Vancouver Foodster, Richard Wolak, is once again hosting his Poutine Challenge at over two dozen restaurants and pubs in the Greater Vancouver area.
Each establishment has signed on to put a special poutine creation on their menu this month and the public is encouraged to try out as many as they like. Then, starting February 26th, an online vote will open until March 3rd when the winning restaurant will be announced.
131 Water Kitchen & Bar
The Cannibal Café
The Reagle Beagle
Red Card Sports Bar + Eatery
Sin Bin Sports Bar
Sharkey’s Seafood Bar and Grille
Spud Shack Fry Co
Pier 7 Restaurant
The Raven Pub
Pearl Urban Bistro
Yesterday Richard hosted a media preview tour at three participating venues in Vancouver. Each dish was very different and the tour provided a nice overview of the creativity you can expect to find from the chefs taking part in the challenge.
The first stop was at Darby’s in Kitsilano, on the busy corner of MacDonald and West 4th. Executive Chef A.J. Jackson created the Darby’s Duck Poutine with kennebec fries, caramelized onions, duck confit, cambozola cheese, and red wine demi glace. The poutine is on the menu for $12.95 and they have paired it with a Switchback IPA from Lighthouse Brewing, which works really well to cut through the richness. This available to order after 4:00pm.
The second stop was in Gastown at 131 Water Kitchen + Bar. They have offered up a Crispy Chicken and Waffle Poutine with hand-cut fries, chopped Belgian waffle, cheese curds, breaded fried chicken and white pepper gravy topped with fresh cilantro. This is on the menu for $10 during the challenge and is served for lunch from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.
The final stop on the tour was at Vancouver FanClub, a venue I have heard a lot about but had never visited until yesterday. It was so refreshing to see an open venue with a stage and balconies on Granville that was still intimate — and had the aroma of smoked pork and bourbon. Their challenge entry is a Pulled Pork Poutine with the pork smoked in-house, and next time I’ll try it with the bourbon they also smoke on-site. Chef Josie has topped the fries with smoked pulled pork, smoked bourbon BBQ sauce, cheese curds, chicken gravy, shredded mozzarella, and parsley. This is served during all operating hours and is $6.
Each of the three samples had their merits, like FanClub’s juicy and smokey pulled pork and 131 Water’s flavourful pepper gravy, however I think when it all came together, Darby’s Duck Poutine packed the biggest punch. It would be good to share with a group and be sure to get the beer pairing. You can’t really go wrong with FanClub’s $6 Pulled Pork Poutine either.
I’m certain that anyone trying out more than one poutine in the challenge will have a tough time deciding but make sure you do get your votes in. Follow Richard @VanFoodster on Twitter for information about the public vote that will open up at the end of the month. A full list of every participating venue and their poutine offering is available via Vancouver Foodster.