Monday, January 25, 2010

Vegetarian Restaurant Hack – McDonald’s Breakfast

The post about the Champion Sandwich reminded me that there is another common hack that my partner and I use at McDonalds during their more “vegetarian-friendly” breakfast hours.  In short, it’s an “off-menu” trick and it seems to work everywhere that we’ve tried it. Here’s a post just in time for the last few hours of the McDonalds breakfast menu… enjoy.

The “Other” Big Breakfast

Basically, McDonalds (in Canada at least) offers the “Big Breakfast”.  The meal contains an English muffin, hashbrowns, sausage, eggs and liquid margarine (it’s listed as a separate ingredient on their dietary chart, no joking!).  A copy of the dietary information for the "Big Breakfast” is here. Note that the cholesterol and sodium numbers for the basic Big Breakfast are basically off the chart (did you know that Sodium is so large it could have been measured in GRAMS, not mg).  In short, the big breakfast is a loaded gun and you should never pull the trigger.  With this in mind (and a hungry toddler in hand), I improvised something that would work out nicely as a large, tasty and meat-free “big breakfast”.  I order one order of pancakes and then ask them to add in a side of eggs.  They usually say something like “there’s no menu item for eggs” but there is one for “folded egg” which would get you much the same result as a scrambled egg.  Usually, they get it and you get straight-up scrambled eggs in addition to the hotcakes.  Incremental cost is actually about $1 but it varies by location and how they key it in. Add a hashbrown and you’re basically set.  It’s big, it’s tasty, it’s a better meal combination than the “big breakfast” and it’s really not any more expensive (and no animals had to make you sausage!). Basically, you should check out the nutritional information on the link above and when you ask for “detailed” nutrition information, you can see all the little a la carte items that you can combine with the hotcakes to get you a nice, large breakfast.  The beauty of the McDonald’s standardization is that all their terminals should allow adding single orders of the requisite components.  I would be curious as to what other combinations I could get to work. More to come on this but hotcakes with egg is a winner.  Try it. You’ll like it.

The Egg McMuffin

Okay, they label all the “special” McMuffins with their particular meat-related add-ons (eg. the Sausage and Egg McMuffin).  However, the “Egg” McMuffin actually comes with ham… I’ve always wondered about the omission of the word ham from the product name.  Either way, ask for it without meat.  9 times out of 10 they will get it right (usually resulting in a yell from the cashier to the cook that “the egg mcmuffin’s are all without meat” if you order more than one!).  They hate adding grill slips to their meals (especially when they don’t understand why you don’t want the meat).  It’s no Champion Sandwich but it’s easy and you can get it in a combo. As an unintended bonus, you will usually get a “fresher” sandwich than the pile of pre-combined ones sitting in the warmer waiting for the breakfast rush.

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