McDonalds: the classiest restaurant in EcuadorQuito, Spring 2012
I found one of the classiest McDonalds in the world. It’s in Quito on the corner of Amazonas and Naciones Unidas, just past Parque Carolina. I had been hearing excellent things about McDonald’s in Ecuador. But I was skeptical. How could this be the same restaurant in whose gross rest stops I once got carsick as a four-year-old? I make a point to avoid McDonalds in the US. My fast food diet consists of the snobby fast food restaurants—Chipotle, Noodles & Co., Subway and occasionally Panera. Sometimes I stoop really low and buy Wendy’s all-natural, sea-salt French fries. The last time I ate McDonalds in the U.S., I was 17. I was on a road trip returning to Chicago from Boston. We were somewhere in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York, and we were starving. The only restaurant (and I use the term loosely) we could find was a McDonald’s. I ate a filet o’fish and French fries. I promptly felt like death one hour later, and I don’t think I ate anything the rest of the day. So, four-and-a-half years later, I ventured into my next McDonalds. I could not get over how nice it was. First of all, the restaurant (I am not using the term loosely here) was two stories with glass walls, and looked like a major accomplishment of modern architecture. Second, it was clean and did not smell like grease. Third, McDonalds has one of the highest sanitation standards out of all Ecuadorian restaurants. And then I saw the espresso bar. With homemade cake and high-quality coffee and all-natural smoothies. Let me emphasize this: a McDonalds had an espresso bar. About half of the customers were wearing business suits. Classy people in a classy McDonalds -- I was so confused. Unfortunately, they only served meat sandwiches, so I ordered French fries and a smoothie from the espresso bar. The barista pulled out a real, live banana to make my smoothie. As I watched her make my smoothie with fresh fruit, I began to munch on my fries. I waited for the American animal grease aftertaste. There was none. They were delicious. They were salted to perfection and slightly crunchy. I went in for my first smoothie sip, prepared for the worst. My eyes lit up, and my friend Dylana laughed at my facial expression. “Holy CRAP,” I yelled. “This is the best smoothie I’ve had in my life.” It beat the smoothies I made during my smoothie phase last year. It beat Jamba Juice. It beat EVERYTHING. I’m going back tonight for another smoothie. Welcome to McDonalds, the classiest restaurant in Ecuador.
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