I’ve always had a thing for poutine. It’s irresistible. It’s beautiful. It’s good for the body, the spirit and the mind. An impossibly simple dish and yet, every poutine is a unique adventure. More so than a box of chocolates, Forest.
So when I walked down Sparks St. towards the smell of cheesy gravy fries I was beside myself with excitement. Compress every single Christmas eve you waited up all night to see what Santa had in store for you into a single city block and you can begin to understand my anticipation for this event.
If I went on a date with Katy Perry I’d take her for poutine. If I met the president of the United States I’d discuss geopolitical issues over a poutine brunch. If I went back in time to the Jurassic period I’d offer poutine to a T-Rex as a sign of friendship.
Jesus didn’t teach a man how to fish, he taught a man how to combine fries, squeaky cheese curds and thick dark gravy into one magnificent dish. Poutine, my dear friends, is the key to eternal happiness.
There are no circumstances under which I would not integrate poutine into my daily life.
Why then, did I go to a Poutine Festival and not get any poutine?
Well, even I, the world’s biggest poutine fan realized the insanity of waiting in line for 3 hours for what amounted to the very same thing you could get by walking halfway down any city block on any day of the year.
Sparks st is home to a lot of great food festivals throughout the year, but Poutine Fest is not one of them. Nothing more than a pointless cash grab by a bunch of local food trucks, it saddened me deeply.
Ribfest, for example, has a real sense of occasion. Award winning vendors visit Ottawa just once a year and take great pride in their pork slaughtering craft. Racks of ribs are slathered in barbecue sauce over giant fire pits as you await your prize. There’s real tangible excitement throughout the event, making the long lines worth the wait.
At Poutine Fest there’s a dude in a chip truck deep frying frozen potatoes.
When people talk about Canada they speak of its vast landscape, our wonderful city mayors, hockey and Celine Dion. But most of all, they talk about our exquisite exotic food. They talk about our poutine.
We don’t need a poutine festival. We are a poutine festival.
Written and Photographed by Steffi