In this, our fifth stop on the fast food European McDonald's tour, we visit scenic and inviting Italy. Like Spain, France, Greece, and Croatia before, Italy offered a pleasing mix of new treats and familiar favorites.
It's funny to see the mix of English and local language and how sometimes they just make stuff "fit". For instance, here's the "CBO" again. But only the "B" for bacon actually matches the word in Italian. But the locals still love it, after all, "E tornato il mix perfetto!"
Checking the main menu:
At this point there's nothing new for you seasoned travelers who have been on this journey with me. But wait, what about the "Il Mac" advertised above? My wife bought one, and here is what it looks like:
She reports the sandwich as bland and quite dry. The heavy duty bun was interesting but did not add to the flavor or the experience. I thought it was too funky looking so I got my old standby:
Ahh, even thousands of miles from home this tasted like I hoped. MMM. And look at the careful assembly! And while I am happy, let's check the Happy Meals:
It's a party for the Italian kids on this festive menu board. Hey look! It's "McToast" once more. And the veggie of choice is baby carrots, which are so exciting they are jumping out of their container.
On the "whaaa?" menu, I present:
Fried shrimp living in harmony along side a plate of "McNuggets". Wow, very progressive. And speaking of progressive, lots of European cities had the full McCafe coffee houses inside, but none served up tea in real cups and saucers:
I hope you enjoyed touring with me through the McDonald's of Europe!
KFC is running a social media ad campaign right now and is giving away free lunches at at least 50 U.S. restaurants on June 17. To win, here's what KFC says you have to do:
Check it out!
Up until now, my Eurpoean tour of McDonald's fast food restaurants has included Spain, France, and Greece, all countries that use the euro. But don't panic, the sandwich advertised above isn't 37 euros. For in this entry we find ourselves in Split, Croatia, where they use the kuna. The rate of exchange is 1 kuna for about 14 cents euro, or about 17.5 US cents. So that 37 kuna burger is about $6.46 in today's dollars. Kinda pricey, but hey, at least it's a combo.
Checking out the McMenu, which at this time we are used to seeing as the main menu board, we see the trusty "Big Mac" and "Royal Cheese". The "McCountry" is the same as Greece's "McFarm", that is, a pork sandwich.
This McDonald's was in a mall in downtown Split, and we had to walk quite a ways to get to it. The mall was very Americanized, with most of the stores being cookie cutter to their US counterparts. In fact, except for the prices, you would swear you were in a suburban mall in Anytown, USA.
Interestingly, Split was the only place where the manager actually tried to block me from taking pictures. No other country seemed to be bothered by the pasty white shutterbug snapping pictures of the menus. So the pics in this post are all a little off due to their clandestine nature.
Here are some fun unique items:
Now you know how to say "sticks" in Croatian:
And for dessert...
Finally, the Happy Meal offered the good old American standbys plus the mysterious "McToast" cheese sandwich we first came across in Greece:
Our next post will be the fifth and final installment in the European McDonald's tour - Italy.
There's that CBO again! Yes, it's the third in a series of stories about McDonald's fast food restaurants in Europe. We've already visited Spain and France, and our next stop is the island of Corfu in financially-challenged Greece.
The cool thing about touring Europe is the same thing that is currently driving Greece crazy: a common currency. This allows for comparison of things like a 1 euro menu.
Sorry about the cash register blocking part of this menu - it was the only posted chart of 1 euro food items. But you can see some familiar items as well as the unique "McToast" sandwich. Um, what is it? Nobody there spoke English clearly enough for me to find out and I just ate so I didn't feel like ordering one.
Let's look at the main board, the McMenu, instead:
This menu should make any American feel at home. In fact, except for the "McFarm" (pork) sandwich, everything is pretty normal. Even the "Quarter Pounder" is called a "Quarter Pounder", not a Royal. Ahh, consistency.
In the Happy Greek Children department, the Happy Meal board had a lot that was Greek to me. But there's the trusty "McToast" and I am thinking this is a grilled cheese. Someone please confirm. And while cherry tomatoes are nowhere to be found, they do have the wedge fries and another American kids menu staple, apple slices.
Join us next time for our next stop - the decidedly non-Euro Croatia.
In an era of throwback logos and throwback branding, Taco Bell adds a new twist: throwback corporate synergy.
Up until 1997, PepsiCo owned Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and a few other fast food chains in addition to its soft drink and snack chip (Frito Lay) empires. At that time, PepsiCo spun off the restaurants to newly-formed Tricon (which formed Yum Brands) and I feared the beginning of the end of delicious Pepsi in some of my favorite fast food eateries. After all, there was a time in the not-too-distant past that Burger King served Pepsi over Coke.
Now Taco Bell is rolling out a new $2 meal that includes one menu item, a fountain beverage, and a bag of Doritos. Taco Bell, you never cease to amaze me with your efforts to keep costs low to offer cheap prices. I mean, I thought the meatless potato taco was extreme, but this beats all.
I'm still not sure how I feel about this admittedly clever idea. My first reaction is that Taco Bell already has a side of nachos that hopefully won't be going anywhere. But then I have to say Quiznos and Subway have been getting away with bags of chips as sides for years so it would be hypocritical of me to pan Taco Bell for doing the same thing.
After Spain, our next stop on the European McDonald's fast food tour is France. Specifically, Nice. The French menu looked much like what I saw in Montreal, but Canada doesn't really count as a foreign country (the cows are all north Americans after all.)
Their main menu is a "Best of" menu where you order in steps (entree, side, beverage) instead of by the number, although someone had stuck tiny little numbers next to each picture. I know it's hard to read some of these pics, so I will list the selections in the above pic here:
They also had the Big 'N Tasty, although since they don't use the word "and" they would not understand the abbreviated "'N" so they just call it a Big Tasty. At first, I thought this sign below was homemade:
But then I saw another in the same style on the menu board:
So this winds the award for ugliest, most unappealing posters and advertising. Even the sandwich looks unappetizing. And no, I don't think that's swiss cheese in the upper pic - just sun faded.
What else is unique in France? Plenty!
What about the kids? Don't worry, they have Happy Meals too:
Hey look, they have cherry tomatoes too, just like in Barcelona. But here, they call them Les P'tites tomates. Everything sounds prettier in French.
Tune in next week as we move on to Corfu, a touristy island in Greece.
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