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A little slice of heaven on a sesame-seed bun

I know I’ve bitched about this before, but if you get hungry between 3 and 6 in the UK, you’re screwed. Restaurants and cafes, from the poshest to the unposhest, open from about noon to three, shut for three hours and reopen from about six to…whenever. It’s maddening.

Except for fast food chains. Good old Mickey D’s.

Got ourselves grievously lost trying a new route into Londinium (exactly as I predicted when I was handed the map and told to navigate). Got there hours late, quickly conducted our business and scooted back home again. Too late for shopping or museums or anything. One Big Mac and out.

So, the usual.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 16, 2011, 10:57 pm

At one point, we had to stop and turn around in this road to get back on track.

I LOL’ed.

Comment from Andrea Harris
Time: March 16, 2011, 11:21 pm

My mother and I went to a McDonald’s in Germany. I think it was in Cologne, which was the city where we somehow ended up spending most of our time in Germany. (This was back in the days when it was West Germany you went to.) Anyway, the McDonald’s was… different. For one thing, they served beer.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2011, 12:13 am

I almost titled this post “the same wherever you go” — then I realized I’d heard McDonald’s is very different in some places.

Not here. It’s exactly the same as the States (if more expensive).

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: March 17, 2011, 12:44 am

It’s the same in Tokyo. The locals found it interesting that I refused to eat there most of time, and did most of my meals in local joints….

Comment from Nina
Time: March 17, 2011, 1:11 am

Not only did I see McDonald’s in Oslo, I saw Burger King, where they were featuring a California burger in English. It had avocado on it.

Notice I said I saw them…I didn’t eat there. One of the McDonald’s had nice outdoor seating that looked just like the bar’s next door. Personally, I’d have to be darned hungry to eat at McDonald’s.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2011, 1:15 am

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this: I ate a Big Mac, fries and a Coke every day of 1975 (okay, I may have missed a day or two). And, as I recall, I got change back from a dollar.

Lumme some Big Mac. But there’s something they put in them…the moment I finish one, I think, “I could eat three more of those and still be hungry.”

I’m willing to contemplate the finer points of the Whopper, however.

Comment from Cobrakai99
Time: March 17, 2011, 1:19 am

I was in Frankfort back in ’99 and as mentioned above had a Beer with an apple struddle (sp?) at Micky Ds. We had already eaten local food, Hawaii Schnitzle, for supper. The Micky D’s was so we could say we drank beer at McDonald’s.

In Spain, the schedule we were flying on had us eating lunch for breakfast and starving by Siesta. The only place open from 1400 to 2000 was McDonald’s.

Comment from Sockless Joe
Time: March 17, 2011, 1:29 am

Never been to France, but a friend of mine who lived there a while complained about this stuff they called “American” sauce that no normal ‘merican would ever use. My understanding is that they would put it on burgers and other “American” fare.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: March 17, 2011, 2:21 am

Uh huh. A friend and I went to Ukraine a few years ago. When we drove back to Kyev, our friend and local guide had a special place he wanted to visit, to get something to eat before he took us to the airport hotel.

You guessed it. McDonalds. Except for the language spoken it could have been anywhere in the United States, and I’ve been in a few here that were equally incomprehensible.


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: March 17, 2011, 2:27 am

I dunno, though. The ones I went to in Honolulu had a little rice cake with smelt roe wrapped in seaweed on the menu.

Quite tasty, actually.

Comment from mojo
Time: March 17, 2011, 2:40 am

Shades of “Wrong-Way” Corrigan…

Comment from Deborah
Time: March 17, 2011, 2:50 am

Until last summer, I had not eaten a McDonald’s Big Mac since 1972. Now I want one at least once a month. I don’t understand it but I guess my taste buds have matured. And I’m downright addicted to their McCafe (coffee) frappe. But I’d like to clobber the person who signed off on “McCafe.”

Comment from Bill (back from Iraq until I go back to Iraq) T
Time: March 17, 2011, 3:06 am

About the only place I’ve been that I haven’t seen a McD’s was Pakistan — but KFC *was* there.

