Sunday, April 15, 2007

Poutine

Yesterday afternoon was another one of those can't-get-to-work-till-I-spend-some-time-out-of-the-house afternoons. And it was a gray and gloomy day. The kind of day where it seems like a good idea to make fries your main meal.

Bill had never had poutine before; I have a vague memory of eating it on a high school trip to Quebec City, but I had already quit eating meat by the time I first came to Montreal, and vegetarian poutine had simply not been an option back then. (I did order a poutine sans sauce once, very early on, but it wasn't really worth trying to explain myself to the Quebecois poutine-serving guy -- plus it was only fries and cheese curds, which just isn't right.)

We headed out to La Banquise, which is on the Plateau, close to Parc Lafontaine. Supposedly this is some of the best poutine in the city, so we figured it was the perfect place to break us in. We went in and sat down, and looked at the 20-ish different varieties of poutine on the menu. When our waitress came over, I said, "I have some questions. For a vegetarian--"

"There is nothing. Vegetarian. Here," she said, punctuating each word by poking our tabletop with her index fingers, "except the lettuce."

Au revoir, La Banquise. Next stop: Mondo Fritz on Blvd. St-Laurent. It's by no means a vegetarian restaurant, but the poutine sauce contains no meat or dairy products, so it's very vegetarian-friendly. It is not, however, the most "authentic" poutine experience: they serve grated cheese instead of squeaky cheese curds, and of course the peppercorn sauce. But it was so tasty! I couldn't finish my giant portion, but I got pretty close. Bill enjoyed his, too, but then he also coined the slogan "Poutine: Once in a Lifetime." I know people who eat poutine more than once a week, and I can't imagine that, but every couple of months I'd be happy to go back to Mondo Fritz for a big messy plate of it.

Since I didn't take my camera, I'll point you to a poutine Flickr group (yes, really) -- guaranteed to either whet or destroy your appetite.

15 comments:

Chris said...

This is one of those foods that scares me. :)

Glenna C said...

MMM, poutine!
I had some just the other day from the chip truck, I couldn't resist. Sometimes you just need melted stuff on fries, you really do. I always have such a hard time explaining poutine to Americans, they always look at me like I can't possibly be serious that it's something tasty!

Marie said...

Ok. I'm home sick again. Or maybe I'm just plain sick. ;)
Thanks for the links. Fun.

frecklegirl jess said...

What is not to like? Gravy, fries and cheese? Yes, please. :)

PCR said...

I really miss poutine! I must visit Canada soon so that I can remember what it tastes like. Thanks for the nostalgia!

jenny said...

I'm a poutine fan, though I haven't had it in years. For a while I would buy frozen fries, shredded mozarella and gravy mix and make a disgusting home version, but those days are over.

Judith in NYC said...

I have heard of poutine only twice--first when the Yarn Harlot mentioned it and now but it is the kind of food I love (but can't really have any more being almost 60 and overweight.) As for Americans, they do have chili fries--yum!!!! (a mound of fries smothered in ground beef sauced covered with melted cheese.)

LaurieM said...

Never had it, never will. And I call myself a Canadian....

One of the Flicker images shows a plate of poutine with smoked meat. The ironic thing is the "Diet Breakfest" on the paper menu below the plate.

La Cabeza Grande said...

The closest I've ever had was chips and gravy - a real favorite of my transplanted Brit pals. Seems I love it too, so poutine doesn't seem like such a leap :o)

djb said...

Quebecois food sounds as appetising as South Australia's signature dish, the pie floater http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie_floater
Both are strangely delicious. I had my first plate of poutine at Citizen Cain in Taipei!

Nicole said...

John and I are wondering how we could have gone to Montreal and not tried poutine!

Debi said...

Theoretically it sounds good but esthetically it looks almost disgusting enough to put even a fluffy gal like me off her food :)

Thinks too much said...

We tried poutine on our trip out to Quebec. It was fine, but didn't live up to our expectations. Since then it's offered out west here in such pedestrian outlets as A&W and New York Fries.

I can see Americans being puzzled; some of my Yankee friends were horrified by fries'n gravy (until I pointed out that they put gravy on mashed potatoes).

Stacey said...

those look good, but I agree with the once in a lifetime comment!

Michelle said...

I just don't understand why anyone would be afraid of something that looks so, so, so good. Unless it's the calorie count. I'd not even heard of poutine until now, but I now feel the need to get to Montreal as soon as humanly possible.