REVIEW: McDonald’s Donut Sticks

McDonald s Donut Sticks

After the employee handed me the bag that contained my six-piece order of McDonald’s Donut Sticks (it’s also available with 12 pieces), I wondered if there were cameras around and I was being pranked. Because it was so light, it felt as if it contained only the obligatory napkins.

But after opening the bag, getting a sweet whiff of cinnamon sugar and not so sweet whiff of oil, and seeing six sticks staring back at me, my Punk’d fears subsided. I don’t know why I thought they’d be more substantial than they are.

McDonald s Donut Sticks Airy

The Donut Sticks are sweet golden-brown dough, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and made fresh every morning. They’re also a little disappointing. The cinnamon sugar is everywhere, but there’s no cinna-plosion in my mouth. Because I can taste a bit of the oil used, I thought its flavor dulled the sweet seasoning. However, even licking off whatever cinnamon sugar clung to my fingers didn’t have a strong taste.

No dipping sauce comes with them, although I imagine hot fudge or soft serve would pair well. Unfortunately, I read Donut Sticks are only available in the morning so it might be hard to get them with either, but they really should be an all-day thing.

McDonald s Donut Sticks Innards

If I had to compare these with Dunkin’s Donut Fries, these are better, but not by a whole lot. They’re thicker because they’re fluffier and airer. They also taste a little bit better, even though I wish the cinnamon sugar stood out more. Although, they do look freaky.

If you order these, don’t let them sit around. Eat them fresh because, just like McDonald’s World Famous Fries, they taste better when they are and have a bit of crispiness that fades if not eaten quickly. If you pick some up via the drive-thru, eat them while you drive, even though there is a 100 percent chance the Donut Sticks are the nimbus clouds that will rain cinnamon sugar onto your crotch.

Although, like most donuts, you could stick them in the microwave for about 10 seconds, to get some of that fresh-from-the-fryer quality back.

Overall, McDonald’s Donut Sticks are decent, if eaten fresh, and slightly less so, if not. They are not at the luscious level as my sorely missed Cinnamon Melts, but if you believe your breakfasts should end with dessert, which they should, this will do an adequate job.

Purchased Price: $2.29*
Size: 6 pieces
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 280 calories, 13 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Big Mac Bacon

McDonald s Big Mac Bacon

Does bacon make everything better?

That is a question many companies have tried to answer with various bacon-flavored products that I’d list, but it’s so long that if you’re reading this on a smartphone, your finger will cramp from all the scrolling.

For some of those products, like bacon soda, the answer is definitely HELLLLLL NO. And for products like the new McDonald’s Big Mac Bacon, the answer is, “Well, you should read the rest of this review.”

If you’re a person who’s unfamiliar with the Big Mac, it’s (everyone say it with me) two all-beef patties, Special Sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun. This pork-infused version has all that, plus three strips of thick-cut Applewood-smoked bacon and it’s available for a limited time.

But here’s the thing regarding the limited time availability: You can get the Big Mac Bacon long after it’s taken off the menu and you could’ve had it all this time. After all, it’s just bacon with a Big Mac, which you can custom order. It’s like requesting no salt fries, tartar sauce on a McChicken, or getting plain soft serve in a McFlurry cup so that you can make an Apple Pie McFlurry. Of course, there’s an upcharge for the three slices. My local McDonald’s asks $1.50 for them.

How do I know this?

Well, because I ordered a Big Mac with bacon this way before the Big Mac Bacon was officially available.

So does bacon make the iconic Big Mac better?

Let me put it this way: If you were to offer me a regular Big Mac and a Big Mac Bacon, I’d choose the regular one.

McDonald s Big Mac Bacon Closeup

The three surprisingly crispy bacon slices add smoky, salty, and porky flavors, but perhaps too much of them. They cause the burger to lose a lot of its Big Mac-ness. The Special Sauce gets less special because the bacon flavors drown it out along with the pickles and onions. It loses a lot of its tanginess, which is what makes the Big Mac so appealing to me. If this had a better balance between the bacon and the Big Mac, I’d probably like it more than I do.

McDonald s Big Mac Bacon Center

With all that said, I enjoyed the Big Mac Bacon, and it’s worth trying. It’s a long overdue twist on a classic that doesn’t get many twists, but this twist doesn’t make it a better Big Mac to me.

Purchased Price: Not sure
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 610 calories, 33 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1210 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss

McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss

What is the McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss?

It’s another Mushroom & Swiss version. This time it comes with seasoned mushrooms, a creamy bistro aioli, Swiss cheese, and crispy onion strings on an artisan roll with a 100% fresh beef 1/4 lb. patty.

