Sunday, 16 December 2012

Something Made in Canada must be good for you

Well, strap my bib on, get me my “Big” fork, and grab a roll of paper towel to wipe my chin, cuz’ there was a record breaking 1,300 pound poutine made in Montreal, thanks to the radio station CKOI-FM for organizing the event. I’m not sure what the record was before or even if there was a record, but the feat was probably worthwhile none-the-less. You don’t know how much I really wish I was there.
 A lot of people get on my case because poutines are considered unhealthy. In fact, when I say they are considered unhealthy, these same people correct me and say, “they ARE unhealthy.” This is especially true of a former colleague of mine (who is a nurse), and has been influenced by Poutine Guy more-so than Poutine Guy has been influenced by her or that she’s ever likely to admit publicly. I think she’s eaten more poutines since I started this blog than she did in her entire previous adult life – I guess that makes me a poutine market catalyst. I should be getting royalties or commission or something.
Of course, I decided to perform a little online research to see what others might think about the idea that this delicious Quebecois dish is possibly unhealthy. I discovered a November, 2010 MSN online article that actually refers to the poutine as one of the ten “unhealthiest foods known to man.” To be fair to the poutine, the article is biased toward foods consumed only in North America; and even within this elite Group of Ten, the poutine fares well in comparison to the other nine. Just saying.
Meanwhile, a recent Globe & Mail commentary talks about obesity being a losing battle in North America so long as fast food tastes so good. Basically, good food should stop tasting like good food. It also condemns the poutine. The article notes that gourmet poutine is actually quite trendy in Quebec these days. I guess I’m ahead of the curve here in New Brunswick. I should have that engraved on my urn!
Speaking of newspapers, a Hat Tip from the local food connoisseurs “The Two Fat Guys,” led to Poutine Guy getting a friendly mention from the Times & Transcript in the My Spies column. By the way, it’s a fantastic and wonderful newspaper, and not just because I was mentioned in it, used to work there, or still consider many working there to be my friends. Here is the mention, from the pen of Rod Allen, in its entirety:
“Good gravy!
Those clandestine culinary cut-ups The Two Fat Guys direct a shout-out the way of former T&T staffer and former Mike Murphy aide David Gingras, who has made a bold new career move as Poutine Guy, intrepidly touring the Picture-Perfect Poutine Province on an 'ate and rate' tour to identify New Brunswick's best poutine - the good Quebec kind, not the weird, slimy Acadian kind. Spy Central directs fans to Poutine Guy on Facebook and to Dave, our hearty congrats and a lifetime membership recommendation to Moncton's fabulous Y.” (November 24)
Yes, I know. If you blinked, you would have missed it. However, I did note that it was recommended I join a gym. So, as I have stated before, it’s about moderation folks. Despite a deep desire to do so, I do not eat a poutine every day.
But, I did eat one yesterday. At M.I.C. in Dieppe. It scores very well. I had heard some mixed messages about the M.I.C. poutine, with one person telling me she had the dish one day and it was great, and another time it was subpar.
Well, all I can say is the good chef was in last night, perhaps because there was a wedding reception / dinner going on. It could have been the festive atmosphere or the holiday music playing, but the poutine was fabulous. I’m saying, an 83% kind of fabulous. That makes it the second best I've had in New Brunswick so far, while being the best you can get seven days a week (the best poutine being at the Moncton Market). The curds were squeaky along the edges and there were great huge gobs of good cheese in the middle. The fries were nice, and best of all was the gravy – dark, rich and thick, and not a clump to be found.
If you should also give into your deep-fried desires for poutine, I highly recommend a trip to Dieppe. Let me know how it went.

