While in Montreal recently, as per the last post, we were on a bit of a food odyssey, determined to fulfill some of our outstanding hunts for certain dishes/flavours. After having stuffed ourselves on some delicious pizzas at Il Focolaio (recommended!) we headed back to the hotel and started to watch the Leafs (presented without further comment) and after putting on comfortable pants, decided that it was the time to stalk some poutine. Coats back on, out of the hotel we walked… and walked… and walked… who on earth knew it would be so damn hard to find obvious poutine in downtown Montreal????
I’m not sure if I am exaggerating, but I believe we had gone up and down each street over the course of half an hour with no luck. Ready to give up, I said let’s go down this last street and if nothing, we go back empty handed. Lo and behold, turned the corner and there was one of the new-ish Smoke’s Poutineries, a recognizable beacon that was also on our list to try (after first seeing it on Eat St.) Our intention was to have a more local experience, but we had lost the will to continue searching, and here was a chance to cross another place off the list. In we went.
The long list of choices on the menu was mesmerizing and tough to narrow down, but we settled on the double pulled pork (that’s pork and smoked bacon) and a traditional. The service was very friendly and fast, the portions were big, no skimping and the prices were reasonable. Off we set, back to the hotel, with our heavy and aromatic cargo.
We opened the containers, looked delicious! Took requisite pictures of course, then proceeded to dig in, sampling bits of both flavours. Annnnd, welllll, it was okay… after all it is fries, gravy, cheese, pork! But it wasn’t wow. We agreed the fries maybe had too much skin still on them, a little too hard, and that’s what we ultimately pegged as the problem. Thumbs up though for the squeeky curds! We polished off the toppings and left the rest, then fell into an immediate food coma. Couldn’t even finish the little glasses of wine we had poured, but the $3.50 hotel fridge Perriers were very welcome before the blackness set in.
Now cut to the next day, where after some shawarma and garlic potatoes, we made a very long trek to Moe’s Diner on Lambert for a different kind of poutine experience, as recommended by resident Montreal kiddo. Moe’s is the ultimate hole in the wall and not for the clean obsessed or germaphobes. We ordered one poutine and after a brief wait, we received a paper bag with the old school metal takeout container with the cardboard lid. Perfect!
It was time to set off for home. The poutine beckoning from the back seat. At the first stop for gas etc. about 45 mins or so into the trip, the pull to devour was too strong to resist. Container ripped open and forks in hand, we ate the soft, squishy, gooey contents and felt the satisfaction of the craving that had not been squelched the night before. What Moe’s lacked in appearance in every way (except the container of course) it made up for in the taste that we were looking for in a poutine. Moe’s was the clear winner! Even the kiddo was scarfing at an unusual rate of speed. Now you know: the cheese stands alone at Smokes, so you’re gonna want some Moe!