Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

A Memorable Morning – McDonald’s

March 7, 2013
McDonald’s, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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ツナマフィン (Tuna Muffin)
チキンクリスプマフィン (Chicken Crisp Muffin)
マックホットドッグ クラシック (McHotdog Classic)
メガマフィン (Mega Muffin)
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ImageOne thing about vacations is that breakfast is utterly important. In this case, it was breakfast, lunch, and some more food for a snack whenever I am a little hungry. Walking for hours straight every day really makes you worn out! Thus, a good start is just crucial. While many of the other people get their onigiri fill from FamilyMart every morning, I decided to drop into McDonald’s. 

The ツナマフィン (Tuna Muffin) was simply good and delicious. The English muffin was nicely toasted and the lettuce crisp and refreshing. The tuna salad had plenty of mayo but was not overly creamy. The tuna was nice, savoury, and plenty good. Image

The チキンクリスプマフィン (Chicken Crisp Muffin) was interesting. Fried chicken and mustard for breakfast was new to me. However, the chicken was not too greasy and the mustard and lettuce cut into that richness nicely. On an English muffin, I guess it could count as breakfast.Image

I found it hilarious that Japanese McDonald’s served マックホットドッグ クラシック (McHotdog Classic) for breakfast. You cannot get more American than a hotdog, but for breakfast? The bun was airy and soft and the sausage was tender and juicy. It had a great bouncy texture and the taste of simplicity, especially with the mustard relish and ketchup. An interesting note is the combination of mustard and relish together, sweet, tangy, and with a kick!Image

Finally, the giant メガマフィン (Mega Muffin) was just awesome. Two savoury, seasoned sausage patties that were juicy, crispy bacon, fried egg, and a slice of cheddar cheese was just a combination of all the good breakfast stuff I am used to back home. Finally, I did not have to choose between bacon and sausage. I did like the tangy and sweet flavour provided by the ketchup, which is not present on the sandwiches in American McDonald’s despite being a popular choice at other restaurants and food establishment. 

Another thing I was truly impressed by was how quiet and clean the restaurant was, despite being almost full. Everyone had a book or newspaper open. I love how wonderfully educated the culture is in Japan! Imagine novels in McDonald’s – something you definitely do not see in the US. 

 

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Chicken, Cheese, and Churro – Costco

ImageJuly 28, 2012
Costco, Bellingham WA
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Polish
Chicken Bake
Berry Smoothie
Churro
Swirl Nonfat Yogurt
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To avoid insane border lineups, we left very early and by noon, we were done most of the shopping and ready for lunch. Instead of lining up to go south of the border, we lined up at Costco’s line for food. There were not even that many people lining up to pay for items but everyone there seemed to want lunch from the extremely affordable food services offering comparatively high quality fast food to all the shoppers.

ImageFor $1.50, we got the Polish, a Polish sausage in a hot dog bun, and a drink. We had the Hot Dog last time so decided to try something a little different this time around. The Polish sausage, made of all beef I believe, had more spices and flavouring than the regular Hot Dog. It was extremely tender and had a lovely seasoning taste. The bun was soft, fluffy, and slightly gummy, just the way I like it. Due to the moisture, it sort of stuck onto the Polish sausage, which was fine by me. We added all the fixings to it, including ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, and sauerkraut. I love their sweet and tangy relish and the sauerkraut was crunchy, sour, and added another layer of flavour. I really appreciate a good hot dog once in a while!Image

Next, we got my favourite Costco item – the Chicken Bake. It is chicken, bacon, cheese, and Caesar dressing rolled inside regular dough that is topped with cheese and baked. Today, it was baked to perfection. The chicken breast chunks were tender, the bacon slightly chewy, and the dressing and cheese melted and perfectly gooey. It was even stringy at times. The dough was slightly underdone and quite moist on the inside but had a nice crunch on the outside and an excellent chewy texture overall. It was so chewy I could not get enough of the dough! Mix that with the tangy sauce and cheese, it was bite after bite of deliciousness!Image

After a while, we went back for snacks. I tried Auntie’s Berry Smoothie. It was just the right mix of sweet and sour, with a very nice berry taste. The slush was perfect for a summer afternoon but the sweetness made it not the most refreshing beverage ever. It definitely tasted kind of artificial but in a good way. For $1.45, this is the best smoothie when considering price and quality.Image

The Churro, priced at $1, is always a nice, warm treat. They sell for at least $3.50 in places like Disney so it is always a nice reminder of the theme parks when I have this at Costco. It was not overly oily from the frying and the dough inside was still soft and chewy. The outside had an appreciated crunch and it was rolled in plenty of cinnamon sugar. The sugar is what makes the Churro so delicious for me when paired with the chewiness of the dough. I could have used even more cinnamon and sugar but at least it was not lacking.Image

