Okay, we're a little obsessed with poutine. It's just that we see it growing as a phenomena in the United States, away from its Montréal roots. So when we had a chance to take in the beauty of Montréal, some of that beauty was a finished plate of French fries, Quebec cheese curds, and brown gravy.
Before this trip, I hadn't indulged in too much poutine in Montréal. I had the poutine at Au Pied de Cochon in 2009, but knew that wasn't a typical poutine plate. Timing was a factor in my first two trips. This trip was more about the food.
The first stop on the poutine express was Garde Manger. The lobster poutine, another atypical poutine plate, was also unusual in that it was small and expensive. Poutine is the poor man's food.
The place I wanted to try late at night was La Banquise. This was more like traditional poutine.
Unlike the other stops on the poutine train, you can add extra ingredients to the poutine. Though you can't tell from the gravy, but we have bacon and mushrooms underneath. Very good, but almost too much. And unlike the Garde Manger version, you will get full eating this dish.
Here is a shot of the original from La Banquise. I did stop there a second time, just to try the original. This was the second-best poutine I found. And it's open 24 hours in a cool neighborhood.
The first true blue version of poutine came from Paul Patates, off the beaten path near the Charlevoix Metro stop. I also ordered a homemade spruce beer, made on site. Imagine a drink that combines 7UP and trees.
This would be a hike in winter time, but a simple diner with a warm, filling plate of poutine. This might have been the best batch I had (saying something). The other nice touch is that the fries, cheese, and gravy finished at about the same time. Sometimes, you get a pond of gravy at the end, or the last few bites are too dry.
Patati Patata produces a somewhat fancy version (olives?) for a cheap price. This place is rather small, so people mostly get it to go. The guy behind the counter looked at me and said "One poutine to go." My look must have been obvious.
The pieces of cheese were rather large, a negative in my book. And this was the only poutine that didn't have enough gravy. The fries were good, but the next time I might try and eat this in the limited space.
French fries cooked in duck fat, cheese curds, duck confit, and a gravy made from duck broth: all of this from a store that specializes in le canard -- Le Canard Libéré.
The store has a small cafe that features some of the duck products. In contrast to the $19 lobster poutine, this cost $11.95 with no wait and all the time to eat it. The goal, since I ate this on my last afternoon, was that this would last until dinner (successful).
Poutine is carbohydrates, protein, and fat; when I was eating the duck poutine, I was thinking "why do I need the cheese?" The duck provided the protein in the poutine. Duck, fries, and gravy: not poutine, but it sounds like a lovely dish, eh?
I may not have poutine any time soon, since I did OD a bit in Montréal. If you are going there, you know have a guide. If nothing else, looking at pictures of poutine has 0 calories.