Trust me, my absence was not due to a lack of poutine related things to discuss because there's a great deal of poutine news to share. First of all, I have two poutines to review here; second, I extended my search for poutine outside of Canada; and finally, I discovered some more unusual poutine flavours.
I'll start with Costco. The poutine purists out there will likely disagree with my evaluation, but it gets a .7/1 or 70%. The reason why I score it so high is, quite frankly, it is what it is - poutine from Costco. Therefore, in terms of expectations and value (a rather large serving of poutine costs $4.29) it gets superb marks. Also, it helps that they aren't shy with the curds. Where they get dinged is the use of frozen French fries and the gravy isn't fantastic. But like I mentioned earlier, it is what it is - poutine from Costco. If your planning supper at Costco, I recommend the poutine. It'll fill your gut and leave you with some money in your wallet.
My next poutine experience was the chicken poutine at St. Hubert. It didn't score as highly as Costco. The chicken topping was enjoyable, but I'd expect that from chicken rotisserie restaurant. What really dragged the score down was the amount of curds, low value for money, and the French fries. The gravy, I enjoy, but it's probably not for everyone. Ive heard that it is a mixture of their chicken sandwich gravy and their barbecue sauce. The gravy makes it quite unique and so, if you're looking for something different, it's worthwhile.
My international quest for poutines starts in a culinary wasteland. My internet searches revealed a website called Notes From The Culinary Wasteland, where the blog author describes a trip to Regina where he had the misfortune of trying a poutine at the airport cafeteria. Imagine. Poutine at an airport cafeteria in Regina. One important note the blogger makes is that "if the potatoes aren’t real and properly cooked, the whole deal isn’t worth the calories." Good point.
On a side note, some people may notice that the blogger is former L.A. Law star Michael Tucker, who apart from still being an actor is now a food connoisseur.
Afterwards, I visited a place where wasteland would be considered a step up - New Jersey. Lucky for me, Manhattan is nearby. Spotting a few Tim Hortons around, along with the great variety of foods one can only find in New York City, I thought I could possibly come across a poutine or something similar. I wasn't that lucky. I didn't even have time to see the Statue of Liberty, so I don't feel bad about not finding a needle in a hay stack. But who knows? As Douglas Coupland wrote in 2002 on the subject of poutines in his book Souvenir of Canada, "Western Canada, which was once thought to be poutine-proof, is now coming to embrace the dish. Next stop: the world."
While my search outside Canada has not turned up anything yet, I have been informed of something called a Portuguese poutine. Not sure whether or not it hails from Portugal or just contains some Portuguese elements that are then added to a traditional poutine.
And this brings up my next subject.
A couple of months ago, some good neighbours of mine visited Quebec and snapped a picture of a restaurant menu. A whole page was devoted to the poutine. One such dish was simply called Le Sexy Poutine, or something similar to that. Curious, I Googled "le sexy poutine" and actually found a recipe for Sexy Poutine which, by reading the ingredient list, calling it rich would be like referring to a billionaire as simply well off. If you're interested, check it out here.
Also from Quebec is something I discovered on Facebook: the Ice Cream Poutine. It's not actually made out of French fries nor does it taste like poutine ... at least I hope not. It appears to be a sundae shaped into a poutine along with chocolate covered wafer cookies in the place of fries. Maybe something to enjoy after finishing off a real poutine, eh?
I know this blog is longer than others I've written. Hopefully you stuck it out until the end. I'll try not to wait so long before writing again.
Anyhow, as usual, may your curds stay squeaky. And keep me informed of your own poutine adventures.