Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Check Out This Video!

From the folks who brought poutine to New York City. Love it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Block 15

Another review from the incomparable Jack D'Mestiere, poutine aficionado.
Block 15 is a brew pub in Corvallis, Oregon that has developed a reputation for brewing great beer, serving an excellent pub fare, and bringing good (and free) music to the little burg in the Heart of the Valley.

This writer joined his son and a friend there recently for lunch and was rewarded with a fine seasonal ale--the 12 Hops of Christmas--and an excellent poutine. If you'd like to read Jack's original posting, click here to head there.

First thing first: the only flaw with Block 15 poutine is the pronunciation guide in the menu--"poo-TAIN"? What's with that? I asked the waitress, who happened to hail from Halifax--not the home of poutine, but she can see it from her house...She agreed that those in the know know it's "tin" and not "tain". She agreed with the Newshawk: "If you call Celine Ce-LEAN, you call poutine poo-TEEN."

The poutine arrived piping hot on china--not this reviewer's favorite presentation, but I think you'll agree that it looks good even before fry one passes one's lips. Block 15 starts with beer battered fries--a light coating of batter that one would hardly notice makes the fries fry up crispy without being burned. It turns out it also lets the fries stand up to the gravy; they were not gravy-soaked until the very end. The gravy was the real thing and one suspects it's made mostly for the meatloaf they serve, also quite tasty, by the way. It had the right amount of salt--say about a 10 to 15 point temporary elevation in blood pressure...The curds were, well, curds. Not a heck of a lot of taste, but one doesn't have to hunt for them and they were melted just right in this reviewer's opinion--gooey while still a little stringy.

So, the rating. Now, remember, this is coming from south of one border but, drum roll please...Block 15 gets a solid 4 Curds and we are tempted to go a half-curd higher. Yes, 4 and 1/2 Curds! So, if you are driving down I-5 on your way south for the winter or north for the summer, Block 15 is worth the 10 mile drive from the interstate. Keep the driver away from the beer, though!

Wait, you say, what about the opinion of that Canadian waitress? Since moving to Corvallis it seems she's developed an allergy to wheat, hence gravy, and hasn't given it a try. "It looks like the real thing, eh?" was her comment.

Oh, and beer, particularly a good hoppy ale, is a great way to wash a poutine down!

Block 15, 300 SW Jefferson, Corvallis, OR 97333
Phone 541-758-2077
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m. - 1 a.m
Click here to read more about Block 15.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Burger King, Vancouver

Thankfully, my friend Jack D'Mestiere from Portland, Oregon is a big poutine fan and has agreed to cover the west coast for Poutine Chronicles. This time, he was at the Vancouver, BC airport and stopped by the Burger King there. Here's what he had to say...

The presentation was vastly superior to A&W's feeble attempt. Uncovering the poutine revealed good curd coverage and meltage, the gravy was brown and salty, but otherwise unremarkable. The fries were soggy. This reporter suspects that a 4 curd poutine cannot be made with fast-food fries for that very reason. Although he hates to admit it, if any fast-food joint could pull it off, it would be McDonalds, but then the Scottish name would result in an immediate 1.5 curd penalty. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be an incompatibility with fast-food. Burger King gets a solid 2.5 curds for the effort. Oh wait, We see on the receipt that they spelled poutine P-O-U-T-I-N. We will leave it to Canadian experts, but this reporter would suggest a half-curd penalty for spelling. And then there's the use of plastic, although recyclable.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Foodie BlogRoll

Another cool site that the Poutine Chronicles is now listed on is something called "Foodie BlogRoll" whose sub-head is "Helping bloggers continue playing with food and blogging about it." Check it out to find some new and exciting food blogs.


Poutine Chronicles and the various poutine recipes on it are now listed on It's a great site. Check it out!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate Poutine?

My friend and neighbour Robin from Apple Hill, Ontario sent this story for other lovers of poutine to enjoy. Chocolate poutine sounds intriguing...

During the early ‘00s, I belonged to a cooking club, the membership of which consisted of twelve women and two guys. The women were all extremely capable cooks, chefs and caterers. We guys were at best gifted amateurs. In February 2006, it was decided that we would gather at one of the women's homes in Maxville, Ontario, (just down the road from me) for a chocolate night. All would be expected to bring a chocolate creation.

Chocolate appeared to have a greater appeal to the female majority of the club. The girls would no doubt produce decorative cakes and other stunning creations. Though delectable conceptually, preparing a chocolate dish represented a challenge. What was a poor guy to do?

A friend, returning from his travels, remarked that he had been served fries with chocolate sauce in some remote restaurant. An idea formed. Poutine, with chocolate sauce instead of gravy? Well it would certainly be different!