How is it?

Upon opening the signature crafted box, the artisan bun and its golden brown fluffy appearance excited me. Off to a good start!

McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss 2

After taking off the top to check out the toppings, I was immediately befuddled. There were multiple onion strings, some melted Swiss, a bit of the aioli, but the mushrooms? There were maybe two, three at most on my burger. My excitement sank again. I had reached mushroom patch rock bottom, so I decided to dig in and get it over with.

Chomping through, though? I was pleasantly surprised. All the components come together without one overpowering another. The bun is a tad buttery, the Swiss is sufficiently nutty, and while the drop of aioli tastes like a standard garlicky, peppery mayo, it does its job to add some creaminess to everything.

The standout though is the crispy onion strings. They were super crunchy and flavorful. Yum! I wasn’t wishing for more of the so-so mushrooms with the oniony topping present. They have a nice sweetness that comes through once you get through the coating.

Is there anything else you need to know?

McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss 3

I ordered my sandwich with one beef patty, but if you are extra hungry, you can get two of those fresh bad boys, if you like. And, if beef isn’t your thing, you can also get it with buttermilk crispy chicken or artisan grilled chicken.

Conclusion:

This is another decent entry in the Mushroom & Swiss category that you shouldn’t go out of your way for if you are expecting Mushroom heaven. For a crispy onion string & Swiss burger, though? It’s pretty good for a fast food joint. Check it out if you are hitting up the Golden Arches anytime soon. For me, I’m definitely going to go with the double next time.

Purchased Price: $5.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Single) 660 calories, 36 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 920 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 33 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Cheesy Bacon Fries

McDonald s Cheesy Bacon Fries

As someone who always uses French fries to scrape off the melted cheese from a McDouble wrapper, I’m happy to see McDonald’s Cheesy Bacon Fries.

From that exercise of not letting any processed dairy go to waste, I’ve learned that cheese and McDonald’s fries are tasty. So it’s nice to see the two come together in an actual menu item. But the orange goop used on this new side isn’t the pasteurized process American slices you’d find in the chain’s sandwiches, it’s a cheddar cheese sauce.

Also, the bits aren’t the thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon in McDonald’s sandwiches chopped up. They’re from a different bacon. But the French fries are the same ones we know, love, and occasionally dip into hot fudge sundaes.

The side comes in one size, and it looks as if the amount of fries used is equal to a medium serving. The quantity of bacon bits is equal to HOLY CRAP THAT’S A LOT OF BACON BITS. It’s as if someone removed the freshness seal from a new bottle of bacon bits while holding it upside down and over the container I received.

McDonald s Cheesy Bacon Fries 2

While the fries in my order look as if they’re drowning in bacon, the mass of cheddar cheese sauce dropped on top is a bit too sparse for my French fry cheese scraping off a burger wrapper-liking. Some of the orange glop falls through the fry cracks, but once the top layer of fries is gone, it’s mostly a sea of naked fries.

McDonald s Cheesy Bacon Fries 3

Naked fries are somewhat of a problem because there isn’t enough cheese to act as the glue to make the bacon stick to the potato. Now I wrote “somewhat” because naked McDonald’s fries are still McDonald’s World Famous Fries, so it’s not as if without cheese I’m going to dump the rest. I could dip them in ketchup, McNugget sauces, or hot fudge sundaes.

Combining bacon bits, cheddar cheese sauce, and McDonald’s fries makes for a tasty side. The bacon bits are, well, like your run-of-the-mill bacon bits. They’re salty, porky, smoky, and chewy. Along with its creaminess, the cheddar cheese sauce brings a different savoriness and a slight tanginess to party. When both toppings cling to the fries, they deliver a smoky and savory flavor that makes these already great fries better.

I’ll admit, while McDonald’s Cheesy Bacon Fries are very good, they aren’t going to blow your mind. After all, it’s just cheese and bacon on fries, which we’ve seen before in the fast food world. Instead, I imagine the only thing that’ll be happening with your head is the following thought running through it: “Why didn’t McDonald’s do this sooner?”

Editor’s Note: It turns out this is currently being tested in Hawaii and California.

Update: This will be available nationwide for a limited time starting on January 30, 2019.

Purchased Price: $3.75*
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 560 calories, 34 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1330 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Triple Breakfast Stack

McDonald s Triple Breakfast Stack

Do you hack your McDonald’s order?

I didn’t know hacking at Mickey Dee’s was a thing as I usually only think of “secret menus” at places like In-N-Out, Starbucks, and Jamba Juice. But, apparently I’ve been missing out because I’ve only ever combined my Big Breakfast combo into one giant sandwich. Does that count as a hack?

