Enough of the reviews of hoity-toity dining establishments where hardly anyone can afford to eat anymore.
Today, I'm going to describe my experience with McDonald's Parmesan and garlic fries, which have just been released for the holiday season.
Even though I've been a critic of corporate malfeasance in the past, I've retained a soft spot for the fast-food behemoth, notwithstanding its detrimental impact on the nation's waist lines.
That's because the Straight's homeless contributor, Stanley Q. Woodvine, is consistently treated with respect by the staff at the franchise in the 1400 block of West Broadway.
Furthermore, there's probably not another food establishment in the western industrialized world that has offered as many affordable meals to the poor as McDonald's.
I've sometimes felt there are two places in this world where the homeless are consistently treated as citizens rather than as pests to be avoided: McDonald's and the Vancouver Public Library.
So today when I dropped by the West Broadway outlet, I wasn't surprised in the least to see Stanley sitting in his usual spot by the window.
During my visit, he showed me fascinating research that he has compiled about crystal meth use. I suspect you'll see it on this website in the next couple of days.
He also noted that the person who had vacated the seat beside him is heavily into crystal meth these days—and it was being reflected in his addled thoughts about having some sort of a connection to the White House.
But I digress.
Back to those fries. When I picked up the bag from the counter with the fries inside, my first though was "yuck—these things reek".
The smell of the garlic was palpable.
Secondly, Stanley told me that he doesn't like these fries. Another bad omen.
But when I returned to the office, I was pleasantly surprised. They were more than passable. In fact, they were delicious, albeit just a tad too salty.
The softly textured fries practically melted in my mouth. And they were packed with so much flavour that there was no need to add any ketchup.
Author and investigative journalist Michael Moss wrote an outstanding book three years ago called Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. It showed the world how U.S. corporations get consumers addicted to their products. These fries are probably worthy of being added to the sequel if it's ever written.
For the gourmands out there, Parmesan and garlic fries will never be good enough. But the average Joe might want to give them a try.
Of course, they're never going to match the potato gratin at Les Faux Bourgeois, which is still probably the finest restaurant on the city's East Side.
But hey, not many other potatolike products in this town can do that, either.