Video producer Jarrett Bellini covers comedy for CNN. He has a really lustrous red beard.
I'm still not exactly sure how it's pronounced.
It's either POO-teen or PUT-sin. Or it could also be something completely different. I generally don't get things.
But however you say it, poutine is going to slowly (and deliciously) kill Canadians one at a time in a long nationwide drum circle of exploding aortas.
Trust me. It will happen eventually...and it'll totally be worth it!
I first discovered this traditional Quebecois cuisine while I was on assignment at the world famous Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. (City motto: "Come for the full contact nudie bars, but stay for the full contact nudie bars.")
There, in that wonderful and vibrant worldly metropolis, everybody kept telling me: "You have to try some poutine." "You positively must eat some poutine." "Le le ble deux we we voo ble deux Poutine ble ble."
That last one was almost French and I made it up. But Google Translate thinks it means: "On the two weekends we voo ble ble ble ble two Putin."
So, when I finally had a free night to try some of the local fare, I summoned the help of a local expert. His name is Mike Paterson, and his website describes him as a comedian, musician, and wrestler. Clearly, if there is someone who knows a thing or two about late night French fries, it's going to be Mike.
And if you need further validation of his credentials, consider that Mike has one of the most epic mullets in all of North America.
Actually, I’m not sure why that matters. But it is amazing!
After Mike's stand-up gig at the Comedy Nest we ventured off to a 24-hour restaurant called La Banquise. He said it was famous for its poutine – the very best in town. It was also right next to his house, so it's entirely possible he just wanted a free ride home from the club. However, the never-ending flood of customers convinced me that it was most definitely both.
At its core, poutine is simply a plate of French fries topped with cheese curd and gravy. Full stop. However, once you get the basics, the possibilities are limitless.
Mike is a vegetarian. So, naturally, his poutine came topped with sadness and boredom. Mine, on the other hand, came loaded with bacon, pork, hot dogs, and various other pieces of things that used to breathe and poop. It was called the T-Rex, but it tasted nothing like dinosaur. Seriously. I've eaten dinosaur. I'm very rich and well-connected. We have our ways.
Now, as I said, the core of poutine is simply French fries, cheese curd, and gravy. And I'm guessing that alone comes in at a caloric payload of, let's say, an entire jar of Crisco. Without any add-ons, you'll definitely still sweat grease for a week. And with the toppings... you've pretty much disqualified yourself from a life insurance policy.
But again - totally worth it.
Look, you shouldn’t eat poutine every day. It's drunk food, and when you've been out on the town pounding back beers the last thing you want is a side salad. You want starch and fryer grease. And if you're in Quebec, you want it topped with cheese curd and gravy.
I mean, of course, that's what you all want. But not me. I'm distinguished and wealthy beyond compare.
I eat dinosaur.