And she sure was lovin' it! Olive Garden food critic Marilyn Hagerty tackled fast food chain McDonald's in the Wednesday edition of the Grand Forks Herald.
The nearly 90-year-old critic, who has written for the North Dakota local paper for almost 60 years and has covered the food beat for three decades, became an Internet celebrity back in 2012, after she endearingly reviewed Olive Garden. On Jan. 21, she tackled golden-arched fast-food juggernaut McDonald's.
In her latest piece, Hagerty explained that she had visited all four McDonald's locations in her native Greater Grand Forks region, all of which appeared to be "alive and well." Below, Us Weekly rounds up the key findings from her viral review.
1. The Coffee Brings People Together
"I ordered a senior coffee for 47 cents one morning," Hagerty wrote, which "was strong and not too hot."
She added that a cup of joe is a vital element in locals' morning routines. "This is one of the several places around the Forks where coffee drinkers gather to exchange the news of the day," she said. "They start clearing out mid-morning. Then people with small children trickle in to use the only McDonald's playground left around here."
2. Beware the Lattes
Next review: Starbucks? While Hagerty enjoyed her McDonald's coffee, the critic was not a fan of the low-fat latte — at least, on the day she visited.
"My trail through the McDonald's restaurants took me to East Grand Forks, where I ordered a medium-sized low-fat latte," she wrote. "I got quick service and paid $3.18. I collect the little cards that come on the lattes in order to get a free one after the fifth purchase. The lattes cost less than those I enjoy at Starbucks. But they are worthy."
Unfortunately, this Mickey D's location dealt with some technical issues that morning. "The only problem is occasionally, one of the restaurants will tell you their machine is not working," she wrote. "'Not working?' I think. I almost foam at the mouth in disgust, but I try to be pleasant."
3. Big Macs: The Root of Good and Evil
The double-layered cheeseburger was too indulgent for Hagerty's taste — only because she's rather sedentary compared to her "active" counterparts.
"My visit to the McDonald's near Columbia Mall is where I enjoyed my secret sin: a big Mac for $4.39," the critic wrote. "Something I do once every couple of years. But they help to fill up active, working people. They almost overwhelm lethargic people like me."
4. Sausage Egg McMuffins Are Proof That You Have Eaten
After downing some coffee, Hagerty opted for a breakfast sandwich in the form of the classic Sausage Egg McMuffin.
"That was $2.99 and a whopping 370 calories," she recalled. "You know you have eaten, and I like the combination."
5. Health Nuts Can Eat Mickey D's, Too!
Hagerty spoke to the owners of two of the local McDonald's locations about changing food trends.
"With her husband, Mike, Cindy O'Keefe owns and operates the McDonald's restaurants near Columbia Mall and in East Grand Forks and Crookston," she wrote. "Over the years, she has seen the menu go more upscale with frappes and more healthful with salads. Instead of the fries that used to be standard for children, there is a choice of apple slices, little oranges and yogurt."
Overall, Hagerty had only praise for the often maligned global food chain. "Eating out in Grand Forks ranges from McDonald's to the country club, which is open through March to the public," she concluded. "Four different McDonald's restaurants are a draw with versatile menus, fairly low prices and ongoing promotions."