Hero Burger Saturday, Nov 22 2008 

A disappointing Saturday morning led my super-babe of a girlfriend and I to a really late breakfast/okay timed poutine flavoured lunch at Hero Burger. She expressed interest in being a correspondent and, well, here she is:

 

I have the pleasure of being the curdsade correspondent of the week for a trip to Hero Burger, and while I have accompanied the curdsader himself on many of the review opportunities, he seemed to think now would be an appropriate time to let me tear into one of the many abysmal attempts at poutine that Toronto has to offer.

As I mentioned, the poutine under inspection this time around was at Hero Burger. First off, the price. $4.45 is pretty reasonable for a poutine, especially considering the pout in question meets all the basic requirements (fries, CURDS, gravy), size was nothing overly impressive though, which can likely be attributed to this item being a side option on the menu. Nonetheless we ordered and waited for our poutines for what seemed like an overly long time, but hoping that would be an indication that perfection was upon us and that the anticipation would be worth it. Well. Despite the basic components being present, the poutine was certainly nothing special. The curds were nowhere near squeaky, the gravy was alright *curdsader commented on the gravy being delicious* however, I felt, while it was relatively tasty, it was something I could have whipped up at home from a package, which is not what I’m looking for when I am paying someone to make something for me. Also the fry to gravy to curd ratio was a little lacking. A little skimpy on the curds and gravy, but they did seem to layer which is crucial. 

The fries, which were fresh cut, tasted like Belgian fries and actually were my least favourite part of the poutine as a whole. It wasn’t the deep-frying method that threw me off, it was the fact that they tasted too potato-y. The fry is an element that should be subtle and light and blend with the two other delicious elements, however, these fries would most certainly have been more delicious on their own than combined with the deliciousness that is curds and gravy.

My main feeling about poutines is generally, if it is a good one, I should never be required to put ketchup and/or salt on it. I put both on this one. And lots of both. Not a good sign. It felt like it required a flavour boost for almost every bite that I took, which is kind of a bummer. And while I understand that this restaurant is not expecting to make most of it’s money on this menu item, they do make a point of putting (real cheese curds) on the menu next to poutine, which would get any poutine lover’s hear a-racin’. Alas…

All in all, I would say that if I was starving and there was absolutely nothing else that I could eat anywhere, I would probably get this poutine again, but if Hero Burger still had onion rings on their menu at that point I would actually probably get those instead. This poutine was nothing special and nothing that you could not get from a similar mall staple of New York Fries or Harvey’s or something. (And seriously, what kind of burger place does not have lettuce, like not even as an option?!)

Smoke’s Poutinerie Thursday, Nov 20 2008 

So today, November 20, 2008 is the grand opening of Toronto’s first all-poutine restaurant, Smoke’s Poutinerie. There was a lot of talk in the blogosphere about how awesome this was going to be but, despite my blog’s content I never acknowledged the news of it’s opening because I just assumed that it would be ok at best and I was not going to start telling everyone about it before I even had a chance to get in there.

Knowing that today was the opening day, a week and a bit ago I told my work that I would not be in today as I had some appointments and what not. At 10:20 AM I called to find out when they opened. The answer? 11:30. I booted it to 218 Adelaide Street West (just east of Adelaide and Simcoe) and showed up at the door at 11:32 and was first in-line and seemingly the third customer.  I was there 6 minutes (without exaggeration) before the line went to the back of spot, out the door, down the stairs and spilling onto the sidewalk.

What you see here is the “Traditional” – one of Smoke’s many poutine variations. I figured that it would be important for me to try the traditional first since what I always complain about here is how Toronto has been bastardizing the simple idea of delicious poutine.

What I cannot complain about here is the fries. Wait. Before I go there…notice the cheese curds? You should. It’s also worth noting that they were really fresh and made a wonderful squeaking noise when chewed. Ok back to the fries – this were basically the way that poutine fries should be! They were almost as good as Caplansky’s fries.

The only bummer, to be honest, is the gravy. The “Traditional” gravy, as per the menu, is a hybrid of chicken and beef gravy. While the above looks perfectly on point, it tasted a little weird and it was a little off-putting that, even going early, there was some parts of the gravy that were strangely “thicker” than other parts. I can’t even put my finger on the taste – there is something that just was not agreeing with me.

For $5.95, however, you get a lot of food. I had a day of things planned on my day off, instead I had to come home to chill out and write this because I was so full that it hurt.

I’m kind of torn right now – is this the best traditional poutine that I have had in Toronto (despite not being into the gravy)? Or, as my friend suggest that I have “succumbed to Toronto’s pitiful standards of poutine that even a mediocre joint throws [me] off key”?

Whatever. I know for a fact that I will go back and try some of the other concoctions that Smoke’s has to offer.

Marion Kane Monday, Nov 17 2008 

I may be a little behind on the times, but I feel that this is worth sharing. Marion Kane has embarked is on a curdsade of her own as she basically has taken on the mission/pilgrimage of my dreams: researching the origins of my kryptonite; d’la poutine, calice!

