On a recent trip through the Keystone State, I stopped off at a McDonald's that hosts the Big Mac Museum.
In addition to the giant plastic Big Mac in the playground (sorry you cannot get inside it) and wall mural timeline, the store is loaded with pictures, trinkets, empty packaging and other memorabilia for the chain's most popular sandwich. Why Pittsburgh? Because a local McDonald's operator decided that a double burger was needed back in the '60's and the Big Mac is the result. The rest, as they say, is delicious history.
A new website dedicated to stories about the man behind KFC, Colonel Sanders, has been created. It contains stories, photos and biographical information on this fast food legend.
“Colonel Sanders, his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices and all he achieved are the cornerstones of our company,” said Barry Westrum, chief marketing officer for KFC. “We’re honored to launch this project to preserve the memory of our founder by collecting stories from folks far and wide.”
Check out the site here.
"Angus Cool Deli sandwich wrap." Even the name is a mouthful. Arby's invited me to try their new sandwich, available either wrapped in a whole grain flatbread or as a sandwich on a conventional bun. So I headed off to my local Arby's to give the new sammy a test drive.
The wrap - wrapped
The wrap - unwrapped
I deliberately did not read up on this sandwich ahead of time, preferring to be surprised. The first thing that threw me (and that I completely overlooked in the obvious name) is that this sandwich is served cold. Similar to the market fresh sandwiches, the Angus Cool Deli wrap is a well-balanced combination of tastes. Aside from the beef, there is lettuce, tomato, red onion, Swiss, banana peppers and pickles (diced, not sliced), mayo and a sub vinaigrette. As you can see from the image below, there was a bit too much mayo on my wrap.
In fact, there was so much mayo it actually drowned out the taste of the vinaigrette. Next time, I'd probably opt for no mayo and see if it's really even necessary. Deleting the mayo would shave 160 calories and a whopping 17g of fat right there. The sandwich comes standard (assuming by-the-book construction and according to Arby's website) with 620 calories in the wrap configuration, 36g of fat, and 1640mg of sodium. If sodium is a worry, don't try reconfiguring this sandwich. The flatbread alone is 410mg. Kudos, however, go to Arby's for offering a multi-grain alternative to a standard white bun. More restaurants should follow Arby's lead here.
Aside from the spreads, the chopped pickles were a fun surprise - something you might do if you made the same sandwich at home. Also, the sandwich is easy to hold in one hand and eat, with sturdy flatbread holding everything in check. All in all, it the Angus Cool Deli sandwich wrap is a fine and tasty addition to the Arby's menu, something you won't easily find at another fast food restaurant.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a few improvements during my latest trip to my local Wendy's. First off, they installed new digital signage for the menu boards. Very slick looking and attractive, although some of the rapidly-changing animations were a bit distracting.
But the best change took a few seconds to register in my brain. When I ordered my soft drink, the cashier put an empty cup on my tray. Wait a minute - you mean I get to pour my own soda like all the other chains? Great.
It's funny how fast we can get used to a thing like pouring our own drinks. Obviously it is a labor saving benefit for the chain. But for the Wendy's guest who had to stand to the side and wait for a cashier to find a gap between customers to get a refill, self-service is a welcome change.
Back in January 2011, I posted this review observing that McDonald's simply doesn't appear to put a lot of thought or care into making a good chicken sandwich.
Tonight I walked into the same McDonald's in Crystal City Virginia where January's sandwich was encountered to find that they are now advertising "New" premium chicken sandwiches. Now, since the McDonald's website doesn't seem to be promoting an upgraded line-up, my curiosity was piqued.
The "improvements" seem to be in a new bun that promises 8g of whole grains. Other than that, I did not see or taste much that had changed in the last six months. Below is a reminder of what that old sandwich looked like:
The new sandwich had the same ingredients, stacked in basically the same order. The meat was not flavorful, the tomato lonely and thin, and the only component that could be described as "juicy" had to be the gob of mayo on the bun.
I can't even blame the particular location. Just compare McDonald's own press picture for their chicken sandwich with my personal favorite from Carl's Jr. Both are grilled (charbroiled in Carl's case) and have bacon, swiss, lettuce, tomato and mayo:
Just look at the two sandwiches and tell me which one YOU'D want to eat. If McDonald's own food stylists can't make their sandwich look as attractive as the competition's in a controlled environment, how do they ever expect to compete? Maybe they don't want to. I don't know, but I do know that, for chicken sandwiches, McDonald's will not be first to come to mind.
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