Tag Archives: mcdonald’s

Does McDonald’s STRAW reinvention pass the test? Find out!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! In case you’ve been living under a shamrock and didn’t hear, McDonald’s has reinvented the way guests drink their seasonal favorite McCafe beverage, the Chocolate Shamrock Shake. This ‘utterly frivolous’ reinvention is by way of a J-shaped STRAW, the Suction Tube Reverse Axial Withdrawl which provides optimal flavor flow dynamics.

While all these big words sound really cool, combined with the fact that McDonald’s partnered with two very real engineering labs on both coasts – San Francisco based JACE Design and NK Labs, LLC from Cambridge, Massachusetts – to deliver the ideal flavor ratio of 50% chocolate and 50% mint in each sip, does the STRAW actually work? The nerd in me needed to answer this question… for SCIENCE!

The Chocolate Shamrock Milkshake! (Mayor McCheese approved.)

I’ve never tried a Shamrock Shake of any kind before, let alone a chocolate one. (Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of chocolate.) Before this experiment, I only knew two things about the Shamrock Shake; 1) From what I’ve heard, it’s kind of like the McDonald’s beverage equivalent of the McRib; rare, seasonal and delicious. 2) McDonald’s donates money from every Shamrock Shake purchase to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and have done since 1974 (that’s when the first Ronald McDonald House opened).

I won a… STRAW?

Even more limited than their Big Mac secret sauce giveaway in January, McDonald’s had only 2,000 STRAWs produced and distributed for the current Shamrock Shake season. Of this limited run, only 10 were given away here in Central Florida by random Twitter drawing. By some intergalactic act of luck, my tweet was chosen and I was sent a STRAW device!

McDonald’s Central Florida also sent me a coupon for a free small Chocolate Shamrock Shake which, for the purposes of this experiment, I upgraded myself to a large to make this STRAW test interesting. Time to get down to business…

Test  #1: Traditional, old school McDonald’s straw

This old school straw only looks sweet and innocent…

I’ll bet I can guess what you remember the most about drinking a McDonald’s milkshake, and it’s probably the same memory as mine. All the way back to elementary school I can remember trying to drink a McDonald’s milkshake, and by trying I mean creating an unsuccessful, cheek pinched vacuum between your mouth, the straw, and the milkshake.

In vain I tried to suck even the tiniest bit of milkshake through the traditional straw seen above to no avail! Was it gravity? Was it too cold? I don’t know but NOTHING worked outside of a spoon or letting the shake melt a little before attempting to drink. Their shakes were so thick! Oh, and spoons were/are for weenies.

Jen vs Traditional McDonald’s straw

Calling upon these childhood memories whilst unwrapping said traditional straw, I treaded lightly sipping carefully as to not look like this before getting to Test #2. Call it cheek preservation.

Result: Drinking through a traditional straw not as challenging as I remember it once being, but thickness was a still a bit of a challenge when sipping. On to the STRAW…

Test #2: Re-engineered McDonald’s STRAW device

By the way, I call it a ‘device’ because it sounds fancy. The STRAW is made of a stronger, grey plastic than its traditional counterpart. One problem I immediately noticed: Would the STRAW fit into the McCafe cup?

New STRAW vs Chocolate Shamrock Shake

Answer: YES! Through some small en’jen’eering of my own, I made it work! In truth, it really wasn’t difficult. I just pinched the ‘J’ and was good to go.

Because science.

There’s truth in the cheeks, folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results: So, how did the STRAW test? Surprisingly well! There really is something to this Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawl thing! Versus a traditional straw – and putting my cheeks through minty, slightly painful frustration – I could actually sip on my Shamrock Shake with the STRAW. Freshly made or not, it took ‘the work’ out of enjoying a thick shake!

 Top 5 Findings:

  • 1) What started out as ‘(ridiculous) revolutionary tech’ is actually quite handy!
  • 2) My cheeks are VERY thankful.
  • 3) Question: What happens when mix-ins are added? Do they conform to the space then clog the STRAW, fall out the bottom, or do they go up at all? Perhaps I’m overthinking this…
  • 4) My first ever Chocolate Shamrock Shake was enjoyable despite my dislike of chocolate in general. The 50/50 ratio worked for me. Not too chocolatey, no unexpected Altoids-like winter blast of mint.
  • 5) The STRAW was also surprisingly easy to clean! I wasn’t sure with all that whipped cream in play.

So, how can you find a STRAW of your own and give this chocominty experiment a try at your local McDonald’s? I don’t know. (Honest answer.) What I do know is you can get a Chocolate Shamrock Shake RIGHT NOW, on St. Patrick’s Day and beyond! And bonus! McDonald’s has three more mint and chocolate flavored McCafé beverages you can try for a limited time:

  • – Chocolate Shamrock Shake: Vanilla soft serve and chocolate flavored syrup under the original mint flavored Shamrock Shake. Top it off with green sprinkles, whipped topping, and a cherry and it’s a match made in Shamrock heaven.
  • – Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappé: Made with an indulgent blend of chocolate chips and a hint of coffee, topped with green sprinkles, whipped topping, and tantalizing chocolaty drizzle.
  • – Shamrock Mocha: McDonald’s classic Hot Mocha just got minty. Made with sustainably sourced espresso beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, steamed whole or nonfat milk, mint and mocha flavored syrup, and topped with whipped topping and delicious chocolaty drizzle.
  • – Shamrock Hot Chocolate: McDonald’s delicious Hot Chocolate now with cool mint flavor. Made with steamed whole or nonfat milk, mint and mocha flavored syrup, and topped with whipped topping and chocolaty drizzle.