And, of course, may your curds stay squeaky.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Casino Poutine: A sure loser

Hey loyal fan(s) and fellow poutine lovers. I want to start the blog today with what makes a poutine a poutine. I want to talk about curds. I mean, without curds, poutine is just fries and gravy.
First, a colleague of mine has informed me that if you're ever on your way toward Rivière-de-Loup in Quebec you'll pass a small community called Cabano. There's a fromagerie on the left near a mill which is on your right. Apparently, they sell great Made in Cabano curds as well as other cheeses, but I'm going for the curds.
Second, as Costco shoppers may know, nearly everything sold in their cafeteria can be found in store. However, for the longest time I couldn't find curds. Well, that's changed. You can now purchase curds in the cheese section at your favourite wholesale grocery and Christmas store. Nothing will get you home making your very own poutines faster than a bag of curds in your fridge.
Speaking of homemade poutines, one thing I get asked about a lot is how would I grade my own poutine. Well ... I don't often make my own. Plus, there may be some conflict of interest in grading my own masterpieces.
However, I must say that every once in a while the urge takes me, and out comes the dusty deep fryer. Usually, I use canned St. Hubert poutine gravy - but since my wife abhors gravy, it's typically spaghetti sauce that gets taken out and we have it italienne style.
The last time I just made the fries at home and used Wendy's chili as the topping. It was delish! So, Wendy's, listen to me carefully: Start selling a chili poutine! Feel free to name it after me ... call it Dave's Poutine.
Some other poutine news is a find from another colleague of mine. The website As the site states: "un site dédié à la meilleure bouffe possible: LA POUTINE ! L’extase culinaire en trois ingrédients." I discovered they also have a Facebook site. I salut you. But first, I have wipe my chin after seeing a picture from their Facebook site. A basket made out of bacon, yes bacon, filled with poutine. OMG! Not for the faint heart beats out there
In recent months I have avoided having to ingest horrendous poutines. That ended last month at the Casino. The final score comes out to 36%. I believe that may be the lowest score I've given. It failed in every aspect. I don't even want to go into it in too much detail so as to avoid reliving the experience, but let's just say the best part of the meal was certainly the friend at my side.
So, until next time, keep the emails and tips coming in.
And, of course, may your curds stay squeaky.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Boys of Summer

I know, I know, I know. It's been a while since my last blog. I've been busy. I thought being on parental leave with my two boys would give me more time. Apparently not.

Trust me, my absence was not due to a lack of poutine related things to discuss because there's a great deal of poutine news to share. First of all, I have two poutines to review here; second, I extended my search for poutine outside of Canada; and finally, I discovered some more unusual poutine flavours.

I'll start with Costco. The poutine purists out there will likely disagree with my evaluation, but it gets a .7/1 or 70%. The reason why I score it so high is, quite frankly, it is what it is - poutine from Costco. Therefore, in terms of expectations and value (a rather large serving of poutine costs $4.29) it gets superb marks. Also, it helps that they aren't shy with the curds. Where they get dinged is the use of frozen French fries and the gravy isn't fantastic. But like I mentioned earlier, it is what it is - poutine from Costco. If your planning supper at Costco, I recommend the poutine. It'll fill your gut and leave you with some money in your wallet.

My next poutine experience was the chicken poutine at St. Hubert. It didn't score as highly as Costco. The chicken topping was enjoyable, but I'd expect that from chicken rotisserie restaurant. What really dragged the score down was the amount of curds, low value for money, and the French fries. The gravy, I enjoy, but it's probably not for everyone. Ive heard that it is a mixture of their chicken sandwich gravy and their barbecue sauce. The gravy makes it quite unique and so, if you're looking for something different, it's worthwhile.

My international quest for poutines starts in a culinary wasteland. My internet searches revealed a website called Notes From The Culinary Wasteland, where the blog author describes a trip to Regina where he had the misfortune of trying a poutine at the airport cafeteria. Imagine. Poutine at an airport cafeteria in Regina. One important note the blogger makes is that "if the potatoes aren’t real and properly cooked, the whole deal isn’t worth the calories." Good point.

On a side note, some people may notice that the blogger is former L.A. Law star Michael Tucker, who apart from still being an actor is now a food connoisseur.

