Canada – Unsuspecting Victim

Legend of Poutine

As we continue our trek across Canada’s often frozen tundra, we discover another of the country’s greatest products: poutine. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it basically means fries with gravy and cheese curds, but it can also be so much more. Let’s take a look at Canada’s cultural cuisine.

Poutine Heart Attacks

As with most things that earn a cult status and become famous, there are many that claim to have created the dish. A number of French Canadian cities also assert that they are the home of poutine’s invention. Drummondville, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Victoriaville, and Warwick each have ponies in this race.

It is commonly believed that poutine earned its name (which is French slang for “a mess”) when a trucker asked cook Fernand Lachance to add cheese curds to his fries in the 1950’s.

You can really make anything with the poutine base of fries and curds. Butter chicken, ribs, ground beef, pulled pork, and most other meats can be used in recipes. There are also Greek and Italian poutines which include Greek salad and gyro meat and Bolognese sauce and Italian sausage, respectively.

Chef Chuck Hughes even won an episode of Iron Chef America with an offering of lobster poutine, which sounds so amazingly fantastic. Not so fantastic (to the Sip Advisor, at least) are recipes which include foie gras, caviar, and truffles. I’d still give them a shot, though and probably end up eating crow.

Despite its wonderful taste, one major downside of poutine is its high-caloric value. Servings can range from 750-1,500 calories depending on how many ingredients are thrown on top of the base.

calories-poutine

A number of fast food joints have also jumped aboard the literal gravy train. New York Fries, KFC, Burger King, Dairy Queen, A&W, Wendy’s, and even McDonald’s, known for their world famous skinny fries, have got in on the poutine act. A number of poutine specific restaurants have also began popping up across Canada. In a small area of downtown Vancouver, you can find La Belle Patate, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Mean Poutine, and others.

My favourite rendition of the meal is available at my local watering hole, Jimmy’s Taphouse. It’s not an elaborate serving of the delicacy, but what pushes it over the edge is the chipotle drizzle they put over the fries, giving it a bit of spice. The menu item is also on the bar’s half price happy hour menu, which makes it all the more amazing.

Jones Soda released a poutine-flavoured beverage for a limited time in 2013, which was met with mostly harsh reviews. Still, I wish I could track it down and use it in a drink recipe. If you have a bottle lying around, donations to The Sip Advisor are always accepted and like a church offering plate are strongly encouraged!

Some close family members of poutine include Disco Fries (using mozza cheese and served in New Jersey and New York since the 1970’s), Chili Cheese Fries, and In-N-Out Burger’s Animal Fries (with cheese, onions, and secret sauce).

All this talk of poutine has worked up quite an appetite for me, so we’ll close with a note on perhaps the most famous moment for the popular dish. For Rick Mercer’s satirical ‘Talking to Americans’ segment on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, during the 2000 U.S. election, Mercer told George W. Bush that Prime Minister Jean Poutine had endorsed him. The actual Canadian PM at the time was Jean Chretien, but not a single interviewee picked up on the discrepancy. When President Bush made his first trip to Canada, he joked that he wanted to thank Mr. Poutine for the endorsement, finally clued in to the gag.

Canada: Unsuspecting Victim

Unsuspecting Victim Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Pineapple Juice and Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wheels

This is one of the few things we can thank the French for… that and an endless number of liquor options. Please share your favourite poutine recipe, fact, or story. Then go get yourself some of Canada’s finest gastronomic delight!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Well, my little sippers, it happened again. I ended up with some Pineapple Juice that had gone bad and came out as clumpy as some poutine gravies. Luckily, I had some Pineapple Soda still lying around and it added a very nice touch to the drink. The always reliable (aren’t all Canadian items!) Crown Royal Whiskey tasted really good combined with the Chambord and Amaretto and everything mixed together made for an excellent cocktail.

