Due to Mephistopheles, the evildoer, transplanting me to a new state (Alabama) because of work, I have been quite busy and unable to contribute to the bastion of pop culture that is Need Coffee. But fret no more, dear friends: I have returned with a new segment in which I try things that (should) give me cause for worry and concern. But I overlook these fears in order to provide information for the masses; such is my duty to humanity. For the first in these discussions I decided to focus on something local to Birmingham, in order to thwart Mephistopheles' plot.
A fringe benefit of my new locale is I am in a college-saturated area. While this causes problems in some cases, it does tend to create a market for two things the college student must have in their natural habitat: dollar menu food items and dollar margaritas. McDonald's has decided to exploit this need (the first one...not the one about the margaritas), and utilize Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and the surrounding areas as a test market for a new sandwich: the McCruncher. McDonald's advertises that this sandwich is the standard hamburger with white cheddar cheese, onion straws and chipotle ranch. Sounds appetizing enough, right? Rather than pedantically examining the name itself, I decided to just go for it and try one.
I don't think I have encountered a wrapper like this at McDonalds, even when I have custom-ordered three double cheeseburgers--but asked all the meat to be put on one bun as to create a health risking yet delicious treat. I was encouraged that perhaps I would be receiving a fresh sandwich, hot off the grill. This hope was immediately destroyed upon unwrapping the sandwich. I feel certain that what I was given was a regular hamburger, taken out of the warming tray. The toppings were then scraped off and replaced with the McCruncher toppings. Why am I so certain of this? There were remnants of ketchup on the side of the bun, an ingredient not included in the McCruncher topping list. Just call me The Fast Food Poirot.
Nonetheless, it was time to find out if this sandwich could pass the dollar menu test. Before even taking a bite though: I noticed something that could be an issue. The "onion straws" didn't seem to want to stay on the sandwich...and they were all over the wrapper and the table once I opened it. If the sandwich is going to be named "McCruncher," then it would make sense to have the items that cause the titular crunching to actually stay on the sandwich.
Also, these also didn't resemble onion straws at all. Imagine a deep fried elephant ear at a fair. (I promise, there's a reason for you doing this.) Now, imagine if something was called a "deep fried cricket ear"...imagine what that would look like in terms of size and shape. Have you formed the picture in your mind's eye? Good. Because that's what was littering my wrapper. So, in order to get the desired effect, I removed the top of my bun, and gathered these pieces and reapplied them. Now, it was finally time to taste the crunch.
Upon first bite, you immediately know you are having a McDonald's hamburger. The traditional small bits that have the consistency of a grain of sand are indeed present. Then you get to the main event--the chipotle ranch--which is actually pretty tasty. I like a bit of spice in my food, so it was pleasant to encounter. The
cricket ears onion straws are absolute crap, however. I had a decent expectation--McDonald's fries are so good, and I like Onion Rings a lot. So I figured perhaps they could create a decent fried onion. Alas, this was not the case. Basically, they tasted like soggy, wet onions found on the other McDonald's sandwiches. There wasn't any crunch at all, and while I don't think "The McSogger" would have sold well, I believe that "McCruncher" is flirting with false advertisement. The white cheddar was neutral, as it didn't provide much to the experience.
I took two bites, and then decided to put the sandwich to a better use.
I removed the bun and used the chipotle ranch on it as a dipping sauce for my french fries. This is where I decided to improvise and to replace the onion straws with my french fries and call it "The McMasher". I actually think that would sell well. Let's be honest, which of us hasn't placed McDonalds fries onto a burger at one time or another? (McDonald's, let's negotiate about your right to use the McMasher--I may be up for some gift cards. Call me.)
Anyway, to summarize: I wouldn't recommend this sandwich for anyone, and for those who were thinking of driving to Alabama to sample it, don't. If you must have it, just let me know and for a nominal fee I will ship one to you via ground shipping--I believe it will still be just as fresh and crunchy upon arrival as the one I encountered. I do commend McDonald's for trying to grow the dollar menu, and I do feel that many drunk college students will purchase these, but I seriously doubt it will be picked up for the full-time menu.