Never, ever ask an ISI Shadow if KFC stands for “Kashmiri Fried Camel” — never.

Comment from Cromagnum
Time: March 17, 2011, 3:57 am

Do they still have the original hot apple pies? Last time I was across the pond in 2005 they still did.

In France they had some other crap, some kinda of quazi yogurt/bug food or berries

Comment from some vegetable
Time: March 17, 2011, 12:20 pm

I lived in Tokyo for about 8 years and I really love Japanese food but Mac -ku Dunaudozu became my secret shame. It became my theory that a man can learn to live with all kinds of weird shit if he can just get a taste of food from home now and again. Comfort food indeed. In my defense, you have to remember that, while not as bad as the Chinese, the Japanese will eat damn near *anything*.
After a week or two – or a couple of years of raw fish, raw whale, raw horse, grilled sparrow , octopus, and a lot of UEO (unidentified edible objects) a Big Mac becomes an object of unnatural longing.
Now, in defense of Stoaty, imagine living in a country where they enjoy such delicas as kippers, Toad-in-the-hole, faggots, and -of course- the infamous spotted dick.

I admit to never having had any of these but every man has his fears. I mean grilled sparrow on a stick or squid guts in salt are one thing -but, well- what the hell could be in a dish called “Bubble and Squeak”?

In such circumstances a Big Mac can sound pretty good. 🙂

Comment from Sporadic Small Arms Fire
Time: March 17, 2011, 1:01 pm

Some Veg,

if you helped yourself to an English sparrow from Her Maj’s isle, they’d hang you on the bowstring, no warrant, not taking 5th, no jury, no nothing.
True story.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: March 17, 2011, 1:33 pm

It became my theory that a man can learn to live with all kinds of weird shit if he can just get a taste of food from home now and again.

I spent 3 months in Germany following college graduation, living with friends of my family. Had a great time, loved the food. I flew back into NYC and was met by my older sister, who was living there. We got back to her apartment and she asked what I wanted for dinner. I said “a hamburger and fries.” This from someone who prior to that had never voluntarily eaten burgers (fries, yes, with cheesesteaks–I went to school in Philadelphia). So we went to a diner in her neighborhood–Yorkville, upper East side, where there were still some who spoke their mother tongue of German. Quite freaky to be sitting in the diner and hear the language I’d been hearing for so long on the other side of the ocean–but hadn’t expected to hear back home! But the food was good. And, yes, I eat fast food burgers to this day, on occasion. But for some reason, only BurgerKing; some irrational tic makes me phobic about eating at MickeyD’s.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 17, 2011, 5:02 pm

Agreed about Burger King, Can’t Hark – but, they’ve lost a lot of ground here in recent years.

I’d date it from when they started spraying their chips (fries to you ‘orrible lot) with cement, but there might be other reasons.

My fave used to be Wendy’s but apparently they took their ball and went home because not enough Brits shared my taste in burgers.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: March 17, 2011, 9:08 pm

Mickey D’s tastes utterly indentical here in Costa Rica to anywhere I’ve ever had it. Burger King here is just…off, somehow. Wendy’s: wide selection and the salads are good.

Out of all the bigger US chains I’ve eaten in, my favourite is Fatburger. But best of all? GBK in London. The Blue Cheese I love. Pricy, but good.

Now I need McD’s for lunch. With bacon. Mmm, bacon.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: March 17, 2011, 10:01 pm

my problem with fast food is that I don’t like the sauce, no matter what kind of sauce it is, save BBQ, on my burgers. No mayo, no mustard, no 1000 island, ewwww. And I don’t like those dehydrated/rehydrated onions that are on the big mac. But they do have diet coke there, at least. The two all beef patties, lettuce, cheese and the sesame seed bun I can tolerate. The pickles I peel off and eat separately.

In n Out is my fast food of choice. Habit burger, Carl’s Jr.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2011, 10:20 pm

I eat the pickles separately too, Nina. First thing I do.

Burger King here tastes normal, but isn’t very hot.

Some days, I would murdelate for a Taco Bell. I know it isn’t real Mexican, but neither am I.

Comment from XBradTC
Time: March 17, 2011, 11:21 pm

I despise Taco Hell.

