Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, everyone! While perhaps not as well-known as the U.S.-based counterpart, the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada started 40 years before the Pilgrims arrived in North America. Recently, Spelunkin Magazine went to Montreal and naturally just had to enjoy one of the most famous dishes of the Quebec province, Poutine!
Poutine is a simple dish, generally consisting of french fries, cheese curds, and a light gravy – usually chicken, veal or turkey. It is the cheese curds that most often characteristically distinguish poutine from a generic U.S. favorite called “Disco fries”, and those curds definitely do make a difference in the taste and texture of the meal. The city of Montreal is known for popularizing a version of poutine made with smoked meat and, spoiler alert, that happened to be the most popular variety sold at Montreal Poutine. Montreal Poutine is located in the gorgeous Old Montreal section of the city just near the Saint Lawrence river. As shown in the photo above, the area is known for its classic Old World-style winding cobblestone street layout and its numerous boutique stores, souvenir shops, bars, and various types of restaurants.
Curiously, Montreal Poutine itself is actually 2…or possibly 3 storefronts that are directly associated with each other along the same block. It is possibly 3 because while the first two were able to be entered (more on that in a moment), the third – some sort of bar – happened to be closed at the late Monday hour.
The first place had a simple sign out front with a brief stair climb to enter into a gorgeous four-walled open-air courtyard ringed by classic buildings. In the center of this space, a small bar station could be found allowing patrons to either eat there or at one of the many surrounding tables. The lighting was slightly dim and somewhat tinted, allowing one to almost think that the illumination was from yellow gaslight and not bulbs.
Despite the signage, the first step was to confirm that this place did indeed take Bitcoin – and at that time. It is not uncommon to find that Bitcoin is more of the pet project being handled by a particular manager and/or owner who may not have equipped or trained their employees to accept Bitcoin in their absence. However after a quick check-in with the staff, someone was found who gave the all-clear for paying with Bitcoin. And with that confirmation, one order of smoked-meat poutine was placed!
While the food was great, conducting the mechanics of actually paying was where things got a little rocky. Unfortunately, your humble reporter was only equipped with a carrier-locked GSM phone without the benefit of an international service plan. This meant that the phone could only engage in transactions by wifi – which was present at the first Montreal Poutine (MP1) location. However the payment QR code was only printed out at the second Montreal Poutine (MP2) location – where the wifi happened to be out of order that night and MP1’s wifi was not reachable. The solution was to get a total price at MP1, walk over to MP2 to have the staffer show a posted QR code, use the phone to translate the QR code to a string, and then walk back to MP1 and inputting that string and the amount to send into a payment app – in this case, Coinbase – to complete the transaction of the wifi there.
Overall it was a great experience and very exciting. While only a few places in Montreal accepted Bitcoin overall, it was great to experience making a purchase using a truly international currency.