Get Your Poutine Fix at the Museum of Work and Culture’s Poutine Indulgence Tour
The annual competition combines French culture in Rhode Island with our love of cheesy comfort food.
Melty cheese curds, steaming gravy and crispy French fries holding it all up underneath — what’s not to love about poutine?
If you, like us, are a poutine fiend for the indulgent Quebecois treat, then the Museum of Work and Culture has your fix. The Woonsocket-based museum is hosting the seventh annual Poutine Indulgence competition throughout the month of March as part of its Francophonie events celebrating French culture in Rhode Island.
“The Poutine Indulgence and competition is such a fun way to experience all the twists that each of our participating restaurants put on this classic Quebecois dish to make it their own,” says Anne Conway, director of the Museum of Work and Culture. “The event has grown each year, and we set a new record with ten participating restaurants and eleven locations this year.”
Ticket holders can travel to ten participating restaurants around Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts to sample the poutine. Then, vote for your favorite on the museum’s website between March 20 and April 1. The winner will be announced during the annual Salute to Spring event on Sunday, April 2.
Newcomers this year include Black Sheep of Providence, Black restaurant in Woonsocket and Savini’s Pomodoro in Woonsocket, all putting out their best poutine. They’ll face some stiff competition, though. Adeline’s Speakeasy Kitchen Bar in Cumberland returns this year after claiming the title three years running through 2021, and Friskie Fries in Johnston and Providence is always a fan favorite. Ciro’s Tavern in Woonsocket, KG Kitchen Bar in Providence, Poutine Peddlers in Taunton, Mass., Red’s Kitchen in Seekonk, Mass., and Ming’s Sando Bar in Pawtucket are also returning to the competition this year.
While the classic poutine — a French-Canadian dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and gravy — is a treat unto itself, the best part of the competition is how each restaurant puts its own spin on the cultural favorite. Take Ming’s, for example. Their Pho’tine (which I had the pleasure of sampling during the 2021 competition — see the aftermath below) combines poutine with a Vietnamese pho, featuring hand-cut fries topped with pho gravy, cheese curds, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, fried garlic and lime. Poutine Peddlers, meanwhile, finishes their classic poutine with a dash of scallions, and also advertises six other varieties, from the Mac Attack to the Hot Chick, for sale at their store in Taunton.
Whichever way you prefer your poutine, be sure to also grab tickets to the museum’s Salute to Spring on April 2, when the winner will be unveiled amid music, a family-friendly magic show and even more poutine from visiting food trucks. While you’re there, check out the museum’s exhibits telling the story of the immigrants, especially French-Canadians, who have traveled to the region over time to work in the mill communities along the Blackstone River.
Poutine passports are available for purchase on the Rhode Island Historical Society website. Passports are $15 per person and include samples at ten restaurants, either takeout or dine-in. The competition lasts through the month of March, and voting will take place between March 20 and April 1.
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