Afterwards, I visited a place where wasteland would be considered a step up - New Jersey. Lucky for me, Manhattan is nearby. Spotting a few Tim Hortons around, along with the great variety of foods one can only find in New York City, I thought I could possibly come across a poutine or something similar. I wasn't that lucky. I didn't even have time to see the Statue of Liberty, so I don't feel bad about not finding a needle in a hay stack. But who knows? As Douglas Coupland wrote in 2002 on the subject of poutines in his book Souvenir of Canada, "Western Canada, which was once thought to be poutine-proof, is now coming to embrace the dish. Next stop: the world."

While my search outside Canada has not turned up anything yet, I have been informed of something called a Portuguese poutine. Not sure whether or not it hails from Portugal or just contains some Portuguese elements that are then added to a traditional poutine.

And this brings up my next subject.

A couple of months ago, some good neighbours of mine visited Quebec and snapped a picture of a restaurant menu. A whole page was devoted to the poutine. One such dish was simply called Le Sexy Poutine, or something similar to that. Curious, I Googled "le sexy poutine" and actually found a recipe for Sexy Poutine which, by reading the ingredient list, calling it rich would be like referring to a billionaire as simply well off. If you're interested, check it out here.

Also from Quebec is something I discovered on Facebook: the Ice Cream Poutine. It's not actually made out of French fries nor does it taste like poutine ... at least I hope not. It appears to be a sundae shaped into a poutine along with chocolate covered wafer cookies in the place of fries. Maybe something to enjoy after finishing off a real poutine, eh?

I know this blog is longer than others I've written. Hopefully you stuck it out until the end. I'll try not to wait so long before writing again.

Anyhow, as usual, may your curds stay squeaky. And keep me informed of your own poutine adventures.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Cheesy Stories

The other day I met a good friend for a drink.  We had not seen each other for a few months and immediately following "Hello," he asked me, "Are you gaining weight?"  



Given that I still want to continue writing Poutine Guy and that I do not want to start a Weight Loss Guy blog, I may have to tone down the frequency of reviews and focus on some poutine chatter for the remainder of the summer or (God forbid!) even the remainder of 2012. 

First up, Delta Beausejour Hotel in Moncton deserves a big thumbs-up for its effort to increase poutine awareness. During the Hot Rod festivities known as the Atlantic Nationals on July 13, the hotel let its Facebook followers know that poutine was on the menu! 

While I was unable to personally attend, a HT goes out to a Facebook friend who posted it on my wall and another nod to a friend who emailed me about it. If by chance you were able to participate and partake, let me know how it went. Poutine Guy is fast becoming the send-to for all poutine news – which is alright by me.

Secondly, folks are sending me stories about their fav poutine stops and even their quests. One in particular worked for the Sea Dogs and made it a point to try poutine in every QMJHL hockey arena he visited. That is a worthwhile quest. I salut you. I must add there is something special about arena poutine. The smell of the steam shooting straight up into your face as you gobble down poutine bite after poutine bite is intoxicating. Mmmmm....

A couple of colleagues of mine with ties to Quebec have their must-eat-at-spots whenever they visit La Belle Province. I know if I'm ever driving up the Gaspe, I'll have plenty of places to stop at for some cheesy French fry goodness. While in Campbellton recently I tried to convince my driving companions to stop at a Casse-croute across the Van Horne. Unfortunately, my pleas and pleases were not good enough. 

One more note: following my interview on CBC radio two weeks ago, visits to Poutine Guy soared. In fact, almost a third of all visits to the blog can be attributed to that interview. So, a big THANKS to Mother Corp for the traffic. 

My next blog will have a review. Between starting this posting and actually posting it, I managed to go to Costco and, well... I couldn't help myself. I'm an addict.

May your curds stay squeaky!

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Poutine Guy received some recognition today. I was on CBC Information Morning - Moncton to talk about the Poutine Guy blog and poutines in general. It was certainly a great deal of fun, in no small part due to the efforts of the producer and host. Thanks a bunch for invitation and a special thanks to Karen Rawlines for letting the powers that be know about Poutine Guy’s exploits.

