We were in Palm Springs at the weekend, in the middle of a windstorm that resulted in a huge power outage. It was scarily impressive. We’d planned to have lunch at the Blue Coyote – a more than decent Mexican restaurant - but they had no power and weren’t serving.
And neither was any other restaurant in downtown Palm Springs. So we got in the car, as the wind and palm fronds whipped around us, and we drove down the 111 occasionally seeing a restaurant that looked like it might possibly be open. But invariably it wasn’t. There were no lights on inside anywhere, the traffic lights were out, medium size trees were being blown over.
Things were looking desperate. And then we saw it in the distance, hope, illumination, an oasis, a yellow arch. Yep, we’d found the only open restaurant for miles and it was a McDonald’s.
I remembered exactly the last time I’d been in a McDonald’s it was at least a decade ago, in England, after I’d been to see some drag racing at Santa Pod. The memory is surprisingly fresh. Anyway, we had a Big Mac in the McDonald’s outside Palm Springs, and it was rather good in the circumstances. But the best part was finding the McDonald’s newsletter on the table, featuring a quiz about Presidents. Who was the first president to fly in a plane: Teddy Roosevelt of course, but then he would be, wouldn’t he? And obviously he was a man who wouldn't have gone hungry because of a power outage: he'd have gone and shot something.
Even more interesting was a short article about McDonald’s in India. It seems there are certain, all too obvious, problems for a burger joint in India, chiefly that if you serve beef you risk offending about 800 million Hindus, so no burgers. But no pork either since there are also about 200 million Moslems, and I guess MacDonald’s don’t want to appear to be playing favorites. There are a few Jews in India too, but evidently they don’t much care what non-believers put in their mouths.
It wasn’t till I got home that I got on the McDonalds India website, and it is a thing of wonder. Obviously they favor chicken, fish and vegetables. You can have the McSpicy Chicken, the Veg McMuffin, and I was particularly taken with the Big Spicy Paneer Wrap, which according to the website features a “exquisitely picked, soft and tender paneer overwhelmed with a fiery, crunchy batter.” I’m not absolutely sure that I want my paneer totally overwhelmed, but it does sound more fun than the Big Mac.
We’d thought of staying overnight in Palm Springs but since it looked as though this might involve camping out in a motel room without electricity and not being able to get a meal, we decided to drive back to LA. On the way home we stopped at Hadley’s in Cabazon and bought some gourmet bean soup mix (yep, it’s a full life).