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Toronto: Smoke’s Poutinerie

May 14, 2012

My first poutine experience was the equivalent of getting a dirty-water dog on a NYC street corner except that it was a rather large mobile shack across the street from the Canadian parliament inexplicably run by a Vietnamese couple. While it’s probably pretty hard to make fries, cheese curds, and gravy taste bad when the threshold for tastiness is so easy to reach, the gravy had the gloppy quality of powder origins. So the first time I had poutine was decent but not cheer-inducing even though I still texted my brother a photo of it to gloat (poor kid was stuck at home).

Now the second time I had poutine, with my brother present, was in the grungy cool Bloor St. location of Smoke’s Poutinerie, one of several poutine chains in Toronto. I don’t know if Smoke is a real person or not, but he kind of looks like Mo Rocca, or Mo Rocca’s Canadian cousin. There was a big blackboard on one wall that customers were welcome to write on and rock music was playing. I felt cooler just by being inside.

If I recall correctly, we got the standard poutine and then their Montreal poutine with slices of smoked meat and a pickle on top. Although Montreal has a reputation for amazing smoked meat, Smoke’s Montreal poutine didn’t make a big impression – there were very few slices of meat and the pickle was not very strongly flavored. I’m not sure if Montreal-style is mild or if we just had toppings that could not stand up to the sheer warmth and richness of very good cheese curds covered in very good gravy, and a heaping pile of hot fries. Standard poutine is so very satisfying that aggressive toppings are probably needed to break through the default haze of fat and carbs.

If I lived in Toronto, I can see myself getting very fat on poutine meals.

My brother leaves his mark

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