REVIEW: McDonald’s Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger

McDonald s Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger

If you’re like me, you’ve fallen down many a rabbit hole of International McDonald’s menu items. I’ve clicked through listicle after annoying listicle just yearning for the day America embraces the weirdness that the rest of the world gets to bask in daily.

Good thing for us, McDonald’s has introduced a new “Worldwide Favorites” menu. What say we go for a little trip across the pond?

McDonald s Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger Box

The Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger comes courtesy of Spain and consists of a Quarter Pounder, Applewood Bacon, McBacon Sauce, slivered onions, and two slices of Gouda.

Quick questions – I thought Gouda was a Dutch cheese? Is it a staple of Spaniard diets? Is McDonald’s making stuff up?!

McDonald s Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger Cheese

Anyway, the Gouda and McBacon Sauce were the ingredients I was most excited about. I’ve never had either on a fast food burger. I assumed they were what made this burger so extreme. So McExtreme!

The Gouda was mild, but there was just enough of that creamy, smoky flavor you’d want. It meshed really well. There are so many overpowering cheeses that could have ruined everything, so no matter where Gouda derives from, it was the right choice for this particular burger.

McDonald s Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger Toppings

I’d take McBacon Sauce over ketchup on literally every burger going forward. It’s equal parts smoky, tangy, and well, bacon-y. It’s too bad they screwed me with only a small dollop. Every burger I buy is swimming in sauce. The one time I’d actually like that, I get a dab.

The rest of the ingredients were retreads, although I’ll say that not having a Quarter Pounder in a while really made me feel like I was eating a premium hamburger – at least by McDonald’s standards.

Applewood Bacon has become a can’t miss topping, so no complaints there.

The onions didn’t add much, so I ended up scraping most of them off. They should’ve used crispy fried onions.

I wondered why they didn’t do anything fancy with the sesame seed bun, but I got a nice fresh one at least.

McDonald s Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger Bite

The most impressive thing about this burger was how clean it somehow was. The box was initially oily and gross (I guess that was from the bacon? Maybe some Gouda run-off?), but the burger as a whole was shockingly easy to eat. That was likely exclusive to my experience, but nothing fell off the burger, and I didn’t even need a napkin, which is unheard of. I imagine that’s how Europeans like their burgers.

All in all, this was a creative, tasty burger, which is great because, besides the Stroopwafel McFlurry, the other Worldwide Favorites are boring. Cheese fries? Mozzarella chicken sandwich? Meh. What makes mozzarella Canadian? McDonald’s is just randomly assigning cheeses to countries!

Despite the mystery grease, the Grand McExtreme is one of the better fast food burgers I’ve had in ages. Is it distinctly Spanish? I couldn’t tell ya, but no matter what, Me encanta! (This is Google Spanish for “I’m Loving it,” so blame them if it’s wrong.)

Purchased Price: $6.60
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 750 calories, 47 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 145 milligrams of cholesterol, 1310 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 43 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Stroopwafel McFlurry

McDonald s Stroopwafel McFlurry

I am of the opinion that McDonald’s outside of the states is better.

One of my all-time favorite fast food sandwiches is the McSpicy in Asia. Now one of my all-time favorite treats is the Stroopwaffel McFlurry from the Netherlands! But, the best is part is that I can get the latter here (for a limited time unless you visit the Chicago HQ McDonald’s locations which carries international items regularly.)

If you’re not familiar with a stroopwafel, it’s a euro-phenom. It’s basically a genius way to eat a cookie for breakfast; they’re very thin (even thinner than Oreo Thins!) waffle wafers sandwiching caramel. The waffle itself has the cinnamon goodness of a freshly made waffle cone, but it’s much more pliable, delicate because it bends with the caramel without crumbling. I appreciate McDonald’s went with the most well-known maker Daelmans.

McDonald s Stroopwafel McFlurry Top

But, you won’t find a whole cookie! The treat itself has broken up pieces of one blended with caramel and vanilla soft serve.

Because I may have been the first person order this at the location I went to, I was able to overhear the details about making the sausage, um, soft serve treat. The snack size comes with two scoops of cookie bits and a regular comes with three. Both get one pump of caramel.

McDonald s Stroopwafel McFlurry Spoon

The cookie pieces ate like caramel bits that beautifully stuccoed the vanilla soft serve. They didn’t freeze up from the cold. Also, one scoop of bits was plenty generous as I thought there was a nice distribution throughout the treat.

The pump of caramel nicely enhanced the caramel in the stroopwafel but didn’t overtake it. However, I could tell the stuff in the cookie was better with notes of cinnamon and vanilla compared to the straight sugar of the confection that was pumped in.

Overall, if you love caramel, you’ll definitely enjoy this!

Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: Snack Size
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 480 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 gram of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, 81 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 57 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich

McDonald s Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Crispy

For many years, I thought American fast food was a shining beacon of liberty, creativity, and ingenuity —- in short, everything that won two world wars, put a man on the moon, and bequeathed the world such celebrities as the Jonas Brothers.

Reality, a hip college-aged friend of mine tells me, is often disappointing, although I think she stole that from a movie. Such is the case when you consider the rather pedestrian domestic offerings of chains like McDonald’s in relation to its overseas menus. Thankfully, we get to bask in a little international culture for the summer, as the Golden Arches have rolled out its “Worldwide Favorites” menu.

The Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich, an import from Canada, suggests an especially light and summery offering. You can get the sandwich in either a grilled or crispy version but because you only live once and can drastically reduce said life through gluttony, I got both.

McDonald s Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Crispy Halved

Structurally, the crispy chicken sandwich holds up better than the grilled. Mine was well presented with multiple leaves of lettuce and surprisingly fresh Roma tomato slices tucked into a toasted, buttered Artisan bun. The crispy chicken was plenty juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside — everything you would want it to be, but for some reason it tasted just okay.

McDonald s Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Toppings Crispy

The viscous tomato and herb sauce is less sweet or acidic than it probably should be, and what’s left is a garlicky sauce that doesn’t know what it wants to be. The mozzarella, warm but unmelted, cheesy but not milky, is serviceable. But like watching Canadian football, it’s not preferable.

McDonald s Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Grilled

I found that the grilled chicken version tastes better than the crispy one if only because there is a warm succulence to the grilled poultry that melts the cheese more completely than the crispy version.

McDonald s Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Tomatoes

The tomatoes and lettuce add a more pronounced relief to the protein and gooey cheese, but they also add structural instability. In rather cartoonish fashion, the contents of my sandwich squirted themselves almost completely free of the bun, of which the button half was basically useless. Also, there are onions on both sandwiches. They’re fine if not a little annoying.

Overall, the Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich is a little bit better than fine but not quite a solid good despite it’s obviously fresh ingredients and relatively sound engineering. If anything, the sandwich makes you appreciate the tried and true regular McDonald’s menu a bit more, while still cultivating a healthy curiosity for the warmth of drive-thrus on distant (or relatively close) foreign shores.

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 700 calories (Crispy); 530 calories (Grilled) Full nutrition not available at publication time.

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.