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Poutine or cheese curds - in 2013?

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I just went though all the old discussions of poutine and cheese curds, and have tried to chase down either, but they're no longer available at Trader Joe's. The cheese places at the local farmers' markets have not (so far) yielded results. Has anyone had a recent sighting of cheese curds, esp in the east bay, or poutine?

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  1. Have you seen this?
    http://oaklandlocal.com/2013/09/in-se...

    3 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      Now I have! THANK YOU!

      1. re: madfoot

        Augie's pop-up at Beauty's Bagel is closed for the season (and new-born). Reopening sometime in early 2014.

        They will be selling vacuum sealed packs of smoked meat @ Beauty's before the pop-up re-opens.

        https://www.facebook.com/augiessmokemeat

        1. re: drewskiSF

          Thanks for the heads up. Glad that there is poutine near me to try out. I've tried the Salt House and Little Chef renditions and want to see how others do it.

          Anyone try the poutine at Jasper's Corner Tap? From the menu, it looks like you get to pick the cut of the fry, seasoning, and type of gravy.

    2. Rainbow carries cheddar cheese curds.

      1. Cheese Curds are ridiculously easy to make. Milk, rennet, enjoy. Just make sure you use liquid rennet, and Strauss milk is a great choice for the milk itself.

        1. Richmond Costco 3 pack cheese curds $7 with 3 flavors 18 ounce total.

          7 Replies
          1. re: wolfe

            You're KIDDING me! I was just there yesterday! I will go back immediately!! SMOOCHES SMOOCHES SMOOCHES

            1. re: madfoot

              OK. it's Spring Hill Curds: Plain, Garlic, Mike's Firehouse 24 oz for $6.99 and they moved them from the exotic cheese aisle all the way over to the across from oranges cooler. Hope you found them. Should make some interesting poutine.
              http://www.springhillcheese.com/

              1. re: wolfe

                Are they selling Spring Hill quark at Costco too? Their lemon quark is especially lovely.

                1. re: Windy

                  Didn't see quark but wasn't looking. Next time. While visiting my new grandson( priorities kid first cheese second) in Seattle I did notice that they carry the Beecher's Flagship Cheddar at about 1/2 the Pike Place Market price but do not have it here. So check with your store the quark may be in their system.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    I don't have a Costco membership, but Spring Hill sometimes sells quark at the farmers' markets. I'd love them to have enough demand to make it a regular thing. The lemon is especially good with fresh blueberries.

                    Congrats on the new grandson!

                2. re: wolfe

                  This is the most ridiculous craving I've ever had.

              2. re: wolfe

                Costco??!?!

                I need to check that out.

              3. You want to make poutine or eat it out?

                Spring Hill sells cheese curds at Alemany and I imagine other farmers' markets.

                You can get poutine at Zoe's and a few other local restaurants and bars. There's a food truck with poutine; I can't remember which one.

                16 Replies
                1. re: Windy

                  Yeah the food truck is hibernating for the winter. I haven't found any at the farmer's markets near me, but I did find them at Costco today, thanks to Windy! <3

                  1. re: madfoot

                    I think Spring Hill is always at Ferry Plaza.

                    1. re: wally

                      Spring Hill is at many farmers markets:

                      http://www.springhillcheese.com/farme...

                    2. re: madfoot

                      I'm wrong so many times and when I finally get something right you misspell my name.;-)

                      1. re: wolfe

                        Oh no! Wolfeeeeeeeeee!

                        (There used to be a commercial on the NYC dirty-public-access-late-night-channel that had a call-in line, you remember those? that was like 570-PEEE. "The extra E is for extra Pee." The MORE you KNOW... *flying star*)

                        1. re: madfoot

                          Yo Mad if Spring Hill doesn't do it for you here a possibility.
                          Ellsworth Cheese Curds
                          http://store.ellsworthcheesecurds.com...
                          Local outlet for Ellsworth
                          FOODSCO
                          1250 MACDONALD AVE.
                          RICHMOND CA 94801 (510) 412-4444

                          1. re: wolfe

                            Whaaat! Wow! I'm going to check that place out. But! I made poutine today for my friend, and she was almost in tears, she loved it so much. It is the total ultimate comfort food. Fantastic.

