Homeless in Vancouver: New McDonald's rosti burger and waffle fries—dull and dangerous

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      As part of a limited-time “Season’s Cravings” promotion, McDonald’s Canada is offering two new menu items.

      There's a “Potato Rosti and Bacon Burger” as well as “Waffle Cut Fries”.

      To get right to the point, I tried them both so that you don’t have to.

      A hash brown burger is like a dull book on a dry topic

      The Potato Rosti and Bacon Burger—all there is to it.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      The first thing to know about McDonald’s Canada’s new Potato Rosti And Bacon Burger is that the “Rosti” in the name is a just a larger version of the standard hash brown patty offered on the McDonald’s Canada breakfast menu.

      In case you’re wondering (I certainly was), rösti (or röschti) is the name of a potato fritter dish in Switzerland. What McDonald’s Canada calls a hash brown is, in the U.K. McDonald’s Breakfast wrap at least, referred to as a “potato rosti”.

      None of this explains why a Eurocentrically named concoction (or cock-up, depending on your tastes) is being offered only in the McDonald’s Canada chain over the Christmas holidays but that appears to be the case.

      The “Burger” in the Potato Rosti And Bacon Burger appears to be a Quarter Pounder beef patty. This is topped with a square slice of processed cheddar cheese, a large rectangular hash brown patty, a garnish of hickory-smoked bacon shreds, and finally a few squirts of a Parmesan sauce. This is all sandwiched between what McDonald’s calls a “snowflake bun”, which has bits of baked-in oatmeal and onion and is toasted on the cut sides.

      For all that, I found the burger distressingly dry and dull—lacking in any juiciness or notable flavours and almost a chore to eat. I’m not planning to have another one.

      If you decide to try this burger, my advice is that you should ask for a packet of chicken sauce to dress it with, or be prepared to add ketchup, which, even if it’s not needed to “wet” the burger, will give it a much-needed splash of zest and flavour.

      Waffle cut fries—weaponized potatoes

      Waffle Cut Fries—no two are the same—just like snowflakes or shurikens.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      The Waffle Cut Fries did not impress me either—certainly not as junk food. They were not even slightly fun to eat; not like, say, curly fries, or even normal french fries.

      What they were, it seemed to me—being slices of potato shot through with big holes—was a way to fill a fry box with a surprisingly small amount of potato. In that sense, I might have called them the deep-fried potato equivalent of air-filled soft ice cream, if not for the fact that there was nothing soft about them.

      The worst thing that you can do with these waffle fries (besides buy them) is to let them get cold. With so much complex surface area to be fried crisp, they can cool to a temper and hardness that has more in common with pot metal than potatoes.

      I was damn near able to use the point of one of these fries to pierce the heavy card stock of the fry box they came in.

      There should be a posted warning to the effect that a person could seriously hurt themselves with a room temperature waffle fry!

      Such holiday drear fear cheer doesn’t come cheap

      Purchased as a meal at a franchise-owned McDonald’s Canada location, the seasonal burger and fries, with coffee, cost just under $10.

      The Potato Rosti and Bacon Burger, with medium-size Waffle Cut Fries and a medium-size coffee, subtotaled to $9.39 and with an added $0.47 GST, came to an “Eat-In-Total” of $9.86. After a rounding adjustment of -0.01, the final total came to $9.85.

      Franchise owners mark-up the base McDonald’s prices so you could expect to pay a bit less at a McDonald’s Canada-owned-and-operated location but it would still be too much, in my opinion.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.