  • Finally, we also tried the Swirl Nonfat Yogurt. I appreciate the fact that it is nonfat, and yet the texture was thick, rich, and creamy. The vanilla was light and sweet, tasting much like soft serve ice cream with a slight tartness. The chocolate was more of a dark chocolate or cocoa flavour, like most chocolate ice cream. It tasted like ice cream but was a lot smoother in texture. There was more chocolate than vanilla, much to my displeasure. It also melted very quickly so I did not get much vanilla since with the slightest bit of chocolate being melted; it covered the rest of the vanilla and made the whole thing chocolate. I usually do not like chocolate ice cream because it is not sweet enough for me, and instead, prefer chocolate bits or sauce mixed into vanilla soft serve or frozen yogurt. At $1.35 though, I am not complaining at all. It was such a large serving at such an affordable price.Image

Every menu item at Costco is so cheap compared to literally everywhere else. They clearly are not using their food services to make huge profits. The quality is very good as far as fast food goes, and the servings are huge for such inexpensive prices. I think I will stick with the Polish from now on and the Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt to avoid the chocolate flavour ‘contamination’ – vanilla will always beat out chocolate when it comes to ice cream and frozen yogurt for me. 

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Ridiculously Inexpensive – Costco

ImageJune 23, 2012
Costco, Burlington WA
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Chicken Caesar Salad
Hot Dog
Combo Pizza
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A quick lunch at Costco is always appreciated. It is cheap, filling, and usually quite fresh. Actually, their prices are ridiculously low for what they serve. We consider it to be better than most food courts since the food is about the same but it is significantly cheaper or comes in larger portions. Costco does not use its food courts to make profits, so naturally, they make it extremely affordable for their many loyal shoppers.

The Chicken Caesar Salad is probably the best salad deal out of all fast food places. It is huge, almost double the size of the average salad and only half the price at $3.99. The romaine leaves were plentiful. The few cherry tomatoes were very ripe and sweet and thus very fresh and delicious. The shaved parmesan was mediocre, just the regular, processed, grated parmesan that is quite hard in texture. Finally, the grilled chicken, though cold since it was not made to order, was extremely tender. There was no crispy outer layer to be sure, but they were some of the most tender chicken breast strips ever. The photo showed croutons but they were clearly missing from the bowl. I am not sure whether this is just an error or they ran out of croutons. The caesar dressing came in a pretty big container and we only used half between two bowls of salad, though we use less than the average person probably would. It was nicely seasoned and thick. 

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The traditional Hot Dog was nothing exceptional but certainly did not disappoint. At $1.50, it came with a drink. After watching a documentary about a month ago, I learned that the price has not gone up for years despite all the inflation, which technically means it has become cheaper. Costco actually makes their own hotdog weiners. It was very tender and chewy, and just salty enough. It is the kind of processed meat that I approve of. I love the chew and texture of it and the simplicity of the taste. The bun was more of an artisan hotdog bun rather than the cheap, bulk type. It was slightly moist and was very soft. We added ketchup, mustard, relish, and onions to it, though I usually like to eat mine with just ketchup and relish. This is a great option for a cheap, quick, yet filling meal that is not completely bad for you and still quite delicious when you are hungry.Image
 
Finally, the Combo Pizza had pepperoni, Italian sausages, mushrooms, green peppers, and, of course, cheese. Ingredients wise, this pizza was decent. For $1.99, the ingredients were actually plentiful. The mushrooms and peppers were nicely wilted and the pepperoni and sausage pieces were not unbearably salty, nor were they bland. The tomato sauce was decent, with the tartness and just enough sauce to tie the ingredients together. The mozzarella cheese was nicely melted and slightly hardened. My only complaint with the pizza was that it was kept warm for too long and had been out of the over for quite a while. The pizza dough was slightly soggy under the cheese and sauce and the bottom of the dough had turned hard. It was almost impossible to cut or even rip apart, which was quite an inconvenience for us to share the slice. The crust on the edge was wide enough, but I would have liked it to be thicker. It was also kind of stale and hard to eat. I like my pizza dough to be exceptionally chewy and this did not meet my expectations. However, I am sure that it would have been a lot more delicious had we ate it right after it came out of the oven.Image
 
Costco certainly offers cheap and on average, quite tasty, food for all the shoppers – not to mention all the tasty samples that they offer around lunch and dinner times throughout the store! The line is usually pretty long and the dining area quite crowded. With the prices and the quality that they offer, it is not the least bit surprising. Personally, I think they do a great job of keeping the costs down. It may not be the most delicious food ever, but they are certainly not making much money, if any, off of their food. The quality is very decent, as most products from Costco are. All in all, I would never mind dining here after shopping.
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