You can catch the interview here!

As always,

May your curds stay squeaky.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Guinea Boar

I was recently reminded of one of the worst poutines I had ever eaten. It was my own fault really. Many years ago, I travelled to Edmundston where I mistakenly assumed that proximity to the Quebec border would guarantee me a good poutine. It does not.
While the restaurant had the gravy right, nothing else positive can be said about this melted mozzarella - frozen French fry fiasco.
My most recent return trip from Edmundston had me in Grand Falls at lunch. My traveling companions indulged my poutine fetish and off we went in search of a local non-chain Mom-and-Pop restaurant where, having learned from many of a bad moza experience in the past, I inquired about the cheese they used before actually ordering. 
"Mozarella," was the answer. 
Well. I took a pass. I'm glad I did because the fries I eventually did get with my lunch were crinkle cut frozen fries. You know, the kind that actually tastes as though they were frozen.
And so my travels to northern New Brunswick once again proved to be a bust on the poutine front. 
On Canada Day, while with my family in Downtown Moncton, I took advantage of being near the Tide & Boar restaurant. Its poutine has been widely recommended to me, especially the boar meat variety. That's right. Poutine with a topping of boar meat. How can anyone not give this a try?
The $16 price tag should give many folks second thoughts. It is a pricier restaurant, and if it were not for the recommendations of others, I would not have ordered this dish. So, I blame my friends. 
For that kind of money, I would have expected more curds, more fries, more meat, and essentially more everything. Even the non-boar variety was $11, which still makes for a pricey regular poutine. 
That being said, the fries were awesome. Also, the gravy came in its own little gravy boat on the side allowing you to dip or spread out as much gravy as you choose. Plus, it was good, but not good enough to make it outstanding in terms of my grading system. It scores a .69/1 and the saving grace was the tender topping of boar meat. My wife, however, had the halibut taco which she claims may be the best taco in Moncton. So, it was not a total loss.
My poutine tasting did not stop in Moncton.
As part of my travels for work, I had the chance to be in Saint John. I took advantage of this by visiting Lanie's Place in Market Square in Uptown Saint John. This establishment was recommended to me in my first blog, by good friend Nathan White. I should extend a special thanks to Nathan for recommending this, as I would have otherwise walked by it. 
Lanie's poutine's only deficiency is the gravy. It was far too soupy and thin. But otherwise the rest was great; ultimately scoring a .78/1 on my scoring system. It is certainly worthy of a Poutine Guy recommendation. 
So, keep the suggestions coming. I’ll do my best to guinea-pig (or boar) any idea.
Until next time, may your curds stay squeaky!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Diamond in the Rough

A number of weeks ago, I managed to sample an Ed’s Sub poutine. It came highly recommended by many friends and was given high priority on my Must Try list. So, it was about time that I got around to tasting it. But this story is mostly about a surprise. Since part of my grading methodology for poutines includes a value for expectation, I was wowed by an unexpected contestant this last weekend.

The Moncton Market is known as a great place to find great food on Saturday mornings, but I have never heard of it being a place to grab an awesome poutine. Even though diamond in the rough may not exactly describe the environment where Belle’s wagon is, the Moncton Market certainly cannot be said to be a poutine mecca.

Heading there on Saturday morning for fresh rhubarb I almost missed this opportunity. By the way, the rhubarb has nothing more to do with this story so feel free to forget why I was there.

As one of the outdoor merchants in Festival Place, Belle’s stands out for its breakfast on a bun offering, but at the bottom of the large billboard attached to the side of the wagon there are four types of poutine listed: Traditional, Burger, Meat Lovers, and the Christmas Special (basically, turkey and all the fixings).

Now on a regular day, I would have taken mental note of this anomaly, added it to the list of places to visit, and moved on; especially given it wasn’t yet 10 am! But watching the cook through the order window somehow in one fluid motion place a potato in the French fry cutter, cut them, and place the freshly cut potato into the deep fryer, I couldn’t help myself. Even though having poutine for breakfast wasn’t my best idea ever, it was well worth it. That said, I kept to the Traditional variety of poutine rather than seek a more adventurous kind.

