Poutine – My Journey

Back when I was an annual visitor to Quebec, there was this messy melange of fries, gravy, and squeeky cheese curds that seemed to be a traditional snack food. It seemed odd to me. It seemed to be a side dish, yet was big enough to almost be a meal. It fell into the same category of Quebec foods as paté chinoise, smoked meat, and all things cooked in maple syrup.

Finally on one of our trips up here I gave it a try. Actually I believe it was the weekend of our wedding. I suppose it was part of the initiation. My sister and I were at the Vieux Duluth in the Complexe DesJardins. She had heard about it and wanted to try it. I hadn’t tried it yet, so I figured this was the time. As with smoked meat and the maple syrup fascination, it didn’t live up to the hype. The fries by themselves were not very good. The gravy had no flavor. The cheese curds were the saving grace, but I’ve always liked cheese curds. (For clarification, the smoked meat disappointment was due to visiting Bens during it’s decline. Though I still don’t enjoy it on the same level as my favorite short order/fast foods.)

So I spent a few more years not understanding the interest in poutine. I tried it a couple more times and the fries were a bit better and the gravy would have some flavor, but nothing to write home about.

Then my wife introduced me to Patati Patata at Rachel and St-Laurent. This is poutine on a whole other level. They add grilled vegetables to it with a flavorful sauce. Plus the fries are quite good also. A tasty and slightly healthier meal.

Next up was La Banquise on Rachel just west of Parc LaFontaine. A co-worker recommended the hot dogs and many YULbloggers were talking about it because it is next door to the monthly meet-up. So I’ve been there now for a few lunches and the poutine was quite good. But I found them to be lacking on the sauce side. The nice thing about La Banquise is that they have something like two dozen variations of poutine. Different combinations of all different types of meats and vegetables.

Poutine Bourguigion

Then I found my personal poutine nirvana. Ma’am Bolduc on Marie-Anne at de Lormier. They only have about six or seven variations, but they have one that really agrees with my palate. Their Bourguignon poutine consists of ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and a sauce made with white wine and lots of garlic. They are very generous with the gravy, maybe too generous. And the fries are the thick limp type that I’ve always liked. It is quite a departure from the traditional poutine, but have to say I really really like it.


~ by Frank on March 27, 2007.

12 Responses to “Poutine – My Journey”

  1. Is the Ma’am a traditional place or something nouvelle, Frank?

    I’m pondering a Montreal visit this year so I am curious.


  2. That’s the version that’s called Poutine Americana at my fave place. Same deal, ground beef, onions, mushrooms. I love that one.

  3. I tried poutine on my first visit to Montreal last summer. I thought it was great. But maybe I’m a glutton for greasy mounds of food…I have been known to eat many a Chicago Italian beef sandwich dripping with gravy…

  4. Welcome to the dark side. Abandon all hope.
    You should try Ma’am Bolduc’s breakfasts; if those don’t clog your arteries, nothing will.

  5. Mark, this is a variation on the traditional variety. Though I prefer this one.

    tornwordo, That’s funny considering I like it so much. They pegged the name right.

    Rich, I’m a glutton for those things also like Chicago gyros, Chicago thin style pizza (Pete’s on Western, or cheddar fries at Wiener’s Circle.

    Michel, One morning, I’ll come in late for work and make a detour there. I’ve heard about their breakfasts.

  6. Then again, there’s always “Cosmos,” on Sherbrooke West (way west) for cholesterol goodness.

  7. So,how’s the reducing diet goin’?

    The devil made me say it.

  8. Thanks for askin, aunt m. 😛

    Actually I’ve been in an odd funk lately and comfort food has been my solice. I’ve rebounded a little, but not much. And it was not because of this type of food. It has been more lack of sleep and odd happenings with my blood sugar. I’m not diabetic, but I’m starting to wonder.

  9. Oh… my… God…. that looks so delicious.

  10. it probably should not surprise you, but i made a reference and link to this post on Midnight Poutine’s weekly blog round up. you can check it out here:


  11. Yeah, Rachel. My mouth waters each time I come back and see that picture.

    Thank you for the mention, scott. I appreciate it.

  12. Very thoughtful site and a good post. Thanks!

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