                            I do think it could be any kind of cheese, but - well, I don't know! THe cheese curd melts in a very particular way. If I were going to do a food truck, I think it would be a poutine food truck: I'm hooked.

                            You guys really made this happen, thank you!

                            1. re: madfoot

                              Now I want to make poutine. Glad it worked out : )

                              1. re: madfoot

                                Many people will say it ain't poutine unless it is made with curds. The curds, as you note, melt (or rather half melt) in a specific way. If you're a real curd head, you'll only eat them within a day or so of production (some lucky people like my inlaws live near enough to a cheesemaker that they can get them same day, still warm, had that once, oh good lord). That is the squeak window. Really fresh curds will squeak a bit against your teeth when you bite into them.

                                Also thinking that flavoured curds might cause a bit of an eyebrow raise for a true aficionado. The flavour of curds is so delicate I find it is overpowered by any infusion directly into the cheese.

                                Having said all that, deliciousness is in the mouth of the beholder. It's great that you are enjoying your poutine adventure and I'm certainly enjoying reading about it!

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  Garlic sounds good but the firehouse would probably be for chiliheads only.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    The Spring Hill curds, even aside from the flavoring aspect, really aren't like the fresh curds traditionally used for poutine, as I understand it (never having partaken), or for the deep-fried curds done in Wisconsin. They have a firm consistency like a fresh, un-aged cheddar or jack and a mild flavor that's more undistinguished than delicate, to my palate.

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      Spring Hill curds are made from Jersey milk so have about double the butterfat content of the squeaky curds I've eaten in Wisconsin. Fresh un-aged cheddar is exactly what they are in WI. But even when they're fresh at the Spring Hill dairy, they don't squeak because of the richer milk.

                                      I had poutine recently that was made with rough chunks of Point Reyes Original Blue cheese. Now, that was characterful, and I really enjoyed the dish.

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        Where did you enjoy this poutine? Homemade?

                                        1. re: calny

                                          Pigface poutine at Zazu in Sebastopol,
                                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

                                          It's made with Point Reyes Original Blue cheese, thick cut fries, an incredible homemade gravy, and braised pork cheek. This was my favorite dish at a dinner of many strengths (and a couple lows). I owe the board a full report, but it's almost too much to talk about. I'll mention that I had a Canadian sitting next to me at the dinner table and she was as crazy about this dish as I was. I'd absolutely go back just for the poutine alone.

                                    2. re: grayelf

                                      Since this old thread has come back to life, it gives me a chance to crow about my good luck...

                                      Just visited an old friend now living a few miles away from fromagerie St. Albert in Ontario and now, finally, I get it. Never refrigerated, hours old, not too salty but salty enough, squeaky cheese curds... really are something to crave. No idea if St. Albert curds stand out, or if there are other producers that are just as good, but getting them super fresh from the fromagerie is an experience worth seeking out... http://www.fromage-st-albert.com/eng/...

                                      1. re: BernalKC

                                        We snack on our curds a bit while making cheese at home. Just getting curds is pretty easy, I'm surprised at least one or two restaurants locally should be doing it in house. No fermentation, a batch takes only about 45 minutes (with a sous vide machine for water bath, nearly unattended).

                        2. Does the name "poutine" have any meaning in French? To me, it just sounds like the name of a pole dancer.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Tripeler

                            Per wiki, uses of poutine date back to 1810 but the word as we know it from 1978: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Grayelf,
                              Thank you for pointing that out. Perhaps I should have Wiki'ed it first.

                              1. re: Tripeler

                                On the contrary, glad you asked, as it never occurred to me to check if poutine meant something other than the dish, so it was quite interesting!

                            2. re: Tripeler

                              If Becky Poutine was a pole dancer, you best have a dang strong stage. Those things put meat on anyone's bones.

                              1. re: bbulkow

                                I doubt the first name would be Becky -- more like Etienne.

