McDonald’s Gracemere and Old Man Hanrahan

This morning I was supervising my teenage daughter’s driving as we proceeded around town picking up vegetables, second hand video games from the distant past, and a bulk lot of pot noodles with suspicious warnings in a language I can’t read.

As we neared home one kid told me they were dying of hunger, and the other was totally dying of thirst. Obviouly, I was wanting to maintain my position in the top 98% of parents, and losing a kid on my watch was going to seriously mess with my stats.

After carefully evaluating all of the healthy options available, and discussing how important fresh and nutritious eating was, we went to Maccas anyway.

We ordered up a shared meal and went and sat at a table coincidentally located under the blast chiller. I figured it was just character building, and that kids dying of malnutrition could handle some arctic temperatures for ten minutes or so.
In between all the teeth chattering I struck up some table talk. My 12 year old son filled me in about a new game called Minecraft that just came out for the Game Boy, which he plays every Fortnight with a friend named Roblox. I haven’t met that kid yet so I made a mental note to be in better touch with the people my offspring hang out with. My 18 year old daughter told me about all the places she was going to go to when she gets her license, and how fast she would be able to get there. I decided to increase our car insurance.

Our food arrived fairly quickly. Up until that time I wasn’t aware of the new technique for building hamburgers. Apparently, one kid holds the burger bun at one end of the room, and another kid who is the same age but wearing a managers badge stands at the other end of the room and hurls burger ingredients at high speed towards the buns. After three rounds anything that sticks to the burger is jammed into a box and sent off to the waiters. The customer is never informed of the scoring system, or who the winner is, which is a shame actually.

The chips were good and I believe that if you’re in the lucky minority to get fresh McDonalds chips then you should not only be appreciative, but should also go and buy a lotto ticket.
I found the nuggets to be pretty good, and they came with some sweet and sour sauce which was nice of them. However, I’m relatively certain that my local Gracemere store has served the same sweet and sour sauce repeatedly for the last four or five years. I probably messed up their winning streak by managing to open one of the packages through a combination of using my fingertips, teeth, one of my feet, and a pocket knife. If science ever has need for a packaged sauce that can survive a direct nuclear blast they should contact McDonalds and ask for the design of their sauce packets.

I bet that after we left a conversation like this happened:

Manager: “Oh great. They OPENED the sauce! Does anyone even know where we get more from?”

Assistant Manager: “I don’t know, let’s ask Old Man Hanrahan.”

Manager: “Hey, old Man Hanrahan! You’ve been here the longest, where do we get the new sauces from? Some jerk came in here and opened up the only one we have.”

Hanrahan: “Stop calling me Old Man Hanrahan!! I’m 15 years old, and I’ve only been working here for 3 months.”

Anyways, all kidding aside, and apart from the sauce packet that can’t be opened without mechanical assistance, and the burgers built blindfolded, my kids were happy enough with their lunch.

9/10, would recommend.

But remember: If you eat the pickles then some poor kid is going to have to figure out how to order more of them.

Note: This article originally appeared on the Rockhampton Food Rater Facebook page, and was written by me on 20 July, 2019.

Lunch at the Kabra Country Hotel

Today I was driving around at a leisurely 50km/hr in a 70 zone. Presumably there was a party going on that all the caravan owners knew about, although none of them seemed to be in a big hurry to get there. Fortunately, I have been playing Mario Kart for something like 30 years, so I feel like I’ve been training my whole life for this.

I tried explaining to my wife why this was an impressive feat, but I will never understand women and why she thinks I was being childish. Thinking about it later I realised it was because I always beat her in Mario Kart, so that must be it.

Having picked up our shopping, my wife mentioned that we had been invited to lunch at the Kabra Country Hotel. That was really good, because I like lunch, and it was also a good reason to put off the yard work my wife had been helpfully reminding me about, for 4 or 5 weeks now.

So we headed out there, along with one of our kids. If you haven’t been, it’s just a few kilometres past Gracemere, right on the Capricorn Highway.

Once inside we found our pre-booked table and checked out the lunch menus. I decided to get the ‘OMG Burger’ which seemed pretty much to be a works burger with jalapenos and a ‘fiery hot sauce’. My wife said, “I knew you’d get that.” She knows me so well. If there was a menu item that said, “This thing will either kill you, or put you in a coma for a week, and you have to update your will and sign this waiver,” I’d definitely order it.

Our friends were arriving now, and we ordered up a jug of softdrink (I never drink and Mario Kart). Pleasantly, it was a jug with ice and a BOTTLE of softdrink, and not postmix. A+ for that!

The lunch menu has a good selection of pub favourites, plus pizzas, burgers, and toasties. I thought it was cool that most meals have the option of either beer battered steak fries, sweet potato wedges, or waffle chips.

We sat around talking about people who weren’t there, whilst my daughter kept herself up to date on world events using a website called toktok, or something like that. She says I won’t like it, but I’ve been meaning to check it out so that I can stay in touch with what my kids are up to. I did an online survey on Myspace that said I was in the top 70% of parents in that regard, if you need any tips.

Before long our meals came out, pretty much all at the same time. I mean, I get that it wasn’t peak hour in Kabra, but there’s plenty of places that can’t manage even this basic thing, so thanks for not putting us into some Lord of the Flies situation where you don’t know if you can start or not. Or if you have to wait. And does eating a chip count as starting?

My ‘OMG Burger’ was brilliant. It’s everything you want in a works burger – a tower that needed structual support to stay upright – plus a bit of spicy oompf. I knew the jalapenos were good when one of them slipped out of the bun and I ate it first. My eyes watered a little and my wife said, “Are you right?” which was when I realised I might have made a sound like a small injured animal. AN INJURED ANIMAL BUT WITH FIERY HOT SAUCE AMIRITE!?. Seriously, it was just good, and not overwhelmingly hot at all and I recommend it.

And this place, people… they know how to make some chips. The chips could be a meal! I’m just saying beer.battered.steak.fries are a thing and they have them! They have waffle chips and sweet potato wedges too which I want to try. But also, it creates an agonising situation where there’s the chips I already had, and want again, but there’s also new kinds of chips that are probably also good, but what to do? Is it normal to get them all? Sorry for letting you in my head for a minute.

Checking in with the family everyone seemed very happy and content with their lunches, and we’re coming back! If you haven’t been I reckon you should get off your butts and head out ASAP. If you have been before then get some friends and head out also.
Oh, I just noticed they have a FLAMIN’ JOE pizza with jalapenos and ‘fiery hot sauce base’. Next time, my saucy friend.

On the way home, in case you were wondering, there were no caravans.

And I didn’t do any yard work.

Note: This article originally appeared on the Rockhampton Food Rater Facebook page, and was written by me on 25 July, 2021.