Monday, March 29, 2010

Three's Company

My friend Wendy who lives in Toronto sent me this review of a terrific looking poutine.

We were celebrating my daughter Mikayla’s 14th birthday dinner at Three’s Company, a restaurant not far from where we live. My son, Sonny, ordered the Pulled Barbecue Pork Poutine. It had a rich smoky barbecue sauce over house seasoned pork, served on a bed of fresh cut fries, layered with a three cheese blend. The blend consisted of cheddar, Monterey jack and mozzarella. Sonny gave it the thumbs up. He said it was amazing.

I spoke to the owner who also said that in the past they have also had as a special poutine -- a fresh salmon and dill cream sauce served over fresh-cut fried potatoes. Sounds delicious!

Thanks Wendy. Looks like the poutine at Three's Company gets a five curd rating.

Three's Company, 673 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4J 1L2
(across from Pape Subway)
Phone: 416-406-3233
To go to their website, click here:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cooking Light Magazine

My sister Marcia sent me a copy of the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Cooking Light magazine which had a feature on Québec cuisine. One of the things they tackled was a light version of poutine. Click to enlarge.
To see another version of "healthy" poutine, here's one suggested by Portland Poutine.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kooky Canuck

A review from poutine lover and traveller, Jack D'Mestiere -- this time a review from Tennessee.

I'm not a great believer in fate or the supernatural, but given all the energy associated with Memphis--Blues meets BBQ meets Elvis--it seems a little hard to believe that I would end up staying at a hotel with marching ducks, across the street from a restaurant called The Kooky Canuck without some sort of paranormal intervention. So, at lunch time, I inspected the menu to see if there was anything Canadian about the place at all. I was rewarded in maple leaves!

I walked in and saw immediately that the decor was designed to make Tennesseans believe they were in Canada. Note the birch sticks, wood paneling, and animal heads on the wall. Not all of them were real, but still, the feeling was of the north, and I don't mean the north end of the famous Highway 61, the Blues Highway. It was noon and the joint was filling up with hungry Memphisarians.

I slid into a seat at the bar, picked up a menu, and saw I was north of the border, at least in one regard.

Yes, there it was on the menu, poutine, complete with the correct phonetic pronunciation guide! Meghan asked me what mine would be. "Poutine [pronunced just the way Richard taught me--"pooh-tin"]. She looked at me, smiled, placed the order, and came back. "You Canadian?" "Nope, just go there a lot and have friends there." "You pronounce it like a Canadian--like my boss." Ah ha, there was something to this Kooky Canuck! A half curd premium for the pronunciation.

The poutine arrived some minutes later, served by restauranteur Shawn Dansko, formerly of Montréal, now of Memphis. It was piping hot and served on a hard plastic platter--not waxed paper or cardboard, but still, not china. Half a curd premium for presentation.The plate held one of the most generous servings I've seen. The fries were crisp, but not burned, allowing them to hold up to the gravy long into the meal. There were plenty of curds, nicely heated so they were warm-to-hot, but not gooey. The gravy was brown and salty, just the way I like it. Shawn stayed to chat for a while. Hetold me he'd "take his poutine back to Montreal and stand it up against anything..." He was right!
He's a traditionalist--I asked him about his views on non-standard ingredients like goat cheese and you could guess his answer. I asked about whether he adds anything, like sausage, to his poutine. He answered that he was still in the process of winning Memphis over to poutine. He pointed out that Southerners are inclined to try poutine--they like gravy on anything--but when you tell them it's brown gravy instead of chicken gravy, they become cautious and conservative.

Shawn and the Kooky Canuck have a great product at a reasonable price. I'll give the poutine itself a solid 4.5 out of 5 curds. Add in the two half-curd premiums and the decor, and you will be rewarded with a 5+ curd performance! I have confidence that Shawn and the Kooky Canuck will win Memphis over in the end. He has a great opportunity as the KC is not far from the ball park where the Memphis Redbirds play. Ever try those corn chip-and-chez-whiz concoctions that are so popular? One poutine, please!

Kooky Canuck, 97 S 2nd Street, Memphis, TN 38103-3009
Phone: 901-578-9800
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., 7 days a week.
To go to their fun website, click here: Kooky

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

La Poutine Jenga

Chef Martin Juneau is one clever fellow. He created a poutine in the shape of a Jenga game. Jenga is a game where you stack blocks into a tower and then each person takes a turn removing a block until the tower eventually falls. The person who removes the last block loses.

This poutine tower is made of the three standard ingredients in poutine: potatoes cut into a block, cheddar cheese cut into the same shape (alas, Chef Juneau couldn't use curds because they are unstable and irregularly shaped), and gravy made solid by using gelatin, again in the same shape as the other two ingredients.

To see a video of Chef Juneau making his Poutine Jenga, click here.

Thanks to my friend Dave for sending me this link!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Goodies Restaurant

I checked out Goodies, a greasy-spoon restaurant in Hawkesbury and was pleasantly surprised.

First off, they had a section of the menu devoted entirely to poutine. I could have chosen the "all-dressed" version offering sausages, green pepper, mushrooms and cheese (plus gravy) on the fries.

I love to see an open kitchen that's busy and the orders flying out of there fast and furious. You know your food is going to be served hot and fresh.

And it was. I ordered a standard poutine served with delicious, chicken-based gravy which was hot. The curds were extra squeaky. The fries were good. I told Richard it tasted like eating in the heat of summer, sitting at a chip stand by the side of the road.

Overall an excellent poutine. I gave it a 4.5 out of a possible 5 curds. Very close to poutine perfection.

