If you’re a Los Angeles foodie, you probably heard all the fuss about Chef Neal Fraser’s dinner using McDonald’s ingredients. I was among the food bloggers in attendance and it was quite an experience. First of all, I didn’t think overly hard about accepting the event invite – it sounded like fun and I love Fraser’s Fritzi Dog. So why not check it out this secret event with some foodies? It was held at the historic Carondelet House, a gorgeous space in MacArthur Park.
The night began with an hour-long wine and beer mix-n-mingle in the lobby, where I bumped into some foodie friends and we tried to figure out 1. When we would finally get to eat dinner and 2. What was this event for – was Fraser testing a new concept? Announcing a new restaurant? So mysterious.
Finally, we all headed into the dining room after imbibing and took our gorgeously decorated seats.
But something seemed a little off…
Foodie events DO NOT USUALLY HAVE CEILING CAMERAS! And constant videography. And microphones under the table flowers. Before the five courses started coming out, Fraser said this dinner was an “experiment” and that all would be revealed after the final course.
And so with that, we were off!
The food was…decent. I noticed that the spicy meatballs weren’t as much spicy as they were incredibly salty. The avocado soup has a nice kick to it. My least favorite of the night was the coffee custard, which I was looking forward to! It was mostly bitter and lacked any sweetness it looks like it has.
Throughout the dinner, my table mostly theorized that Walmart could be the culprit behind the secret ingredients.
Folks who ate all the way to the bottom of the coffee custard found out the big reveal in the bowl: The Golden Arches of McDonald’s. Fraser came out and spoke about the experiment once all was revealed.
McDonald’s franchise owner-operators also came out to mingle amongst the foodies and food writers to talk about how McDonald’s is not all corporate; some franchises are family-owned, just like a small business.
In the aftermath, the place cleared out pretty quickly. Fellow foodies felt tricked and some were appalled. To be honest, I thought it was a fun experience. It was a fun mystery and a cool way to bond with fellow food enthusiasts. Did I love the food? No; actually, it gave me hella heartburn later and that was not fun.
Am I pissed that I was tricked? Not really. If I’m pissed about anything, it’s the heartburn.
UPDATE 2/12/2016: I actually got more sick/more-than-heartburn stomach distress from the food after the event — my usual reaction to McDonald’s food. I wasn’t shocked, but I was very disappointed.