Monday, September 27, 2010

Bud the Spud

This review from avid poutine lover, Dave...

The day after Labour Day we were on our way to the Finger Lakes region of New York for a short holiday when hunger hit after a couple of hours on the road, before we even got to the US border.

Luckily we found ourselves near the exit for Maitland, Ontario, which is just east of Brockville on the 401. From past trips we knew of a fantastic little chip stand in the tiny village that sits astride old Highway 2 on the shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Within five minutes were cruising through the pretty little hamlet on our way to Bud the Spud. We got there just as the lunchtime rush was starting. If you ever wanted proof as to how popular this place is with the locals, all you'd have to do is check out their parking lot at lunchtime, jammed with trucks for landscapers, roofers, plumbers, you name it.

After a very short perusal of the menu (which was mainly burgers and fries but also included something called a "Black 'n' Blue Sandwich"), all three of us decided on ordering a small poutine each as a great way to start off our vacation.

While waiting the few minutes for our order we repaired to a picnic table and passed some of the time eavesdropping on some of the locals chatting up the cook in a typical eastern Ontario way: Q: "So when yous guys closing for the season?" A: "When she freezes."

After a few minutes we were called to the window to pick up our orders packed in three blazing hot styrofoam containers. The "small" was very generous, with about one and a half times as much as I would normally feel comfortable eating but, hey, when it comes to poutine moderation always go by the way.

The fries were fresh and obviously home-cut, not frozen, were freshly out of the fryer, cooked to a crispy golden brown on the outside, creamy and hot on the inside. The cheese curds were large and, again, generously applied and the beef gravy was plentiful and also very hot. As a result, the cheese curds melted deliciously over the fries, creating the ooey-gooey melding of potatoes, cheese and gravy that makes for great poutine.

We all agreed: Bud the Spud's poutine rated five curds out of five! The best we've ever had!

Bud the Spud, Highway 2, Maitland, Ontario
(Open seasonally)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pierre's Poutine

This just in from avid poutine lover Barbara in Guelph, Ontario.

I got a small poutine from Pierre's Poutine in Guelph, Ontario and it was delicious.

It's probably on the expensive side, but that doesn't seem to deter the university students in the area. The place was packed to the gills during frosh week. Pierre works his own restaurant and stands behind his product...good stuff.

Pierre was telling us that the dude from Smokes' in Toronto came by to check out his place and he also raved about the gravy (and also tried to get the recipe!).

I don't know where Pierre gets his curds from, but they are the best I've ever had...squeaky goodness. I have to say again that this is some of the best gravy I've had, and it's soy! I personally like the fries crispy, but these ones aren't so soaked in gravy that they're too soggy. I would think that most people would rate this poutine a 5 out of husband said the it's better than the poutine you can get at most places in Quebec. Pierre definitely knows what he's doing here. The first poutine I ever had was at Mt. Tremblant in Quebec way back before it was bought by Intrawest and renovated. This poutine matches that.

Pierre's Poutine, 71 Macdonell Street, Guelph, ON N1H 2Z7
Phone: 519-341-9967
Click here to read Guelph Mercury's article about Pierre's Poutine.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Au Pied de Cochon

Martin Picard, from Au Pied de Cochon, was the invited chef to La Festival de la Poutine this year.

His booth offered regular poutine, along with squid poutine (with squid ink gravy) and lobster poutine. (Salad was sold in each booth too but I didn't see anyone actually eating any!)

From time-to-time, Martin could be seen inside his mini-kitchen.

We ordered the lobster poutine and it was amazing. Just look at all that lobster!

And at $9.75 (compared to a regular poutine at $5.50), it was a real deal.
We gave it top marks, a 5 out of 5 curds. The fries had their skins left on them, making them very tasty. The gravy didn't have the tomato flavouring that the other poutines had and instead tasted of lobster. And the curds were plentiful and squeaky.

It was good to the last drop.

And best of all, I got to meet the man himself. What a fun guy!

Au Pied de Cochon, 536 ave Duluth est, Montréal, QC H2L 1A9
Phone: 514-281-1114

Friday, September 10, 2010

La Banquise

The second poutine we tried at the Festival de la Poutine was from La Banquise. They offered 2 varieties: the regular and the "Taquise."

Our new friend Anthony ordered the Taquise, a poutine topped with guacamole and salsa. He let us taste is and it was very delicious.

