Category Archives: Food Comentary

Praying for Poutine: the bucket-list dish that begs for beer

Praying for Poutine: the bucket-list dish that begs for beer
by Kate Cone
Poutine and beer at Foulmouthed Brewing Company, South Portland, Maine
If you haven’t made the acquaintance with this Quebecois dish yet, wait no longer. Several entities claim the invention of it, so take your pick. According to Sean Hutchinson of Mental Floss, it is sometimes attributed to a Canadian restaurant patron in 1957 who asked for cheese curds on his to-go french fries because he was in a hurry. The owner, Fernand Lachance, looked in the bag and pronounced it a poutine, “a mess.” Thank you, Mr. Lachance, or “merci,” to be correct. The gravy was added later by restaurant owner Jean Paul Roy, who noticed customers were ordering gravy to go atop their fries and curds. That was 1964, and a star was born.
You might think poutine is a dish for cold weather, and you’d be right some of the time. But I had my first taste of poutine on July 8, 2016, a warm summer day. Why do I recall the exact date? Blame my steel-trap memory (my husband hates it), or the fact that I had poutine on a beer bus tour lunch stop, at a jazzy new brewpub that is celebrating its first anniversary this summer. Beer, great food and the camaraderie of fellow beer lovers is hard to forget.
Foulmouthed Brewing Company is located just over the million dollar bridge in South Portland, or SoPo as my friends called it way back in the 1970’s, in a building that once housed a gas station. Craig and Julia Dilger are the owners and Dan Lindberg is the chef. With cooking “chops” as impressive as a stint at Portland’s high-end Hugo’s, Dan took a leap of faith when his friends proposed his running the kitchen in their brewpub-in-planning. “Leap and the net will appear,” is my favorite Zen saying, and that jump has paid off for patrons in a fabulous, modern-yet-cozy space where you can pair beer made right there with Dan’s kitchen creations.
Dan told me that he loved cooking when he was a kid, and helped his grandmother, who did a lot of the cooking for his family. She once started preparing a dish Dan didn’t particularly like, so while she wasn’t looking, he added a bit of dish soap. When it was discovered, the family sent out for pizza that night, but he got into a wee bit of trouble for ruining dinner. Crafty kid. I’m sure they all laugh about it now.
Here’s the thing about making poutine at home: you could spend three days doing all the prepping, including simmering pork bones for the stock, which will be made into the gravy, peeling and frying the potatoes for the fries and making your own cheese curds (if you use them). Most of us just don’t have the time or inclination for the labor involved.
Here’s my recommendation. I’ve tried this several times, resulting in a  poutine that is savory, melty and delicious. Doctor the very best jarred or canned gravy (I use Campbell’s Pork Gravy) by adding a squirt of lemon juice or a dash of vinegar, says Dan. Use the best supermarket frozen french fries, like Alexia organic, and buy cheese curds. We even have curds made locally.
My suggestion? Try making it at home, then head over to Foulmouthed to try Dan’s. Oh, and don’t forget to order a flight of their house-brewed beers to wash it all down with. Gym? Oh, seriously. Wait til Monday. Cheers!
Kate Cone is the author of What’s Brewing in New England: a guide to craft breweries and brewpubs (Down East Books, 2016)
What’s Brewing in New England: a guide to craft breweries and brewpubs (Down East Books, 2016)

Beer and Brat’s Potato Chips Review

So one afternoon I’m strolling through my local grocery store and what do I spy with my little eye? I see an end-cap filled with the newest offerings of the “weird flavored” Frito Lay potato chips, and right in the middle of this display… a snack food pairing made in heaven, Beer and Brat flavored potato chips! Out the way Queso and red bag of whatever flavor, Merica is here and it has arrived in the form of Beer and Brat potato chips!

Of course buying this bag of chips was a total impulse but at $3 I’m more than fine with that.  Truthfully I don’t normally go for Lays chips, I much prefer my local option of Better Maid, but with such a wonderful flavor combination how could one resist? So in the cart these bad boys go along with a plethora of other healthy snacks, potato is a vegetable even in chip form, and to the register we went.

Upon arriving home it became snack time.  After all grocery shopping is a very strenuous activity and you need to restore your strength for the afternoon, it’s not like sports are going to watch themselves on tv.  To no real surprise these chips looked like potato chips, almost suspiciously so if it wasn’t for the bag informing me that they were in fact chips and not a dehydrated bratwurst. Time to crack a beer and chow down as we settle in.

