The Secret of the Golden Arches

After Mass yesterday, I asked Bill what he wanted to do for breakfast. He was in a hurry because he had to complete some legal work so that he could drop it off at his client’s house early in the afternoon.  “How about McDonald’s? he asked. My heart sunk, just a bit. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a McDonald’s hater, at least for breakfast. I admit to enjoying a Sausage McMuffin with Egg on occasion. But at my last physical, my doctor had suggested I try to cut down on sodium. It seems my blood pressure, while still not horrible, is threatening to jump to much higher levels. In fact, sometimes it sticks it’s tongue out at me and takes a practice jump. Given the fact that Italian sausage factored high in my diet the past few days, I thought I should give my body a break.

“Why don’t we go through the drive-through to save some time, and then you can have your Sausage McMuffin and I can fix myself a scrambled egg at home?” I suggested.

So, we — seemingly along with most of southeast Denver — got into the McDonald’s drive-through debaucle, er, line. It’s not pretty, my friends. It’s the two-lanes-that-then-must-turn-into-one-lane-to-pay that causes the problem. It brings out the worst in humankind, I’m afraid. In the time we spent in line, we could have eaten breakfast at the Brown Palace. Live and learn.

But it made me think of something I recently read: According to a survey conducted by Food and Wine magazine, America’s favorite fast food restaurant is Chick-fil-A. The chicken restaurant ranked number one overall in fast food loyalty. While most of the people I know like Chick-fil-A, I call B-to-the-S that it beats McDonald’s as the overall favorite. I had lots of time while waiting in line to consider this matter.

Food and Wine, in fact, points out that there is a flaw in their own system, though they don’t know what it is. You see, while McDonald’s runs near to last in the overall favorite category — and dead last in the burger category — it runs first in sales. First.

Back when I worked hard for my money, I interacted with senior aides to members of Congress. One aide in particular told me to never trust political polling results. “People answer poll questions the way they think they’re supposed to answer them,” he told me. “And then they vote their conscience in the polling booth.”

My friends, I’m pretty sure that’s what happened with this poll. I mean, who would want to tell Food and Wine magazine that McDonald’s is your fast food of choice? It’s much cooler to tell them that in those RARE instances when you eat a fast food burger instead of a kale and quinoa salad, you choose In-N-Out. Seventy-three percent of those polled chose In-N-Out in the burger loyalty category. In real life, who’s going to go to In-N-Out when your kid in the back seat is screaming for a Happy Meal?

As an aside, I have never understood the In-N-Out phenomenon. To me, it’s an ordinary burger with less than ordinary fries. Haters, don’t hate. I would choose Five Guys (which came in second in burger loyalty) any day.

I didn’t go out and get my doctorate degree in Research and Analysis last night, but something’s fishy with this survey. And speaking of fishy, if there had been a “fish” loyalty category, I would have selected Culver’s in a heartbeat. Their fish sandwich ROCKS.

Here is a link to the article from Food and Wine.

This post linked to Grand Social.

The Easy Life

It’s taken a good week-and-a-half or so, but we’re finally settling into our life in AZ. Just in the nick of time because we’ll be leaving in a week-and-a-half to go back to Denver for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.

kris-at-barLife in AZ is decidedly different than in Denver. There’s the weather, of course. This time of year, the change isn’t so much different, especially during the day. In Colorado, the nights cool down quite a bit. Yesterday evening when we went outside to sit on the patio and cook our chicken thighs in our beautiful outdoor kitchen, I checked the temperature in Denver. It was 51 degrees. That’s not frigid, but we likely wouldn’t be sitting outside without benefit of a fire pit. Conversely, it was a mild 78 degrees as we waited for our chicken to cook.

One of the biggest changes is in Bill’s outlook on life. When he’s in Colorado, he is absorbed in household chores. With a yard the size of ours, there is always something to do. Here, he can putz a bit, but mostly he just relaxes. We go outside every evening and have our “cocktail party.” He smokes his cigar and drinks his beer. I have my wine or my gin-and-tonic. We discuss the problems of the world, but unfortunately mostly can’t solve them, try as we might. Besides, no one ever asks us.

We always have a series of restaurants we check out. Over the summer, our favorite pizza place added a restaurant a mere 10-minute drive or so from our house. So that was our first stop. Yep. It was still very good.

Then, of course, there is the local hot dog place. We went during the World Series, and saw the sign announcing that the day after the Cubs WIN THE WORLD SERIES, they would give free Chicago hot dogs to the first 108 customers, in honor of the 108 years since the last time they were world champs. We elected not to be one of the 108 since the hot dogs only cost a couple of bucks anyway. I have no doubt there were numerous Cubs fans standing in line.

Of course, we had to give In N Out a visit. It’s always a must-do, despite the fact that I think both the burgers and fries are, well, ordinary. Haters, don’t hate.

One thing that our area of Mesa has that is different from Denver (and frankly, different from other parts of the Phoenix metro area) is the huge number of locally owned cafes, most of which are only open for breakfast and for lunch. Our part of Mesa has a significant number of snowbirds, who miss their home cooking but not their cold weather. These restaurants often cater to customers originating from a specific place. One nearby restaurant – Fran’s Café – features home cooking and lots of photos of Minnesota. There is a restaurant which we have never visited called the Iowa Café. Their menu undoubtedly includes pork tenderloin sandwiches and loose meat sandwiches. Loose meat sandwiches. Don’t get me started. Like a sloppy joe without the flavor. Haters, don’t hate.

Our little restaurant of choice, which we visit nearly every Sunday after Mass, is called The Little Kitchen. It opened several years ago, and was originally owned by folks from Colorado. It was only a coincidence that we stopped in, not knowing about any Colorado ties whatsoever. I just liked the name. And the fact that they offer FREE COFFEE! Look up miser in the dictionary and you’ll see my face. They have a homemade cinnamon roll that is quite delicious, and which we often split as our breakfast appetizer. As is typical for me, I always – ALWAYS – get the same thing, a breakfast called the Colorado Green Chili Stack. Hash browns covered with green chili and cheese, and topped with an egg made my way. Yum……


One of the things Bill likes most about a restaurant is when the staff gets to know you, and that is becoming true at The Little Kitchen. Last Sunday, Bill left me at the table awaiting our bill so that he could run to the Ace Hardware that is in the same little shopping center. The middle-aged waitress, who has taken a liking to Bill, told me that she was going to chase after him into the hardware store and tell him that the police car that had pulled up out front was for him because he had skipped out without paying the bill. And oh my, did she think that was funny. Bill has a way with women, no matter how many teeth they are missing.

When we come back after Christmas, things are a bit different and it is less like being on vacation and more like just having a home in a really nice place in which you don’t have to shovel snow.

Finally, after my blog post yesterday, Jen sent me this link to a video which puts our privilege of voting (as opposed to our civic DUTY) in perspective. Take a look and try not to cry….