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Poutine or cheese curds - in 2013?

madfoot Nov 3, 2013 01:15 PM

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?

  1. wolfe Nov 3, 2013 02:46 PM

    Have you seen this?

    3 Replies
    1. re: wolfe
      madfoot Nov 3, 2013 03:06 PM

      Now I have! THANK YOU!

      1. re: madfoot
        drewskiSF Nov 3, 2013 05:56 PM

        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.


        1. re: drewskiSF
          KetchupOnFriedRice Nov 21, 2013 08:18 AM

          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. lanersg Nov 3, 2013 09:42 PM

      Rainbow carries cheddar cheese curds.

      1. bbulkow Nov 4, 2013 12:10 AM

        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. wolfe Nov 12, 2013 11:15 AM

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

          6 Replies
          1. re: wolfe
            madfoot Nov 12, 2013 11:17 AM

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

            1. re: madfoot
              wolfe Nov 12, 2013 02:16 PM

              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.

              1. re: wolfe
                Windy Nov 12, 2013 02:48 PM

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

                1. re: Windy
                  wolfe Nov 12, 2013 04:56 PM

                  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
                    Windy Nov 13, 2013 12:44 PM

                    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
                  madfoot Nov 13, 2013 01:23 PM

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

            2. Windy Nov 12, 2013 01:31 PM

              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.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Windy
                madfoot Nov 13, 2013 01:22 PM

                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
                  wally Nov 13, 2013 01:32 PM

                  I think Spring Hill is always at Ferry Plaza.

                  1. re: wally
                    Robert Lauriston Nov 13, 2013 02:15 PM

                    Spring Hill is at many farmers markets:


                  2. re: madfoot
                    wolfe Nov 13, 2013 01:48 PM

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

                    1. re: wolfe
                      madfoot Nov 13, 2013 02:18 PM

                      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
                        wolfe Nov 13, 2013 05:21 PM

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

                        1. re: wolfe
                          madfoot Nov 15, 2013 09:55 PM

                          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
                            Windy Nov 16, 2013 01:45 PM

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

                            1. re: madfoot
                              grayelf Nov 17, 2013 07:59 AM

                              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
                                wolfe Nov 17, 2013 09:00 AM

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

                                1. re: grayelf
                                  Caitlin McGrath Nov 17, 2013 03:23 PM

                                  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
                                    Melanie Wong Nov 17, 2013 06:24 PM

                                    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
                                      calny Nov 18, 2013 12:16 AM

                                      Where did you enjoy this poutine? Homemade?

                                      1. re: calny
                                        Melanie Wong Nov 18, 2013 12:22 AM

                                        Pigface poutine at Zazu in Sebastopol,

                                        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. Tripeler Nov 16, 2013 12:11 AM

                      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
                        grayelf Nov 17, 2013 08:01 AM

                        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
                          Tripeler Nov 17, 2013 03:59 PM

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

                          1. re: Tripeler
                            grayelf Nov 18, 2013 05:26 AM

                            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
                          bbulkow Nov 17, 2013 11:16 PM

                          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
                            Tripeler Nov 18, 2013 12:20 AM

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

                        3. t
                          tjinsf Nov 18, 2013 11:37 AM

                          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
                            Windy Nov 18, 2013 03:53 PM

                            Rainbow Coop is Rainbow Grocery?

                            1. re: Windy
                              tjinsf Nov 18, 2013 05:13 PM

                              yes Rainbow Cooperative Grocery.

                              1. re: tjinsf
                                Windy Nov 18, 2013 05:28 PM

                                Thanks! I'll pick some up.

                            2. re: tjinsf
                              madfoot Nov 18, 2013 05:18 PM

                              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
                                Tripeler Nov 19, 2013 03:15 AM

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

                                1. re: Tripeler
                                  tjinsf Nov 19, 2013 05:38 PM

                                  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
                                adrienne156 Nov 21, 2013 07:47 PM

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

                              3. l
                                limbsoup Nov 18, 2013 10:22 PM

                                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
                                  Olemon Nov 21, 2013 07:27 PM

                                  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. o
                                  Olemon Nov 21, 2013 12:26 PM

                                  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
                                    drewskiSF Nov 21, 2013 08:03 PM

                                    Oakdale is what Augie's pop-up uses.

                                  2. h
                                    hyperbowler Dec 8, 2013 09:44 PM

                                    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:

                                    1. m
                                      madfoot Dec 9, 2013 11:12 AM

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


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

                                      1. c
                                        CanadaGirl Dec 9, 2013 11:34 AM

                                        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. wolfe Feb 3, 2014 12:31 PM

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

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: wolfe
                                            Olemon Feb 3, 2014 12:38 PM

                                            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
                                              wolfe Feb 3, 2014 12:55 PM

                                              Thank you for biting the bullet.

                                            2. re: wolfe
                                              tjinsf Feb 3, 2014 12:59 PM

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

                                            3. p
                                              Pius Avocado III Mar 28, 2014 06:27 PM

                                              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. soupçon Mar 28, 2014 08:28 PM

                                                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:


                                                1. m
                                                  marilees Mar 29, 2014 10:47 PM

                                                  Wayfare tavern has a non-traditional poutine that I liked

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