Thursday, July 19, 2007

Montreal - La Poutine - Don't try this @ Home

While one would think that the Québécois would choose to embrace a dish that illuminated their French heritage in a refined manner, it is a bit ironic that the bite with the most iconic standing in the province is resolutely Canadian.

Le Poutine Québécois (pardon my slaughtering of French grammer) is a gastronomic monster. Don't try this at home kids! They take a big plate of fries and cover them in brown gravy and finished with a heavy sprinkling of cheese curds. It's heaven and a heart attack on a late. I give myself permission to do Le Poutine just once when I'm in Montreal and I chose to do it at Peel Pub in the main shopping district off Boulvard St. Catherine.

Peel Pub was recommended to us during our visit in 2006 by a sales clerk at the HMV across the street. She suggested it was a reliably good, cheap place that she enjoyed visiting after work. The menus are printed on the place mats (English on one side, French on the other) while every direction has TVs and projection screens beaming sporting matches and coverage. The tables at noon are filled with a broad cross-section of Montreal urbanites all excitedly enjoying massive platters of brochettes, burgers, pizza, fish & chips and of course, poutine!

While watching coverage of the Wimbledon semifinals, I ordered "The Canadian" - 2 grilled hot dogs "all dress" with a poutine Quebecois and a side of cole slaw. I fear I broke some cultural code by adding my slaw to the dogs atop the "all dress" fixings of mustard, pickle relish and onions, but the result was fantastic. I didn't finish the poutine for fear of shortening my life by a few months (+ the gravy was strangely sweet). Nevertheless at $4.99CAD, the value was stunning after 2 nights of $100+ meals around town.

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