By Tana Kosiyabong
I was invited to attend the new McMini tasting event hosted by a McDonald’s Canada PR firm a few weeks ago. But I couldn’t make it because the timing was conflicted with my new freelance work. Fortunately, the PR lady was kind enough to send me a $10 gift card so I could try the McMinis on my own time. “Um… Just so you know… I won’t write about them if I hate them” I warned the lady on the phone before she sent me the gift card. But she seemed content just for me to try the products. So, why not? I’ll try them. They are free.
However, it wasn’t that easy as I thought. I had to pick up the gift card at the FedEx store downtown because they refused to redirect it to my office unless I paid the redirecting fee. “WHAAAT? I have to pay 10 bucks to have the $10 gift card redirected? My office was just 10 blocks away. No Way, Jose! I’ll pick it up,” I frustratingly replied to the FedEx salesperson on the phone. The process of rerouting the package to the downtown FedEx office, though costed me nothing, took two days. If this were the UPS, they would gladly redirect the gift card to my office free of charge within the next day.
A day after I picked up the troubled gift card, I went to the Tinseltown McDonald’s. It was after 1 pm and I still had yet to eat lunch. The signage in front of the cash register featured the Pesto Grilled Chicken McMini, and the Spicy Thai Crispy Chicken McMini. They looked quite yummy in the photo. However, my experience told me to hold off my judgement. Nonetheless, since the two were chosen for the showcase, I ordered exactly the same. McDonald’s would pick them for a good reason. Perhaps, in their research, the grilled chicken went well with the pesto sauce and so did the crispy chicken with the spicy Thai sauce.
When the staff brought me the two McMinis, I was underwhelmed by the size of the sandwiches which almost fitted in the palm of my hand. Although the name “McMini” was spot on, the photos somehow made me imagine a lot bigger sandwiches. But when I recalled spending $2 on Bruschetta a quarter size (if not smaller) of the McMini, I realized the new McDonald’s sandwich wasn’t a bad deal after all.
The unwrapped McMinis were a lot messier than the beauty shot on the promotional signage. The Pesto Grilled Chicken McMini Sandwich was made of half a piece of 100% chicken breast. The chicken, though not freshly grilled to order, was still juicy inside. The aromatic pesto sauce was tasty and complemented the grilled chicken very well. The garlic mayo was spread on the bottom bun which made the sandwich even creamier. However, I think it was a bit overkill. The pesto sauce was already fatty enough for the sandwich.
The Spicy Thai Crispy Chicken McMini sandwich was also about half a piece of chicken breast. However, the deep-fried chicken was quite dry on the inside. The Thai sweet chili sauce tasted pretty authentic. But it isn’t much of a big deal. Authentic Thai sweet chili sauce is now readily available in most Asian grocery stores and many western grocery stores across Canada and the US. The sauce is traditionally used for dipping both grilled and deep-fried chicken. However, regardless of the cooking method, Thai chefs would have left the skin on and added more aromatic Thai spices to both the batter and the meat. But I understand why McDonald’s keep their chicken generic. They have to use the same crispy/grilled chicken for most their chicken sandwiches, salads and wraps. And again, I think the mayo on the bottom was unnecessary. Although the fried chicken was dry, the sandwich already had enough oil from the deep-fried batter to keep the sandwich from being too dry, not to mention some liquid from the Thai sweet chili sauce.
Compared to the McDonald’s Crispy/Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwiches that come with a whole piece of chicken breast at $4.59, the McMinis are slightly cheaper. To get about the same amount of chicken breast, you’ll only pay $3.98 for the two McMinis. But you get what you paid for in terms of Nutritional Value (see the table below).
Overall, McMinis were quite decent and I would eat them again. They are good for snacks between meals. Two McMinis aren’t enough to fill me up at lunch, but they weren’t supposed to. The grilled chicken McMinis are better alternatives to McD’s slightly cheaper and bigger serving size “Double Cheese Burger.” However, they were by no means considered healthy. As far as the line “the little sandwiches with big flavour” in their TV commercial goes, it was a tad overpromised.
McMini Pesto Grilled Chicken: ©©©1/4
McMini Spicy Thai Crispy Chicken: ©©©1/4
Remaining Budget: $252.39
Budget Spent: -$0
Budget Available: $252.39
©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.