Les poutineurs de Montréal

Despite my professed intentions, another spin-off posting from the 31st motss.con in Montréal a week ago. All about poutine, specifically about poutine fans — poutineurs — and about one of poutine’s three crucial ingredients, cheese curds, especially the highly valued quality of their squeakiness.

(#1) Personal Facebook page of a poutine fan

Background. Previous motss.con-related postings on this blog:

on 8/3 “The rainbow pillars of Montréal”

on 8/8 “The Gay Village, Swiss Chalet, poutine” (the food-related posting)

on 8/9 “Dix-huit nuances de gai”

Con events stretched over five days, including a elaborate foodie dinner (at Restaurant Europea, 1227 Rue de la Montagne) on Thursday night and a stragglers’ breakfast (at Cora, 1017 Rue Sainte-Catherine E.) on Monday morning, but the con proper was just 3 days long. Among the scheduled events was one specifically poutine-related: Sunday dinner at Poutine La Banquise, 994 Rue Rachel E. [Correction: though Poutine La Banquise was listed on the original schedule, this dinner was shifted to the Poutineville at 1365 Ontario E. — Poutineville was covered in my previous poutine posting.]

Then an exchange on the closed Facebook group for the con:

D admitted to having had only one poutine, at Dilallo (outside the official schedule)

S: asked if the cheese was squeaky (cooking the curds at low temperature to make them set, then draining them, produces squeaky rather than squishy curds)

D: no, “curdy”. “Maybe the squeakiness was concealed by the gravy.”

S: “poutine with the squeaky cheese is the real thing.”

C: “Of the five poutine I had in Montreal, only one, at Le Resto du Village, had squeaky curds.”

AZ to C: “Does 5 make you M. Poutine for the con?” (It is, after all, one a day, taking the con period to cover Thursday through Monday. I was reminded of an academic meeting long ago in New Orleans, where I had 7 or 8 gumbos in a similar period — but them I’m a gumboiste.)

Here poutine, there poutine, everywhere poutine. The rule in Montréal seems to be: any place that’s non-fancy (so: not the Europea) and non-ethnic (so: not a sushi restaurant and not a dim sum restaurant, both of which were on the con program) will offer poutine, of some sort. In addition to the places in my 8/8 posting:

Dilallo burger restaurants, 4 in the Montréal area. I’m not sure which one D went to, but the original location (2851 Rue Allard), offering Canadian-beef burgers on steamed buns, also offers its “fameuses poutines”. The menu from its 2523 Notre-Dame St W. location:

(#2) Note Canadian pogo ‘corn dog’ (in both English and French)

Le Resto du Village, 1310, rue Wolfe (open 24/7), something of a Gay Village institution, where C found truly squeaky curds. From the menu:

(#3) More pogo as well as poutines

Poutine La Banquise:

(#4) From their website, illustrating the poutine Rule of Three; the menu ranges far and wide over ways to play with poutine

For Monday breakfast, Cora (over 130 franchised restaurants), specializing in breakfasts (they close at 3 pm):

(#5) “Breakfast poutine [think of it as a deranged poutine Benedict]: potatoes, cheese curds, frankfurters, bacon, caramelized onions and red peppers, topped with an egg and delicious hollandaise sauce” (some con participants were alarmed by the fried egg, and by the substitution of hollandaise sauce for beef gravy)

A common variant, mentioned in my previous poutine posting, is a Mexican or taco version, essentially poutines nachos, or nacho poutine. Ethnic fusion! To go along with the sh(a)warma poutine in that posting (Israeli street poutine!). And pizza poutine and mac ‘n’ cheese poutine. No doubt you can get jambalaya poutine somewhere in Montréal.

[Note of recognition: to the organizers of the motss.con, Robert Coren, John Gintell, Bitty Ramirez, and Arthur Prokosch. Arranging accommodations and events and herding motssers is a lot of work.]

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