We also tasted the regular poutine. Yum-o! It was hotter than the last one with a slightly saltier gravy. Richard noted "better curd coverage." A definite 4.5 out of 5 curds. Well done La Banquise.

La Banquise, 994 Rue Rachel est, Montréal, QC H2J 2J3
Phone: 514-525-2415

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Festival de la Poutine

Click to enlarge.
Sarah from Toronto sent me this article about the Festival de la Poutine. Interesting stuff about how their gravy is made in Drummondville, QC.

Restaurant Du Boulevard

The first poutine that Richard and I tasted at the Festival de la Poutine was the one from Restaurant du Boulevard.

The folks inside were busy frying in the back and piles of bags of curds were on the counter while the gals in the front were assembling the poutine.

Richard held up the poutine so we could record where each poutine came from.

This poutine had a tomato puree in their sauce, giving it a reddish colour. Apparently this version of the gravy -- an aurora-type sauce -- is unique to the Drummondville area and makes it sweeter than a regular gravy.

Richard was ready to try it and grabbed a fry.

The curds were plentiful, squeaky and fresh. Richard particularly liked the fries which were soft with a bit of a crispy edge. The different-tasting sauce was sweet and took some getting used to. It was a 4 (or maybe even a 4.5) out of a possible 5 curds. Pretty close to a 4.5 anyhow. Very good.

Restaurant du Boulevard, 1645, boulevard Lemire, Drummondville, QC J2C 5A5
Phone: 819-472-2122

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Festival de la Poutine

Richard and I went to Drummondville, QC to attend the Festival de la Poutine and got press passes.

We got in early, before the crowds, to check out the poutine booths setting up.

There was an enourmous stage with huge Poutine Festival banners on either side of it.

At about 3 p.m., folks started drifting into the show. The first performance was Pass Partout, a kids' show.

There were clowns and jugglers...

...and people tasting poutine around every corner.

I took notes of where and what we tasted.

My friend Anthony (from and I both took tons of photos.

Lots of poutine with orange-ish, tomato-based gravy, apparently a specialty in the Drummondville area.

And other poutines like this one called "Poutine Taquise."

This one, in my opinion, was by far the rock star of the event. Chef Martin Picard's lobster poutine. Oh. My. Gawd.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chez Louis Poulet et Pizza

On Saturday, Richard and I ventured north to Drummondville, QC, to attend the Festival de la Poutine. I got an email from the fellow who runs the site who said we should meet for lunch at Chez Louis and share a poutine together before heading to the Festival.

And so we met up with the poutine-loving Anthony (who recognized us from this blog), who was wearing his signature poutine t-shirt...

...and clicking away madly to record each and every poutine he saw.

His lovely partner Sandy also had a poutine although I suspect she's not as huge a fan of the stuff as Anthony is.

We did share some poutine and some talk about judging a good poutine and a lot of general poutine talk.

Okay, Anthony. How do you do it? Thin and still eating your poutine to the very last drop.

Nice to meet you, Anthony! Good times.

And the poutine? The sauce was tomatoe-y and sweet. (I read somewhere that that is a specialty of the Drummondville region.) I kind of liked it. The fries were crispy and crinkle-cut. We all agreed there weren't enough curds. 4 out of a possible 5 curds.

Chez Louis Poulet & Pizza, 150 rue St-Georges, Drummondville, QC J2C 4H1
Phone: 819-474-5158
Website: ChezLouisPoulet&

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bala Bay Inn

This just in from my friend Wendy who lives in Toronto.

Nestled amongst towering white pines on the shores of world famous Lake Muskoka, Ontario is the area’s oldest brick hotel the “Bala Bay Inn,” built in 1910. While on vacation, my friend Patty and I dined there with our families. We ordered the poutine and it was scrumptious! The gravy had an intense beef flavour that complemented the hand-cut fries, which were salted perfectly. The executive chef, Philip Cowley, uses authentic Quebec cheese curds from a company called Kingsey.
The fries are made by a three-step process: hand-cut chilled in water, then blanched in boiling water and then allowed to dry in the fridge. The last step: the fries are placed in the deep fryer at a low temperature, then allowed to cool again in the fridge and then into the deep fryer. Great poutine!

Bala Bay Inn, P.O. Box 258, Muskoka Road HW169, Bala, Ontario P0C 1A0
Phone: 705-762-3313 or 1-866-268-1453
To see their website, click here: Bala Bay Inn