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International Foods of NYC: Poutine, the greasy, Canadian staple

Poutine – the ultimate comfort food.

Instead of escaping to the sunny beach, I decided to venture to chilly Montreal during spring break. It is a relaxed city with a very fun nightlife, perfect for students. A Montreal staple is poutine, French fries covered with gravy and topped with cheese curds. The gravy gives the fries a soggy texture and the cheese curds add chewiness. It’s as gluttonous as it sounds.

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Classic Poutine

A common tale about poutine’s origins tells the story of Fernand Lachance who asked for cheese curds on top of his fries, exclaiming how it would be such a mess. He called it a ‘poutine,’ which means mess in French. Gravy was later added to keep the fries warm. Eating poutine is truly a messy process so there definitely is a reason for its name.

‘Frites Alors!’ is a restaurant in Montreal that specializes in poutine, selling the classic along with several different variations. The most popular combination is the ‘Frites Alors!’ special which comes with sautéed onions, peppers, and mushrooms on top of the traditional toppings. It adds flavor to the rather bland mix. However, the lethargic and stuffed feeling that comes after eating poutine is inevitable, no matter what is put on top.

FriteAlors

 

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Frite Alors! Special

New York is the city with all kinds of food so surely there must be places that serve this not-so delicate delicacy. In fact, there are two rather popular Canadian restaurants that both reference the Mile End district of Montreal, the equivalent to New York’s Soho, in their title. Zagat has rated both these restaurants, ‘Mile End,’ located in Noho on Bond Street, and ‘Mile End Delicatessen,’ located in Brooklyn, amongst the best fries in New York City. They are both given very high ratings on Yelp, Google, and Zagat.

Note, while eating poutine, it’s important not to be self-aware. Or else you begin to freak out about the high calories and total lack of nutrients that you’re consuming. Thus, it’s the perfect late night food that warms you and puts you to sleep. I can see why it is such a staple in Quebec given the cold and wintery climate.

 

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