The Adventures Of Fatrick: McDonald’s Big America New York Burger

February 6, 2010

Lets start at the end. On my way back to the train station after seeing a concert in Osaka, I passed by a McDonald’s. Nothing out of the ordinary, save for one detail. When I had first walked by this narrow fast food store five hours earlier, a big sign advertising the New York Burger, the latest installment of the “Big America” special series, sat posted out front. The ad still stood on my return, but with one slight addition: a red-and-white sticker covered in complicated kanji. I’d seen this seal before, though, and knew it meant “item no longer available.” In a few short hours, this location had completely run out of New York Burger.

The Japanese have gone loony over the Big America burger line. The initial entry, the Texas Burger, shattered McDonald’s records in the land of the rising sun. And if my afternoon out in Osaka can be trusted, the New York Burger isn’t any artery-clogging slouch. Aside from an entire restaurant running out of them (did I mention it first debuted this Friday?), nearly everyone around me at a different location ordered the sandwich. I heard a chorus of “New York Burger” while waiting to say the exact same words. I don’t know what it is about these things, but they are real winners.

It’s surprising, because the New York Burger doesn’t appear all that exotic at first glance. The Texas Burger at least had a bunch of ingredients not commonly found over here, not to mention the novelty of a spare bun in the middle. The New York Burger includes lettuce, tomato, bacon, Monterey Jack cheese and mustard sauce on a “special bun.” Nothing all that crazy (and nothing very New York either, but I’ll ignore that topic in today’s discussion of fast food). Could this combination really be a taste sensation? I put on my “journalist” bib to find out.

The New York Burger, once unwrapped, actually looks a lot bigger than the Texas Burger. It also looks a lot more messy, the vegetables and sauce slathered on in that special McDonald’s style that guarantees half of these topping will end up someplace other than your mouth. Foolishly, I forgot to get napkins. But looks aren’t everything, right? RIGHT? How’s it taste?

My passion: taking iPhone pictures of burgers

My passion: taking iPhone pictures of burgers

Bite into this beast and one taste overpowers everything else: that of the mustard sauce. This might be OK if the sauce didn’t taste like varnish, or if the the varnish-sauce only popped up periodically. Alas, this stinging condiment coats every inch of this burger, eradicating any good flavors under a wave of semi-disturbing colored glop. And as predicted, the things flies all over, meat and lettuce and tomato and that horrible sauce shooting off in every direction with each new bite. I mocked the Texas Burger’s middle bun, but now I see that such a move is actually brilliant as it does hold everything in place. It saves your fingers the embarrassment of changing colors.

Looks like it’s up to the California Burger to save the day and prove which is the best coast after all…

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