May

27

 I just now decided to have a late night Big Mac and pulled into our local McDonald's and noted they were closing. I hurriedly pulled to the drive through and placed my order. I got to the window to pay and was told the grill was shut down and I could get my # 1 with a Big Mac, but it would be made with a quarter pound of meat. I said that was fine. I got back home and found they had included a second burger at no extra charge.

I like McDonalds anyway, but that little extra tonight is good PR and keeps customers happy and thus helps McDonalds stock.

Many years ago one of the first McDonald's opened up on Hamilton Road in Columbus. My mother's sister and her husband lived in Columbus and took us to this brand new restaurant. I was probably 10 and can still remember the golden arches that I saw for the first time. At that time they had single burgers with ketchup and a pickle for around 29 cents. They came wrapped in paper. Hard to beat that occasional Big Mac, hot fires, and a cold Coke, as American as apple pie.

Ross Miller adds:

Despite Ray Kroc's best efforts, McDonald's quality varies widely from store to store (I am reluctant to use the word "restaurant"). I once considered the better stores to be reasonable places to eat, but my tastes have changed (I hope for the better) over time.

My current favorites in pre-fab food are four regional chains that have settled into the Albany, NY area on an experimental basis. Here are some quickie reviews in descending order of quality:

Carrabba's: Ersatz Soprano eatery. Surprisingly good and an okay "date" restaurant that pegs one with a net worth of under $25 million — so some dates may object. I am a regular so the help knows that I will have them executed in the parking lot if I have to wait for anything.

Nothing but Noodles: A good date restaurant, seemingly from Arizona, for the sexually ambiguous. The name is a misnomer. I'm a regular there too but turnover is so high no one has noticed. Southwestern style noodle dishes are amazing by local standards. Free Wi-Fi, but happily few use it. Don't look too long at the other dinners or a Zoloft/Merlot chaser may be necessary.

Five Guys: Great authentic DC area hamburgers and even better French fries. Not a date restaurant unless your net worth is over $1 billion. Free peanuts are a bonus to attract the hedgie crowd. Now open at National Airport, though eating is the last thing on my mind when I'm staying there so I have no idea how the food is at that outlet.

Moe's: Upstate New York's weak attempt at Una Mas, a great Bay Area burrito place. Makes me miss California a whole lot. I am a regular there and they yell "Happy Monday" whenever I walk in. I am probably their version of Stevie, which is really sad.


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