All week we've been impresed by the commitment of local restaurateurs to supporting local farmers and wine makers.
Gentrification has taken its toll, however, at Canoe Brewpub, where exec sous chef Chris Anderson has applied the city's culinary correctness to that staple of late-night Canadian bar food, poutine. Sure, my friend, go ahead and replace those squeaky cheese curds from Quebec with a shredded raclette from Little Qualicum because it melts better and has a deeper, nuttier flavor. Go ahead and replace canned beef gravy with a reduction of your own brewery's Beaver Brown Ale, local red wine, and house-made demi-glace so you get a richer, more complex flavor.
Good thing you're still using Kennebec spuds, chef, but you've tinkered with an icon. You want raclette, go to Switzerland. You want house-made demi, go to Brasserie l'Ecole. Poutine isn't supposed to be a gourmet dinner, sacrebleu! It's how you wind up a heavy night on the town, something to absorb all that alcohol, eh?
But nostalgia ain't what it used to be; all over Canada, poutine is going upscale. Just read Überfoodie Calvin Trillin's essay in The New Yorker (or listen to the podcast). It turns out Canoe's gourmet poutine--the kitchen's riff on the blank canvas of Canada's national dish--is the perfect conclusion to a week of fancy eating and high living after all.
PS: Thanks again to Tourism Victoria, to the hotels who put us up and put up with us (Inn at Laurel Point, Oswego, Parkside, Rialto) and to all the restaurateurs we've mentioned in these posts, for making this trip possible. Special thanks to Jacqueline Pruner, who blogs as Heed the Hedonist, for inviting Cornichon along on this trip. A votre santé!Posted by Ronald Holden at December 7, 2009 10:00 AM | TrackBack
The International Kitchen
Cooking school vacations in Italy, France & Spain.