Poutine, My Love

I am grossly unsatisfied with the quality of Winnipeg poutine. You should be too. And we should do something about it.

After years of searching (resulting in various hits and misses), I have yet to find REAL poutine in the ‘Peg. Most of the time the cheese is shredded, the gravy fake and the fries resemble cardboard.

“It’s warm and involves cheese,” said Rachel Kerr-Lapsley, a fellow poutine hunter. Warm cheese is enough to win her over.

People love poutine! It is one of the best inventions that humans have ever created. It combines the three best foods in a way that makes you wonder if it was sent from the heavens.

Enough is enough, Winnipeg. For a city with the second highest Francophone population, I expect better.

The best I’ve found is surprisingly at one of Winnipeg’s worst restaurants. Papa George’s on Osborne has good poutine. Not technically good (the cheese is shredded) but it tastes great. I was told by a waitress that after they put the gravy on, it goes in the oven so it’s super hot.

Obviously it was discovered after a late night craving in the Osborne area, and for once taking the chance paid off.

Other notable poutine stops include New York Fries, although there’s something about it I can’t quite love.

I hear Billabong has an unreal yam poutine, but have yet to try it.

Its menu says it has “fresh yam chips, madras curry, white cheddar curds, and creamy gorgonzola. Topped with green mango-masala relish,” which sounds great but isn’t the type of poutine I long for.

Whenever Rachel is in town from Calgary, we find ourselves ordering Papa George’s poutine in the early hours of the morning. Maybe we enjoy it simply because nothing else is open that late. Maybe it’s actually good. Who knows, I don’t recall much from those mornings.

At $11 for delivery (plus tip), it’s a steal. I’ve ordered it twice in the past two weeks, embarrassingly enough. The delivery man remembers me. I can’t tell whether that is a good or terrible thing.

Everyone knows Montreal has the best poutine. You can walk into ANY restaurant there and find yourself eating decent poutine in minutes. Even McDonald’s has it (although I hear bad things).

My plea to the restaurants of Winnipeg is this: MAKE BETTER POUTINE. End my humiliation with the Papa George’s delivery man.

Use actual cheese curds and real gravy. And don’t dare put it over cheap, frozen fries.

Nine of us from The Uniter are heading to Montreal in January for the Canadian University Press conference. My goal is to eat poutine everyday, if not twice a day. And if I die from a clogged artery, at least I will die a delicious death.