t believe it, but it worked, kind of. At least, guy number two fell for it, the rapid-fire asking of way too many unnecessary yet detailed questions. He should have just kept answering them, one after the other, making stuff up if he had to, because he already had the upper hand. But he just stood there with his mouth open, just five seconds too slow.

And that’s when he caved, he said, “All right fine, let’s just split it.” So then I got a little ballsier, I thought, I’m the only one who hasn’t deviated from his original claim, “Actually guys,” I chimed in, “It’s actually my twenty, I’m going to …”

“No, nope, no chance pal, sorry,” it’s like they could just tell. Guy number two yanked it out of my hands and they both started walking to the McDonald’s on the corner. “Guys?” I called out, “Am I part of the split? Guys?”

I followed them inside, they both started ordering, “Guys, can I at least get some food too? Come on, a Big Mac? We can all get Big Mac meals. There’s enough.”

Guy number three gave me a look like he wanted to say, get the fuck out of here man, but then he looked toward guy number two, gave him a look like, what are you going to do? He turned to the cashier, and said, “And he’ll have a dollar menu double cheeseburger.”

I was like, “That’s it? Dollar menu?” Guy number three said, “Take it or leave it,” and his look got real stern, like I could tell he meant it.

“I’ll take it,” and I took it. Whatever, free double cheeseburger, right?

Ode to the McRib

I live right by a McDonald’s. The other day I noticed a new sign, it said that “The McRib is back!” So I walked right inside and ordered one. I love the McRib. I love everything about it, the delicious pork taste, no bones, barbeque sauce, pickles, onions. “Sorry sir, but the McRib just came back today, so, yeah, we can sell you one, but we don’t have the bread.” “That’s fine,” I said, trying not to betray my disappointment, “I’ll still take it.”

Why not just wait a day? If you don’t have the McRib bread, why even advertise, “McRib!” Why put it back on the menu? How about a sign that says, “McRib … coming soon!” I love McDonald’s, but I wouldn’t have gone in right that second had I known they were only selling something like a McRib, something that kind of looked and tasted like the McRib, but didn’t give me the whole McRib experience.

Part of what makes the McRib so unique is its unconventional shape. It’s like an oval. The bread is almost this mini baguette. It follows that it must be sold in a fitted rectangle box. The cashier handed me my bag, I brought it home, opened it up, and it was a regular square box. I didn’t know what to expect.

It wasn’t the same at all. They didn’t even put it on a regular bun, like a Big Mac bun or a Quarter Pounder bun. They put it on one of those specialty buns, something used for those fancy sandwiches that nobody ever orders anyway. It tasted good. But I was so annoyed. Every once in a while you’re at a barbeque in the summer, and there’s always tons of hamburgers and hot dogs, and it always happens, but towards the end of the party, there are always like five hotdogs left but all of the hotdog buns have been used up. But you’re so hungry, it doesn’t matter, you say to yourself, I’ll just use a hamburger bun. And then when you eat it and it doesn’t satisfy at all your craving for a hotdog you stand there, swallowing the last few bites, staring at that empty paper plate, thinking to yourself, huh, that doesn’t make any sense. It’s bread and a hotdog. Why does the shape at all alter the eating experience?

I don’t know. I don’t have any good answers. But it does. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that some bites are going to be too heavily stacked with meat whereas other bites are going to be way too much bun. And with the McRib, this is simply unacceptable. I want every bite to have exactly the same proportions of pork, pickle, onion, sauce, and bread. Haphazardly throwing it on same knockoff artisanal loaf didn’t even come close to making it work. And let’s not forget about the rectangle box. It has to be a rectangle box. I could just tell that my McRib patty was forced in the square box, like it didn’t fit at all. The whole thing was a mess.

I went back the next day and had myself a McRib proper. What a relief. I was worried that my not so stellar McRib experience might have ruined the McRib for me altogether. But it didn’t. And that’s good, because the McRib is only a temporary item. Like I don’t know if there’s any pattern to when they bring it back, but when it comes back it’s like having one of those dreams where there’s a totally new room in your house that was always there but for some reason you never went inside, and now that you’re aware of its existence, you’re making all of these plans, like maybe it can be a game room, or a work area. You’re dream brain is filled with possibilities. But then you wake up and, bam, it was a dream. No dream room.

It’s the same with the McRib. I don’t know how long they’ll keep it back on the menu, but it’s never long enough. I promise myself every time the McRib comes back that this time I’m really going to make the most out of its availability. But I’ll always only ever buy it four or five times, tops, and then just when it’s there, just when it’s earned a place on the forefront of my consciousness, so when every time I get hungry, I automatically start thinking, McRib, I’ll walk into McDonald’s and it’s like, “Sorry, no more McRib.” “What? None? You don’t have any more McRibs? Come on. You have to have something. Nothing? I don’t care about the bread, please. Please!” McDonald’s, why do you have to do this to me? Why can’t you just keep it on the menu full time?

I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing a little project similar to that movie Super Size Me, but instead of eating only McDonald’s every day for a month, I’m going to limit myself to just McRibs, every meal, every day for a month. I don’t think it would be bad. I’m pretty convinced that the only reason that filmmaker suffered so many negative side effects was because he was wasting too much time on weird menu items, like salads, apple pies and ice cream cones. But just the McRib? That’s got everything. Meat, bread, vegetables. I could do it. And I’d love it. I’m going to go to McDonald’s right now just to make sure it’s still on the menu. I’m not going to order one though, because I’m so stupid, I got hungry earlier and I went to Subway. I totally forgot about the McRib. And how could I? I’m telling you, that’s how it is. It’s a dream sandwich, elusive, by the time you wrap your mind around it being there, poof, it’s gone.