A big thanks to McDonald’s and McDonald’s Central Florida for sending me a STRAW & shake, and humoring me with this goofy post… for SCIENCE!

2nd Annual Appetite for the Arches returns March 7th

By: @jenvargas

Appetite for the Arches 2015

A unique culinary gala kicked off last year in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida called Appetite for the Arches. This event invites local area restaurants like Cask & Larder and 4 Rivers Smokehouse to make signature dishes… using only McDonald’s menu items! It’s a  We were invited to attend the inaugural gala, and had a great time sampling the results and supporting the cause! This year will be even BIGGER!

We spoke with Appetite for the Arches Event Chair, Barbara Drahl, about what to expect at this year’s event, and while she wasn’t ‘dishing’ too many details, she was excited to share a little of what’s in store. “We’re doubling the size of the event, and we’ll have six more chefs than last year,” Drahl shares. “It’s going to be a big, fun party for a really great cause. All the funds raised are going to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida to keep children, their parents and their families close when they’re going through a medical crisis.

Participating this year are the following local restaurants:

  • *4 Rivers Smokehouse
  • Blue Bird Bake Shop
  • *Cask & Larder
  • Chef’s Table at the Edgewater
  • Cuisiniers Catering
  • Emeril’s Tchoup Chop
  • Funky Monkey Wine Co.
  • Hamilton’s Kitchen
  • *K Restaurant
  • Kabooki Sushi
  • LUMA on Park
  • Orlando World Center Marriott
  • Paxia Modern Mexican & Tequila Lounge
  • Pig Floyd’s
  • SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando
  • *The Ravenous Pig
  • The Rusty Spoon
  • The Smiling Bison
  • Txokos Basque Kitchen
  • Yardbird

Last night we sampled dishes from *four of the nineteen participating restaurants and are still blown away by the ingenuity of these culinary creations! Here’s one of them from Cask and Larder’s Chef Petrakis…

Through February 6th, individual tickets cost $200, with a slight increase to $250 on February 7. (FYI: tickets have been available since November 1, 2014 on the gala’s website). Click here to purchase tickets for yourself or your company!

Orlando World Center Marriott is also offering a discounted room rate of $154/night for those guests who wish to stay overnight. (Interested parties may book a room here.)

For more information about Appetite for the Arches gala, visit www.appetiteforthearches.org.

Follow the conversation on Twitter @RMHCCF with hashtag #AppetiteOrlando, and on facebook.com/rmhorlando.

Support BASE Camp at Cocktails for a Cause

Sooner or later, just about every professional in Orlando winds up at the Citrus Club.

From its scenic post on the 18th floor of the BB&T building, the Citrus Club regularly serves up food, drinks, and events to Orlando’s business community.

cocktails for a cause networking event for charity

Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

While some of the events are for club members only, Cocktails for a Cause is one great opportunity for you to visit the Citrus Club each month, do some networking, and support the great Orlando charities who participate. Here’s how it works:

Each month the Citrus Club Young Executive Committee selects a new charity to benefit from the Cocktails for a Cause event. 2014 beneficiaries have included Harbor House, Primrose Center, Shepherd’s Hope, and more.

On the first Tuesday of each month, Cocktails for a Cause attendees pay a $10 entrance fee in exchange for two drink tickets (good for beer, wine, or soda) and hors d’oeuvres. The money goes directly to the charity as a donation– the Citrus Club generously provides the drinks and food (and even offers to make an additional donation on behalf of anyone who is interested in joining the club that night!).

At every Cocktails for a Cause event, the executive director of the charity joins Citrus Club membership director David Wood in conducting a fun raffle-- all proceeds going to the charity. Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

At every Cocktails for a Cause event, the executive director of the charity joins Citrus Club membership director David Wood in conducting a fun raffle– all proceeds going to the charity. Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

Cocktails for a  Cause has raised more than $19,000 for Orlando charities in 2014 over the course of the last 11 events. Missed out on attending so far? Don’t worry– there is still one event left!

The final Cocktails for a Cause event of the year will be held on December 2nd at 5:30pm at the Citrus Club. The beneficiary will be BASE Camp, a foundation that provides a year-round base of support for children and families who are facing the challenges of living with cancer and other life-threatening hematological illnesses.

This month, we will also be holding a toy drive for the kids that BASE Camp supports. Cocktails for a Cause attendees can make the usual $10 donation AND/OR bring a toy donation to get in.

BASE Camp is specifically requesting teen-appropriate gifts for those older children who often go unnoticed this time of year. If you choose to donate a plush or stuffed toy for a younger child, please remember that these children are often in hospitals and the toy must be completely washable.

At the Citrus Club, business casual or professional attire is recommended. Come out for a great evening of networking and enjoy the company of your fellow Orlando professionals while you support the great work of BASE Camp!

RSVP to Cocktails for a Cause on Facebook or call the Citrus Club at (407) 843-1080 for more information.

 

(Oh, and here’s a list of suggested gift ideas for teens at BASE Camp to help get you started!)

Girls:

  • Bath & Bodyworks gift set
  • purse
  • make up kit
  • make up bag
  • iTunes gift card
  • Fast food gift card: McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Wendy’s

Boys:

  • Axe gift set
  • shaving gift set – high quality beard razors
  • body wash gift set
  • iTunes gift card
  • Fast food gift card: McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Wendy’s