MFS Part 5: Food Trucks + Poutine!

Monday, August 27, 2012

After some consideration, I've decided to cut my series short ending with a Canadian favourite: Poutine; for last. The Grumman '78 review I was going to do was rather short and I thought I would end it with a bang with an iconic cuisine such as poutine. 

Gourmet Osheaga eats!

There is however, an excellent review of the Montreal food truck scene showcasing Grumman '78 from the Food Network show, Eat St. that can be found here. Je suis désolé Grumman '78!! I will be looking forward to coming back and trying your main restaurant location, dining on yummy unique tacos and pop out of plastic bags!

Anyways, back to business, my 5th and final part of the Montreal Food Series, we'll be going into the wonderful world of poutine! Now I believe this Quebecois originating concoction needs no explaination to my fellow Canucks but to any of our American and International readers, poutine is made up of 3 components: French Fries, gravy and cheese curds! (not just any regular cheese, its gotta be cheese curds! The fresher the better; see here)

Hits the spot after a night of drinking!
The emergence of poutine were claimed in the late 1950's from serveral rural Quebec communities (sounds like an on-going trend in all their specialty foods doesn't it? :P) One predominant claim is that of Fernand Lachance from Warwick, Quebec which insists that poutine was birthed in Warwick in 1957. Regardless, this starch heavy cuisine is known across Canada and even adopted by several Northern American states and given countless recipe variations from different gravies, sauces, cheeses and adding a plethora of different vegetables and/or meats.

But enough of the history lesson lets get to the meat and potatoes...well in this case the cheese and potatoes??? HA!.... sigh... Bad jokes aside, I managed to try my hand at what Quebec had to offer with 2 different poutine's: first at a food truck at Osheaga (my apologies for not remembering the name for a proper shout out) and the second at the 24 hour La Banquise, a fine establishment serving no less than 28 different varieties of poutine!

Round 1, food truck poutine. This was during the first day of the Osheaga Music festival and after seeing 6 bands between 4 different stages in an estimated 80,000 person crowd with the blaring heat of the sun beating down on Parc Jean-Drapeau, it was an understatement to say I was famished. 

Evelyn, Kasia and I walked over from the main stage that where Florence and the Machine were performing over to the smaller green stage where MGMT was setting up.  The stage crew was still setting up and we thought it would be a good opportunity to grab some food. The girls opted for hotdogs while I had my eye on trying my first poutine in its birth province. After 15-20 minutes in the wait queue I was handed a steaming hot plate of sauced fries and cheese curds in a defining aluminum takeout container. First impressions were kinda meh.. The fries were not freshly handcut and under cooked and the gravy tasted too fabricated but the cheese curds were indeed very fresh which was its only redeeming quality. Not to be too harsh on the food truck serving the poutine, there was an incredibly long line and I didn't really care since the amount of "herbs" being smoked gave me a severe case of the munchies heh heh... ;)  

After a poor first showing, I knew Quebec had a better poutine to offer. Enter La Banquise. Originally opening as a family run ice cream shop, poutine first appeared on the menu at the start of the 1980's originally only offering traditional and Italian (Bolognese sauce instead of gravy). Today, La Banquise takes poutine to the next level such as La Elvis (ground beef, green peppers & mushrooms) and La Mexicaine (hot peppers, tomatoes & black olives). The extensive poutine menu can be found here.  

Seeking some poutine redemption, I took a shot in the dark and went for something a little avant-garde and went for something called La B.O.M. (Bacon, Onion and Merguez, or Chorizo, sausage) Let me tell you, the name of this poutine is perfectly suited. Take a look for yourself:

and this is a small....
Believe me when I say it was as good as it looks. This is the kind of poutine I was looking for. Aside from the bells and whistles of the bacon, onion and merguez sausage, the fries were crispy yet warm and soft on the inside (often done by double frying the French fries), the gravy was simply yet perfectly seasoned with an extreme amount of flavour and depth and I could not forget about the iconic Quebec cheese curds which were unbelievably fresh and still possessed the squeaky texture while being slightly melted from the heat of the gravy and fries. La Banquise being able to nail all these characteristics of a good poutine is an ability that few establishments can accomplish and it is very commendable. Do not pass up the chance to make it to this very thriving poutine palace, you have no excuse not to!! They are open 24 hours a day! 

Well, it was a long haul, but this wraps up my Montreal Food Series. I hope you all enjoyed reading my culinary adventures in the City of Saints. Until next time: Eat well and prosper! 


{ Mikey G } at: Monday, September 03, 2012 11:30:00 AM said...

Wow... These are definitely recipes to try to imitate at home since I won't be in Montreal anytime soon.

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