I was invited to attend the Gravy Bowl Battle this year hosted by Karen Richards of Poutine with a Purpose. Calgary has a yearly Poutine Week and partners up with Mealshare to provide a meal to a youth in need. Participating restaurants comes up with a poutine creation that is available for purchase at their restaurant for that week. Every time someone orders that poutine, $1 goes back to Mealshare which is enough to provide one meal!
I got into Poutine Week when they used to do Poutine Crawls, where participants hop onto a party school bus and go to six different restaurants to try their poutines. At the end, we all vote for the best one and the restaurant gets a trophy!
Unfortunately Poutine Crawl doesn't happen anymore but there's the Gravy Bowl Battle! Where eight teams made up of a local restaurant, local brewery and a Calgary Stampeder creates the ultimate poutine. The winner will be decided by three judges, Dan Clapson from Globe and Mail, Linda Garson Editor of Culinaire and Beer Guys YYC.
Second up was the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" Poutine by The Nash and Rob Maver featuring Tool Shed Brewery's Red Rage Ale. This was my favourite poutine of the night, I mean what can go wrong with fried chicken? The acidic hot sauce gave a kick to the poutine and was nicely balanced. This poutine was the runner up!
Third was the K-Pop Poutine made by Raw Bar and Alex Singleton featuring Brewster's Hawaiian Coconut Porter. At first when I tasted the brie gravy it was a grainy. But the poutine comes together once you get a little bit of everything. The Korean style chorizo had lots of flavour with little hints of ginger and it complimented with the gochujang ketchup. I didn't get any hints of the Hawaiian Coconut Porter in the poutine.
Fourth up was the Applewood Smoked Russet Wedges made by Belle BBQ and DeVone Claybrooks featuring Wild Rose Brewery's Crude Stout Gravy (third place!). They had my favourite fry of the night, fluffy inside and crispy outside. The poutine has chunks of Belle BBQ's smoked brisket and cherry tomato halves to freshen up the dish. I was excited to get some truffle on the poutine but mine missed the aioli squirt.
Fifth poutine was the Lamb Braised Poutine made by MARKET and Bo Levi Mitchell featuring Last Best Brewing and Distillery's Black Lager. Immediately you can smell the aroma of lamb in the poutine but I didn't get any smoke from the cheese. By now, we were dreading the last four poutines. Even though the portions were small, we were stuffed!
Eighth poutine was Lost in the Woods Poutine made by Brasserie Kensington and Rene Parades featuring The Dandy Brewing Company's beer. This poutine was last year's Gravy Bowl Battle winner and I can taste why. It's a vegetarian poutine with a decadent mushroom gravy and pickled romanescos. This poutine was also one of my favourites!
Last but not least was the ninth poutine, Dry Aged Steakhouse Poutine made by Last Best Brewing and Distillery and Deron Mayo featuring beer from Annex Ale Projects. It had a delicious fried oyster mushroom and Tiger blue cheese. Their fry was also another favourite of the night, it was almost like deep fried mashed potato sticks.
What are you waiting for, Poutine Week ends on the 28th! Take advantage of the sunny weather and enjoy a beer on the patio with a poutine.