This weekend Poutine Fest trucked into Ottawa. Literally. The event featured over 30 vendors, each of which parked their chip truck in the historic Sparks Street Mall and served up various types of poutine. For those non-Canadians that may be reading this, poutine, in its traditional state, is a simple dish comprised of three ingredients: french fries, cheese curd, and brown gravy. I say "traditional state" because most of the vendors at the festival specialize in unique, and often unusual, takes on the French Canadian delicacy. You want poutine with pulled pork and bacon...no problem. Thai spring roll poutine...got that too. Poutine with chili....yes please. Sounds great, right? Well, it was. I carted my family to the festival, and purchased a poutine passport for $25. The passport came with five tickets, which bought a sample size (8oz) of traditional poutine at any vendor. For any of the fancy poutines, I only had to shell out an extra $1 - $2, depending on the vendor. This was literally the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon, at lunch, with my wife and daughter. My wife is 38 weeks pregnant, so she was down for a bit of poutine. My 18 month daughter, who has been a picky eater lately, was in heaven; apparently, she's good to go when it come to carbs, cheese, and gravy.
In a perfect world, I would've sample all 30+ vendors and been able to offer a true rating for the best poutine at the festival, but I would've suffered from a massive heart attack. Instead, I sampled five vendors and almost fell into a poutine-coma as a result.
Best Traditional Poutine - Big D's Doghouse.
Simple and delicious, with thick, fresh cut fries, flavorful gravy ,and a generous serving of cheese curd.
Best Fancy Poutine - Smoke's Poutinerie.
The pulled pork poutine was fantastic. Juicy pulled pork, in a tangy barbecue sauce served on top of fresh fries, gravy, and cheese curd. Very tasty.
Honourable Mention - Texas Tornado.
I didn't try their poutine because upon seeing this truck, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and just had to get the chili cheese fries. Well worth it. Tasted like home.