Today is Canada Day. But trying to find a Canadian-themed place in New York is like trying to find a Welsh bar in London. For a city that has restaurants and supermarkets for every nation possible, it’s bizarre that New York seems to have entirely ignored its nearest neighbour. I could hardly track anything down on Google; one forum user even said that there are so few Canadian places that, if she’s not hungry, she’ll joke that she wants to go to a Canadian restaurant.
I did manage to find Canadian bagels at Mile End and a single Canadian restaurant, La Pescadeux in SoHo, as well as a frites shop selling poutine just around the corner from my apartment. Poutine is a dish of chunky fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. It sounds pretty stomach churning, but supposedly it’s a Canadian favourite.
The problem with the poutine at Pommes Frites is that they use chicken gravy. So I asked for mine without and then nipped home to add my own vegetarian substitute (Ahh, Bisto).
This looked disgusting so I hate to admit it, but it was pretty good. The chips were amazing – like good British chip shop chips – and the cheese wasn’t as chewy as cheese curds I’ve endured in the past. Add a bit of gravy, and it’s the perfect sloppy combo.
It’s a shame that this was the only way I could celebrate the day, but it did the job and served as a very healthy dinner.
It also made me think about my own visits to Canada during my roadtrip four years ago. After initially being stunned into silence by the French speaking (and then dusting off the cobwebs to recall the basics from my GCSE days), it was great – pedal-boating in the Old Port, laughing at the mirror above our bed in Montreal’s scuzziest motel, crazy Toronto Pride.
It was a fun trip – and with the lack of Canadian options here in NY, it seems like I’ll just have to go back if I want that genuine experience again.