Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Poutine Time

Greetings, oh fans of the potato and all things starchy. It's time to open your mind to new delights of the spud. As a girl from Jersey, you may say I've been inclined to diner out at midnight with some disco fries (french fries with gravy and melted cheese), and maybe that's true! (It is true.) However our neighbors to the north have another way of saying it, and making it, that is near and dear to those who know it, and also appears in a Google search when you type in disco fries (as in, "not to be confused with..."). The name of the dish, seen above, is poutine.

Now I have a habit when traveling of seeking out regional specialties in the most accessible, ie. cheap, places: supermarkets and fast food chains. On my second trip to the lovely city of Montreal, during cold season, I walked underground in that if-you've-been-there-you-know- what-I-mean beneath-the-city mall. So as said, per what I usually do when traveling (never at home ;) I looked into an underground Burger King and noticed they served a potato dish beyond french fries: the poutine! This was very exciting, so I sidled into a line to order a BK poutine, loonies (Canadian $1 coins) in hand, when my elitist Toronto-born boyfriend said “You don’t want to have your first poutine at a Burger King do you?” This was the tone in which he said many things, except this time he kinda made sense. So I skipped it, figuring I'd try poutine another time. Another time never came, and it’s 10 years later.

That is why this Canadian dish-of-affection is always in the back of my mind, and when I was having an e-conversation with a fellow (USC) Trojan from Ottawa, I mentioned the poutine and he wrote back a wonderful overview of it, including where to get it in LA! I asked his permission, then, to feature his story in my blog, and with that I present to you the rest of this post, as written by Planet Marly’s first guest blogger, Theodore.

Theodore's LA Poutine Story

As a Canadian ex-pat living in Los Angeles, every so often I come down with a craving for some Canadian cuisine. Until recently I had been making a bi-monthly pilgrimage to this restaurant in Monrovia called the Canadian Café. Unfortunately, they recently closed shop which I attribute to the fact that they were located somewhat remotely at the intersection of the 210 and 605 freeways and that warmer temperatures in Southern California don't really warrant such high-fat foods such as back bacon sandwiches and poutine.

Having grown up on the border of Ontario and Quebec, however, poutine is something that is dear to my heart and after some extensive internet research I was pleased to discover that there are four other venues in Los Angeles that serve the "delicacy."

Redondo Beach Cafe
1511 S Pacific Coast Hwy
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 316-1047

3200 W Sunset Blvd
Silver Lake, CA 90026
(323) 906-1018

Soleil Westwood
1386 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 441-5384

Alibi Room
12236 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 313-1404

In the course of my research I located a few photos as well (click here), from someone else in LA who is apparently as obsessed with poutine as I am. So far I've only been to the Redondo Beach Cafe. They use real curds, a medium-dark gravy, and thick cut fries. Judging from the pictures, the poutine at Soleil looks to be quite authentic as well, albeit with shoestrings, which is more like something you'd find at a ski lodge in Canada.

The poutine at Dusty's also looks tasty, but it is a little spurious as to whether or not they use real curds. I recall reading a review of sorts indicating that they do, but it's not really possible to tell if the curds had melted in the photo or if they had simply used shredded cheese.

The Alibi Room is more of a bar, so I'm thinking one of these evenings I'll make the trip out there for a beer and a poutine.

My only reservation about the poutine I've had here is that the curds are larger and more uniform in size (like a bunch of scallops), which may or may not be a function of their Wisconsonian origin. I like poutine best when the curd size varies from little bits to large chunks; it makes for a more even distribution of cheese and a more varied mouth feel. (See photo here.)

Signed Guest Blogger,


Christy said...

Oh crap! I want to try that!

Louise said...

I tried the poutine At Soleil it is like in Quebec city wonderful