Poutine Week Pandemonium
Last Week Montreal Celebrated Gravy, Curds and Frites
What characterizes Montreal? Many say it’s a city of romance or that it’s far too cold and windy. Some like the city; others not so much. There is one unmistakable Montreal trait, however, that makes romance better and the weather bearable—Quebec’s comfort food, poutine.
Loads of restaurants have their own version of the poutine, each one making the classic snack a little more their own. And what better way to celebrate such a diverse, dirty, delicious meal than by dedicating a whole week to it? Montreal’s annual La Poutine Week is currently in its third year, with 45 participating restaurants in the city alone. From Feb. 1 to 7, Montrealers had the opportunity to vote for the best specialty poutine in the city. All participating restaurants and their specially-made poutines are listed on lapoutineweek.com.
The event has expanded to Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa and Sherbrooke, La Poutine Week creator Na’eem Adam told Global News Montreal. “Canada loves poutine,” said Adam, “And they love taking our Quebec poutine and [adding] their own little mix or twist to it.” The potato fries, gravy and cheese curds of a classic poutine is by no means the standard for those participating in La Poutine Week—the creativity and variety of contestants has caused the poutines to stray far from the norm. We’re talking waffle poutines, vegan poutines, kimchi poutines, curry poutines—the list goes on. These are the ones I found most interesting, whether that means it was delicious, strange or just plain not poutine.
La Banquise’s La Folie Poutine – Madness Indeed. This Tex-Mex style poutine is loaded with toppings. On top of cheese curds, fries and sauce, La Folie contains spicy sausage, bacon, sautéed mushrooms and onions, pepper sauce, sour cream, a lettuce leaf and a jalapeño popper on top. Needless to say, I devoured it as fast as possible. I enjoyed how every bite was a little different and how well the spicy and salty flavours complemented each other. I was satisfied, but for a restaurant that’s known for its poutine, I think La Banquise could have gotten more creative. To me, they chose quantity over quality.
Chez Boris’s Vladimir Végétarienovich Poutine – Most Creative
Chez Boris is well-known for their savoury donuts, so savoury donut fries were a pleasant surprise in their poutine. On top of them was a beet and three-bean chili, with smoked chipotle and cheese curds. Though I can’t take points away for creativity, this one was not a big hit for me. There was a good mix of flavours, but the beets threw me off and I was craving some kind of meat, probably in gravy. To me, this was not a real poutine.
Fabergé’s Gaufre du Peuple Poutine – The Best Ever
Wow. Just wow. This potato waffle topped with duck confit, cheese and gravy was the perfect combination of delicious and creative. The very slight sweetness of the waffles went perfectly with the salty cheese and gravy, served with a side of spicy coleslaw. Everything on my plate seemed to melt together in the perfect way. Fabergé definitely gets my vote.
Honourable mention goes to Copper Branch’s Vegan Poutine for making the world’s unhealthiest food healthy and Shawarmaz’s #ShawarmazManic for being a scrumptious mixture of cultures. Despite wanting to try all 45 participating poutine restaurants, my budget and stomach are only so big. I wish I could have tried them all, but one week is simply not enough even if you eat poutine for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Maybe La Poutine Month is in order. In any case, thank you Quebec for creating such an amazing food. I’m full.
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