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Elkhart Dining Days 2015: Poutine finds its way onto an Elkhart menu

I’m not always a math whiz, but the way I figure, there are three meals in a day.

Hobbits sometimes eat more meals and I’m cool with more than three, as long as the fourth one doesn’t come at Taco Bell as the chain advertised several years ago.

With so many places on the Elkhart Dining Days list offering great specials, there are a limited number of opportunities. And with Election Day on Tuesday, work got in the way of eating.

So yes, I had poutine for breakfast Thursday morning. And yes, I’m fine with that.

At 8 a.m., I was sitting in the empty bar at New Paradigm Brewing Co., having french fries with meat, gravy, cheese curds and a sprinkling of vegetables.

Emily Kinzer of ABC 57 was there with owner Brandon Stanley and me to do a few morning show segments for Elkhart Dining Days. I asked if Stanley could fix some food. He complied and after the food looked pretty on television, I dug in.

Poutine is a French-Canadian dish of french fries, cheese curds and gravy. La Banquise, a Montreal restaurant, offers several dozen varieties and its website has a history lesson about the dish’s origin.

So yes, I had poutine for breakfast Thursday morning. And yes, I’m fine with that.

Now this combination becoming hip bar food in the United States. Lasalle Kitchen & Tavern, Goshen Brewing Co., and now New Paradigm have all served or are serving versions.

At New Paradigm during Dining Days, Stanley’s staff is making one version with house-made chicken gravy, chicken, chives and white cheddar cheese curds from Guggisberg in Middlebury. The second version has pot roast and sweet peas with house-made beef gravy. Both come on “a bed of french fries.”

After eating a plate full, you will want a nap.

I love cheese curds. So does Stanley.

“Forget Skittles. Give me cheese curds,” he said.

You seriously need curds in poutine. 

“It’s what makes it,” he said. “Other than that, it’s just gravy and fries”

Chicken gravy, the stuff made from a mix, is scary, but this gravy wasn’t what I would call light — it had flavor and was well prepared. The pot roast poutine was wetter and I thought the chicken version was more interesting.

This is bar food. Not something you’d usually have for breakfast. But then again, it’s not usual to be standing in a bar with a television reporter and bar owner at 7:30 a.m. talking about a cool dining event in our town that helps Church Community Services.

Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do. 

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