Open Kitchen Thursday, Dec 18 2008 

I had some time off of work recently and instead of sitting around doing absolutely nothing, which is what I basically had been doing all week, I decided to go to lunch with a mega-babe after I hit the gym and before she had to go to work for the afternoon. I knew I had to get some ‘tine since I have been slacking in the blog department so we took a walk in our ‘hood and stumbled open a relatively new spot, Open Kitchen. Open Kitchen is at 5 Roncesvalles Avenue which is really about a 15 second walk north of Queen & Roncesvalles.

I honestly was not sure what to expect in terms of the poutine at this place so I got it as a side to a veggie burger. Unrelated to this blog, the veggie burger was quite delicious – maybe hamburger! should make a trip there to see how the real deal holds up…anyways! “Poutine”!

Obviously there were no cheese curds – instead there was a warm blanket of goopy cheddar that embraced my fries and gravy. I love cheese a ridiculous amount – I will eat cheddar cheese by the brick for a snack. Having it grated on top of fries and gravy to me though just doesn’t make sense as a poutine enthusiast. It hurts my heart (physically and emotionally) to look at and/or eat it.

Underneath the cheese blanket, which sounds way more awesome than it is, we had some fresh cut fries which were truly on point! The fries at Open Kitchen were awesome and we were made to feel as though they were the pride of the chef by the staff when we went – and rightfully so!

The gravy was alight but it was missing something – it was missing a punch of flavor that could have saved this dish from being not great and upping its game to tolerable. What I thought was pretty crazy was that they also had Disco Fries on the menu along with poutine considering what we were served. Disco Fries are essentially what most Torontonians consider poutine; melted cheese with fries and gravy. No cheese curds, no poutine. It’s like offering someone frozen yogurt and giving them ice cream.

But you know what? It’s whatever. It was an extra $2 to turn my fries into a “poutine”. Not shabby for a substitution price but when I go back I’ll put the $2 towards a pint and stick with the awesome fries.

STOP BITIN’ v2.0 Wednesday, Dec 17 2008 

Whooooooooooooa! Long time no update. The holidays are among us and I have been slacking. To all of you who follow this blog, I would like to sincerely apologize for the lack of updates.

It seems as though another Toronto media channel has jumped on the poutine bandwagon. I would make a comment about how they are biting my steez, but I wouldn’t want the unnecessary drama that such a comment brought last time.

Today the Toronto Star’s food critic, Corey Mintz, posted an article about where to get the (alleged) best poutine in Toronto.

There are so many things wrong with this article, in my not-so-humble opinion that I don’t even know where to start.

Ok I lied – I will start with the tag-line; “French-Canadian dish of … finally finds a home west of Quebec.” Why make it seem like poutine is this new phenomenon in Toronto or anywhere west of Quebec? The ‘tine has been around for a while – albeit in disappointing forms, but all of a sudden some guy opens up a “poutinerie” and it’s like the second coming of Christ.

Secondly, instead of talking about the best places to go, most of the article is about Smoke’s Poutinerie, which, as a follower you would have read, is disappointing at best despite the positive review in the article. You’d think some palms were greased. I’m not insinuating that someone’s palms were greased, I’m just sayin.

Thirdly, Corey Mintz, while disagreeing with the statement indicated that “I’m told Torontonians prefer shredded cheese over curds.” While I respect that the following sentence is “This Torontonian sure doesn’t.” I still can’t help but offer the polite suggestion of getting new sources. No curds means not poutine. Bottom line.

This brings me to my final point of contention: All of the poutines (and I use that term loosely) that were listed, save Smoke’s, are arguably not poutines as a result of it being all bougey with added foie gras or sausages or braised beef. Fries. Curds. Gravy. C’est tous. Point finale.

I just want to take a moment before compelting this entry to mention that I’m not attacking Corey Mintz’s professionalism or integrity with this post. The purpose was to illustrate and express my personal issues as a borderline-obsessed poutine lover. Everyone has their opinions and the right to express them but I really had to take a stand and pick this apart.