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The world's largest chain of fast food restaurants

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McDonald's or McBarf's?

  • Jun 21, 2009
  • by
Pros: Cheap food does the job, dollar ice cream sundaes!

Cons: Hey Mickey D, where's the beef?

The Bottom Line: Not the worst place in the world, but you can easily do better. You won't even strain yourself trying to do better.

A couple of years ago, I was coming home from the yearly jazz festival in Chicago with a couple of friends when we stopped off at a local McDonald's. One of them, Jhonathan, told me he doesn't think McDonald's makes great food, but he enjoys eating there when he's in a hurry. His girlfriend was pretty much of the same opinion. Earlier this year, I had a talk with another friend, Andy, about how McDonald's really isn't as bad as people say it is, and how the food is good for the prices you pay, and how there are far worse fast food chains in every category McDonald's has become the poster boy for the condemnation of.

This is significant. Andy is an activist for the Democratic party. Jhonathan is a hardcore socialist. Jhonathan's (now ex-) girlfriend is not quite as politically active as he is, but she was never capitalism's greatest cheerleader either. Me, being the lone token libertarian in our little social justice group, am the one who is known for jumping to the defense for villainized corporations. (How the hell did I end up falling in with these people?) And here are two people of vastly different political leanings from me implying that this spokesconglomerate of the unholy big business trinity (sharing their spot with Disney and Microsoft, only one of which deserves its spot here) isn't the worst of the bunch in the grand scheme of things. 

McDonald's food will kill you. We know that, thanks to countless health campaigns and a very useless film from Morgan Spurlock. I'm not going to print out the health chart here. But McDonald's is still a considerably healthier alternative to many of its competitors, most notably Burger King. The worst sandwiches at McDonald's have nearly 700 calories while Burger King's frequently top out at over 1000. Furthermore, at McDonald's the employees at least broil the food on the spot. At Burger King, they are just tossed into a microwave. (Andy has noticed this too.) But this isn't really a huge issue. Like I said before, if you eat out, you're likely not all that concerned about your health.

The atmosphere at your typical McDonald's is sickeningly cheery and forced. While the employees are friendly enough, they are often busy as beavers and so they sometimes come off as hurried. The most common decor colors seem to be red, yellow, and orange. The music is muzak meant to be inoffensive. It really isn't offensive, but it doesn't do anything to help the forced atmosphere either. All in all, McDonald's is friendly and welcoming in the way one with a gun to his head would be friendly and welcoming.

Let me say this now: Any of those famous value meals McDonald's sells is a rip off. In the Chicago area, the value meals offer one sandwich with a four or five inch diameter, some fries, and a drink for a price which stops just short or long of five dollars. These meals contain a lot of fat grams so between that and the price, it really isn't worth the trade off. So what I usually do is stick with weird combinations off the dollar menus. It isn't unusual for me to go up to the counter and say with a straight face that I'd like a McDouble, two McChickens, and whatever I feel like drinking because those combinations fill me up more, spare me the nasty fries, and cost less. It isn't exactly a steal, but I am beating McDonald's at its own game by doing this.

If you stop by your local McDonald's, expect to taste a condiment burger. The patties Mickey D's uses on its burgers are about four inches in diameter and slim enough to cut paper in bulk. Condiments are spread on well, and they'll sometimes drown out the taste of the burger and the pickles as well. This is where the cheese feels like a life saver because it tends to be more prominent than any of the other tastes on any McDonald's burger that doesn't use Secret Sauce. The Big Mac, the signature burger of McDonald's, uses a two beef patties which you actually can't taste. The number of ingredients on a Big Mac would destroy any kind of meat, but there's a third roll which is also used in it which wrecks the texture, weight, and bulk of the beef.

The fries look and act like they're made according the the mood of today's maker. Sometimes they are sturdy and stand upright. Other times they are flaccid, pale, and extremely greasy. All are dunked in salt, which is good because that's how they're supposed to taste. During the 90's, fries were the crux of McDonald's ad campaign and while they're a fair purchase, they never came close to deserving that honor. Especially not after Burger King and Wendy's both started beefing up their own fry form later in the decade. 

McDonald's does good chicken. Their chicken is actually a healthier alternative to Kentucky Fried Chicken. It's plump and juicy and there are a couple of selections which feature it as the primary taste point. The one I often go for is the dollar menu's McChicken, a great budget burger with a chicken patty, mayo, and lettuce. I like the chicken snack wraps too, which come with a selection of either fried or grilled chicken. Oddly enough, the only chicken meal at McDonald's that has that factory manufactured taste is the McNuggets. There are greasy bite-sized little chicken patties which don't really do a whole lot for me. McDonald's serves a couple of fish sandwiches and salads too, but I never order them. 