                            3. I made poutine this weekend with cheddar cheese curds from Rainbow Coop in SF. They had the right bounce and mild taste but were a bit salter than the ones I've had in Quebec and Ontario. Used a veggie gravy I found there that wasn't the same of the package veggie gravy we use in Canada, going to have friends mail me some for next time.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: tjinsf

                                Rainbow Coop is Rainbow Grocery?

                                1. re: Windy

                                  yes Rainbow Cooperative Grocery.

                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                    Thanks! I'll pick some up.

                                2. re: tjinsf

                                  too funny. yeah I actually used Heinz jarred gravy at my friend's insistence and she said salt was THE POINT, MAN.

                                  1. re: madfoot

                                    Good insight -- so it must be great beer food, then.

                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                      poutine is what you eat after a night out at the bars in Montreal. Same as getting a donor kebab in Berlin or a burrito here.

                                      Also why all the fancy expensive poutines are so darn funny.

                                  2. re: tjinsf

                                    I've heard Bisto is a good option for the gravy.

                                  3. Box & Bells has one in Rockridge. It's made with blood pudding gravy and is amazing.

                                    I saw someone link to Chop Bar below. It used to be legit but then they started putting cream in the gravy??? No.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: limbsoup

                                      Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal put cream in the gravy of their poutine with foie gras and it's the best poutine gravy I have ever had.

                                    2. Oakdale Cheese & Speciality make squeaky cheese curds (when at room temperature) and is best poutine cheese I have found so far. They sell their cheese in farmer's market around the bay : https://www.facebook.com/OakdaleChees...

                                      Spring Hills curds are usually not really fresh and not squeaky. You could just break apart some cheddar in pieces to get the same result.

                                      The Stanley's in San Jose has poutine that seems to be the real stuff.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Olemon

                                        Oakdale is what Augie's pop-up uses.

                                      2. Forge in Jack London Square (Oakland) has deep fried cheese curds. I have no basis of comparison from what you'd get in the Great Lakes states, but there seemed to be too much batter--- a bunch of chunks had no cheese inside too. When you did hit cheese, it was pretty tasty.

                                        Some previous reports are scattered in this thread:
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888344

                                        1. Hey! I thought you all might want to see the article I wrote as a result of this discussion:

                                          http://www.recipe.com/blogs/cooking/h...

                                          Thank you for the help. If you had not pointed me to Costco, I'd still be looking!

                                          1. As a Canadian who can get cheese curds at every grocery store and poutine without even searching, this conversation makes be smile. And be happy that it's not exotic where I am!

                                            1. Just saw it in the TJ Flyer with potatoes, curd and gravy 24oz for $3.99.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: wolfe

                                                I tried it. I thawed the cheese in lukewarm water and not in simmering water as the instructions say. It's good and squeaky but it's a very small portion of cheese.

                                                The gravy is mediocre.

                                                1. re: Olemon

                                                  Thank you for biting the bullet.

                                                2. re: wolfe

                                                  It's so gross and the gravy is beef gravy. Both Canadians and Americans in my house agree it's bad.

                                                3. Marrow (Oakland) posted they were serving poutine today, so I went out of my way to get there.

                                                  The beef fat (shoestring) fries were the perfect vehicle for a generous amount of very beefy, luscious gravy. However, much of the cheese curd was melted too far into the gravy- only the last several bites had that nice fresh bounce I was looking for. The crispier bits of fries sticking their necks above the gravy went well with a bit of the meltier curd and the excellent house-made ketchup, which at first I dismissed as an afterthought. Smattering of parsley as a crown.

                                                  $9- I'd get it again.

                                                  1. Cheese curds were created by God to be eaten from hand, preferably the same day they were made, and not deep fried or melted onto French fries.

                                                    I grew up in what is now poutine country, though mostly before it was invented, and my reaction to poutine is pretty much the same as Jay Prichett's:

                                                    http://youtu.be/ekzaRINoe0I

                                                    1. Wayfare tavern has a non-traditional poutine that I liked

                                                      1. Poutine is available at my Trader Joes' in Menlo Park.

                                                        1. Augie's Smoked Meat is due to pop up at Beauty's today from 11am to 3pm.

                                                          https://www.facebook.com/augiessmokemeat