Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Fast Food Confessional!

A long long time ago, in a land far away, I was fortunate to be able to work at Nina Ricci Haute Couture.  While in that venerable house, I was truly blessed to work along side the craftsman of the art of Haute Couture.  Some of them had been at Nina Ricci as far back as the 1950’s and it was an awesome experience to absorb all of the knowledge that they had to offer.
While thread tracing a pattern or hemming a gown, we would all chat and me being a wise guy would always tease the ladies that I worked with about never having been to McDonald’s.  Not that I was a big fan of McDonald’s, I just liked pretending to be a big fan and extolling its virtues just to see their reactions. Being proper French women, they would turn their noses in the air, saying that they would never eat that junk.  So one day, I took them all to lunch at McDonald’s, just so they could experience it at least once and form an educated opinion.  As I suspected, they thought the burgers were “just okay”, nothing you would want to eat often, but they all agreed that the fries were exceptional and conceded that they might in the future pop in just for fries.  I agreed, the fries being my one fave thing at McDonald’s.

The Scene of the Crime on the Champs Elysées
When I finally became 100% vegetarian.  i thought well at least I can still eat MickeyD’s fries. Wrongo Buffy!  I found out that in the USA, McDonald’s processes their fries using beef fat.  Bummer, I would have to live without their fries.  I have, but I still miss them.
Fast forward to my recent trip to India.  The cow is sacred in India, so you won’t find any hamburgers at the McDonald’s that are opening across the country.  That being said, the fries in India are 100% vegetarian!!  Okay, I know it is sick that I was traveling to this exotic country and I was looking forward to McDonald’s fries, but there you have it!
On my first day in Delhi, we popped into a McDonald’s for a snack and I wanted to try everything that they had that was vegetarian.  My meatatarian companions tried out the non veggie menu.  The non veggie menu consisted of a Chicken Maharaja Mac (Basically a Big Mac made with chicken patties), Filet-oFish, Chicken McNuggets, McChicken, Chicken McGrill and a Chicken Mexican Wrap.  They thought that other than not offering any beef hamburgers, the only really different item from the US menu was the Chicken Maharaja Mac.

I dove into the veggie menu and tried the McAloo Tikki, a breaded patty consisting of potatoes, peas and Indian spices with a spicy mayonaise type condiment, tomatoes and onion.  It is kind of like having a samosa on a bun.  I had been very curious to try it and actually liked it very much!  My non veg companions weren’t too into it, but it hit the spot for me.  I also tried the Paneer Salsa Wrap, not at all what I expected.  The wrap was definitely a take on Mexican food and even though I enjoyed it, I preferred the McAloo Tikki.  I ate copious amounts of fries and they were as good as I remembered them.  Don’t understand why they need to have beef fat in them in the US, as everyone agreed that they could not tell the difference.

On the rest of my journey through India, I did not visit McDonald’s again.  Way too many good Indian restaurants to try and experience the different regional dishes!

However, as I was at the airport in Delhi for my return flight to the States, I did hit the airport McDonald’s for a try of their McVeggie burger, which was not vey different from the McAloo Tikki other than having shredded lettuce and mayonaise on it!  Of course I did indulge in more fries.  I mean, I wouldn’t have them again for who knows how long! At least another year until I would return to India!  Interesting how I have to leave the Fast Food Capitol of the world in order to actually have fast food!  Only problem is that now I am craving a McAloo Tikki while State side.  Drats!

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