Wednesday, 3 July 2013

I may require a Cross-Country-Check-Up

Just when I found one of the best poutine shops around (au revoir La Poutine), I go and move again. But this time I made the most of the cross-Canada trek, uncovering tales of contrast as different as the West and the East ... well, okay maybe not that different.

The first tale came to me whilst researching a good spot to grab a poutine in Saskatchewan or Manitoba. At this time, Pizza Hut was advertising its Poutine Pizza - to be clear: a pizza with poutine toppings.

All I can say is that the opposite - a poutine with pizza toppings - both sounds and looks good. On the other hand, pizza with poutine toppings neither sounds nor looks good. Sorry, Pizza Hut. The Ottawa Citizen review of this abomination was even entitled, "Poutine pizza is as foul as you might expect." I expect it's quite foul.

And, as odds would have it, Joe Beevrs has restaurants in Saskatchewan and Manitoba - in Yorkton and Brandon to be exact - that serve the Great Canadian Pizza Poutine. A poutine with pizza toppings. However, if it's the same cost as every other poutine on their Poutine Menu, then $15 is a bit steep for french fries, gravy, and curds, even if they are styled in the shape of a beaver dam. It may very well be the best poutine ever, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a steaming pile of kitsch.

So, it was no surprise I drove through these two prairie provinces without. I feel particularly bad for this fellow who has extended his quest for a good Saskatoon poutine to Kijiji with the ad: Best Poutine in Stoon.

Good luck, prairie friend!

As for my second tale, I made my first poutine pit-stop in Hearst, Ontario. Stopping for gas, I asked the kid at the Esso where I could grab a good poutine. He directed me next door to Chez Kikine Restaurant. I really wish I had ignored him. The fries were just not up to my standard - crispy would be an understatement. Overall, a 66% is a fail as far as Poutine Guy is concerned.
Kikine Catastophe
The following evening, I arrived in Cabano, Quebec. I had been looking forward to this for some time, ever since seeing the establishment praised on; easily the most recognized poutine grading site around. The site has the Casse-croute Chez Yvon graded with a 90%! As you can imagine, expectations were riding high until I was informed that not only was Chez Yvon under new ownership, but the poutinerie building itself was brand new following a recent fire that had fully consumed it. These new elements certainly disminished my expectations but yet did not save it from a failing overall grade of 66%.
Chez Yvon - Under New Management
Whereas Chez Kikine delivered over-cooked french fries, Chez Yvon's were on the undercooked side. In terms french fries, I think I prefer over-cooked as opposed to under. Perhaps if I had made a third stop on my way across the country I would have Goldilocks'ed-out and located one that was just right. Unfortunately, I can only eat so many poutines in a three-and-half-day span.

I hope your latest poutine experiences have been better than my last two. Let me know. Also, if you participated in or witnessed the St. Jean Baptiste Day Poutinerie Challenge in Saint John I want to hear all about it!

As always, may your curds stay squeaky.

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