Calgary Poutine Crawl 2015

Someone needs to start a YYC Salad Week. Seriously. Now that poutine week has come & gone, my pants fit a little tighter & I’ve been craving vegetables. We tasted some delicious poutines though so I think it’s a fair trade off. I tried to implement my own personal salad week last week to balance things out. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately?) it was Alberta Burger Fest. I spent far too much time ogling the delicious entries & gave in to Eats of Asia yesterday. The things I do for charity, right? (ha!)

This year I scored tickets to the Poutine Crawl again, taking place on the final day of Poutine Week. I wasn’t about to attempt much more than that (I’m no Kyle MacQuarrie – He ate 36 poutines over the course of 7 days!), however we did warm-up earlier in the week with Anju‘s Poutine for your Seoul. I’m always impressed with Roy Oh’s creativity & this poutine was no exception. It combined Kabayaki gravy with Kennebec fries, gochugaru salt, soft tofu, cheese curds, & dehydrated kimchi. The entire dish was a hit, but the gravy stood out as one of the best I’ve ever had. Well played, Anju.

Come Saturday, our little group met the rest of the Poutine Crawlers at Below Deck Tavern. We quickly ordered a few drinks as we waited for the event to begin. I went with a caesar since it felt a bit early for beer. Below Deck’s poutine was an East Coast Donair Poutine. The fries were perfectly crispy & flavourful,  the curds squeaky, & the donair sauce was an unusual, but delicious addition. I found myself wishing there were more curds & meat, but overall it was a great start to our crawl.

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We didn’t have to crawl too far for our second poutine. We found ourselves across the street at Mango Shiva for our next poutine. I’ve been meaning to visit this beautifully decorated Indian restaurant for a while & I know I’ll definitely be back after tasting their delicious curry. Their poutine was a Rogan Josh lamb curry with cilantro, cheese, tomatoes, & fries. The flavour in the curry was unreal. I will absolutely be back to try more of their curries after that! Unfortunately, we thought the fries could have been a bit crispier & found ourselves wishing it was paired with naan or rice instead. I guess it wouldn’t have really been a poutine then, though!

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Full of delicious Indian spices, we wandered down Stephen Avenue to City Hall, where the Joey’s Double Decker Diner awaited. We lined up at the window for our enormous Greek Poutine. This thing was seriously huge, & full of amazing ingredients. Fries, gravy, tomatoes, tzatziki, cucumber, feta, & chicken may seem like an odd combination, but we all loved it. Imagine poutine topped with greek salad & tzatziki. Delicious!

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Charcut has long held the title for my favourite poutine in the city so I was very excited to see it on the list. We arrived a bit earlier than expected – it was a bit chilly to continue hanging out outside the Joey’s bus. After three poutines, we welcomed the little break, & their delicious beer selection kept us occupied.

Before too long, they made the rounds with their contribution. Their take saw crispy fries topped with squeaky curds, a light gravy, & truffle oil. When used sparingly, truffle oil can take a dish to the next level, & this was certainly the case here. This was my favourite poutine of the day, & to top it all off, we chatted with one of the chef’s, Connie DeSousa. It was great to meet her & hear a little bit about their choice of flavours & ingredients.

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We’d reached the fifth stop on our crawl & we were stuffed. I was ready for a break…& maybe a nap. But the Poutine Crawl soldiered on; it’s not for the faint of heart. Swine & Sow served up a fondue poutine. It consisted of house-cured ham, swiss fondue sauce, crisped pancetta, & a cabernet reduction. The flavours here were incredible, & incredibly rich. I could barely finish this poutine despite thoroughly enjoying the flavours.

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Our last stop was Black Betty. By this point, we’d had a few beers & were understandably full. A few of us decided to try out their cocktails, on the recommendation of one of the guys. They had some unique options. The poutine itself was also interesting. The fries seemed to be battered & it reminded me a little bit of fried chicken. It wasn’t my favourite, but I was pretty full at that point & more interested in the upcoming Flames game.

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Once again, the Poutine Crawl was a great event. Thank you to Karen Richards for organizing it again this year – it’s pretty incredible to have an event sell out when you can only buy tickets if you purchase a mealshare item & post it to Facebook.

The votes were tallied the next day & Charcut came out on top. A well-deserved win, if you ask me!

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