The chips themselves are alright, they probably don’t warrant the build up I’ve set up for them.  Basically what you’re getting are potato chips with some dry mustard on them for seasoning.  Whatever the beer flavor is supposed to be I didn’t get, but that’s ok, we have ways of adding beer flavor to pretty much anything.  These chips are good but calling them beer and bratwurst flavored is kind of a reach.  However if you like the flavor of mustard, and who doesn’t, these chips are worth grabbing a bag of and trying. In the meantime I’ll continue to wait for other snack foods that combine beer and delicious food.  Beer and pizza chips, Beer and taco Dortios, and course beer and pretzel pretzels! The possibilities are endless.


The Sommeats Junk Food Rankings!

I’m of the opinion that most of the time people should strive to eat real food, food that isn’t full of chemicals and other mystery ingredients that the majority of people have a hard time pronouncing.  However there is no shortage of junk food scattered throughout my home country (America) and really all over the world. Since, like junk food itself, the topic is pretty much unavoidable here are the Sommeats Junk Food Power Rankings!

10. Zingers

What are Zingers you ask? Well, if you are not familiar with them, Zingers are basically a Twinkie with a thin layer of frosting (that apparently makes the Zinger aerodynamic) on the top of them making them infinitely better than the much more well know Twinkie snack cake. These spongy delicious bastards often find their way into my pantry as an impulse buy while doing the grocery shopping.

9. Snickers

Ah Snickers, I’m not proud of it but there have been so many times that I have replaced meals with a Snickers bar. The Snickers bar has pretty much everything you need in a candy bar (chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and nougat) and as far as candy bars go actually makes it feel like you ate something. Plus they have some of the best commercials out there, especially their annual Super Bowl ads, FEAST!!!!

8.  Jack Link’s Beef Jerky

Jack Link’s, way better than its main competitor (slim jim) and Sasquatch approved! There’s a huge variety of Jack Link’s snacks out there and it’s a lot easier to pretend that beef jerky is a “healthy” snack when comparing it to a bag of Cheetohs.  Jack Link’s are my go to Road Trip snack

7. Twix

I hope the kids in my neighborhood don’t like Twix because every Halloween I buy the bag of candy that has Twix in it and every Halloween I hoard as many Twix bars as a can.  Sorry kids I have a candy bar line up to conduct and I need all the Twix I can get.

6. Potato Chips

Vintage Bag of #bettermade Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips #bettermade85years

A photo posted by Better Made Snack Foods (@bettermade1930) on

The potato chip might be the most well known junk food item in the world.  It dominates the salty snacks aisle and comes in about a thousand different varieties.  In all honesty potato chips don’t really excite me, but if you put a bowl full of chips in front of me more than likely I’m going to snack on them until someone takes the bowl away.

5. Better Made Hot and Spicy Corn Chips

#junkfood rankings coming soon on #sommeats ! #bettermade

A photo posted by John (@sommeats) on

I would have these ranked even higher if I could find them on a regular basis.  These spicy delicious corn chips are normally found on the snack shelf in liquor stores and gas stations and often get over looked thanks to the Hot and Spicy potato chips.  The Hot and Spicy Corn Chips are, in my opinion, the Led Zeppelin of the Better Made family and something I buy a bag of every time I find them.

4. Skittles

Skittles are the definitive fruity candy.  Small, delicious, addictive, and available in a bunch of varieties Skittles just rock.  Like Snickers, the good people at Skittles also give us a great deal of entertainment with some of their fantastic commercials.

3. Doritos

Doritos are another advertising juggernaut that always makes a splash around the Super Bowl, but there’s no doubt these delicious snacks can sell themselves. I’m pretty sure everyone has a favorite flavor of Doritos that they simply can’t resist few companies have built their brand better than that of the Dorito.  These tortilla chips are great and I can already hear the bag in my kitchen calling my name.

2. Oreo

Oreo cookies are perfect.  They are the worlds perfect cookie and in my opinion a perfect desert.  You could fly me to France and sit me with some renowned pastry chef and if you put the fancy pants French desert on one plate and a few Oreo’s on another I’m going to choose the Oreos. All the different fillings they do now as limited release cookies are ok but nothing compares to the original.  Oreo claims to be milk’s favorite cookie, that’s true but milk will have to get out of my way because Oreo is my favorite cookie!

1. The Pretzel

“The Alternate Side” is on #Seinfeld tonight!

A photo posted by Seinfeld (@seinfeldtv) on

The pretzel is the perfect snack food.  It’s salty and delicious and best of all is the perfect companion for a pint of beer or whatever other beverage you might want to consume.  Whether you prefer the classic pretzel rod or a fresh from the oven big soft pretzel topped with some mustard you really can’t go wrong.  Anytime I go to a baseball game I get a pretzel, and every Sunday when the NFL kicks off I have pretzels around.  They’re simple and work for any occasion and, in comparison to things like potato chips or snickers, is relatively healthy.


What’s your favorite junk food? What essential scrumptious snack did I leave off this list? Let us know in the comments!