Since I had one of my offspring in tow, this also allowed me the chance to share some of it with my two-and-a-half-year-old son, who gobbled up a few mouthfuls of fries, curds, and gravy like a pro. As he’s half-Quebecois, I consider this part of his heritage, it was a rite of passage.*

The poutine was so good in fact that it scored a .92 grade; which makes it the place to beat so far in Atlantic Canada. Just look at it with the sun glistening off the fries, curds, and gravy!

While Ed’s Sub was good, and I do recommend it since it scored a .78, it was not as good as I expected it to be considering the amount of people who recommended it to me.

Once again, let me know where your best poutines are and feel free to share your poutine story.

May your curds stay squeaky.


* If you have a complaint about my parenting, in this case or in any future matter, please tell it to the internet as I’m not interested in hearing about it.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Fast Food Poutine

Fast Food joints typically get a bad rap when it comes to their ability to do the poutine justice. This is likely justified, but I have heard about some shining examples.

Ed’s Sub apparently makes a kick-a** poutine. I’ve been told the same of Dixie Lee and KFC, but I find the KFC endorsement to be … ummm … unlikely.

Wendy’s however, has not been so highly praised. Indeed, a colleague of mine (and unrepentant health preacher) partook of a Wendy’s poutine after reading my blasphemy (to her) praising poutines in general. Why she chose Wendy’s remains a mystery, and I was not surprised to hear her say she was not impressed.

Mind you, she did express that it may have had more to do with the idea that she was ingesting a poutine than where she was eating it from. As I said earlier, she’s a health nut. I mean that in the nicest way. :o)

So, I took it upon myself to see what was up with Wendy’s. Was it simply a case of Where’s the Curds? or just bad fries or poor gravy (sauce) or some combination of these variables?

First of all, I have to give the American fast food chain’s Canadian arm a huge thumbs-up for their Facebook campaign to have the poutine recognized as a national dish in Canada. However, as some commentators have pointed out, it already is a national dish for some people.

But, let’s not get political with the poutine. I believe Wendy’s just wants to share this dish with all Canadians – much the same reasoning for why I am writing this Blog to begin with.

A significant part of this Facebook campaign is Wendy’s Poutition. Just as you likely have, I’ve recently seen commercials on television advertising it. Signing the petition will allow you to print off a coupon that provides a discount on the poutine when you order a combo meal. I did so.

Secondly, I don’t know if it was the low expectations due to it being a fast food joint and the recent remarks of my colleague, but the Wendy’s poutine wasn’t half bad. I actually enjoyed it. It even looked good – not as good as the commercials, but that can be said of all fast food.

Perhaps my only major complaint was the portion size, but given that I used the coupon, value-for-money was certainly achieved.

After all the calculations are made, Wendy’s gets a 0.74/1 score. Not bad. That being said, it scored highest on value because of the coupon.

Without the coupon, the Wendy’s poutine would have only scored 0.66.

So, all in all, if you want poutine now and you want it close by – as Dave made sure every Fast Food Avenue has a Wendy’s – then it is certainly a suitable joint to get your quick fix. This is especially true if you have a Poutition coupon in your back pocket!

May your curds stay squeaky.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Grating on the Curd

Apologies for the title, but that is the best I could come up with.

I first became inspired to start this project when my friend Aloma (formerly of the Times & Transcript) wrote two columns about her quest for the best poutine in Metro Moncton. She also shared many of the elements I discuss and expressed some of the same concerns.

In the intervening years since I read those columns, I have been - off-and-on - preoccupied with a grading system for poutines. How could I best grade a poutine? Should I just pronounce a grade as I eat it, simply on impulse and emotion? Or, should I develop a process that breaks the poutine down into components and attempts to measure each according to a scale?

