The ￥1,000 Burger
Posted by Heliocentrism on August 29, 2014
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Clearly, what would make the burger better is if it were more expensive!
Someone sent me a link to this ad online for the ￥1,000 Burger at McDonald’s. (￥1,000 ≈ $10) I’m not a big McDonald’s fan. I love the milk shakes, apple pie, and the fries. But everything at McDonald’s tastes like it comes from McDonald’s. Someone could blindfold you. They could place in your mouth a new dish from McDonald’s you have never had before, lets say a McSpaghetti Burger. You would just have to take one bite before you could identify where the burger came from.
I occasionally eat at McDonald’s, but it’s usually under protest or after defeat. “I wanted to goto Sushi Meijin, but everyone else wanted to go to McDonald’s.” I think of McDonald’s as a step above starving. It’s not because it’s fast food. I love Subway and Burger King. It’s really just the McDonaldsy taste everything on its menu has.
But when I saw the ad for the more expensive one-time-only gourmet burgers, I had to have one. If only to say that I had one. I chose the Black Diamond. It had some fancy bun and was smothered in truffle sauce. Truffles at McDonald’s!? Now, that’s just redunk!
The Black Diamond came out on July 13. If you faithfully follow this blog, which I’m sure you do, you will notice that July 13 was the start of our Itchy Island camping trip. The plan was to drive down to Miyazaki and stop at a McDonald’s for lunch. We were all looking forward to our overpriced meal.
We stopped in some town in the sticks and found a McDonald’s. We walked in only to be greeted by every man, woman, and child who lived in that town. We were about to stand in the long line when Billy noticed a sign by the counter.
“Guys,” he said, “It says here that the burger is sold out.” It was not yet noon. Not only did they run out of the overpriced burger, they ran out of burgers in general. Only chicken sandwiches were available but it didn’t seem that they would last too long either. Did I mention that it was not yet noon? …at McDonald’s? Whatever the burger tasted like, it was a huge money-maker for McDonald’s!
But that wasn’t just this little dinky town’s McDonald’s. Billy asked someone at the counter if there was another McDonald’s nearby that would still have the burger. The lady at the counter told him that they are sold out there too. In fact last week, when they served the Gold Ring Burger, they sold out by 11:30 on average nationwide.
This would not happen to us again. The only thing worse than a crappy overpriced burger is a crappy overpriced burger that I can’t have. We woke up early the next Saturday morning and went to the least frequented McDonald’s in town.
This place usually has like 2 or 3 cars parked in its lot. In fact it has so little traffic at any given time it shares its parking lot with the convenience store next door.
That day’s burger was the Ruby Spark. It wasn’t the burger I wanted, but it was our last chance for a ￥1,000 burger. It had Chorizo, Monterey jack cheese, and avocado “fillings” all on a special bun. There was no truffle sauce, but hey, real cheese!
We knew that the breakfast menu ended at 10:00 so we showed up around 9:45. At 9:55 they started to change the menu board and Mark walked over to the counter. Within a few minutes, before the staff was ready to take the first non-breakfast order, the line was out the door. By the time we started eating the line was wrapped around the McDonald’s.
The burger, we only got one, came in a special box referred to by McDonald’s as a “Jewel Case”. The box, once you slid off its sleeve, had a top that came off presenting the burger on display in a gold ring. There was also a pamphlet telling you all about the burger and everything came in a bag with a gold ribbon on the handle. Obviously McDonald’s thought very highly of this burger. “You might want to tell your grandkids about this someday, so hold on to that pamphlet!”
We tasted it.
The bun was nice. It wasn’t the usual sesame bun McDonald’s uses. This was really nice.
The cheese was fantastic.
The onions were nicely grilled.
The Chorizo was nice and spicy, yet not overpowering. Great!
The avocado sauce was creamy and delicious. You could really taste the expensive!
The burger… It was the same old burger used in all McDonald’s burgers. It tasted McDonaldsy and cheap. When the flavors of all the other fixing elevated you to the land of quality gourmet burgers, the taste of the beef patty pulled you right back down again onto your McDonald’s chair. They spent all this time and money into making a great burger, but they didn’t bother to get a better beef patty.
… I was really hoping I would have this reaction to the burger, but no.
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly. Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- The Post Office bank seems to work with most cards.
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)
How to get there:
- McDonald’s is a little more pricy in Japan, but so is everything else.
- Most are open 24/7.