[Kelley’s Note: We are joined again by Kirsten for this review of the uniquely UK phenomenon that is McDonald’s Tastes of America. Check out her review of Week 2’s burger here. As with before, I will be adding some tidbits from an American’s point of view. Enjoy!]
So, here we are at the third week of McDonald’s UK’s Tastes Of America. This week is the Arizona Nacho Grande. Big nachos? I’ve had a few. Huh. Actually, I’ve not had ANY in Arizona. Maybe next time, eh?
Time to fess up – I don’t really know Spanish. If we were talking coffee language, grande would mean medium, but through the generic way we all absorb media and television, I can make a good guess at what they’re getting at.
There is a place in AZ called Casa Grande, I know that. Maybe they thought it was a cute play on it- you know, pick somewhere off a map? No? No? Okay, we’ll stick with the Spanish thing. Or well, Mexican thing I guess.
[Kelley’s Note: Poor Kirsten. Having lived in the southwest (or South-West) all my life, my mind baffles at the idea that someone would not know that grande means “large” in Spanish. Then again, I had to have Kirsten explain the definition of “quid” to me just a few days ago, so I guess we’re even.]
AZ is South-West. In the UK, South-West is Cornwall, where the Cornish Pasty comes from. It was invented for miners. Why is there no pasty in Minecraft? I had a pasty in Phoenix, AZ once. That was pretty unexpected. All the way over there, 3 billion miles, just to sit in a desert eating foods from my homeland? Bah! An Arizonan sure wouldn’t have that eating the Arizona Nacho Grande. Now I regret not being in Cornwall to eat one, that’d show them. That’d show you all, HAH!
Had I not holidayed in Arizona the last two years, I’d have been hard-pressed to guess at the cuisine of the State. As is, ‘TexMex’ is insulting because AZ is not Texas, but still conjures up that shared love of meat, spicy food, and Mexican flavours. Arizona was where I first discovered pulled pork. I haven’t been the same since. I came back 2 months later hoping for more (and also to attend a wedding [the wedding of the pulled pork dealer]).
Had my first taste of Arizona been this burger, I’d have no idea what I could even have begun to expect.
From McDonald’s: “Treat yourself to the taste of Arizona. 100% beef patty topped with nacho-style sauce, shredded lettuce, pepperoni, crunchy nacho chips and cheese with peppers, all in a sesame topped bun.”
[Kelley’s Note: I feel like I can chime in here with some authority, having lived in Arizona for about ten years now. I find this burger most adorable. “Nacho-style sauce” fills me with doubts. I guess the chips make sense. But you know what I like most on my nachos? Pepperoni. Nothing says Arizona and nachos like pepperoni. Forget jalapeños, or poblano chiles…pepperoni is pure Arizona.]
As I predicted, we’re talking about the same dimensions and ratio of patty to bun as the Chicago Supreme. Big patties. The Nacho Grande just has a plain old, no-nonsense sesame topping on the split top. No messing around there. It keeps its fancy secrets on the inside, keeping things closer to its chest.
Looking inside, there was no way to differentiate between the ‘nacho sauce’ and the peppered cheese. And that’s the bell pepper kind, not the cracked black stuff. Just a mountain of cheesy goo. I dug in.
I can’t imagine anything finer will ever be created at McDonald’s. Taking a big bite, you get that soft, perfect beef patty, chewy tangy pepperoni, the crunch of the nacho chips, the gooey cheese and the subtly palate-refreshing shredded lettuce. It’s a mouthful of sheer flavour and texture.
The ingredients on their own are a little ordinary (I would consider the nacho tasted stale outside of the ensemble) but in combination they have created something that means I will leave a tiny offering to the junk food deities in hopes that it returns again next year.
I ate one on Thursday on the way to work. I was so hungry that I didn’t pause to study it enough, so I ate one the next day for breakfast. Just for you. It was magnificent.
The Nacho Grande is a thing of wonder. I will say here and now, I don’t expect the remaining TOA burgers to live up to its glory and majesty. It will live on, past this week, in my heart forever (probably literally, lining my arteries).
[Kelley’s Note: As with the Chicago burger, Arizona gets its own little wonderful gif-filled tribute on McDonald’s UK website. I’ll take it from here.]
I’ll admit, there are a lot of preconceptions about the Grand Canyon State that I can understand. Heck, when I moved here ten years ago from sunny Southern California, I was amazed that people actually had lawns. I thought it was all rocks and cacti. And, admittedly, there are a lot of cacti. And rocks. And kokopelli.
If you go off of crime dramas, movies, and pretty much any media, Arizona is where every serial killer, rapist, and kidnapper runs to to hide from the police. Just a whooooooole state full of reprobates.
I had a friend from Australia who literally thought everyone in Arizona rode around on horses carrying lassos and guns. McDonald’s UK’s website is not too far removed from that.
We start with the music, which is some serious honky-tonk banjo playin’ business accompanied by a one-dude-eight-gifs wearing a cowboy hat and playing a guitar, which is funny because I do not hear any guitar in the music. I swear, just hearing it makes me want to shout “YEE-HAW!” and say “y’all” about twenty times.
The background image is a neverending stretch of desolate highway with nothing but dirt surrounding it, which is actually pretty accurate if you’ve ever driven anywhere outside of the Valley. There’s also some red rocks, which is fair, because we do have those. So, okay, two points in favor of McDonald’s UK.
…And now I’m going to immediately take those two points away for the two big-rig flatbeds zooming in a loop on the neverending highway. Really? A whole state full of fairly iconic crap, and you pick trucks. What is that trying to convey, even? “Arizona – so damn full of big trucks!” That’s just weird and mildly insulting.
Next to pop up is a cactus (fair) and then a row of Route 66 signs.
Now I’m just getting nitpicky. Route 66 runs through Arizona. It also runs through, like, seven other states, and stretches over 2,000 miles of the US. We’ve now brought the highway-related images for the Arizona burger up to three. Is that how the UK views Arizona? “Just driving through.”
Actually, I think that’s how most Americans view this state, too. Man, Arizona sucks.
All is redeemed at the last second, however, with what might be one of my favorite gifs ever created. Two giant bald eagle heads suddenly appear, bobbing their heads in a loop that I could probably watch forever. Words do it no justice. It’s so random, and the eagles look so serious, and…it’s just great. Go there.
I love you, bald eagle gifs. I love you so much.
Okay, back to Kirsten. Let’s wrap this thing up!
McDonald’s UK Tastes Of America: Arizona Nacho Grande
- Score: 5 out of 5 head bangin’, wing flappin’, boot scootin’ eagles.
- Price: £3.49
- Size: Just the burger, ma’am.
- Purchased at: McDonald’s – Leeds 2
- Nutritional Quirks: Plain on the outside, party on the inside. Both kindsa cheese, sliced and molten. Completely irrelevant to its namesake state.