 

I wish she was taking me with her, but since I’m still in Toronto while she roams my home-land I wish her the best of luck and I truly look forward to seeing how this plays out!

Royal Winter Fair Monday, Nov 17 2008 

Oh the Royal Winter Fair – what a celebration of Canadian Agriculture! The missus and I have been attending the last couple of years to take in the apple dumplings, free samples and to get her as many pictures of livestock as possible for her to gush over later. Worth noting, I totally saw some jackass punch a cow in the face. I wish I was joking. Also worth noting, saw a horse with a total boner…and it looked pretty gross.

 

While there, hey, why not get a poutine?! It’s an agriculture fest – so you gotta assume awesome potatoes and the best possible cheese curds that you’ll be able to get in Toronto…right? RIGHT?

 

 

I don’t know what the name of the cart was, it was one of the random eateries that I ended up not getting the poutine, but I had some of my friend’s – who will be further referred to as Michaxl Rose. You probably can’t tell from the above photo, but these are totally cheese curds – and the only way I could tell is from tasting it. They tasted like nice, albeit squeak-less, cheese curds and there was a lot of it! However, Michaxl Rose explained to me that when the put the cheese on the fries it was basically a melted glob even before it hit the fries and before gravy was poured on it.

 

 

Speaking of the fries – what a garbage batch of fries this was. They honestly tasted like soggy Lay’s potato chips banged out into fry like shapes. Pretty embarrassing for an agriculture fair if I do say so myself!

 

I guess I should talk about the gravy, but there is honestly nothing to say about it. It tasted like nothing – like brown water that made those sad Lay’s flavored fires into the consistency of a cardboard box after being left outside during a torrential downpour.  

 

Should you go to the Royal Winter Fair next year (and I suggest you do) use the $4.50 that could be used for the poutine and put it towards either alcoholic beverages (specifically new beers and wines from around Ontario) or the majestic apple dumplings with the works – ice cream and caramel.  

 

Another friend who was with us scores from free PEI potato samples…so we had a home-made poutine party…a post will follow in another day or so…

U VEGAN? Thursday, Nov 13 2008 

If there are any vegans who happen to read this blog who get hungry for Poutine and/or Disco Fries, check out a surefire way to curb your craving:

… click on the picture, dummy.

Dangerous Dan’s Sunday, Nov 9 2008 

Saturday I went to some week-late Dia de los Meurtos thing at the Harbour Front and instead of getting some authentic mexican food all I could think about was getting poutine. I was hearing okthings about a spot on King Street West on my way home (which will remain nameless until I hit it) but the people that I was with were East Enders. Then it hit me – the place that my meat addicted friends often talk about and the place that I saw after stumbling out of last winter’s M.O.P. show at the Opera House…Dangerous Dan’s (Queen Street East and Broadview). The only reason that I have honestly not been there since that awesome night was because I still labeled myself vegetarian until recently. Let’s be honest here, the burger joint that not only has (humorous) anti-vegetarian slogans on the wall and that CityTV has referred to as “probably the most unhealthy restaurant in Canada” would not really be the best place for a vegetarian. Which, to be fair, is arguably debatable.

As I type this it has been about six hours since I devoured this “large poutine” as a side to my veggie burger (which was ridiculed by the staff) – but I still can feel it in my stomach…that could also be the shit ton of beers that I consumed since our Double D visit, but regardless this shit is Manuel Uribe heavy. 

I was advised by staff that this beef gravy is made by the fellows at DD and in my personal opinion, while really tasty, it was a little too salty for my liking. I was very pleased, however, to not only see the use of cheese curds, but I’m also pretty sure that I heard/felt some squeekage. I may or may not have said it aloud at the table with a little giggle. Where this poutine gets a little lost on me is the fries. If you like big thick, to borrow a phrase, “man fries”, then these are on point. When put into a poutine it just seems a bit much and comes off a little overpowering of the dish. While there was copious amounts of gravy which drenched this non-layered plate of poutine, it was still like eating a $6.25 plate of soaked deep fried hunks of potato.

I’m a little torn; this was certainly a valiant effort at the traditional construction of this classic Quebecois delicacy, I don’t love it. I certainly don’t hate it but I can’t say that I love it.

To my readers who love meat, but especially burgers, go out and try the DD poutine. If you like, what I believe are referred to as, steak cut fries and get the Coronary Burger Special while you’re at it and sink your teeth into this beast of a fucking sandwich…

OH! Before I forget, I feel that it’s important to say that if you don’t have a sense of humour, you probably should not venture into this Queen East diner. While all in good fun, as a client you may more than likely be part of a joke and if you can’t take one, don’t bother stepping foot in the door and being a buzz kill. To be honest, not realizing they were just taking a piss, I was pretty bummed out at first, but then I came around and it was one of the funniest meals I have had in a while.

STOP BITIN’! Friday, Nov 7 2008 

BlogTO decided to bite my steez and make a “Best Poutine In Toronto” post.

Thanks guys. Thanks.