Over the last few days, I think I’ve come up with something. It has five distinct parts:

1.      Cheese. Assuming that curds are being used, are they squeaky, are they abundant in comparison to the fries, and do they have that salty freshness that make curds what they are? Some people don’t like squeaky curds, and to them I say, curds are meant to be squeaky. Point finale! Furthermore, I always assume curds are being used, so you can imagine my dismay when they are not.
2.      Gravy. I don’t mind if the gravy is of the dark brown or barbeque-ish variety, so long as it is good. By good I mean it’s tasty but not overpowering; it’s thick, but still fresh; and it is just the right amount in proportion to the curds and the fries – I don’t want poutine soup. Hmmm, poutine soup? Fancy it up and call it Soupe au poutine TM.
3.      French fries. Fresh cut French fries are always the best. That isn’t to say that I will ever turn my nose at frozen fries, I just don’t want them to taste like they’re frozen. The difference is hard to explain, but I’m certain many people understand what I mean by that. Finally, given the salty nature of the curds and the gravy, there is really no need to over salt the French fries.
4.      Value. By value I am referring to the simple mathematics of portion size / dollar spent. For example, if portion size = 0.5 and money spent = 1, then value = 0.5 – which would be poor value.  
5.      Expectation. If the restaurant is named World’s Best Poutine, then it better damn well be the World’s best poutine. My previous posting about Cheese Curds is a great example of this, as will be the next posting about the poutine I recently ate at Wendy’s.

Overall, a grade of 1 reflects what poutinerie’s should strive for. I fully anticipate that most poutines will fall below that mark. That doesn’t mean the establishment always makes a less than standard poutine. It simply reflects that the poutine I ate could have been better or that I’ve had better. Indeed, one of the better poutineries out there, at least nearby (Halifax), is Smoke’s. I would rate their Traditional Poutine as a 0.9 on this scale.

The marks above the 1 are for those gems that I hope exist out there somewhere. They highlight that I was served a poutine of utmost quality and quantity or that the stars aligned to make that the most perfect and delicious meal. Nothing suggests it could ever be replicated. In fact, due to raised expectations, the probability of attaining such a high water mark again would be extremely low.      

So, if anyone has something else I should consider in my grading process or feels that my process is overly-flawed, let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

May your curds stay squeaky.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

You say Poo teen, I say Pu'tin

Yummy! Mmmmm!

There’s no wrong way to say delicious and there’s no wrong way to say poutine, however I do get a kick out of the various ways folks pronounce the dish and the equally various accents. By accents, I’m referring to every meaning of the word.

This month, I returned to the Halifax area and, of course, stopped by Smoke’s Poutinerie. I actually tried a poutine italienne however I should note that at Smoke’s they put gravy on everything, including their italienne, so I made sure to ask that it not be included.

Maybe I’m just weird, but the idea of beef gravy and meat sauce coalescing over French fries and curd cheese disturbs me.
That being said, I also took a trip over the harbour to the Dartmouth side of the HRM to partake in the newest craze over there called Cheese Curds, Gourmet Burgers + Poutinerie. Well, it’s no wonder that the New Brunswick burger chain Relish is setting up a Shoppe in Halifax.

There were 18 people in front of me when I entered on Wednesday! I also saw at least a dozen people come in and leave rather than wait as I progressed toward the cashier to place my order.

If you’re looking for a great burger – this is the place to go. But “poutinerie” they are not!

First, while some people enjoy really salty fries, I am not one of them. Secondly, after four bites, it was done. The gravy was delectable, but it was overpowered by the saltiness of the fires and there were so few cheese curds that they melted into stringy goo before I even got to my seat. 

To place so much emphasis on cheese curds in the name of the restaurant and on the names of many dishes, it’s too bad I didn’t get a chance to actually see any. Have I had worse? Oh, certainly. Were my expectations too high? I don’t think I can over-emphasize that when a restaurant names itself after the main ingredient of a dish, you expect that it will serve that dish as near to perfection as possible.

