The Canadians are coming and bringing us amazing poutines! Welcome to the Air Canada Poutinerie, a Popup in Washington D.C., open only for a limited time (November 9 -15, 12 pm-10 pm). Why does an airline have a restaurant pop-up, you ask? Well, why not? It generated quite a buzz in D.C. and drew long lines every day. This was also a great way to highlight all of the different destinations Air Canada flies to.
Poutine is what we call “loaded fries” in the U.S., but it’s way better and might be a good reason for Canada to invade us. Bring us the freedom of poutine! Ten different poutines give you ten reasons to check this place out before it’s gone. This dish originally came from the Quebec province of Canada, where french fries and cheese curds are topped with gravy.
This poutine wasn’t very much, cost-wise, as you can get a single serving for $5 with $4 drinks. Plus, most of the poutines are gluten-free, and many can be requested as vegetarian, depending on whether or not the gravy or sauce has meat in it. After trying the entire menu, we wish Air Canada flew to more cities so we could try an even wider variety of different dishes. Here is our list of all the pop-up’s poutine, rated from “OMG NOM” to “not so nomnom.”
How does it Work?
Be prepared for a long line. This popup is open for a minimal amount of time, and the line was quite long when we checked it out. Best not to arrive at lunch or dinner time and aim to avoid peak hours. We got there around 6 pm and were able to get in after 30 minutes. Customers were allowed in small groups, so the place wasn’t crazy packed. When you get in, you are given a flight ticket like you would get for boarding a plane. Sadly, that’s not the end of waiting in line. Next, you will get into the order line, but that went very quickly for us.
After you place an order, you will get a number similar to a numbered plane seat. However, seating is not assigned, and it’s on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend your tallest friend watch out for anyone getting ready to move so you can claim that spot. Make sure to order everything you want in one go, or else you will have to go through the order line all over again.
Classic is always better! As its name suggests, Montreal’s Classic is the traditional Poutine from Quebec: fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Though we must say, it’s all about the gravy here.
2. Toronto’s the Six (5/5 NOMs)
The Canadians sure know their sweet potato fries. This was one of our favorites because of its great combination of sweetness (from the maple mustard) and savory (from the pork belly and cheese curds.)
3. London’s Corner Fish & Chips (4/5 NOMs)
A great take on the classic Fish and Chips. We really liked the combination of malt vinegar fries and caper tartar gravy. This might be better than Fish and Chips from London.
4. Sao Paulo’s Sweet Chimi Churrasco (5/5 NOMs)
You can’t have a fusion dish without a Latin influence like combining sweet potato fries, grilled carne asada, green chimichurri, and Queso Blanco. A perfect combination to take you on a flight.
5. Seoul’s Twice The Spice Kimchi (4/5 NOMs)
This was our first taste of Asian-influenced poutine. The kimchi is a perfect combination with fries, giving you great texture and a kick all in one place. Of course, it’s not right unless there is some Sriracha. In this case, you get that kick from Sriracha Gravy!
6. Mumbai’s Baked & Buttered (4/5 NOMs)
This truly represented India well with tender butter chicken and paneer cheese. It had a very distinct and unique flavor that we fell in love with.
7. Paris’ Brasserie Born Braised Beef (4/5 NOMs)
Fries and mushrooms always go great together, and here it created a great combination with braised beef and horseradish cream.
8. Rome’s Eternal City Eggplant (4/5 NOMs)
Can you say “poutine” in an Italian accent? Eggplant with Napoletana sauce went great with mozzarella cheese and garlic fries.
9. Shanghai’s Neon Street BBQ (4/5 NOMs)
So great to see another Asian-inspired poutine with a Chinese influence. The BBQ pulled pork, hoisin gravy, sesame seeds, and vegetable slaw made for a great combination.
10. Dubai’s Late Night Shawarma (3/5 NOMs)
The combination of chicken shawarma and fries with tzatziki garlic gravy was a great taste bud discovery. The flavor profile was a bit low, so this wasn’t one of our favorites. We finished the whole thing, though, so we still enjoyed it.
First Class 3D Experience
Along with tasty food, Air Canada also set up a virtual experience where you can try First Class or if you don’t feel super classy, Coach. All using a 3D Headset to simulate the whole experience. You can play games, order and eat food. Yes, you actually can eat food using the headset. You can even throw your food at other passengers. It’s the only time you won’t get thrown off or jazzed. The 3D Headset works just fine if you’re wearing glasses, so don’t skip this very fun experience!