Sunday, October 14, 2012

Remembering a Poor Life Decision: The McDonut

A lot of people look back and their twenties and shake their head in shame at poor life decisions that they made.  For me personally, when I look back on this period in my life, I regret a decision I made in the fall of 2008 while in the Croatian city of Rijeka for the World Congress of Bioethics.  My colleague Magnolia and her husband and I snuck out of a session on mental health disorders in the Balkans to go in search of food.  What we found haunts me until this day.

The McDonut

Rijeka, Croatia is a fascinating place regardless of the McDonut (which we will learn more about later).  Continuously inhabited since the neolithic period  by various peoples of the Adriatic region, Rijeka is now Croatia's principle seaport and third largest city.  It was once considered among the premiere seaside vacation destinations of the aristocracy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the city is still filled with gorgeous examples of baroque and art nouveau architecture...although their facades are peppered by the occasional bullet hole or sign of artillery shelling or bronze placard to the fallen from the civil wars of the 1990s that ravaged the Balkans.  

Rijeka's famed clock tower

From Rijeka tourists can take a ferry to the nearby Isle of Krk where apparently the people who once lived there in the town of Vrbnik must have been really short and are now just really opposed to the wearing of Speedos???  Apparently they aren't fond of vowels either.

There are so many ways to interpret this sign.

Rijeka and it's environs have many fine features for tourists to take in but perhaps the heartbeat of the city is its McDonald's.  Located right in the center of the city across from the famous clock tower it is a warm welcoming beacon to weary travelers.  The familiar smells of fries and whatever other mystery ingredients go into making up the classic and ubiquitous McDonald's aroma drift through the streets.  My friends Magnolia and Angel and I were helpless to resist. 

I love a McDonald's in a 19th century building.

Inside the McDonald's there was a sign that pretty much summed up our mindset at that point in time.  The slogan, "All Roads to Lead to McDonald's" was emblazoned across the top.  

Svi putevi vode u McDonald's
All Roads Lead to McDonald's

Upon looking at the menu up on the wall I saw something that I had never ever seen before and was immediately intrigued by:  The McDonut.  Now I have been to McDonald's in India where they have the vegetarian Maharaja Mac and then to McDonald's in the Middle East where you can order the shwarma-style McArabia.  But never before had mine eyes beheld the sight nor my mine ears heard of this mythical item known as the McDonut.  I had to try it.

Magnolia is skeptical if it is actually even edible.

Instant regret.  The McDonut is kind of like a stale bagel with a puddle of congealed unidentifiable fruit filling in the center and then the whole thing is sprinkled with powdered sugar.  It was sort of like a really bad desert on a strange third world airliner.  Horrific.

At one point I thought it was actually looking back at me.

Someday when I have my own children perhaps I can warn them not to sample mysterious multinational corporation produced baked goods in the Balkans and spare them the experience.  My friend Magnolia was only able to rebound from the experience by ordering a Filet-O-Fish.

Magnolia washing the taste away with some fries.

So boys and girls, the moral of this story is that if you ever find yourself in Rijeka, Croatia a pang of hunger in your belly and some time to kill make your way to the McDonald's in the city center and order yourself up a falafel Big Mac and some I did the next day.  And remind yourself that if it sounds like a bad idea [McDonalds + donut = McDonut] then realize that it probably is and walk away.  

Mmmm good!  Falafel Big Mac!


Nicole Izvernari said...

Wonderful travel food review. Before reading this I would also be intrigued and have tried the McDonut. But the Falafel big Mac sounds delicious!

Tony Smith said...

I bet, somehow, McDonalds found a way to make a donut even more bad for you. But sooooo deliciously bad.

I still have not collected enough courage to try McDonald's spam breakfast in Hawaii.