Fast Times: McDonald's Shamrock Shake and Chicken McBites

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When is the last time you had a Shamrock Shake? Until now, for me, it was at least 18 years -- not since high school. I wonder -- did Shamrock Shakes always taste like this, or have they gotten worse?

The color was alarming. When I saw the "mint green" shake pouring from the shake machine, I started getting nervous. (Why do we call that color mint green? Mint is actually pretty dark green.) The bright-green shake had an unmistakable artificial mint flavor, like cheap mint gum. The aftertaste was kind of incredible, actually almost compelling. I must have taken ten sips just trying to figure out what the aftertaste was, but all I could come up with was the vague sense that I had eaten a candy cane covered in fuzz. This shake can only be improved by adding booze, so in that sense it's perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

Ordering the Chicken McBites was an afterthought. After all, it's just popcorn chicken, right? Big deal. I have to admit, I was glad to have the popcorn chicken to wash the "minty" Shamrock Shake taste out of my mouth. And while I think these popcorn chicken bites are pretty good -- well-seasoned, enough meat -- I fail to see how they are that much different from regular Chicken McNuggets, unless your goal is to eat the same amount of chicken while also eating twice as much breading, in which case this is the meal for you. Otherwise, the McBites seem largely the same -- in fact, I'd say the meat inside the McBites is just a little drier than the meat inside the McNuggets.

I do like the packaging the McBites come in. The paper container opens at the top, like a Chinese take-out box, and there is a space you can pop out to create a holder for your dipping sauce. I love how portable this makes these bites -- open them and stick the container in your console or cup holder for a neater on-the-go snack.

Nutrition Info (Shake): 540 calories, 10 g protein, 16 g fat, 88 g carbs, 160 mg sodium

Nutrition Info (Chicken McBites): 470 calories, 22 g protein, 28 g fat, 33 g carbs, 720 mg sodium

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