Poutine Week Crawl: Market and Universe Restaurant

I’ll keep this one short, but I just had to share an update from the little 17th Ave poutine crawl I did with Michelle last night. Well, it wasn’t so much a “poutine crawl” as it was just two girls sharing two poutines in one evening. We were celebrating Calgary Poutine Week, which has partnered with Mealshare to ensure that every Poutine Week-affiliated meal purchase also goes towards a free meal for someone in need. 

Universe Restaurant Classic Poutine
Universe Restaurant’s Poutine with Montreal Smoked Meat and Fried Pickle

We started at Universe Restaurant. I hadn’t heard much about this place, but the reviews looked great and Michelle was pining for a Montreal-style poutine after all the time she spent living in Quebec. We split an order of fresh, crispy fries piled high with a slightly sweet, red-brown gravy, chopped Montreal smoked meat and cheese curds as big as my thumb. On top was a gloriously golden fried pickle. Definitely a portion fit for four people. We loved it, but had to waddle out of there for our next stop.

Market Dirty Bird Poutine
Market’s Dirty Bird Poutine with Duck Confit and Smoked Bocconcini

Walking into Market is the best. The air smelled like truffles and animal-based fats, so we knew it would be worth pushing ourselves for this second poutine. We were brought the Dirty Bird with a savoury Last Best black lager gravy, smoked bocconcini and tender duck confit. We really enjoyed the poutine at Universe, but Market’s was much more inventive. The bocconcini had a milky, cheesy flavour and makes standard curds seem flat by comparison while still providing that pleasantly chewy texture. A smaller portion here was offset by the huge amounts of flavour from the duck and beer-based gravy.

Picking a favourite between the two is making me sweaty, so I’ll go ahead and just state the obvious – purists will appreciate the Montreal vibes of the poutine at Universe, while a more adventurous palate would find the duck and bocconcini to be a nice change. There’s no wrong way to love your fries, gravy and melted cheese – just do what’s in your heart. And support Mealshare at your next opportunity, whether by enjoying Poutine Week or getting out to one of their partnered restaurants all across Canada!

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