Sunday, July 11, 2010

Casse-Croûte Chez Tipit, Rivière-Beaudette, QC

Last year, I reviewed one of Montreal's best (and certainly its most acclaimed), poutine joint. However, one secret to traveling in Québec is that almost any rural road side diner, snack bar, or fry shack is going to serve up poutine better than what you can get in Montreal. No, Anthony Bourdain won't have eaten there, and it won't be featured in your Frommer's travel guide, but every small town has one or two dives, and I've yet to have anything but excellent poutine in any of them.

Tam and I were recently in my hometown to attend a belated wedding reception that my parents were graciously hosting for us newlyweds. After a fantastic weekend catching up with family and friends that we hadn't seen in ages, it was time to pack up the car and make the nearly 1000 km drive back to Pittsburgh.

We didn't make it far. After only an hour, we had exited Highway 20 and were looking to gas up. However, we were immediately confronted with two quintissentially Québécois institutions across the road from one another. Québécois institutions which undoubtedly draw more tourists then all others combined: a strip club, and a snack bar. While Club Frontière promised a selection of exotic danseuses to go with their (presumably) reasonably priced motel rooms, the lure of hot fries, gravy, and cheese curds from Chez Tipit proved stronger.

It was lunchtime, and so we queued up behind what felt like every local blue collar worker who were getting their steamés, toastés, poutine italiennes, and so on. We kept it simple and shared a traditional poutine between the two of us.

It didn't disappoint, easily surpassing the quality of most offerings downstream in Montreal. The fries were hot, crisp, and greasy, the cheese so fresh it squeaked (always a good sign), and the gravy was peppery and smooth.

It didn't take long for us to polish it off, with Tam, true to her British roots, dousing her half with splashes of vinegar between bites.

With enough carbs and fat to sustain us, we only needed a coffee break to get us the rest of the way back to Pittsburgh. We wondered whether the hardworking women across the way at Club Frontière similarly rely on a Chez Tipit poutine to fuel their long days?

Casse-Croûte Chez Tipit is located at 620 Rue Principale in Rivière-Beaudette, Quebec. It's just off the highway at the last/first exit in Québec when driving between Toronto and Montreal and is definitely better than the Wendy's and Timmy Ho's which line the 401 across the border in Ontario. In a rush? Call 450-269-2996 and ask for your order to go (pour aller), so you can get back on the road. Or back to the show across the street.


Julie said...

I have never had poutine. this post makes me want some!

Knatolee said...

This is pretty funny, since I live about 20 minutes from this part of Québec, and our farm backs onto the actual Rivière Beaudette (the Ontario part!)

I'm going to share this post with my local friend who has a poutine blog! And I want to try this place myself, as the poutine is looking very tasty.

hungrycanuck said...

Thanks for reading! Knatolee, I'd be curious to read your friend's poutine blog, and also to see how places like this one stack up against his/her favourites. What's the link?

Julie, you should try some poutine, but honestly, only if you're in Quebec. It's unusual to find it made with cheese curds elsewhere, and the cheese curds are what make it unique.

Knatolee said...

Duh, I meant to include that. SHe'd probably like it if you sent your review to her for the blog, especially since that place is so close to us both:

I am going to Montreal tomorrow to meet up with my English cousin, who is visiting and has never tried poutine. He must do so before he leaves! Perhaps at La Banquise?

hungrycanuck said...

Knatolee, La Banquise is definitely THE place to go, but it acts like it. Sometimes the quality poutine comes with a long line. You can avoid a wait by going at an off hour (late afternoon, say).

A nice alternative is Patati Patata on St. Laurent:

Enjoy! I'm sure your cousin will love it, no matter where you go.

Knatolee said...

I'm glad I checked back! Thanks for the alternate poutine option. I'll let you know how it goes.