Curd Your Enthusiasm

It’s All Gravy During Montreal’s First Poutine Week

  • Montreal Poutine Week Feb. 1 to 7. Photo David Murphy

No matter how enthusiastic we were about our New Year’s diet resolutions, leaving the bar after a night of drinking does not lend itself to kale chips and quinoa salad as a pick-me-up snack. Instead, we queue behind a gaggle of sweaty club-goers, awaiting our next shot—poutine.

Starting this Thursday, Quebec’s favourite 3:00 a.m. dish will be even harder to resist, as Montreal’s first annual Poutine Week invites diners to explore and rate the specialty poutines on the menu at 30 participating restaurants.

Na’eem Adam is the author of the Montreal food blog Le Méchant Mangeur and worked with Jason Mainella from Montreal web design company Cyber Relief and Thierry Rassam to put together Montreal Poutine Week. For the crew that organized Montreal’s Burger Week last fall, Adam said the celebration of poutine has been a long time coming.

“Poutine Week was always the light-bulb over our head,” Adam said. “So we said, let’s try things out with Burger Week, and learn a couple of things, because we didn’t want to mess with something people love so much. But it was our idea from the very start.”

Poutine Week isn’t just a celebration of poutine, it’s also something of a curds-and-fries laboratory. With restaurants offering poutines topped with everything from edible flowers to General Tao Chicken, there’s no telling which restaurant will gain the most diner thumbs-up—through the Poutine Week app—to be crowned Poutine Week champ of 2013.

Most restaurants offer special prices of $5.00 to $10.00, with some of the more high-end poutines topping out at $50 for a two-person portion.

Adam said the willingness of local restaurants to take part in Poutine Week was overwhelming, but when asked to explain what exactly it was about poutine that makes it such a cult classic, he seemed perplexed. Apparently, poutine is a love that need not explain itself.

“Well… It’s… Are you from Quebec?” he asked.

“Poutine is definitely a Québécois love. We all have some sort of love-hate relationship with it. It’s a lot more than the fries, cheese and gravy. I want it to be all of that, minus the guilt, for one week. Put all of that aside—work out some other week—and this will be your week for poutine.”

Poutine Week from Feb. 1 to 7 / Inaugural party Jan. 31 at Globe (3455 St. Laurent Blvd.)

To see an interactive map of participating restaurants, check out www.poutineweekmtl.com

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