Poutine, that glorious Canadian drunk food consisting of fries, cheese curds and gravy, is everywhere in Chicago now, so it's only right that there's a festival to celebrate it. For the second year, Poutine Fest organizers Molly O'Sullivan and Rebecca Skoch (a contributor to our dining section) put together the charity tasting event, held at Haymarket Pub & Brewery.
Attendees got tastes of ten poutines, plus several beers and a Buffalo Trace cocktail, and the level of drunkness was ideal for digging into poutine. For the second year, the Gage took first place for its duck confit poutine, with pickled red onion, cheese curds, jalapenos and smoke box gravy. The Big Cheese Poutinerie, opening soon in Wrigleyville, took second for its pierogi-topped poutine, while the Brixton took third for its breakfast poutine with sausage gravy, tiny biscuits, chicken skin and hot sauce.
We also liked Barrelhouse Flat's poutine (it was the only one we got seconds of), with curried pig's head, pickled banana peppers and chicharrones.
Proceeds from the event benefitted Growing Home, a nonprofit job-training program that operates four organic farms in the area.