The Adventures Of Fatrick: McDonald’s iCon Cheese Fondue Chicken Sandwich (With Bonus Creepy Cat Cafe Action)
October 13, 2010
Due to reasons I’m not even sure I recall at the moment, I swore off eating at McDonald’s sometime last September. Whether for health reasons or because I’m sick of associating the taste of home with with “secret sauce” I vowed to avoid frequenting the nearest chain…perilously located in the same place I do my grocery shopping. For a while I did pretty well – and, unsurprisingly, I felt way better as a person. I welcomed a life free of chemically-modified Quarter Pounders and “apple pies.”
Then came the Cheese Fondue Chicken Sandwich.
Part of the chain’s new “iCon” chicken sandwich series, the cheese fondue offering appeared to be the least vomit-inducing option of this bizarre promotion. Save for maybe the “diavolo” (which looks nice and spicy), the rest of these foodstuffs appear to be have been conceived by someone with a sick sense of humor. As you can see below, items like the meat-sacrilege “German sausage” chicken sandwich and the Carbonara sandwich…complete with what appears to be mushy eggs…seem like desperate creations dreamed up by a Deadhead jonesin for something to eat at four in the morning. The cheese fondue doesn’t even look that appetizing, but the promise of cheese…a rare commodity in Asia…made this an oath breaker.
Shamefully I ordered the sandwich…with fries, woe is me!…and went home to eat. Upon opening the cardboard box hiding my lunch, I became both repulsed and intrigued – living up to its fondue billing, the chicken patty comes coated in a vaguely alarming white cheese sauce. It looks disgusting…but tastes pretty amazing. Shame safely ignored, I bit in.
The sensation I felt was neither love nor hate. Rather, all I felt after biting into the cheese fondue sandwich was a void waiting to be filled by anything of interest. It wasn’t bad but not particularly good either. The cheese sauce tasted OK but didn’t pack the punch necessary to truly make this memorable. The chicken wasn’t crispy while, like every McDonald’s item to ever feature it before, the bacon might as well have not been there. Ultimately this thing wasn’t bad, but if I wanted to break my Golden Arches protest I’d rather do it via the chemical perfection of the Big Mac.
So I promptly returned to my vow not to eat at McDonald’s…which I promptly broke a week later when I got hungry after school and had one cheeseburger. I’m a weak man.
Bonus Action! The Cat Cafe Of Uncomfortableness
Two friends wanted to experience the Japanese cat cafe this past weekend and me, being a two-time veteran, obliged to go with them. I planned on the three of us hitting up the cafe I had first gone to (memories!), a place that, though definitely strange wasn’t nearly as bizarre as I thought it would be. Sadly, after a two-hour trip to get there, we discovered the place was undergoing a renovation. Using my quick thinking though, I recalled seeing another cat cafe in a different part of Osaka next to a 7-11 somewhere. I suggested we find it and, after a few detours caused by a proliferation of 7-11’s in the area, stumbled across the place. I figured it would be more or less the same experience as the other place.
Oh ho ho ho ho no.
I should have actually been a bit more skeptical given WHERE this cat cafe was found: Den Den Town. Basically Osaka’s answer to Akihabara (aka nerd central, Tokyo), this zig-zag of streets serves as the hub for every weirdo stereotype the Western world has regarding Japan. Nerds waddle from toy store to adult video store to video game store to security camera store (really) while women dressed up as maids try to hustle them into their cafes. If the Japanese panty vending machine actually exists, it’s probably down some Den Den Town alley. So, unsurprisingly, our cat cafe sat on top of a packed maid cafe. We made our way up the stairs and entered what appeared to be someone’s living room. Except it was crawling with cats.
Whereas the other cat cafe seemed to put the emphasis on the cats…people, even little kids, came there to pet and look at cats…this place and its clientele struck a different vibe. There were lots of cats, and some people played with them (or rather, tried to play with them as the cats ignored them). Yet a lot of people seemed to be sitting down on a couch reading comics, maybe stroking a feline as it passed by. This place felt more like a strange way to live out an alternate life…you could do the things you love (read manga) but do it in the company of kitties. This…coupled with the way maids from downstairs came in every few minutes to change clothes in a backroom…made the place feel way more weird than it had any right to be. All while having access to all the orange juice we could drink and waves of cats who could care less about our existence.
The experience creeped us out and we only lasted half-an-hour. Even that felt like a small miracle, mostly facilitated by a tubby feline who seemed to like attention. I’ll be keeping an eye out for a puppy cafe next time around.