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February 22 – Blue Lagoon Margarita

National Margarita Day

Margarita, margarita, there ain’t nothin’ sweeter… that, my little sippers, is the little tune I sing whenever I’m having a margarita. And today is a holy day for those who love their tequila and triple sec (TNT) based drinks! To celebrate in my own way, I made a Blue Lagoon Margarita.

Margarita Day

Blue Lagoon (no relation to the cocktail) is a 1980 movie that is largely remembered for featuring a young Brooke Shields parading naked around a deserted island – although a body double was used in most scenes and Shields’ hair was glued to her breasts in others, but I digress – and that got me thinking about (among other more titular things) what I would want to have with me if I was stranded alone on an island.

Reading Material:

Well, there’s one fork in the road this can go down… I mean, you are all alone with no human contact for the foreseeable future. Porn may be the best choice here, however, here at The Sip, I like to think we are of average intelligence and class and therefore I will actually bring books with me (Mrs. Sip would be so proud). I would probably pack a collection of the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader entries as these books are massive and full of thousands of interesting tidbits. Once you read them all, you could go back to the start and scan them over again, filling your head with so much trivia (aka useless knowledge) and nobody to share it with. If you were ever rescued, you could then go on Jeopardy and place second… gotta be careful with those daily doubles.

Watchables:

Obviously you can’t pack up your entire DVD collection for this trip and while resorting to a laptop filled with illegally downloaded movies and TV shows (again my legal counsel has forced me to state that the Sip Advisor does not endorse the illegal downloading of copyright material) would be the super-geek thing to do, you also have to consider the fact that there would be no outlets to charge your battery. Therefore, with a portable DVD player and an eight-hour battery I’m going to narrow my choices down to three movies: Slap Shot, Dumb & Dumber and Anchorman. The jury has spoken.

Tunes:

We are accustomed to going everywhere we travel with the ability to listen to our own music, creating a playlist for your entire life. On the island, though, you’d be limited to your one charge of battery, just like the DVD player. Would you use it all up in one epic jam, or would you spread the songs out over an extended period of time? I’d probably try to make everything seem like a montage and kill the battery in a matter of hours. I’m not very good with the long-term planning.

Island DVD & IPOD

Food & Drink:

My main concern here is how difficult it would be for me to create my own alcohol (and ice… warm drinks suck). Providing the island has lush amounts of fruits, I may be able to make my own flavoured concoctions. Maybe I would luck out and there would be a hidden stash of rum on the island like the one Captain Jack Sparrow was abandoned on.

As far as munchies go, a lifetime supply of potato chips would be great. Any flavor will do, except for any of those god-awful country-specific special flavours like Lamb & Mint (UK) or Vegemite (Australia). For the sweet tooth, any collection of chocolate should suffice. As for real food, who needs it? If no one is around to see how gross and out-of-shape you’re getting, does it really matter? And do you really want to max out your life expectancy on a deserted island?

Miscellaneous:

Oh, let’s see… the ability to harness electricity would surely help… you know, the usual stuff.

Comforts:

I think a pet is necessary when stranded. If I can’t have some sort of monkey sent to help me out, than a cat will do the trick. Anything to rid the island of all bird species, who provide nothing meaningful to my existence. Stupid poop machines.

Finally, if I could swing it, I’d have Mrs. Sip sent to the island to join me (kicking and screaming!). Then I’d impose the Brooke Shields rule into action and without a body double to do all the heavy lifting, you could finally call the place paradise!

Drink #53: Blue Lagoon Margarita

Blue Lagoon Margarita

  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Top with Pineapple Juice/Soda
  • Garnish with Orange Slice

Everyone has their own idea of what they would bring to a deserted island. What would help you survive the lonely exile?

Make sure to have your daily does of vitamin-M (margarita) today and party like it’s 2013!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I was disappointed with this recipe. Perhaps it’s because I used Pineapple Soda, instead of juice, which drastically changed the drink’s taste to a more fizzy one.