Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year's. Ours was pretty mellow but very nice. It was extremely snowy and windy in Vermont, so rather than fight through the weather for a New Year's Eve dinner out, Mom, Dad, the Boy and I decided to do a nice lunch in the nearby town of Brandon, VT at this adorable restaurant Cafe Provence. My parents had been there before and Dad had been raving about it, so I was excited to try it out. The decor was a Vermont meets Provence with a case full of delicious looking pastries and a beautiful open kitchen that I would give my eye teeth to cook just one meal in. Our meal was fabulous from the lovely soft bread, to the perfectly simple salad of mesculen greens with a homemade Gorgonzola dressing, to their signature scallop entree and on to dessert. If you are ever in central Vermont it is worth it to stop by Cafe Provence. Next time I am in the area I hope to try it out for dinner. We were pleasantly stuffed by the end of our meal and spent the rest of the day curled up in front of the fire with all kinds of yummy munchies put together by my parents for dinner. Not the most exciting night but a lovely end to our time in New England.

On the drive back to TO we decided to a stop in Montreal was necessary as I still had yet to try poutine. For those of you who are unfamiliar, poutine )according to wikipedia and every Canadian I have ever asked) is "a dish consisting of French Fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients. It is a quintessential Canadian comfort food, especially among Quebecois and Acadians of the Maritimes."

As someone who has always loved good diner cheese fries and is living in Canada, it just seemed wrong to not have tried this Canadian staple. On one of the rare occasions when I had cell service in Vermont I used my Blackberry to Google "best poutine in Montreal" The first result that came up was La Banquise, I read some reviews and decided this would be the place where I had my first taste of poutine. Boy was it worth it! It's a cute little spot right near both McGill University & The University of Montreal and open 24/7. If I had gone to college in Montreal I'd be a whale living right around the corner from a place like this! Their menu has a obscene number of poutine combinations, from the classic (Cheese curds and gravy) to a heart attack on a plate with cheese curds, sausage, bacon and meat sauce. We decided to just go with the classic poutine and each got a hot dog to go along with it. My hot dog was perfectly steamed and topped with ketchup, mustard and a seriously good relish. Though the star was definitely the poutine, the brown gravy was perfectly savory and went so well atop the crispy brown fries and soft cheese curds. It truly is the perfect comfort food and clearly the perfect hangover food as we were leaving the restaurant began filling up with all types clearly looking for a fix to recover from their New Years Eve reveling. If you have never had poutine and find yourself in Montreal I highly recommend La Banquise, they also have burgers, sandwiches and a nice selection of microbrews.


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