It’s about time someone stood up for what is right and what is gravy. The Poutine Trail brings together the best potato-cheese-gravy creations in southeastern Manitoba’s bilingual communities in one delicious, mouth-watering route. Being an ambitious group, we decided to take on the Poutine Trail and try some of these delectable dishes for ourselves.
Old No.12 Breakfast Poutine, Sainte-Anne
A delicious rendition of the original, the Old No. 12 Breakfast Poutine takes its poutine just far enough to retain the integrity of our beloved poutine while still making it unique. With all the typical fixings: cheese curds, potato, gravy, the Old No.12 Breakfast Poutine swaps the traditional fries for potato chunks (the more potato, the better, in my opinion) and adds fried onions, bacon bits and sour cream for flair. And despite it’s name, this poutine is yummy and filling enough for any meal of the day (although the breakfast inspiration certainly shines through)! Find this poutine at Old No. 12 Café and Lounge in the small town of Sainte-Anne, Manitoba, 47 minutes from Winnipeg down the #1 highway.
Tourtière Poutine, St. Pierre-Jolys
Arguably the two best French Canadian dishes in one? Oui, s’il vous plaît! The hand cut fries were a perfect golden brown, the cheese was oh-so gooey, and the tourtière meat gravy was savoury and rich. Garnished with green onions for a refreshing kick, a sweet yet spicy ketchup aioli and buttery pastry crumbs, we all but licked the plate clean. At the outset I was happy to share the order with my husband, but as only a few lonely fries remained in the cheery ceramic dish, I was seriously disappointed in my decision to not keep the entire plate to myself. Head to Lucky Luc’s in St Pierre-Jolys just half an hour from Winnipeg’s south Perimetre down hwy #59.
La Beau-tine, Richer
Quaint Ti Beauville restaurant in Richer beckons drivers to veer off the Trans-Canada #1 Hwy with a big sign flashing ‘home-cooked meals’…and nothing sticks to your ribs more than their Poutine Trail offering La Beau-tine. The pile of homemade frites is stacked with spicy hamburger, mushrooms and cheese curds, and smothered in a home-made gravy. Add protein to the meal by topping it with a scrambled egg and ta-da! you’ve got breakfast for supper (my favourite). Ti Beauville, located 40 kms straight east of Winnipeg city limits, is the meeting place at the heart of this tiny-but-proud Franco-Manitoban town. Tip: after you inhale the poutine, let it all digest while browsing the impressive antique store attached to the restaurant.
C’est Bon Popcorn Chicken Poutine, Marchand
Think if you’ve had one poutine, you’ve had ’em all? You’d think wrong. Right off the main drag in Marchand, is the Marchand Hotel, home to C’est Bon Popcorn Chicken poutine. Crisp, hand-cut fries tossed with big chunks of popcorn chicken, smothered in fried onions, bacon, squeeky white cheese curds and thick beef gravy. It’s topped off with shredded cheddar cheese and a house made chipotle ranch sauce that gives it just the right amount of tangy kick! And if you’re a true poutine connoisseur, they have a menu of no less than 10 other delectable options. Take your pick! But beware, these are country-sized helpings. Bring an extra stomach, or a couple of friends to share. Head east on Hwy 1 until you turn off at Ste. Anne/La Broquerie. After a scenic drive through Steinbach, you’ll take the Hwy 210 exit which will lead you directly to Marchand. The Inn is on your right, you can’t miss it!
Lucky Luc Burger Poutine, Ste. Agathe
Lucky Luc’s in the tiny town of Ste. Agathe takes the decadence of a poutine to another level. This mound of a plate comes heaped with thin crispy fries topped with ground beef, melty cheddar cheese on top of the requisite cheese curds, a tangy bourbon BBQ gravy, cripsy bacon and onion tanglers (aka mini onion rings). This was a feast for the senses. The bourbon BBQ sauce was sweet and savoury and the flavour of the bourbon came through beautifully. I loved the combination of gooey and crisp thanks to the combo of two cheeses and the bacon and onion rings. Their menu has several more poutine options including the classic gravy and cheese curds that are all worth a try. Head south on Hwy 75 and then east on Provincial Rd 305. Lucky Luc’s is along the main road through town.