Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Little Out of the Way

Although there are surely arguments to be made that seeking out the most perfect poutine is a valid full-time pursuit, I have resolved to keep it as a small but vital side project to my main occupation of birthing my next screenplays.

So the good news is, this week I was more productive than poutine-needing. And the bad news is, this week I was more productive than poutine-needing. Because when I got home yesterday after completing a pass on my road map for a full second draft (which you can read more about HERE!), I was suddenly jonesing for my screenplay side dish. 

It was minus 2000 degrees outside, though, so I looked to a poutine place much closer to home. 


3 - A Little Out of the Way Place in Montreal
Poutine "maison" - $6.29 (approx.)


No discernible odour, but on entry, the place made me smile. It felt... homey. The flat screen TV played the audio channel Galaxie Jazz Masters in the background. The placemats were unfortunately not of the Bienvenue Welcome variety, but acceptable in their unpretentiousness. The waitress looked - uncannily - much like me. And while there were some peppers in jars, they were much smaller than the ones other places favour for decoration and here unfortunately they are kept hidden from sight in the fridge. 

No other clients were in the place when I got there. There was a nice young guy in a toque who appeared from the basement - did some dishes and then left. Must have been the end of his shift. Anyway, after that, I was, for all intents and purposes alone in the place. I chose a comfortable spot on one of the two brown leather seats in the place - I noticed (with mild dismay) that its upholstery had started to crack from age and use. 

It's a pretty quiet residential street. A couple young families on one side of the place, an old feisty Romanian woman and her divorced daughter on the other, and large mature trees lining the whole long street that runs south to north. Parking can sometimes be tricky, but the place has one dedicated spot right out front that I was able to use.

Exceptionally here, I have created a separate category to talk about the service. Because it was - well, exceptional. It was like the waitress could read my mind. She knew exactly what I wanted at the very instant I decided I wanted it. Again, uncanny.

Portion: "maison". Served on a mismatched set of what looks like Ikea-inspired dinner ware. The portions were frankly generous - all you could eat, really.

French fried potatoes: Here, the interpretation of the term, French fried potatoes has definitely been taken loosely. While one could argue the main ingredient is potato. And that some form of frying had to have happened to the raw potato. And I was eating them in a predominantly French-speaking neighbourhood. No French fried potato I've ever encountered looked quite like this one. Again though, it was minus 2000 outside so I guess they might have been forced to work with what they had on hand. That said, these French fried potatoes weren't half bad once you got used to the fact they weren't actually French fries.

Sauce: Of the bottled variety. But pleasingly for this prairie girl anyway, full of good homey, hops and barley style flavour. Comfort.

Curds:  I cannot hide behind any pretence of objectivity on the curd question. This, even more than the sauce, or the fry is the hinge on which hangs the pleasure (or not) of poutine. In the case of this little out of the way place, I had FULL CURD CONTROL. And every little raw nugget had the perfect level of squeak and spring. 

Blend: Proportions of potato to curd to sauce was in absolute perfect balance because of the unique Do It Yourself nature of this particular poutine. While it was most definitely a compromise compared to a real poutine, for the particular time, the temperature and my temperament, it was its own version of perfect.

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