The great Toronto poutine challenge: the chip truck poutine
Is the Chip Truck something Canada can call its own? I don't know, it feels like something distinctly Canadian, a link in the chain to the Great White North. I've never really paid much attention to the contraptions outside of seasonal road trips to cottage country, a pause along the drive up north - to anywhere really. As a kid I remember stopping at chip trucks along the way to meet grandparents, family vacations, any kind of extended drive. The rule was simple - if you passed one, you had to stop.
Somehow, no matter what the destination, one always seemed to pop up at just the right time. And even more remarkably - they were always excellent.
One of the most common poutine recommendations I've received from people when I tell them what I'm doing is a chip truck, a blue one, outside City Hall. So while it may not be seasonal anymore, I headed down to see what the fuss was about. Here's what I found:
I don't know if the instructions come with the truck, but somehow, every truck seems to have the same rules. They're cut thick, soft and starchy with a hint of crispness on the outside. They're distinctly potatoey and no matter what you slather on them - be it gravy, ketchup or a sprinkling of salt and malt vinegar - that flavour shines through. I suppose they're called chip trucks for a reason, these french fries scream potato. 4/5
This is your classic beef gravy - thick, rich and flavourful. It hasn't been gussied up with fresh herbs or a splash of brandy; this is cowboy gravy, Wild West gravy, sauce that will stick to your bones. 3.5/5
I'm beginning to wonder if there's been some kind of recent advancement in curd preservation technology, or maybe an investment in curd distribution infrastructure, because far too many of my recent samples have contained excellent curds. The Blue Chip Truck Near City Hall is no different; all the traits of a great cheese curd are there. I'm not going to list them again because I've done it far too much lately, but you know what they are. 4/5
The Blue Chip Truck Near City Hall has three sizes to choose from: small, medium and large. It's a novel idea and I appreciate the thought. As I've mentioned, poutine sizing is enormous and it's nice to be able to get one that isn't going to leave you aching--especially when you're dining on them often as I am. 5/5
Total Score: 16.5/20
This is a real rustic feeling poutine; a chunky, dense, crowd pleaser. It's a poutine you order simply because you're passing by. It's an excuse to sit down and have a break, to slow down and take a minute. One to warm up with after a skate on the ice rink or relax with in the shade on a summer afternoon. It's a poutine for all occasions.