Authentic Canadian Poutine at Poutine Dog in Lake Worth

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South Florida food lovers, meet Poutine Dog in Lake Worth -- one of the first restaurants of its kind to bring an authentic taste of the unofficial national dish of Canada to the area.

What is poutine? Basically, it's a simple combination of seasoned fresh-cut fries, homemade gravy, and soured milk (OK, cheese curd). In other words, comfort food -- Canadian-style. And at Poutine Dog in downtown Lake Worth, they've taken the traditional fast food dish to the next level, adding an assorted array of gourmet toppings. You can choose from lobster, smoked meat, BBQ pulled pork, chicken, braised beef brisket, sausage, bacon, veggies and a range of sauces to drench it with.

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With origins in Quebec, today poutine -- Acadian slang for "mushy mess" -- is served in various forms across Canada, often topped with additional ingredients like bacon, pulled pork, lamb, lobster, caviar, truffles -- even rabbit confit. You'll find it served in small pubs and diners -- known as cantines or casse-croûtes in Quebec, as well or roadside chip wagons similar to those across Belgium and Europe that sell gourmet-quality fries on the go.

At Poutine Dog in Lake Worth, the owner -- a Canadian transplant originally from Romania -- serves the dish 16 different ways in two serving sizes for a deal priced $6.95 to $12.50 a plate. While the most important part of the dish is the cheese curd -- often a white cheddar cheese with a taste and texture very different from actual cheddar cheese -- more exotic poutine platters come with ingredients like barbecue chicken, pepperoni, pastrami, bacon. Even green peppers, onions and spicy Italian sausage. The standard poutine, however, is made with just three ingredients: fresh cheese curds served over hand-cut fries and smothered in the restaurant's own house made gravy.

Here, it's not just the poutine that's authentic. Even the decor is straight from a Quebec cantine, it's small space decorated with oversized booths and a long counter for diner-style seating. The menu also offers classic French-Canadian dishes like eggs or chicken guedille, what is literally a salad in a hot-dog bun consisting of lettuce, tomato and onion in a mayo-based dressing scrambled together with eggs or chicken. Another specialty: several cafe hot dogs, including a bamboo dog wrapped in bacon, deep fried and smothered in pineapple relish or the pizza dog topped with pepperoni, melted cheese and special house Italian sauce.

Poutine Dog is located at 17 South J Street in Lake Worth. Call 561-766-2281, visit poutinedogcafe.com, or like them on Facebook.

Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.

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