This Exists: Poutine Burger

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It pretty much had to happen.

We’ve seen poutine potato skins, poutine tater tots and poutine just about everything. A few years ago it was just an obscure French-Canadian specialty, but now it’s America’s favorite over-the-top comfort food.

And now, Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Austin is serving a burger topped with a full serving of poutine: French fries, gravy, cheddar cheese (although apparently, NOT authentic curds) and for good runny measure, a fried egg too.

Take that, Canada. Anything you can do, we can do unhealthier.

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How to Cook Poutine, Quebec’s Famous Dish

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An emblematic French Canadian meal, poutine was invented in the mid 1950s in rural Quebec–and no one agrees on who, exactly, came up with it first. But  one thing’s for sure: poutine is delicious. Here are tips on how to properly cook it at home.

First things first: What is poutine?

Poutine got more popular in the last few years, thanks to chefs such as Brian Henry and Martin Picard, who started treating it like the delicacy it truly is and brought it to a broader audience.  Poutine is quite simple and humble, and is just the assemblage of three ingredients: French fries and fresh cheese curds, topped with a thick, hot, tasty brown sauce. Voilà.

Cooking Poutine: The Fries

Ideally, you would pick Idaho or Russet potatoes: their taste and texture suits the poutine best. Cut them according to your preferences: I, for one, prefer small, crispy julienne fries, so I cut my potatoes in little sticks no larger than ¼ of an inch. But larger fries are good too. Fry your potato sticks in peanut oil until done.

The Cheese

Now this is a tricky one, for good cheese is key to great poutine. And cheese curds, for some reason, are not easy to find, depending on where you live. Here, in Quebec, you find them in almost every corner store, wrapped in little plastic bags. But elsewhere in Canada, it is not necessarily the case, and it is even worse in the States. Ask at your local cheese factory for information on where to get a hand on fresh cheese curds. Or, if you are up for it, you can even make your own.

In order to have the best poutine possible, the cheese online casino curds have to be extra fresh. How can you tell a fresh curds from a not-so-fresh one? A fresh one is looks kind of oily and squeaks notably when you chew it.

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Endless Road Trip Seattle: Clucking Great Fried Chicken

Most people think of salmon as Seattle’s prime protein, and while it’s true that seafood is a Northwest mainstay, this city can cook up some fried meat just as well as any southern hotspot. Thanks to Oprah, Seattle has been lauded for Ezell’s chicken, but I have a different go-to for fried bird: Skillet Diner in Capitol Hill. Famous for their cult hit bacon jam, Skillet started out as a small food trailer that became so popular they were able to afford a brick-and-mortar place in Capitol Hill; prime real estate.

Skillet’s burger and grilled cheese are amazing, but to me, nothing beats their fowl. I’m most fond of the fried chicken sandwich on fresh potato bread with pickled and charred jalapeño aioli and kale. It’s served with another Skillet signature, their ridiculous poutine, a giant pile of fries smothered in a gratuitous amount of herbed cheddar sauce:

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The Endless Road Trip — San Diego’s Top 10 Eats: 8. Endless Porker

I am normally extremely skeptical of any Mexican food that is billed as high-end, farm-table, or just generally cooked by white people. It’s not that Mexican food can’t be creative or fancy, it’s just that in my experience I have found “modern Mexican” to generally mean smaller tacos, higher prices, and less flavor than the taco trucks (and of course — the dreaded no free chips and salsa).

So of course I was hesitant when I head that San Diego’s hot taco spot of the moment is Carnitas Snack Shack, a new venture from Chef Hanis Cavinserves (red alert – chef!) that serves slow food-inspired, pork-centric American cuisine, snacks and locally sourced craft beers. But then again, I’ve never turned down any meal described as pork-centric. I’m almost embarrassed to report that this was the best taco I ate in California.  Slow-cooked salmon creek farm pork carnitas are layered on fresh, hearty homemade tortillas and topped with a vividly green mound of guacamole. The crispy-on-the-edges, melty on the insides strands of pork are like a weird, amazing fusion of southern BBQ and traditional Mexican. Fine, maybe Mexican food is allowed to get inventive after all.

But that was only the begining of a pork party that would know no bounds…

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Super Snacks: Poutine Potato Skins

At Endless Simmer we’re a little obsessed with all thing poutine. We eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We haven’t figured out how to turn it into a dessert just yet (any ideas??) but breaking news…we now have poutine as a handheld appetizer.

The idea for poutine potato skins came when I saw that Mile End — the champion of our tour de poutine — was offering these as a take-out Super Bowl snack. I made my version for Super Sunday as well, but I’m pretty sure they make sense for March Madness, too. Or St. Patrick’s Day. Or Easter Sunday. Or a random Monday morning.

These aren’t actually so different from regular potato skins; you’ve just got to pair the spuds with gravy and cheese curds, the other two elements of the holy trinity that make up poutine. The biggest hurdle, of course, is finding fresh cheese curds. In New York, I tracked them down at Saxelby Cheesemongers. For the gravy, I decided to go a little more American than the dark gravy usually found on Montreal poutine, and went with a white bacon gravy. Since I had to cook up bacon strips to produce that gravy, in the end I crumbled them up and added that to the top of the skins as well, because…yeah, I don’t have to explain myself there.

Poutine Potato Skins

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Top 10 New Foods of 2011

Another year gone by, another chance to look back fondly at the thousands of things we stuffed our faces with in 2011. After much internal debate, we’ve narrowed it down to just 10 — the very best new things we shoved in our mouths in 2011.

10. Tater Tot Poutine

Montreal’s greasiest, gravy-iest contribution to the food world, poutine officially became a trend back in 2010. It got even more amazing this year when chef Kyle Bailey of D.C.’s ChurchKey had the ingenious idea to replace the french fries with tater tots.

9. Kouign Amann

We first discovered this over-the-top traditional pastry, which is something like a croissant with twice as much butter and sugar, on a trip to Brittany, France this summer. Returning home, we were pleased to find it blowing up in the states. The best version we’ve tasted to far is the one above, from Starter Bakery in Oakland. It has also popped up at Dominique Ansel in New York and Bouchon Bakery in L.A.

8. Nouveau Filipino

Filipino food is among the most far-out in the world, so it was only a matter of time before it got a hipster update. From Adobo Hobo’s Filipino tacos in San Francisco to Maharlika’s spicy arroz caldo in New York (above), we’ll take all the creative Filipino cuisine we can get.

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