The burger was fabulous, but if it’s poutine you’re after – pay the bridge toll and go to Smoke’s in Halifax.

Before signing off, I want to thank everyone for sending me their poutine stories last week – keep on sending them in. I see a number of themes emerging that I will certainly touch on over the coming months.

Now I need to walk off some of my excess over the last couple of weeks. Pants are starting to feel tight!

May your curds stay squeaky.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Much Ado About Curds

No one I know hearts food like I do and I have a number of particular weaknesses: Mexican, everything beef – especially donair, but occupying the top of the list is the mighty and complex poutine.

Now, let’s be clear: I’m not referring to the poutine râpée that has a certain cultural following in parts of New Brunswick. I’m not saying one is better than the other either. They are so vastly different, that comparison is impossible, plus having never eaten the Acadian dish and not having any plans to subject my pallet to balls of mushy dough, I wouldn’t be able to say either way.

I’m talking about the Québécois delicacy that is, of course, the better of the two. In fact, it is so well known and loved it has superseded its home province to become a genuine piece of Canadian culture, cuisine, and even politics – some may recall the name of a former Canadian Prime Minister – Jean Poutine.   

So, I am in search of the ultimate poutine story and the definitive compilation of poutine stories. This quest to harden my arteries may have begun when I was a child and a die-hard poutine purist. I remember the days quite well, sitting in a cold hockey arena with a steaming pile of poutine in my left hand, using my right hand to schooch the squeakiest and coldest cheese curds over, saving them for my final mouthful.

In those innocent days, poutines consisted of three ingredients and three ingredients only: French fries, curd cheese, and beef gravy. While there has always been the lesser-known poutine italienne – basically replacing the beef gravy with a spaghetti meat sauce – and it is a favourite of my wife, it has never been my first choice.

As I have aged, I have grown less rooted in my ways, rather than more so. This is good, because the face of poutine has changed as well.

Chain restaurants, such as Chez Ashton in Montreal, have brought the poutine beyond these two varieties to include the addition of chicken and even hotdog wieners. The Toronto-based franchise of Smoke’s Poutinerie goes even further with categories of toppings that contain such delicious beauties as Nacho Grande, Chili, Pulled Pork, and even a Veggie Deluxe!     

So, you may be asking yourself – why now? What is the desperate need for someone to share the ultimate poutine story?

I don’t know if this has always been my calling or if it’s a combination of the Robocall scandal linked to some guy named Pierre Poutine, the South Park character Eric Cartman suggesting that McDonald’s fries dipped in a tub of KFC gravy is what Canadians call poutine, the Burger King commercials advertising their new poutine, and the fact that Vladimir Putin (spelt Poutine in French) keeps getting elected in Russia.

I don’t have the answer. It just feels right.

Furthermore, I have been experiencing an ever greater sense of poutine-envy. Living in New Brunswick I have always yearned for the poutines I used to get at the small roadside hamburger stands in the summer or in the local hockey rinks during the winter when I lived in Quebec. But, while I love my poutines, it certainly isn’t a reason to pack up and head north to la belle poutine province.

My poutine-envy has taken a new twist lately because Halifax is now home to a Smoke’s Poutinerie franchise. I’ve been there. I will return.

Across the harbour on the Dartmouth side, a new restaurant – Cheese Curds Gourmet Burger & Poutinery – has opened its doors to great reviews and fanfare. I haven’t been there... yet.  

So, come on folks. Where is the best poutine in New Brunswick? Send me your suggestions and your experiences both good and bad. I am looking to amass the epic poutine story so this goes beyond just simply writing reviews about poutine platters in Moncton. Let me know about your special poutine moments at from where ever.

Note: While I could write a daily blog, the frequency of the blogs and reviews will be less regular and certainly less frequent. The reason is two-fold – that is, I am trying to keep my chin from developing two folds. More than that however, just as healthy eating is about moderation – with two baby boys in the house, a wife who also has two baby boys in the house, a full-time job, a wife, graduate studies, and a wife – healthy writing is similarly about moderation.