The first experiment on chocolate poutine resulted in an unappetizing slab of curds and fries. The only good aspect of the first experiment indicated that curds and chocolate were gastronomically intriguing. The next experiment involved enrobing individual curds and individual fries in chocolate. It appeared to work, however the fries were not as tasty as the curds. Time was running out! I had to go with the high carb fries.

Chocolate poutine was launched. The curds were all eaten, but the fries languished. My creation scored an “E” for effort. I should have used crispy fries before coating them.

No one should go to the great chip wagon in the sky without trying chocolate poutine.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Ultimate Fusion Poutine

You've probably heard of Italian poutine where gravy is replaced by spaghetti sauce. How about Greek poutine with feta replacing curds? I figured why not try poutine latkes. Richard whipped up a batch...

...and we got some poutine sauce in a can...

...and heated it up and poured it on some hot latkes.

Then we topped it with oh-so-fresh-squeaky curds. And then repeated with another layer of all three ingredients.

And the final creation? It was absolutely fantastic! Everyone gave it a 5 out of 5 curd rating.

Richard even tried the last morsel with a dollop of sour cream. Okay, so the sour cream was low fat. Does that count?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Poutine in Japan

Now living in Japan, Remi is a web developer who has a website tracking his adventures from the other side of the world. Originally from the Maritimes, he studied to be a webmaster at New Brunswick's Community College in Dieppe. Remi writes, "Having eaten poutine every single day when I was in college, I ate poutine only twice during my five year stay in Ottawa before moving to Japan recently. However, I'm still a fan of the Quebec delicacy."

He found this poutine at a Japanese chain of restaurants called Beckers that serves American-style fast food. He noted that the taste was pretty similar to the stuff back in Canada and gave it a 3 out of 5 curd rating. Remi writes, "It was nice to find poutine far away from home, but they were not generous on gravy. The fries were also a bit soggy."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do Try This at Home

My friend Jen lives in Prescott, Ontario, about an hour south of Ottawa. Jen writes, "Reading the Poutine Chronicles made me hungry so in addition to the fresh and healthy home made Asian Chicken soup for dinner, my son, husband and I shared a side of homemade poutine.

Once the fries were cooked and the sauce warmed up, she put everything together. "After a couple of moments the curds get all stringy and melty and even though the sauce is a little on the thin side, the whole result is quite satisfying."

She notes, "It was not as good as going out to buy one from a place that makes a good poutine, however my experience so far is that a good poutine is hard to find in this area. They seem to be big on the super salty beef gravies. So for a home effort it was plenty fine. I suppose it might have been better had I cut my own potatoes and deep-fried them. But this was quick and easy."
She gave it a 3 out of a possible 5 curds.
I think I'll give it a go myself one of these days. Thanks Jen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Poutine in Mexico

David Agren is a freelance journalist who grew up near Vancouver and lived in Calgary prior to moving to Mexico in 2005. David's blog is entitled "Tales from San Lazaro: News and views on Mexican politics" and can be found by clicking

In a post from February 2007, David wrote, "Chef Bernard Corriveau proudly shows off a plate of poutine. The Quebec native, who now resides in Zapopan, prepared the dish for a group of cooks from the Sanborns restaurant chain. Sanborns locations in Guadalajara will put poutine on the menu this month as part of Canada Week in Jalisco. No word on if Carlos Slim, Latin America's wealthiest man and the owner of Sanborns, signed off on the menu selection."

In David's e-mail he mentions that although he likes poutine, he never really ate it very much when living in Canada. And the poutine in Mexico was just "okay." In David's words, "They really don't know know to make good gravy here and the cheese could have been more gooey."

He's unsure of any places that currently sell poutine in Mexico year-round and suggests that the Quebec government office in Mexico City might have an idea. Does anyone have any knowledge of the current status of our favourite dish in Mexico?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chez Ashton

Jack's back! From Portland, Oregon, Jack's a guy who travels a lot and loves poutine. A great combination for helping me find the ultimate one, don't you think? Here's what Jack says about the poutine he tried at Chez Ashton in Québec City: "Curds, check. Gravy, check, sausage, an extra but tasty, check. Ambience? Nope. Salty? Not enough. Tin container--minus a curd. I'll give it a 3."

Chez Ashton has 25 restaurants in the Québec City area.
To read more click here:
Go directly to their poutine page, click here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

ABC News Gives Poutine a Nod

Thanks so much to Chris Fizik who sent me this terrific link to ABC's webcast by reporter John Berman from November 20/09. It's entitled Canadian Cuisine and poutine gets a real big nod. Click here to get to the link. (You have to see the short advertisement before the feature.) I'm not so sure that Canada's invention of poutine is greater than the invention of the space shuttle's robotic arm or the Blackberry...but you can't eat a Blackberry, right?

