Location: 5453 Dundas Street West, Toronto
On one hand, the Chicken Big Mac is what it is: it’s a Big Mac, but with chicken instead of beef. There’s not much more to it than that.
On the other hand, I actually found it to be way more delightful than I was expecting. Apparently it’s a limited time thing that’s going away in April, but I think it’s tasty enough (and different enough from a regular Big Mac) to be on the permanent menu.
The patties are interesting. They’re not just the McChicken patties you might expect; they’re thicker than a McDonald’s burger patty, but thinner than a McChicken. They actually reminded me more of an oversized McNugget than an undersized McChicken.
This will depend on the location you visit, but the patties in my Big Mac were hot and crispy, and that texture actually added a lot of personality to the Big Mac template.
As for the taste, the milder flavour of the chicken lets a lot more of the zippiness from the special sauce and the pickles shine through; even the slice of cheese becomes more pronounced when you sub out beef for chicken. Between that and the fried crispiness, the Chicken Big Mac really feels like its own thing, and not just like a gimmick you’d only want to try once.
Location: 336 Queen Street West, Toronto
Chick-fil-A opened in Toronto a couple of years ago and was immediately greeted with a whole bunch of hype and perpetual lines.
They’ve been here long enough at this point (and have enough locations) that the hype has mostly died down. This is a good thing, because the chicken sandwich here is tasty, but probably not worth lining up for.
You just have to temper your expectations; if you’re comparing it to local joints like the now Michelin-noted (!) Chica’s Chicken, it’s nothing special. But compared to its fast food competition, it’s a solid sandwich (the sandwich here is certainly leagues better than McDonald’s latest chicken creation, the McCrispy).
It’s got a much more subtle crunch than the norm, but it’s nicely seasoned and, on my visit at least, hot from the fryer and nicely juicy.
It’s also a bit unusual in how sparsely topped it is, with just a couple of pickle slices, a buttered bun, and nothing else. But I guess that’s part of its charm, and the chicken is flavourful enough that you don’t really miss the toppings.
Location: 1050 Dundas Street East, Mississauga
I’ve said it before, but I think the McMuffin is a legitimately great breakfast sandwich that’s probably better than a lot of the fancier sandwiches you can find around the GTA. The rest of the McDonald’s menu is decent for what it is, but I will go to bat for the McMuffin any day of the week.
The Bacon, Egg & Smoky Gouda McMuffin doesn’t stray too far from the Bacon ‘N Egg McMuffin template, so yeah, it’s good.
As per the McDonald’s website, the sandwich comes with “a freshly cracked Canada Grade A egg topped with smoke flavoured Gouda cheese, Smoky cheese flavoured sauce and hickory smoked bacon.”
It’s tasty for all the same reasons a regular McMuffin is tasty (the egg, cheese, and toasted English muffin combo continues to be a winner), but with a distinct hit of smokiness thanks to the gouda and the sauce. It’s a solid breakfast sandwich.
Location: 1001 Islington Avenue, Etobicoke
Hey, guess what? Spicy Chicken McNuggets are Chicken McNuggets that are… spicy. Shocking, right??
Well, I figured they might taste slightly different, or have some kind of different seasoning or something, but as far as I can tell they taste just like the regular version, but with heat.
That spice level isn’t exactly going to blow your face off, but it is there. I’d probably put it a notch or two above mild.
I got the Ghost Pepper dip on the side, and that stuff is actually quite tasty; it’s noticeably hotter than the McNuggets, and it’s creamy and delightfully zippy. The heat sneaks up on you. It doesn’t seem that hot at first, but by the time I was done, my mouth was nice and toasty. I’d buy a whole bottle of that stuff if I could.
Location: 1001 Islington Avenue, Etobicoke
This isn’t one of the more exciting new items on the McDonald’s menu — I can’t imagine anyone getting too worked up about it — but it sure, why not. May as well give it a shot.
The Carolina BBQ Quarter Pounder, as per the McDonald’s website: “100% Canadian quarter pound beef patty topped with sweet and tangy golden Carolina BBQ sauce, hickory smoked bacon strips, crispy onions, pickles, and two slices of processed cheddar cheese served on a toasted sesame bun.”
It’s basically a gussied up Quarter Pounder with Cheese, though that Carolina BBQ sauce does actually make it stand out somewhat.
That sauce is pretty decent; it’s arguably too sweet (it’s intense), but the sweetness is somewhat balanced out by a satisfying tanginess and smokiness. It’s a solid BBQ sauce. And while it would be too overpowering on a better hamburger, on a dry McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, it works.
The crispy onions and bacon are a good addition, though their flavour is mostly wiped out by that very intense BBQ sauce.