Inspired by current hackennings (hacking+happenings) and eater demand for heftier breakfast sandwiches, McDonald’s launched three new Triple Breakfast Stacks for a limited time. They are sandwiches that come with two sausage patties, two slices of American cheese, bacon, and an egg. The only difference between the three options is the carb that holds it all together; you can pick a biscuit, McMuffin or McGriddle.

As a more classic breakfast kinda gal, I went with the McMuffin version. A McDonald’s sandwich/burger in the states never looks as good as it does in the commercials or like the beautiful food photos on the menu. They’re constructed with tweezers overseas, I swear. I lament because my Triple Stack squished down to a 1.75 stack. But, it was still much larger than a regular McMuffin.

McDonald s Triple Breakfast Stack 2

My first bite was the familiar goodness of a Sausage McMuffin — that salty, porky flavor balanced with the slight tang of the English muffin. But, what I noticed more distinctly with the Stack was the American cheese. It has a distinct taste profile and with two melty slices, the rich silkiness of the Kraft-like layers became one of the main flavors, but I wasn’t mad about it.

When I got to the bacon, I LOVED that it did what it does best – make everything taste better! I thoroughly enjoyed the extra punch of salty smokiness as well as the texture it added. I was a bit sad when my last bite was just the sausage patty because it seemed so plain without bacon!

McDonald s Triple Breakfast Stack 3

The $4.29 price point for the sandwich is like the price of a combo for other breakfast sandwiches. But, the Sausage McMuffin with Egg a la carte is $3. So, you’re effectively getting another sausage patty, bacon, and slice of cheese for $1.29. Not a shabby deal.

I would say to quickly skedaddle to your local McDonald’s because the Triple Stacks are a limited time offering. But if you want it after it’s officially taken off the menu, you could just hack it. ¯\_(?)_/¯

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (McMuffin version) 780 calories, 57 grams of fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 340 milligrams of cholesterol, 1560 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugars, 35 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Sweet N’ Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders

McDonald s Sweet N Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders

I love the insolence of Honey BBQ.

Think about it. In an oversaturated food landscape where barbeque has become hyper-regionalized, all about the smoke, and increasingly shaped by other cuisines, Honey BBQ announces itself as unapologetically one-note.

Where other barbecue sauces hit you with a variety of flavors from fruity to tangy to smoky to hot, Honey BBQ essentially announces itself as the potluck contribution of Winnie the Pooh.

McDonald s Sweet N Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders 2

At the risk of glancing over the “Spicy” in McDonald’s new Sweet N’ Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders, that’s basically the story with the latest LTO from the Golden Arches. Sure, there’s a slight kick of cayenne on the backend of the tenders, but it’s more “hmm” than anything else.

Heatseekers be warned, these are not a reincarnation of Chick-fil-A’s unicornish Spicy Chicken Nuggets. If you’re looking for genuine heat, these are not the tenders you’re looking for.

McDonald s Sweet N Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders 4

The thing is, they don’t have to be. The first bite of the first tender was chicken tender heaven. Suddenly, marketing buzzwords like “crispy,” “juicy,” and even the highly suspect, if not potentially reprehensible, “finger licking” carry meaning beyond a 30-second radio spot cliché.

McDonald s Sweet N Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders 3

For chicken tender aficionados, that first bite is less a taste sensation and more a moment, as if the combined flavors of every horrible-for-you food came together and created a slow-motion music video of you chomping away.

The glaze, meanwhile, is a double-edged sword, one that invites you to lick the sticky-sweet goo as you would a popsicle, but at the cost of precious crispiness on the part of the tender’s breading. While excellent as far as Honey BBQ goes, the sauce was inconsistently applied.

While I’d avoid sticking the c-word label on the tenders, I’ll be the first to admit that to some taste buds they may seem cloying. Such is the biological reductionism of Honey BBQ, which functions at its best when paired with crispy, fatty foods like those $1 Wise Honey BBQ potato chips it sells at Dollar General, or, as I’ve found, boneless all-white meat chicken strips at McDonald’s.

If you can make peace with this, you will like these tenders. If not, well, there’s always a petition to get Chick-fil-A’s spicy nuggets to go national.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 pieces – 640 calories, 27 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1780 milligrams of sodium, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 35 grams of sugar, and 39 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.19
Size: 4-piece
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nails the Honey BBQ flavor. Addictively saucy. Tenders stay fairly crispy despite excess moisture. Gives “all-white meat” a good name.
Cons: Spice is modest and not exactly caliente. Inconsistent saucing. Terribly, terribly messy to eat.