Restaurant Review: McDonald’s Grilled Artisan Chicken Sandwich

McDonald’s in South San Francisco near San Francisco International Airport offers more than food: there is convenience, training in self-service electronic menus, yummy (and healthy) menu options, and a short course in American culture.

McDonald’s on Airport Boulevard in South San Francisco. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

70 Days Across America

I was staying at the Quality Inn & Suites in South San Francisco, and there didn’t seem to be many nearby options where I could have lunch – except for a McDonald’s, which was about a two minutes’ walk from the motel.

I figured, what the heck? It’s close. I’ll have lunch there and figure out how I will spend the rest of the afternoon. I had already made plans for dinner.

The Electronic Menus …

Self-service electronic menus. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

When I walked inside, I was faced with a group of electronic menus. I had tried ordering this way in Hong Kong a few months earlier, but it didn’t work.

After two failed attempts. I ended up going to the counter and ordering the old-fashioned way.

Not so at this McDonald’s. A very friendly restaurant employee walked up to me and asked if I needed any help.

When I said I lived overseas and didn’t know how to do it, he said no problem and offered to walk me through the process.

How They Work …

Counter at McDonald’s in South San Francisco. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Ordering electronically was fun. I was given options, and when I chose one, I would be given more options, until a main course (which could be customized), a side dish, and a beverage had been chosen.

I was told to take a plastic object with a number on it, find a seat, and put it my table. Someone would bring me my lunch when it was ready.

The Wait …

Counter at McDonald’s. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
While I waited for my lunch to arrive, the friendly employee came over to my table to chat with me.

He wanted to know more about living overseas. When I said lived in Hong Kong, he said, “Oh, wow! Do you speak Chinese?”

He said that he, too, would like to live overseas, and he, too, was interested in learning foreign languages.
“I can’t make up my mind between Chinese and Japanese,” he said.

My Lunch …

Lunch with side dish. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
When my lunch came, I was happy to see that there was a salad and no French fries.
I had been so focused on the process of ordering lunch electronically that I hadn’t really paid much attention to what I had ordered.
The sandwich consisted of a what McDonald’s calls an “artisan roll”, a chicken breast filet, crisp lettuce, a slice of tomato, and vinaigrette dressing.

The Side Salad …

The side salad. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
The side salad consisted of chopped romaine lettuce, baby spinach, baby kale, red leaf lettuce, ribbon cut carrots, and tasty grape tomatoes.
It was served with a packet of Newman’s Own dressing. Of the choices given, I had chosen Southwest.

The Ambiance …

Outdoor seating. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
The venue was bright and cheerful. There was indoor and outdoor seating.
Drive-thru. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

There seemed to be more drive-thru than dine-in or take-away customers.

As a result, the internal ambiance of the eatery was very laid-back and comfortable.

The Verdict …

I was kind of disappointed to eat my first lunch on my epic journey, 70 Days Across America, at McDonald’s, but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

I learned a new skill, and I had a very enjoyable conversation with one of the employees.

I hadn’t realized yet how much easier conversation came to Americans. I had been away for a very long time.

This was almost like a short course in American culture.

I also had a very yummy lunch. The sandwich was delicious, and I loved the salad.

I liked the meal so much, in fact, that I went back the following day.

This time I paid more attention when ordering, noticing that each item on the menu included the number of calories it contained.

The differential, I discovered, between two seemingly similar items could be substantial.

As a result, I chose the vinaigrette dressing, which was every bit as satisfying as the Southwest dressing except it contained less than half the calories.

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McDonald’s – 381 South Airport Boulevard, South San Francisco, California.

This is the seventh in a series on my epic journey, 70 Days Across America>>



2 Replies to “Restaurant Review: McDonald’s Grilled Artisan Chicken Sandwich”

  1. Yes, Americans are a smiling, chatty society compared to others. I tried ordering electronically at a McDonald’s when I was in Israel. Because of the newness of that way of ordering, and a different language, I asked a clerk to do it. It worked ok, but the food was nowhere as delicious as you picture and mention here. Interesting experience, but felt no need to repeat it again.

    1. I was surprised at how nice the sandwich was and ESPECIALLY surprised at how nice the salad was. I never eat the salads in Hong Kong. They just don’t appeal to me. Having said all that, it wasn’t cheap – at least by Hong Kong standards. It came to nearly US$10.00

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