Sherman's Food Adventures: Potato Champion

Potato Champion

When we try to associate a food that really screams out "Canada", we often get maple syrup, salmon and to stretch it, beer. Yet, probably the one thing that is purely Canadian is Poutine. You know, crispy fries topped with cheese curds and doused with an obscene amount of powdered gravy. Specifically out of Quebec, this heart-attack on a plate is best when all of the correct components are there and of course, prepared the right way. There are many different variations to be found; but the classic is what it's all about. So imagine my curiosity when I heard that a food cart served this dish in... Portland!

Claiming to be Belgian-style Fries, I had to first try their fries with a side of chipotle mayo. In true form of double-fried fries, these were very crispy with a little bit of starchiness. We really enjoyed the mayo, it was very flavourful and spicier than others we had. The fries were so crispy, even my son had some... Imagine that, a kid that doesn't like fries... So now onto the star of the show - the Poutine. I'm so sorry to disappoint everyone; but this was a complete fail. Sure, the fries were great; but the gravy... bleck! Being an onion-based gravy with lots of pepper, it was much too strong tasting and tart/sour. Furthermore, the cheese curds were complete un-melted and gummy. Not the texture I was expecting. I know it is unfair to compare with poutine that we can get in Canada; but honestly, I have nothing to compare it with because it is rare to find it in the States in general. As for the fries, they are good and I would happily eat them again. I'll just get my poutine in Canada.

The Good:
- Crispy fries
- Inexpensive
- Good selection of dips

The Bad:
- Poutine is no good, even for Portland

Potato Champion (Food Cart) on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

Could it be that we are bashing Potato Champion with the same authenticity argument we do with other restaurants here in Vancouver? I mean, considering that we are here, exposed to more poutine, compared to the US. But, in the case of Portland, they only have Potato Champion and, well, they don't know better. Still, to quote yourself if they want poutine, they should drive the ~650Km north to Canada! :D

Anonymous said...

It seems that they get good reviews from other reviewers on UrbanSpoon (I'm assuming mostly native Portlanders...) who probably have never been exposed to real Poutine..... thus I think that KimHo's argument is correct in that they don't know any better since they wouldn't have the criteria for good Montreal style poutine. (the same could be said for people never exposed to real bagels or deli sandwiches I suppose). PS.... I love that they are trying to do something different to add even more mix to the blend of food trucks down south..... hopefully that trend follows here in Vancouver......

Sherman Chan said...

Totally agree with the aforementioned comments. It is really unfair to compare to Vancouver since poutine is not native to Portland. However, to just rate it as a stand alone dish, I still didn't like it much.

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