Happy Canada Day! Since you’re not likely to find any ice wine to toast with, why not celebrate with a big plate of poutine? Poutine is a Quebec specialty comprised of french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. It is reputed to mean “a big mess.” It is the one Canadian dish Los Angeles chefs have taken into their hearts and made their own.
The Redondo Beach Cafe is owned by two Greek-Canadian brothers. Besides American and Greek dishes, there is a small selection of poutines. Our favorite comes covered with an authentic if salty gravy, giant cheese curds and smoked meat. Smoked meat is a Montreal delicacy – smoked brisket that is similar to pastrami. For Canada Day they are importing Tim Hortons coffee, a selection of beers from Quebec, and whipping up Nanaimo Bars.
If it’s not too late to get a reservation, Animal’s famous oxtail poutine is about as decadent as it gets.Their poutine gravy is rich and complex. First they make a veal stock, then use that to make a Bordelaise, then use that to make a sauce. All that hard work definitely shows. The meat, which braised for hours and hours, is flavorful and falling apart. The minor change to a quality cheddar cheese makes all the difference. It almost seems like they magically worked out a formula so that every single fry had the perfect bite of cheese and meat instead of falling all over the place in a big mess. Let’s give these boys a “Hell, yeah!”
P’tit Soleil in Westwood offers an array of gussied-up poutines averaging from $6.95 to $18.95. Besides the traditional cheese curds, Poutine Celine comes with bolognese sauce, Poutine Christine is drenched in a cognac peppercorn sauce, Poutine Marat is covered with filet mignon, mushrooms, and a cognac cream sauce. Try these specialties, or one of the many other variations. They also serve “Canadian” cocktails.
You can find vegan poutine at Mohawk Bend, a vegan-friendly hipster spot on Sunset in Echo Park. The owners of Tony’s Darts Away, a haven of vegan sausages opened Mohawk Bend to rave reviews. They hired an amazing chef who makes the best gravy I have ever eaten. It turns out it is also vegan. They just pour it over some fries, add some vegan cheese, and you are ready to rock.