Goodies Restaurant, 55 Main Street West Hawkesbury, ON K6A 2H3

Friday, March 12, 2010

Time Out Tokyo

I found this cool site called Time Out Tokyo offering folks tips on what to do in that city. Here, they explain why poutine is popular in Tokyo. Very cool. To read it, click here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dessert Poutine

Ricardo Larrivée – or simply Ricardo to his fans – is Canada’s most successful bilingual celebrity chef. He studied hotel management in Montreal, but never actually trained as a chef or even worked in a kitchen for that matter.
Ricardo has been called, "Quebec's answer to Jamie Oliver.” He hosts two television shows, Ricardo in French and Ricardo and Friends in English. He has just published his second cookbook and also has his own magazine also called Ricardo.

His recipe for a dessert that looks like poutine is somewhat like my "faux poutine cake" but is much more complicated to make. Still, it makes me think that I could make this but omit his deep-fried "churros" that look like fries (I hate deep frying) and replace it with toasted pound cake (like I did on top of the cake). Read on. I think it's pretty cool.

Caramel Sauce:
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp corn syrup
1 cup 35% cream
3/4 cup semi-salted butter, cut into cubes

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan. Move the sauce pan around with the handle, while cooking, to keep the colour even until the mixture turns golden.

Remove from the heat and add the cream gradually while stirring. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth.
Whisk in the butter until the sauce is smooth. Let cool.

Fries (churros):
3/4 cup milk
1 cup semi-salted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
5 eggs
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions: Preheat the oil in the deep fryer to 190°C (375°F). Line a baking sheet with paper towels or set a cooling rack on it.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk to a boil with the butter. Remove from the heat. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a smooth ball.

Return the saucepan to the burner over low heat and stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the saucepan, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition with a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Beat until the dough is smooth.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-cm (1/4-inch) star tip, pipe 15-cm (6-inch) ribbons one at a time into the deep fryer. Fry about 8 churros at a time, turning them halfway through cooking, until golden, about 3 minutes. Drain on the baking sheet.

In a deep stainless steel mixing bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Drop the hot churros into the sugar mixture. Shake the bowl to coat well and shake off the excess sugar. Set the churros aside on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 100°C (212°F).

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Pile the churros in 8 bowls, drizzle with sauce and scatter marshmallow pieces on top. Serve warm.

For a less sweet version you can replace the marshmallows with small spoonfuls of ricotta cheese.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NYC Tour de Poutine

I heard from Brendan Spiegel, one of the gang of folks who puts together Endless Simmer. Here's what they say about themselves. "We created endless simmer to satisfy our insatiable desire to think about food constantly. We’re basically somewhere between regular consumers of food pop culture and total snobs; we can just as easily enjoy offal or destroy a Dunkin Donuts (fake) egg and cheese croissant. Turn to endless simmer for all your food needs. We want to share our cooking stories, favorite shows, restaurant reviews and any other things we can think of that incorporate eating. Clearly, we just can’t keep our mouths shut."
Best of all, they've checked out places that serve poutine all across New York City. To read what they have to say, click here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Poutine in the Woods

Deep in the woods at the back of the property is an old picnic table that my dad put there about 25 years ago. Since there are so many bugs in the summer, the best time of year to use it is now! And since this is an unusually warm winter, this weekend -- at 8C -- was perfect.

So poutine in the woods it was. In an insulated bag, I brought hot-from-the-oven French fries..

...and then added some St. Albert squeaky curds...

...and topped it off with hot poutine gravy from a Thermos.

Perfection in the woods!

Doesn't this look fantastic? Great setting and great poutine.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shoeless Joe's

Shoeless Joe's is a chain of restaurants across Ontario. It's a sports-themed, casual dining restaurant.

I love their front door, using baseball bats as handles. Clever.

They even have a statue of the man himself.

They have a pretty standard menu of good food. I had half a grilled veggie sandwich with fries. There was no poutine on the menu -- the waitress was shocked when I pointed this out -- but she recovered and said that any fry order could be made into a poutine. So I went for it.

It wasn't bad. No curds but again the waitress assured me that the cheese was yummy because they used three kinds of cheese: mozzarella, jack and something with peppers in it. The fries themselves were seasoned, extra crispy and delicious. The gravy was good.

So even though I think these guys should spring for some curds and make REAL poutine, it wasn't bad. I guess I'd give it a 3.5 out of a possible 5 curds.

Shoeless Joe's, 1110 Brookdale Avenue, Cornwall, Ontario K6J 4P4
Phone: 613-937-4838

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pizza & Poutine

What a deal! Pizza and poutine and a drink for $14.99. Okay, I bet that doesn't include the cost of the ambulance to the hospital after you eat all that.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pan Chancho

I've always wanted to go to Pan Chancho, the bakery/café arm of Chez Piggy, my favourite restaurant in Kingston, Ontario. Both restaurants were owned by the late Zal Yanovsky, a member of the rock band The Lovin' Spoonful.

And there was poutine on the menu!

Okay, this had to be the oddest poutine I have ever seen. White and sweet potato fries, sitting in a pot, floating in a very nice gravy-ish substance. The fries were coated in cheddar and atop the pile were two nice, barbecued ribs. The waiter commented that every time he served this, he thought of Fred Flintstone.

I have to say it was absolutely delicious but impossible to rank on the usual five curd scale. I think I'll have to create another rating system for the more unusual and creative poutine out there. How about gilded curds? In this ranking situation, I'd give this a three and a half out of five gilded curds. Taste was great. But it kind of threw me for a loop. Maybe that was the point?

Pan Chancho, 44 Princess Street, Kingston, ON K7L 1A4
Phone: 613-544-7790
To read more click here: