Prior to a recent trip to Montreal, I heard a lot about this delicacy endemic to bars and eateries. Some said it was a treasure, others warned me to avoid it at all costs. So what exactly is poutine?
Wikipedia defines poutine as
“a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients.”
While that is an accurate representation, it doesn’t give the full story. Poutine, simply put, is comfort food. Every country has it and it is absolutely nothing of which to be ashamed. Everyone needs a food that offers warmth on a cold day or brightens our mood after a bad one. Poutine is simply the Canadian answer to this sociological staple.
We had poutine twice on our trip to Montreal. Truth be told, that’s all we could take physically. We tried it at two vastly different establishments. The first was a gastro pub, where the chef deconstructed the poutine into an odd assortment of fries and curds. The second was a classic chain restaurant that served up the traditional poutine with neither style nor panache.
So which was better? Well, neither really. Both offered a yummy dish on a cold day and both put smiles on our faces.
Regardless, do not be embarrassed to go for what is kitsch or easy when traveling. Sometimes it offers the most accurate insight into the heart of an area and you’ll usually enjoy it more than anything else.