"Well," I said, not at all prepared, buying myself some time - I don't believe anyone has ever asked me that before; I've been asked what beer or wine is the best, and what barbecue, and what fast food, but never about cheese - "My favorites in America are Humboldt Fog and Point Reyes Blue, but it's hard to top a good Morbier."
"No!" he exclaimed, and his eyes got wide as a smile crept across his face, as if he were about to tell me a big secret. I leaned in.
I smiled pleasantly and said nothing. I mean, what the hell was I supposed to say? Maybe the guy hasn't tried very many cheeses; saying something condescending would just make me rude. And maybe he has tried them all and he likes cheddar the best. His opinion certainly is no less valid than mine. The world would be boring if we were all the same.
I was thinking about that very conversation when out for a walk yesterday (I was on my way to Trader Joe's and making a mental shopping list, wondering if there might be any new cheeses to try) when I passed by McDonald's and spotted a banner for a new Cheddar Bacon Onion burger. Also available were grilled and crispy chicken sandwiches. I remembered seeing an ad for the sandwiches when I was in Florida in April - they were testing them in the area at the time - but I had not bothered to seek them out.
So on the way back from TJ's I stopped in and waited 15 minutes behind two customers (this was my third time here in the last five months and both other visits were unpleasant; it is not a model of efficiency). I placed my order for the Bacon Onion Cheddar Crispy Chicken, waited a couple minutes, received my sandwich and continued home.
Grub Grade had a nice poll a couple of weeks ago on the best fast food bacon. While I did not agree with the winner - Arby's has much better bacon than anything Wendy's puts out, though I imagine the fact that Wendy's has twice as many units as Arby's skewed the results - I appreciated the fact that McDonald's was near the bottom.
I don't believe I have ever had any bacon from McDonald's that I didn't remove after one bite, and this was no exception.
The chicken itself wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly good. A few years ago I might have really fallen in love with this - it was a good size piece of fried chicken. But I've had fried chicken sandwiches from both Church's and Chick-fil-A now, so those are the standards against which all other fast food fried chicken sandwiches are judged. And found wanting.
The white cheddar added nothing to the sandwich either, all it did was add to the saltiness.
If I still lived in South Pasadena and McDonald's was the closest place to get a bite to eat, I would probably give the burger a try. But considering there are dozens of places closer to me now than McDonald's, including several I have yet to try, there is no reason for me to try one of these Cheddar Bacon Onion sandwiches again.