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McDonald’s Around the World: Austria Edition

McDonald's AustriaI had some flat-out awful meals at McDonald’s in Spain and Italy — meals that were so bad, they made me look at my life and think “am I doing this right?”  Well, here comes the land of Arnold Schwarzenegger to hold out a hand and let me know I’m doing just fine.  Because McDonald’s in Austria knows how to do it.

I had a few things: a McCountry sandwich, waffle fries, and a beer.

McDonald's Austria

Yeah, that’s right, McDonald’s serves beer here.

The McCountry sandwich was kind of like a McRib, only with red onions instead of regular onions, and curry sauce and mustard instead of BBQ sauce.  So… not at all like a McRib, actually.  But it’s made out of pork!

This was surprisingly decent.  The pork patty was dried out and nothing particularly special, but the combination of the sweet curry sauce and the mustard was satisfying.  I’m not a fan of raw onions, but even those were fine — the sauces were strong enough that they really only added crunch.

McCountry sandwich

The waffle fries were pretty good as well.  They were nice and crispy, and whatever they seasoned them with worked fairly well.  I ordered the “Hot Devil” dipping sauce to go with these, and oh man — that sauce is not kidding around.  There’s no way in hell a fast food joint back home would serve something even close to that spicy.  Legit hot.

The beer (!) was good too.  It was a pretty run-of-the-mill lager, but still… beer at McDonald’s!

Fried!

The meal was such a pleasant surprise, I figured I may as well get a dessert.  I got the raspberry cream cheese pie, and first of all, it was fried, so it’s automatically amazing.  The day McDonald’s at home started baking instead of frying their pies was the day that joy died.  Fried is so much better, it’s ridiculous.  I mean, look at that crispy, crackly exterior!

Pie!

The inside was pretty good, too — satisfyingly tart and not too sweet.  A solid ending to a surprisingly decent meal.

 

McDonald’s Around the World: Italy Edition

McDonald'sThere isn’t anything too interesting/unique at McDonald’s in Italy, though they do have something called “Le Ricche” fries, which is basically just a plate of fries with cheese sauce on them.  You can choose between regular cheddar, and hot cheese.  I went with the latter, though I have to admit that there’s something vaguely unappetizing about the phrase “hot cheese.”

Nope

Yeah, it turns out the whole thing was vaguely unappetizing.  Actually, no: not vaguely.

I should note that I’m not a snob about cheese sauce — I actually really like the neon orange sauce they serve at the movies.  But this stuff?  It was vile.  It didn’t help that it was cold and congealed; it was unpleasantly thick and gluey, with a salty, acrid flavour that I guess was supposed to be spiciness?  It tasted like they melted down a mostly empty bottle of cayenne pepper and then poured the plasticky goo over stale fries.  It was horrible.

Double nope

Since there wasn’t anything else particularly interesting on the menu, I went with the one of their burgers — the 1955 burger, which was clearly the better of the two in that it wasn’t completely awful.  It had bacon and caramelized onion and a bunch of other stuff, and it wasn’t too bad, but there was so much ketchup that I couldn’t taste anything else.

I’m not gonna lie: between Spain and this, my enthusiasm to try McDonald’s at every country I visit has been significantly dampened.  Get it together, McDonald’s, jeez.

McDonald’s Around the World: Spain Edition

McDonald's SpainWho can say no to ham croquettes at McDonald’s?  Or chicken wings?  Well, most people, probably — not this guy.

I’m not very smart, you see.  As most people would reasonably imagine, neither of these things were very good.

Um...

The croquettes were probably the better of the two.   They were sort of okay, though the exterior wasn’t particularly crispy, and the interior was unpleasantly gummy, without much flavour other than a generic saltiness.

Or at least I thought it was salty, until I tasted the wings and learned the true definition of that word.

So much salt

I honestly think those wings might have been the saltiest thing I’ve ever eaten. They were fine otherwise — nice and crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. But holy jeez, I’m surprised I didn’t have a stroke right there on the spot. They were so salty they actually kind of burned my tongue.

Nope

I was craving something sweet after that salt overload, so I got the Nocilla McFlurry (Nocilla is basically a Spanish version of Nutella).  I had high hopes for this one; if you put enough Nutella on literally anything, it’ll eventually become delicious.  But that’s the problem — there wasn’t enough of it, and the little pieces of brownie they mixed in were overly chewy and completely tasteless.

The ice cream itself wasn’t even particularly creamy, so all in all: boo-urns, McDonald’s Spain.  Boo-urns.

McDonald’s Around the World: Portugal Edition

McDonald'sMaybe it’s because I’ve been going to the place since I was a kid, and thus have fuzzy childhood memories, but I like McDonald’s.  I don’t eat there a whole lot, but every time they add something new to the menu, I feel compelled to check it out.

Here in Portugal they have the usual assortment of burgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads — the most interesting thing is their take on the bifana, called McBifana (natch).

McBifana

It’s alright, I guess.  They replace the sliced pork of the original with two pork burger patties; most of the flavour comes from the surprisingly garlicky sauce that they slather all over it.

There’s definitely nothing wrong with it, though at around four Euros it’s almost double what an actual bifana costs.  Considering that the real deal is more substantial, tastier, and cheaper, it’s hard to justify ordering this thing.

A couple more thoughts after the jump.