Letdown Monday follows Super Sunday. And after a day of energetic nationalism, it seems right to update a recurring theme: the globalization of the quick-service burger-restaurant menu. Geo-culinary authenticity may take a hit sometimes, but QSRs are introducing many around the world to flavors and ingredients they otherwise wouldn’t experience.
● Take, for instance, that French stalwart Quiche Lorraine. The cliché was that real men don’t eat it. We’ll see if that’s true in machismo-heavy Brazil, where quiche has joined the McCafé menu at McDonald’s.
● In Japan, Burger King is borrowing its rival’s affection for place-named foods. It takes the form of a new dessert, the NY Sundae. As any New Yorker apparently will tell you, that’s a couple of fried French toast sticks topped with soft-serve. There’s a raspberry version, too.
McDonald’s Japan operation is in the midst of its annual Big America menu promotion. The current feature is the Las Vegas Burger. As reported earlier, the pitch is that its “rich cream cheese sauce” makes it “reminiscent of a fine dinner in Las Vegas.”
● Tastes of America is McDonald’s Euro version of the Big America promotion. Customers learn a little U.S. geography, if not much real regional culinary information. The Tastes formula is getting a new twist in Italy now. It begins with the obligatory burgers–the Arizona Dream (at right), with salsa and bacon; and later the Chicago Supreme burger (with special sauce and bacon)–but it also involves sides and desserts: Miami Fries (ridged like gnocchi); Chicken wings; Caesar salad (inexplicably tied to Oklahoma on a promo map); and a trio of Mini Sweets desserts.
● In Austria, McDonald’s is conducting a “Viva Mexico!” menu promotion. There are two burgers: the double-patty Hot Beef Mexiko with jalapeňos, bacon Cheddar and “McMex Sauce”; and the Salsa Grill with nacho chips, jalapenos, cheese and crème fraîche sauce. The Chicken Picante, on a sub roll, spices up a chicken patty with paprika, nacho chips, Cheddar, and jalapeňos.