As Canadians far from our homeland, we sometimes get homesick for the creature comforts in the North. In Washington, there are no ketchup chips, or maple-glazed donuts. We even miss snow from time to time. So when we heard a neighborhood bar, Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, was planning to start serving poutine, we were simultaneously excited to get a taste of home and also worried. After all, we have been down this path before …
Before we get to our trepidations, first, for our American friends left in the dark, poutine is a perfect combination of cheese curds, gravy, and fries – best served around 2AM or thereabouts. Its precise origins and history are the subject of some controversy in Quebec, with multiple restaurants claiming to have invented the dish in the 1950s. What is without controversy to Canadians is that it’s both delicious and iconic.
In America, however, finding proper poutine is not easy. While many have tried, few get the combination right. Most frequently, we see restaurants try to pass melted cheese off as cheese curds. Without cheese curds, it is not poutine! Others substitute fries for home fries, add ingredients, or any number of other combinations that all leave our tummies disappointed.
But alas! We try to be good members of our community, and are willing to assist with poutine quality-control when needed. So, we teamed up with our colleagues from the Quebec provincial government for a taste test. Watch Louis Hamann, Director of the Quebec Government Office in Washington, D.C. give his review (spoiler: 4 out 5 maple leaves!).