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Photo: bill_comstock on Flickr

Poutine: One regional genius dish with a million delicious variations. Originating in Quebec as a diner staple, poutine translates as “mess.” And when was the last time you ate something messy and covered in cheese, gravy or otherwise delicious sauce (or in this case both) that didn’t inspire some serious food love?

The classic version involves three simple, delicious components (AKA: You can make it): Fries, gravy and cheese curds. What are cheese curds? The bouncy, salty, delicious by-products of cheesemaking that taste just like their finished product counterpart, but with a built-in party trick. The air trapped in the curds escapes with a balloon-on-balloon-like squeaking noise when bitten into. Any cheese enthusiast who hasn’t tried fresh curds should locate and consume this rare treat ASAP. Poutine would cease to exist without it.

Some of our favorites? The good men at Animal in Los Angeles add a heaping ladleful of rich, meaty oxtail gravy to crispy fries and smother the whole business in shreds of tongue-itchingly sharp white cheddar. Famed NYC eatery Shopsin’s (whose menu spans about 15 pages) composed a version of this Canadian poetry on a plate featuring the built-in gravy of three runny poached eggs. We’re honestly shocked that this ode to fried potatoes hasn’t taken off in a national frenzy of McPoutine, ultimate bacon poutine and deep-fried poutine on a stick. Maybe you can do our nation a favor and spread the good word.


What’s your favorite version or variation on poutine? Ever make it yourself? Speak up in the comments.