McDonald’s In The Kitchen, Fairsted Kitchen that is.

A Surprise From McDonald’s at Fairsted Kitchen


When I got the invitation to Fairsted Kitchen, it was a given that I would say yes. Every time I drive by it, I remind myself that we need to have dinner there, then I get home and life happens and I forget, again, at least until the next time I drive by.  And when I saw that McDonald’s was hosting and Executive Chef Stephanie Cmar (yes, foodie friends, of Bravo’s Top Chef and of Stacked Donuts fame), was going to cook only with McD’s ingredients, I was intrigued. How would this work? What would the menu look like? And most importantly…Would there be fries?!

Photo credit: Debbie Grubstein


And not only were there fries – there was a bar of fries!  Everyone talked, laughed and nibbled as we circled the table and there were lots of stories because…fries. And I was so excited that the charming and twinkle lighted exterior of Fairsted Kitchen was a perfect preview to the lovely space within –  warm wood tables, lovely vintage mismatched china, and a welcoming staff. What a wonderful antidote to a cold and rainy night.

Dinner was, as expected, fantastic. And made only from ingredients that would be used in a McDonald’s kitchen. The first up: chicken croquettes with cilantro lime sauce, cucumber, peanut salad, and wilted romaine puree and our hosts explained that the fresh produce was the same used in McDonald’s premium salads and McWraps.  I learned that McD’s sources from local distributors when possible.

Next up, gnocchi made with actual McDonald’s french fries that were put through a meat grinder. Wow, super clever Stephanie Cmar! The Bolognese made with sausage and 100% ground beef, was delicious! I also learned that McD’s uses 100% beef that is ground, then formed into patties and flash frozen, and made with no additives or preservatives. Good to know.

Dessert was seriously the biggest doughnut I have ever seen. It’s okay though, years of training had prepared me for the challenge and I was undaunted. Doughnuts with Cranberry and Salted Caramel made by Stephanie (McD’s uses USDA grade A fresh eggs and North American grown whole wheat flour).


Served with a perfect cup of coffee (from McCafe) and made with 100 percent Arabica coffee beans. I loved McDonald’s coffee when it was Newman’s Own and I love it now, too. A great price for great coffee.

Stephanie Cmar Fairsted Kitchen McDonald's In the Kitchen

Photos* were taken by Debbie Grubstein, friend, food blogger extraordinaire, and all around wonderful person. Thanks, Deb!

*except the coffee cup so you can see why Deb is good to have around!

This post was sponsored by McDonald’s. All opinions are, and always will be, my own. Thank you!


Love Shake Shack?

IMG_4031IMG_4033We are predisposed to love burgers and fries in my family, so the prospect of a nearby Shake Shack has been happily anticipated. We are not, however, fans of long lines, (i.e., Disney World, first run movies, that kind of line) and we have been postponing our Shake Shack outing until things quieted down. However, today when I unexpectedly found myself with 45 minutes to kill near the Chestnut Hill Mall and thought I would take myself to lunch. Yes, without my family. And yes, I will pay for this.

I got there at 11:30 and waited a few minutes (and one possible cut in line by a man in a bright blue jacket), I ordered a shack burger, fries, and a chocolate shake, and waited, and waited, and waited for my hand held buzzer to buzz. I unsuccessfully tried to find a place to stand that was out of the way of the condiment station, the door, the counter, the workers, and the flow of traffic which had increased exponentially. I sat outside for a while but it was too cold, and then stood in the back of the restaurant, near the high chairs until I noticed blue jacket cutter was gone. I made my way to the counter where I pushily waved my still inactive buzzer and eyed what I knew was my order sitting bagged, lonely, and quickly cooling. I reported the broken buzzer, shared that it was a really long wait, grabbed my food and left the now crazily crowded spot. I didn’t make it to the car.

My report:

Shake – delicious although a bit chocolatey (will try the coffee shake made with fair trade beans next time).

Fries – yummy (but coldish), salty and crispy.

Burger – fantastic – terrific with their sauce (reminded of McDonald’s special sauce – in a good way) with an excellent burger to bun ratio.

All in all, I liked it enough to go back (and bring my children) but will time the visit with tactical precision – no weekend lunchtimes for me.

Update: Went back the same day (line now wrapped around building – time 4 pm) and luckily knew about the “C” line (“C is for Custard, that’s good enough for me!”) and bee-lined it in for a couple of shakes for my children. We again experienced buzzer fail. Luckily we are not shy when it comes to food and had to ask for our shakes.  Do they even use the buzzers? What is going on with that?


The coffee shake was reported to be very good (I think, I only drank some of the dregs) and the black and white is made with their custard (which kind of overwhelms the chocolate but is still delicious).

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