Thursday, March 26, 2015

Poutine Week 2015

Hey guys! From February 1st to February 7th, the well known traditional poutine was in the spotlight of many restaurants' menus for a very special event : La Poutine Week.

For my part, obviously, I attended the event hosted in Montreal, but people in Toronto, Quebec City, Gatineau, and Sherbrooke, also had their favorite food being featured for a week in their favorite restaurants, making this a very special food happening all across the province.

But what exactly is La Poutine Week? It's basically a competition. Most of the restaurants enrolled usually don't serve poutine, but for that special occasion they've come up with their own creation and submitted it to the jury (being us, the citizens) to vote for their favorite poutine or just every one they have tried.

Some of the participants are notorious when it comes to poutine : think of La Banquise, Poutineville, or Frites Alors for example. Most of the other participants were quite daring because poutine is an item you would not think of finding on their menu at all, for example, Biiru, La Cabane du Portugal, Restaurant Cho, and many more. Don't believe me? See it for yourself and look at the whole list of participants and their creations.

So for the first poutine of the week, I went to Fabergé, in the Mile-End, with Rio and Daniel. They were serving the People's Waffle : crispy potato waffle, braised duck, cheese, and gravy.

But. We didn't have it.

Instead we had the Breakfast Poutine : home fries mixed with caramelized peppers and onions, QC cheese curds covered in hollandaise sauce. Topped with one egg any style. We also asked for bacon and pulled pork.

Why? Because when we got there for brunch on Sunday the 1st, they were so packed with people they were out of waffles (any kind of waffle).

Daniel and I wanted to cry. Rio didn't care, he had a Massive.

We made a compromise and tried to enjoy our Breakfast Poutine. It was good, very rich, very stuffing. But the People's Waffle was in the back of our minds the whole time. So we still had poutine, but not the one we wanted. Who knows. Maybe next year? At least the girl at the bar (because we sat at the juice bar) was being very nice to us, offering us goodies throughout the brunch.

The day after, on Monday the 2nd, I went out with Francis for a potato starch induced comatose evening. He had never been to Dirty Dogs before and, me being outraged by this confession, I suggested we go.

So we asked for a large Boss Poutine : their famous duck based sauce, homemade Dr. Pepper chili, onions, red cabbage coleslaw, and a drizzle of Dirty Dogs mustard. Francis also asked for a Maurice Richard dog.

As we dug into the poutine we tasted the thyme used in the duck sauce and thought to ourselves that this weird combination of ingredients was actually very good. We joked around with the staff and they suggested we vote for them on the website, using the code that was written on the black board behind them.

That's how we understood the voting system. Basically, unless you have the code given to you in the restaurant, you can't cast your vote for a poutine. It's a very good thing to prevent fraud, but, if the staff is not being clear or obnoxious about it, you might forget and once you get home you'll be "Oh crap, I forgot to vote for that poutine!" Which is what happened with the one we had after ... By the way, Francis loved the Maurice Richard. I even suspect he wanted another one.

After stuffing ourselves with the Boss Poutine, we moved from le Plateau-Mont-Royal and bounced to Rosemont-la-Petite-Patrie, to go to Broue Pub Brouhaha.

They called their creation La Faim de Loup : pulled lamb braised in wild mushroom juices and garnished with caramelized pearled onions, sautéed chanterelles, fried diced bacon and cheddar cheese curds, served on a bed of crispy golden fried potatoes and drowned in their famous signature duck gravy.

As you may have realized now, I only went for poutines that involved duck proteins.

As we sat down we also ordered some beer. This poutine too was quite good, much fancier than the one from Dirty Dogs. However it was overall a little too salty to my liking. Still I think the combination was good, and respected more the traditional side of the dish than the one we had earlier.

I feel bad about this place because ... The waiter didn't invite us to vote for the poutine on the website so we didn't think about doing it (now I feel like a horrible person). At least it made us discover a cool place in Rosemont-la-Petite-Patrie, a lovely neighborhood that people often forget because of the shadows cast upon it by le Plateau-Mont-Royal and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. They have a wide selection of beers and we often saw the staff going into another room that looked like it was hosting some sort of event ... or perhaps it was just a staff room that looked more awesome than any other staff room I had ever seen in my life.

After we were done and paid, we left to go to Chez Baptiste, on Masson. They were having a Quizz night, because apparently it's something they do on Monday evenings. We had some Black Russians and left after a little while, tired from a long day and the digestion.

Unfortunately ... these are the only poutines I had that week. Honestly there are so many to try out that next year I will actually put some money aside and clear my schedule to dedicate myself to that competition (and gain a few pounds obviously).

Oh, and guess who the winner was this year? Dirty Dogs! I am not surprised : good poutine, good location, good staff. Can you have a more winner combination?

And so that's it for today guys. Until next time!

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