For me, McDonald's falls squarely into one category: I Have the Worst Hangover Ever, And Just Enough Energy for The Drive-Thru. Seriously, even on road trips, McDonald's is a last-resort meal for me. (I am willing to admit that few things beat back a hangover like Micky D's, so it certainly has its place.) Sure, I went in to try the new McNugget dipping sauces recently, but I threw away most of the McNuggets after a sufficient amount of sauce-tasting had occurred.
In short, I'm rarely tempted to make a McDonald's run. But forced as I am to navigate this city on foot and by rail, the heat overwhelmed me and I needed something cold to drink. When a poster for a McDonald's "Real Fruit Smoothie" appeared before me, I decided to give it a go.
The menu featured three flavors: Wild Berry, Strawberry Banana, and a "new" Pineapple-Mango flavor. Hoping it would go better than my Whataburger Pineapple Shake experience, I ordered up a Pineapple Mango shake and hit the street. A quick aside: I wish people would stop using the phrase "wild berry" unless the berries are actually picked wild; there is nothing inherently "wild" about mixed berries, so just call it Mixed Berry. Since wild vs. farmed is an actual distinction, and since wild fruit tastes different than farmed fruit, I've developed a bit of a pet peeve over this. I digress.
Unlike the Whataburger Pineapple shake, the McDonald's Pineapple Mango tastes like real pineapple--it does not, however, taste like mango. Pineapple is pretty overpowering, though, and I didn't suffer from the lack of discernible mango flavor. I can't give McD's entire line of "Real Fruit Smoothies" the thumbs up until I taste them all, but their newest offering is quite successful: it's lighter than a regular (non-fruit) milkshake and it tastes like fruit, not fruit flavoring.
That said, a peek at the McD's site shows that the "real fruit" in the "real fruit shake" is from something called the "Mango Pineapple Fruit Base," which is combined with light vanilla yogurt and ice. My view of the shake-making was blocked by the machine itself, but something tells me this base isn't freshly-cut fruit chunks.
I hesitate to use the word "amazing" in the same sentence as McDonald's, but I found this shake to be light, fresh-tasting, and a real treat to sip on as I wandered the mean streets of Houston in July. I kind of can't wait to try the other two flavors...
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Nutrition info: 220 calories (1 gram fat, 2 grams fiber, 49 grams sugar)
Cost: Approximately $2.50 after tax.