Poutine Is A Huge Comfort Food. Add That To A Mighty Bloody Mary And You Have Dinner At A Cozy BC Resort.

Yes, poutine is one of those things that requires an excuse to eat.

Poutine, a Frency Canadian comfort food dish. French fries are covered in tasty gravy and cheese curds. Next to the dish is a model of an historic birch bark canoe. Served in the Voyageur Bistro at Sun Peaks Resort, BC, Canada

We’re talking the massively popular comfort food that is Canada’s answer to Mac and Cheese. There isn’t an easy way to rationalize a dish that includes french fries, gravy, and cheese curds.

Unless, maybe, you’ve been skiing all day.

Bear in mind, poutine comes from Quebec, a scarf-culture place that has yet to embrace the idea of full face covering against the cold, a place where minus 30 degree temperatures in winter are a way of life. You NEED fuel in those conditions. Or anyplace else with that kind of weather.

So, enter Voyageur Bistro at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia, Canada. It’s a tiny cafe with hardly a dozen tables but if  you’re looking to bolster your inner heat lamp when it’s freezing outside, you can hardly do better.

A former river rafting guide, owner Kevin Tessier started adding authentic Voyageur cuisine to his tours. It was all based on what folks ate during fur trading days (bison, berries, cedar plank salmon, lots of maple syrup). His meals were wildly popular, and this whole concept found a home in his restaurant, which he co-owns with his wife Diane Larsen.

There’s Elk Wellington, Bison Burgers and, in the past, a Mac and Cheese that included Tenderloin Steak.

As for poutine, one often-cited tale is that of Fernand Lachance, from Warwick, Quebec, which claims poutine was invented there in 1957. Lachance is said to have exclaimed, ” Ça va faire une maudite poutine” (“It will make a damn mess” in French slang), hence the name. The sauce was allegedly added later to keep the fries warm longer. Over time, the dish’s popularity spread across the province and later throughout Canada.

Well, of course, then, I had to try Kevin and Diane’s poutine, which is made with real (they stressed that point) locally made cheese curds and fries, topped with their own special gravy which includes drippings from beef, pork and turkey. The secret ingredient is apple cider vinaigrette.

The final extra yummy product—mind you, I had skied 25,000 vertical feet that day and was truly READY—was a mouth wateringly hearty dish, rich with a hint of sweet from vinaigrette and interspersed with chewy, tangy cheese.

I was forking my way through when a local sat down on the bar stool next to me.

“Caesar,” he said, ordering from Diane, the bar keep.

 I started to pay attention when the drink took its final form and immediately ordered one for myself.

Canada’s classic Caesar drink. This is an upscale version made with salmon infused vodka, the usual tabasco, and Worcestershire sauces and Clamato juice.Cheese curds, salmon and pickled vegetables are included. Served in the Voyageur Bistro at Sun Peaks Resort, BC, Canada

A Caesar is basically a bloody Mary with an attitude but Voyageur’s Caesar is something very special: first into a tall glass rimmed with celery salt, the barman put the ice, then two shots of smoked salmon-infused vodka (“We don’t skimp,” Diane added about the vodka they make themselves), followed by squirts of tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a touch of horseradish and finally Clamato juice. This is topped with a skewer of assorted pickled or roasted vegetables, a chunk of First Nations-caught sockeye salmon, sometimes a chunk of cheese curd and maybe bison or elk sausage.

Yes, this was dinner.

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