To paraphrase John Edwards in his failed 2004 White House bid, there are two McDonald’s restaurants. One McDonald’s sells the cheap (in terms of both price and quality) food that really put the chain on the top of the fast food business. The menu there contains highly processed McNuggets, wafer-thin “beef” patties, and other dollar-menu fare. Then there’s the upscale McDonald’s, the restaurant that asks you to spend more for what is, ostensibly, higher-quality food. This restaurant sells burgers made from Black Angus beef, chicken sandwiches cut from white breast meat, and deli-style wraps. It is that second McDonald’s that now features fare for the chileheads of America, with the latest foray being the Southwest Chicken Premium McWrap, a portable product designed for an active lifestyle. Something like that, anyway.
Grilled chicken breast with cilantro lime glaze, crunchy tortilla strips, fresh spring greens, sliced tomato, shredded cheddar jack cheese, and a spicy, creamy habanero ranch sauce — wrapped up in a soft, warm flour tortilla. [Taken directly from McDonalds.com]
There’s nothing here I find objectionable, and those of you who prefer the chain’s crispy chicken should be happy to know that, just like any other wrap at McDonald’s, you have the option of crispy or grilled. I chose grilled to shave the 100+ calories, knowing full well that doing so would be like training two weeks instead of one for a match with Mike Tyson. Anyway, the real odd thing here is that there’s not much to this McWrap that screams “Southwest.” Typical Southwest food includes black beans and corn, both of which are found in the chain’s very own Premium Southwest Salad (which, incidentally, also has poblano peppers, which would have been awesome here). I’m no fan of beans, admittedly, but the choice of names is a little odd. It’s also worth mentioning that, yes, this McWrap features the exact same sauce found on the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder.
You probably know as well as I do that fast food never looks like it does in the promotional materials. You can see the promotional image to the side here, compared with the reality above. I’m not saying the real thing is unappetizing, but I do think the folks in the kitchen skimped on some of the ingredients. In particular, my McWrap didn’t have a whole lot of fresh greens to it.
Smell and Taste:
It smells great. There’s no real habanero bite in the smell, but the chicken and veggie combination sure is appealing. My favorite part about the taste is that this thing is juicy. The combination of habanero ranch, cilantro lime glaze, and moist chicken lead to a product that is literally dripping (which is what makes the sleeve useful, I guess). Not everything comes out in the flavor, though. In particular, I think the cilantro lime is entirely absent, or is at least covered up by the habanero ranch. That’s a shame, because I would have liked to taste that blend.
The heat in this McWrap builds. It never gets higher than a Medium, but that’s more than enough for some people. Still, it’s a pretty satisfying kick, especially for a quick drive-thru product. More importantly, though, this thing is pretty good. I’ve only recently ended by streak of not eating at McDonald’s, but I will say that this is probably one of the best things I’ve had from there. I wish the flavor profile lived up to its potential complexity, but I’m still going to give it a Nice. Heck, I wanted another one when I was done, so that has to mean something.
In terms of flavor, this is leagues better than McDonald’s Hot and Spicy McChicken, but I never would have made it through college spending six bucks per meal on these things.