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My Site: Day 33: Canada

My Site


Day 33: Canada

What the hell do people eat in Canada? Most human beings have no idea. I think I once heard Seth Rogen on a late night show say that the only difference is that out here the portions are a lot bigger. Well the only Canadian restaurant I could find is out of business, so I decided to go a much simpler route and focus on one specifically French Canadian and remarkably heavy sounding dish: poutine. That means french fries with mozzarella cheese curds and gravy. I have at various points called it “poutain” by mistake, which Mr. Meatball was quick to point out means “whore”. But maybe a little too quick if you ask me. I should try to remember to have him checked out for VD. So when I heard that a bar called The Alibi Room served a version not too far from my house, I figured it was worth the risk.

Arriving is slightly more complicated than anticipated as there is a man walking around the parking lot threatening cars with a baseball bat. I somehow forget to ask him why, but luckily the police are interested in doing the same thing. They apparently feel the need to talk to him somewhere else though, and gave him a ride in their car. I think that was very nice of them. Once inside, I sidle up to the bar with “Danielle”, Air Bear, GirlfriendBites and Mr. Meatball, perusing the beer list for something Canadian before deciding “screw it” and ordering a Sapporo. I ask the bartender how big the poutine is. She says “Big.” I ask her if she thinks I can eat a whole one by myself. She says “No.” (She’s very monosyllabic) I decide right there on the spot that if I’m only ordering one dish for such an enormous country, I may as well attempt to develop the testicular fortitude to eat the whole thing by myself. So to set the record straight, nobody is taking a single bit of my dish. If they want poutine, they had better order it their damn selves. I’m feeling confident, excited and downright cocky. Then a big steaming pile of calories gets slid into the service window. I’m still confident, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. GFB starts eating a grilled cheese sandwich and it looks depressingly dainty by comparison.

The first bite is very tasty. Crispy fries, gooey cheese and the remnants of something savory. On closer inspection there isn’t much gravy to the dish at all. I push the hulking mess to the side of the tray and discover a thin, rich and ridiculously salty blackish sauce on the bottom which seems less like gravy and more like au jus. It kind of tastes like what would happen if they tried to make soy sauce in Alabama. Meanwhile, cheese curds are supposed to be, surprise, the fresh curds of cheese and are thought to not be any good unless consumed within hours of being made at your local cheese factory. When fresh, they have a squeaky sound that bursts out of them once bitten. The “cheese curds” on this poutine are really a lot more like salty mozzarella and have no squeak whatsoever. But at this moment, french fries with melted cheese and au jus are pretty tasty anyway and “au jus” sounds French Canadian enough for me.

Okay, I’m starting to get exhausted now. As the dish gets further and further down, the “gravy” is getting all its salty richness soaked into the cheese and fries. Half way through, I’m starting to realize that this may have been an incredibly foolish decision. Luckily, my spirits rise for a moment when, once again, out of nowhere, a folk hero emerges. Folk hero Jason Bernstein arrives with three friends and Super Food Blogger Tannaz. They look at my puffy, sad face, realize what I am attempting and shake their heads sadly. I try to defend myself, but instead stare down at the murky, soggy, now cold container of food and simply slide another flaccid bite into my mouth. This is in no way tasty anymore and is not even particularly indicative of a poutine. So why am I still bothering? I don’t know. Maybe because I’m a moron.

We’ve decided to sit at some tables now. People are talking and having fun around me while I am struggling. The food in front of me seems to have somehow dropped below room temperature, it is now completely saturated with salty black sauce and my heart is wondering if it wants to bother hanging out with me anymore. I grasp at a beer, but find no fluid remaining and somehow manage to thrust my undead body toward the bar. I order another beer and collapse back into my seat. Someone asks me how the blog is going and I try figure out how to explain that its really a Personal Food Project in Blog Form, but instead mutter something monosyllabic. Maybe the bartender ate a lot of poutine too. I take the final remaining bite, which somehow manages to be just a giant glob of hard melted cheese, stab it with a fork and push it somewhere in the direction of my face. I bite it, chew it, swallow it and exhale. Somehow— and I’m not totally sure how— my head falls on GFB’s lap and I think I see some kind of flash.