And for some reason, Burger King won the franchise to have restaurants on Army bases, which is fine. Except I prefer McD’s. So during my three years in Germany, I went to McD’s quite often. And yes, I had a McBeer. But just a few times. I actually prefer Coke with my burgers.

Comment from Frit
Time: March 18, 2011, 1:07 am

Living Down Under, I’ve found McDs, KFC, and Subway, as well as Hungry Jack – which is the Oz version of Berger King. Not seen any of the taco places here, nor any of the pizza places I used to see back in the ol’ USofA. The McD’s here isn’t bad, I can actually eat the burgers, which is nice, as all the meat is organically raised. KFC here has a reputation for being bad enough for only last ditch desperation eating, so I’ve not tried it yet. Hungry Jack is decent, and Subway is not noticeably different from the branches I ate at in the US.

I think my major complaints about restaurants here are the total lack of places that serve Thai or Moroccan food, and the one place that serves “sushi” here would be laughed at by any person who has eaten in a real sushi bar, especially one in Japan! (Which I have, waaaay back in the late ’60s, where I learned to love sushi and sashimi!) Mind you, the one Japanese place here has very good food, but their sushi is… limited, and seems to have been modified for the Gaijin palate. :p

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 18, 2011, 1:16 am

KFC was one of my favorite junk meals in the States. Huge portions of nice, fatty fried foods. I tried it once in the UK. It cost me, like, £20 for the two of us, and it was little gray lumps of squishy…god, no, I don’t want to think about it.

I’ve never liked Subway and don’t understand how it passed McDonald’s internationally (as I recently read it has done).

Lots of pizza here, but I miss the little hole-in-the-wall pizza joints in the States. I made pizza in one of those for a couple of years. mmmMMMMmmm.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: March 18, 2011, 2:27 am

You’re looking at Subway all wrong. It is not, and never could be, a fast-food competitor of burger drive-throughs and fried-chicken franchises. Nope. Think of it as the Big Box of Delicatessen. Just as McDonald’s and Burger King carved out a tiny piece of Diner and made it the entire business, so has Subway sheared off most of what makes a deli a deli. . .but kept the sandwiches.

I actually like Subway, but have observed that as it rose in popularity, the three good independent sandwich-making-delis in my community fell into desuetude. OK, that wasn’t JUST Subway–gas stations that turned into convenience stores helped. But I can’t help believing that the easy availability of the safe and consistent Subway sandwich helped. Bad cess to them.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: March 18, 2011, 2:39 am

I like KFC every now and then, but it’s soooo fried that it gets to me.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: March 18, 2011, 5:31 am

Oh, I can’t stand KFC. Something they put in it upsets my stomach like you wouldn’t believe.

I’ll take Popeyes Fried Chicken anytime.

And if you ever get the chance to hit a Fudruckers Hamburger joint, do it. (or mudfuckers, as I like to call them when I’m drunk… 😉 )

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 18, 2011, 7:51 am

Leaving aside matters of taste (in one sense at least), a problem faced by diners in the UK is the considerable amount of Halal meat slipped silently into the food chain.

In most outlets, you simply cannot find out – and many of them do buy Halal meat. KFC and McDonalds have both had to fight publicity wars on this (and both claim they don’t use it) but many others do.

Needless to say. I have…. objections.

Comment from Deborah
Time: March 18, 2011, 3:09 pm

I live next-door to San Antonio, where there’s a Mexican restaurant in every block, and yet, I routinely want Taco Bell (or Taco Villa, or my favorite Taco Cabana—with frozen margaritas [served in a plastic cup] that are guaranteed to give you an excruciatingly painful brain freeze).

Comment from David Gillies
Time: March 19, 2011, 6:40 am

You wanna make a mint? Open a Taco Bell in a food court in a shopping mall in Costa Rica. I do not know what this means, but I fear it can be nothing good. Although we have a real Mexican chain here, and their Tacos al Pastor are to die for.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: March 22, 2011, 4:29 pm

For some vegetable:
They call it “Bubble and Squeak” because those are the sounds one makes after eating it…

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