NY Times Food Blog

Guess whose blog is featured in today's New York Times blog called Diner's Journal? Click here to see it. Very cool.

A&W, Vancouver

This just in from Jack in Portland Oregon. While visiting the Vancouver, British Columbia airport, Jack dropped into the A&W and tried their version of poutine. Looks like there wasn't good gravy/curd coverage of the fries. He only rated it a 0.5 curds out of a possible 5. Yuck.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jean Burger

Last weekend before the snow, Richard and I were up in Wakefield, Québec to visit his mum. It was 3:30 p.m. and we hadn't eaten lunch so we pulled into Jean Burger.

A fun joint that is swamped in the summer when you can eat outside, the owners smartly built a section for indoor tables.

Inside they have some fun vintage signs.

Here's the menu board with their offerings.

People must have asked how big is "big" so many times that they put samples of the poutine sizes on the wall to the left of the ordering counter.

Richard said he was HUNGRY so we ordered a large to share. Wowza!

Okay, do I look guilty? Not one bit. (Off to the gym tomorrow!)
Rating: 4 out of a possible 5 curds. My only complaint was that I found the gravy too salty. (Richard didn't.) The best part of this poutine was how hot it stayed all the way to the bottom. Very soothing on a cold day. (We both agreed about that.)

Restaurant Jean Burger, 88 Rte 105, Wakefield, QC J0X 3G0
Phone: 819-459-2994

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let the Games Begin

Seems poutine is in the news once again. Click here to read an article in Toronto's Globe and Mail. The newspaper is following the Olympic flame and while it was in Drummondville, QC on Monday, author Sonia Verma writes about the folks there who claim poutine as their invention.
Thanks to Evlyn Fortier for sending this to me. Hey Evlyn, let's have a poutine together -- it's on me!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bear's Den

The other day my friend Susan and I headed over to the U.S.A. and stopped about an hour due south of here in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory at The Bear's Den Restaurant that has diner-style eating in the front and a more formal dining room in the back. They also have an extensive gift shop with a selection of native artwork.

I loved how their starters included Indian fried bread, Buffalo wings, quesadillas, nachos and there it was...poutine! I just had to give it a try.

I've never had a poutine with crinkle fries! It was actually a pretty yummy poutine. And for only $2.55 US. A bargain!

I paired it with a Mohawk Indian Corn Soup which was fantastic. Lots of white corn, red beans, squash, carrots, chicken, onions and cabbage in a lovely broth.

Susan, my friend (and aerobics teacher) ordered a simple salad... go with her teeny, tiny poutine.

This poutine rated a 3.5 curds out of 5. It lost a full point for no curds but got points for crispy-ish fries and good, turkey gravy.

I also noticed that they offer something called a Kodiak Poutine: Grilled shaved steak, onion, green peppers topped off with cheese and fries. Hmmm. Maybe next time.

Bear's Den Restaurant, 425 State Road 37, Akwesasne Mohawk Territory via: Hogansburg, NY 13655
Phone: 518-358-2195
For detailed menu info and hours of operation, click here:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Café du Lac

I got a note from the delightful Kathryn Ashby from Café du Lac in Toronto. She writes, "We are the first TRUE Quebecoise restaurant in Toronto. Our gourmet poutine is our specialty. It won the "Best poutine award in Toronto by Toronto Life" beating out some serious high-end restaurants." Click here to see the review.

Here's Kathryn's description: "Our poutine features REAL Québec cheese curds - we use Perron cheese curds that are brought in from Québec by the Cheese Boutique. The sauce is created specially by Pierre Robillard our head chef (my husband) and is made with Brie cheese, foie gras, pork stock and other delicacies. It's super rich, light and tasty. He takes Grade A beef that we get from Black Angus meats (triple A beef - amazing stuff) and cooks it - drizzles real Québec maple syrup (he gets it from a small farm in La Presentation Québec) and then cooks ir again. The beef is then drizzled with more maple syrup once it is pulled off the bone. This is then layered over hand cut Yukon Jack frites along with the sauce. He tops it with glace du veaux and in the deluxe version - shown here - seared Grade A foie gras. It is the most decadent tastiest thing around. People are seriously addicted to this poutine."

Okay, so doesn't that sound fantastic? Next time I'm in the Big Smoke, I'm off to Café du Lac!

Café du Lac, 2350 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Toronto, ON M8V 1B6
Phone: 416-848-7381
Hours of operation: Mon. closed, Tue.–Wed., 5:30 pm to 10 pm for dinner, Thurs.–Sat., 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm for dinner, and Sunday Brunch from 10:30 am to 2 pm (closed Sun. night)