McDonald’s McGriddle – a great breakfast at a great price

CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA - JUNE 12:  A cheese, sausage and egg McGriddles breakfast sandwich at a McDonald's is shown June 12, 2003 in Coral Gables, Florida. The new McGriddles breakfast sandwiches are made to eat between pancakes, with maple syrup baked right in, and different combinations of sausage, crispy bacon, fluffy eggs and melted cheese in a sandwich. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Since McDonald’s launched the McGriddle breakfast sandwich back in 2003 I still haven’t found anything that compares when it comes to taste and convenience. You see the beauty of a Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle is you get the great taste of pancakes with the hearty bite of an omelet.

It’s important to give yourself plenty of fuel before a long day at work, and the McGriddle can do just that. If you think an apple or a granola bar can hold you over till lunch, you might be sorely mistaken, aching for some sustenance before long.

The soft and warm pancakes buns with maple flavoring really set off this fast food masterpiece for guys on the run like myself. If you haven’t tried a McDonald’s McGriddle yet you’re missing out on a great breakfast wrapped in a very good price.

  

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Doritos’ new flavors bold, spicy and awesome

When I first heard about Doritos’ Burn flavor chips, I thought it was a promotional stunt or something to sell more Pepsi, which was the focus of the radio commercial I heard.  But being a snack food junkie and a lover of all things spicy, I kept looking for this stuff in stores.  Finally, I found it, at a Walgreens here in Madison, Wisconsin no less.  And let me tell you, the First and Second Degree Burn flavors are positively awesome, and spicier than any snack food I’ve ever tasted.  Frito-Lay tells me Third Degree Burn was only available for a short time, and sadly I didn’t get to try it.  But here are the ones I did try….

First Degree Burn (Blazing Jalapeno)–These chips are hot and also have a strong jalapeno flavor.  And the heat, which I’d rate as an 8 out of 10, is subtle and somewhat pleasant, like a spicy food drug.

Second Degree Burn (Flaming Buffalo)--This chip has a tangier flavor, just like, well, Buffalo wing sauce.  And like first degree, the heat sneaks up on you, but this one is more like an unexpected kick to the groin, a 9 out of 10 on the heat index.  What’s more, they get hotter and hotter the more you eat.  But if you like spicy food, that’s one of the best parts.

Late Night Cheeseburger–Not spicy at all, but part of the new Late Night lines from Doritos.  These taste like a McDonald’s cheeseburger, but you taste onions first and foremost, and, like with all Doritos, the ones coated in cheese powder are the best tasting ones.  That’s especially true here, because otherwise the onion overwhelms the cheese.

  

Escaping the “Anywhere, USA” phenomenon

In his latest cigar review for Partagas – Spanish Rosado, Bob Hritsko addressed an interesting topic in the introduction.

Whether you travel a little or a lot, you can’t help but notice the “Anywhere, USA” phenomenon. This is the term that I have for the incorporating and franchising of Americas cities, where no matter what city you are in, it is getting more difficult to find something original, especially restaurants, bars or even retail stores. Whether I am in Dallas, Charlotte, Las Vegas or anywhere, there they are — McDonalds, Starbucks, Applebee’s, Chili’s, etc. They can usually be found near the suburban malls with all the stores you know, right across the street from the Holiday Inn, Marriott Courtyard, etc.

Many of you know that I will often seek out cigar-friendly bars and establishments in the cities I visit. The draw of doing so is simply to escape the boring, repetitive convenience of traveling to Anywhere, USA, at least once in awhile. I have found the cigar-friendly establishments to be often unique venues in themselves; all the big chains have to be politically correct and ban any type of smoking, so they don’t upset their mainstream client base. The other advantage of a cigar-friendly joint is that it tends to be a little more social in nature, as a smoke is a commitment of a chunk of your time. If you are in a hurry and want to be left alone, a cigar lounge is not the place for you. Chatting with the folks in these establishments will usually provide you with the local information about other original places to experience in town.

I recently had the pleasure of doing so recently in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting one of the original cigar bars in Florida, Macabi Cigar Bar on Las Olas Blvd. Once inside this dimly lit, quaint bar, I knew I stepped off the beaten path. The founder/owner, “Pat” Patel, was on hand to greet me. The plentiful selection of cigars was presented openly along the walls of the bar, a concern at first, as I wondered if the cigars could be properly cared for and maintained in this atmosphere. I was assured that the humidity and temperature were monitored. I selected a Partagas cigar and settled in for an excellent selection of beers on tap.

We’ve lost quite a bit over the years as our country has become dominated by suburbs and strip malls. Like Bob, many of us appreciate it when you can find a unique spot. That’s why cities like New York and New Orleans still have so much charm – you don’t have to look hard at all.

  

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