“How do you feel?” someone asks. “I feel like I just got high on the worst drug ever and I think it’s called salt.” I pay the bill, we drive home and I come to the realistic conclusion that a horse would be very happy to lick me right now. For a fleeting moment, I wonder if this experience has sworn me off of poutine forever. I can’t imagine it has, which means there is a chance that I could do something similar to this again some time, though hopefully in that instance it will taste better. I start to wonder how this could be considered a meal, then realize maybe it isn’t and that I’m just an idiot. I think my brain is too salt saturated to tell. Oh, Canada. What have you done to me?

The Alibi Room
12236 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 390-9300

Food Breakdown: 2 alcoholic beverages, 2 entrees
Price: $28
Distance From My House: 3.1 miles



  1. Mr. Meatballs · Oct 08, 02:11 PM

    We probably should have been about 1000% more drunk. Then it would have been no sweat.

  2. (folk hero) Jason Bernstein · Oct 08, 02:27 PM

    I ate probably what amounted to one quarter of a serving. I still woke up twice during the night completely parched. You must have woken up 8 times.

  3. tannaz · Oct 08, 03:05 PM

    i get the feeling the alibi room is trying to attack its patrons with cheese. the gorgonzola on my cheese plate was pretty ferocious in its own right (and i have a feeling it had something to do jason’s parchedness considering he ate half of mine).

  4. Mamabites · Oct 09, 06:53 PM

    What did you really expect from a place called “The alibi room”?

  5. Brad · Oct 09, 11:56 PM

    I wish Wisconsin was another country so you could eat cheese curds again.

  6. Noah · Oct 10, 08:16 AM

    I’m sure cheese curds will find their way back into my life. Just maybe not for a few months.

  7. ExileKiss · Oct 11, 10:43 AM

    Hi Noah,

    Another great review, and so humorous and painful to read at the same time! :)

    Keep at it and good luck the rest of the way! :)

  8. Canadian Mike · Dec 27, 11:54 AM

    For the best poutine, you need to go to a street vendor in Montréal, Québec City, Ottawa/Gatineau, or Toronto on a cold winter day. It’d be the tastiest thing to ever pass your lips.

    Two things, though. (1) The size of poutine you had would be considered a small order in Canada. (2) Most Canadians would call it a meal.

  9. knowan · Jan 07, 09:24 AM

    Sigh Canada has so much to choose from. Jiggs dinner with peas pudding and pan fried cod from my own native Newfoundland. Poutine and smoked meat sandwich from Quebec. Perogies from Saskatchewan. Even a Montreal style bagel is noticeably different from the “standard” New York style (denser and not as fluffy). Too bad you chose just an anericanized version of a poutine.

  10. Noah · Jan 07, 09:47 AM

    Yeah. This day didn’t turn out too well. Unfortunately there really aren’t very many Canadian options in L.A. at all. There was a restaurant that was supposed to be great, but it had closed down before the project started.

  11. Barb the canuck · Mar 06, 08:17 AM

    My step-brother in LA sent me this….I almost wet myself laughing… I mean really…..poutine as a meal representative of Canada???? Uh uh…..that’s purely and simply representative of French Canadians… now…..if you want to know what the rest of us eat you come to Winnipeg and I’ll feed you! :)

    Great blog!


  12. Noah · Mar 06, 08:25 AM

    Thanks, Barb. Yeah, I wish Los Angeles had any real Canadian food, but I really couldn’t find any. But be prepared. If I ever am in Winnipeg, I just might have to show up at your doorstep and take you up on it.

  13. stepbrother · Mar 06, 10:19 AM

    careful- she will get you drunk on mexican beer & next thing you know you will wake up in Fargo USA. Scary shit, eh?

  14. Noah · Mar 06, 11:08 AM

    Actually, that sounds like exactly the sort of thing I’d be interested in.