The other day I got maybe the greatest invitation you can ever really get – a chance to come try out a new poutine bar.
The fabulous Chef Jonny Royal of Diversity Foods at the U of W just announced on twitter the other day that their Pangea cafeteria on has added a poutine bar to the lineup every Friday, and invited me down to try one with all the fixings. How can you say no to that? I can’t! So Friday I was down to test drive the new menu.
First, come hungry if you’re getting the poutine – the portions are absolutely enormous. The fries are deliciously crispy with skin still on – my favourite – but what’s really cool about the menu is the toppings you can choose. Take a classic and add on sundried tomatoes, pickled shitake mushrooms (my choice), artichoke, bacon, chorizo, duck confit or swap out your cheese for a gouda or a crumbly feta.
Diversity isn’t alone in this new take on poutine downtown – our heart-stopping options have expanded amazingly in the past few years. There’s Smoke’s of course, with their Montreal, curry, and perogy versions, but there’s a lot more. With a fabulous poutine-themed post, the Savour Winnipeg blog pointed out that there are plenty more downtown restaurants that are taking things way beyond traditional cheese curds and gravy. Some of his top picks:
- Rudy’s Eat and Drink – Lobster and bacon poutine
- White Star Diner – Bluetine, aka poutine with blue cheese
- Peasant Cookery – Oka cheese poutine, with an optional upgrade to chicken confit
- Lobby on York – Chicken liver poutine with pear and cambozola cheese and crispy onions
- I’ll add one more that wasn`t on his list – Dessert Sinsations has two amazing versions, a classic poutine that mixes of regular and sweet potato fries (link) with a mushroom gravy option for the vegetarians, and a lobster poutine with dill hollandaise – yum!
Want Chef Jonny`s version? Pangea is in Riddell Hall at the University of Winnipeg – it’s part of the university, but open to all.