McDonald's offers wonderful baked goods to snack on. If they kill you, what a way to go. You can get two apple pies for a buck off the dollar menu, plus they offer one of the softest, warmest, gooiest, and just plain most addictive cinnamon rolls on the planet. You can also get a small ice cream sundae for a dollar. These are very simple sundaes, mind you, with two layers of soft serve ice cream and your topping of choice topping each layer. But an ice cream sundae for a dollar is still an ice cream sundae for a dollar. To go with your snacks, you can buy shakes or soft drinks.

You can buy coffee too, and the coffee at McDonald's is, to me, the most amazing thing about the place. Here's a fast food joint which cranks out THE definition of factory taste, and yet they make some of the best and most affordable coffee on the planet. I love McDonald's coffee. It's very dark and very bold and better than the coffee at any other fast food place with the exception of Potbelly, and Potbelly serves the brand of coffee brewed at Starbucks. McDonald's brews their own black hot caffeine themselves. And all old bats who sue McDonald's because they hate taking responsibility for their own stupidity aside, the coffee is quite hot and stays that way for awhile.

So my ultimate conclusion is that McDonald's is a three-star fast food place with a careful recommendation. The dollar menu makes Mickey D's a great value purchase and the chicken is very good. But the lousy atmosphere, bad bathrooms, occasionally hurried employees, fair fries, and really bad beef may warrant a few second thoughts.


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More McDonald's reviews
review by . January 21, 2012
posted in Love Bites
Best junk (food) in the world!
I like McDonald's especially when I crave for fried food. French fries is good but I only like them with chilli (especially the sweet and hot version; like Thai chilli) sauce and not ketchup. The only burger I eat is Filet-O-Fish and nothing else  (oh, may be once in a blue moon the McChicken). McDonald is also great to have when I'm broke! Other than that, I've no idea what the rest of McDonald means ;-)      Oh, I do love its hashbrowns! Matter of fact is, …
Quick Tip by . November 13, 2011
There's nothing I can find appealing about McDonald's, as I think they're the epitome of cheap, processed garbage passing as food. Hell, just thinking about their name and image is enough to make my skin crawl.  Don't get me wrong, I like fast food when it's done right, but McDonald's and quality are like antonyms. I haven't been to one in five years, and the only things I ate there were the chocolate shakes and fries (which I didn't eat frequently). Ever since …
Quick Tip by . January 07, 2011
The French Fries at McDonald's are about all I will eat there. They are probably one of the better fast food fries around. Otherwise, watch out for the chicken nuggets which are made of sketchy excess chicken parts that are turned into paste, dyed and re-modeled into what resembles a nugget. Yum, yum.        
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Awesomeness
A cheap tasty fix, but beware, as the quality can change making it exciting to eat at sometimes.
Quick Tip by . July 23, 2010
Personally McDs makes me sick to eat anymore except for the occasional breakfast sandwich, but they do serve their purpose. As a person that home cooks most of my children's meals, happy meals now and then can be effective tools for treats for them and they can burn off most of the crap they eat playing on the play structure until they are worn out.
review by . August 25, 2009
posted in Awesomeness
You can order the McMystery meal if you want-it is either fresh cooked or a greasy gray patty!
It's hard to say what you can get at a McDonalds these days.      After I moved I got to experience a whole new slew of fast food locales with more visits then I have in teh past.  The more I ate at them, the more I realized that McDonalds can't cut it for me in my fastfood diet anymore.      Sure they're fries are okay, and only okay.  Compared to the freshness of In N Out fries or the beefiness of Wendy's …
Quick Tip by . August 28, 2009
I know you're horrible and contain trans fat, but why are your fries and burgers so good? You're my once a year dirty little secret.
Quick Tip by . November 24, 2009
I don't like really McDonald's burgers but I can enjoy the deliciouos french fries from its menu, for me the best french fries in America.
Quick Tip by . November 13, 2009
Never ever liked McDonalds. The burgers were always razor thin and greasy even in the 1960's.
Quick Tip by . November 13, 2009
Greasy and uneven fast food restaurant that can either please or sicken you. Makes it fun to order at and wondering what you get.
About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #8
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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About this restaurant


McDonald's is the world's largest fast food chain, serving more than 47 million customers daily, and having more than 31,000 locations worldwide. The restaurant serves traditional American foods like burgers, fries, shakes, and chicken, and has branched out into other foods in recent years, such as salads, Mexican cuisine, and snack wraps.

McDonald's has come under heavy criticism in recent years for its role in contributing to growing obesity trends in many nations. As a response, the company prints nutrition information on many food wrappers, in addition to serving healthier fares such as salads.

The company was founded in San Bernardino, CA, in 1940, and is currently headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois. As of 2008, the company had over 380,000 employees worldwide. 
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