Saturday, December 19, 2009

A tale of two Jamies

Jamie Kennedy’s French fries made him famous. It’s only natural, then, that we would seek Kennedy out in the quest for the best poutine in the city. And in fact, that’s exactly what I did – not once, but twice.

Tracking Kennedy down requires a tad more effort that it would have just a few months ago, before he sold his exquisite Wine Bar on Church Street. Now, the search for the Kennedy fries begins at Gilead Café – a tiny space located down an alley in Corktown.

Originally home to the JK Kitchens administration offices, the restaurant itself is delicious – rough-hewn wood tables, walls lined with jars of seasonal preserves, and an open kitchen and deli counter offering fresh, local selections (the menu is edited daily). The Pulled Pork Poutine, unfortunately, is anything but. While the fries are classic Kennedy – crisp, golden and full of flavour – the pulled pork topping is overly spiced and lacking in enough moisture to make the poutine come to life. And there’s just enough cheese to tease you into believing this actually is a poutine – a bite or two, and then its gone. A disappointing offering from one of Toronto’s acclaimed poutine masters.

We fare much better a few weeks later at the Jamie Kennedy outpost at the Gardiner Museum. During a special holiday event at the museum, Kennedy offers up a specially created Tourtiere Poutine. While the idea alone is enough to warm a Quebecer’s heart, the execution is even better. The traditional Kennedy fries are topped here with warm, perfectly spiced ground beef, a cheese drizzle and – best of all – tiny cubed potatoes. That’s right – potato on potato. It might just be my definition of heaven.

The only bad news is that this is a special seasonal offering only. I’m already marking my calendar for next Christmas. Merry Christmas, Jamie! And Merry Christmas to you, Poutine Toronto readers. The quest continues in 2010...

Blah! Pulled Pork Poutine at Gilead (above)

Hurrah! Touriere Poutine at Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner


  1. That tourtière poutine looks AWFULLY GOOD!!!!!

  2. Nice to see a blog dedicated to one of French-Canada's best dishes.

    You might be interested to watch this video we recently produced about Montreal cuisine:

    Bon Appetit!

  3. The video makes me crave a Fairmount bagel! But not even a mention of poutine? Really?

  4. Great video...but I agree with PoutineQueen. Where was the poutine?