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2nd Annual Poutine Challenge/Dunn's Famous

Vancouver Foodster’s 2nd Annual Poutine Challenge is well under way. Foodies around town are diving into some of the 21 creations available throughout the city. This past week, I’ve been able to try a couple of them.

2nd Annual Poutine Challenge-1

Regal Beagle is a lively pub that’s been around for 15 years. It’s got a relaxed vibe that plays cool tunes (and major sporting events on several of the five flat screen TVs). About four and a half years ago, Chef Ryan Wellington was brought on to add a more comprehensive menu to the establishment, better known for lively nights of drinking, dancing, and watching live sports.

2nd Annual Poutine Challenge/Regal Beagle

Ryan also manages both the Media Club and Portland Craft, plus helps to raise three children at home. That’s one in-demand guy!

Dave Barnett owns the Beagle and named it after the famous bar in the long-standing 70’s TV hit, Three’s Company. Executive Chef Ryan Wellington, together with Head Chef John Montgomery work to create a changing menu with more attention to home made ingredients.

Their creation for the challenge is a Jerk Pulled Pork Poutine ($13), containing slow braised pork, house jerk sauce, aged cheddar and country gravy topped with a poached egg.

2nd Annual Poutine Challenge/Regal Beagle

Ryan’s never been a huge poutine fan but had a regular customer from Montreal, so he took interest. The customer would occasionally bring back smoked meat from the poutine capital and Ryan would develop new recipes. Poutine is now a regular menu item that changes periodically for a change in ingredients and flavours.

I enjoyed the goodness without the gooeyness; the dish wasn’t too salty either. The pulled pork works nicely with a Fat Tug IPA (one of several craft beers on Regal’s taps). The egg yolk worked its way to the bottom, adding a lovely match to the aged cheddar’s soft little cubes, helping to keep that aged flavour throughout the poutine. There’s also melted cheese in there, making for a nice contrast in textures.

Craft beer lovers will be happy to know that The Regal Beagle will be doing a second casking of Phillips Bottle Rocket Indian Session Ale on Wednesday, February 27; Ryan aims to have more casking nights featuring offbeat, original regional brews. If you’re in, don’t forget to try Howe Sound’s Super Jupiter Grapefruit IPA, in very limited supply.

The Regal Beagle is located at 2283 West Broadway in Vancouver’s Kitsilano.

2nd Annual Poutine Challenge/Dunn's Famous

Dunn’s Famous is obviously no stranger to poutine. Their entry for the Vancouver Foodster Poutine Challenge is Dunn’s Famous Pulled Pork Poutine. The plate is heaped with famous Kennebec hand-cut fries, in-house seasoned pulled pork, Quebec cheese curds, original BBQ gravy, and topped with coleslaw.

2nd Annual Poutine Challenge/Dunn's Famous

The dish was created by Head Chef Alex Brown. Both my friend Cathy and I found the poutine well-balanced and not too salty. The slightly-sweet BBQ sauce is a great compliment to the tangy slaw, also not overpowered with mayo but with a vinegar base. The dish was perfect for sharing at $10.99.

Dunn’s is also a laid-back, comfortable eatery in the heart of downtown, offering several poutines, sandwiches, Montreal smoked meat, amazing cheesecake plus beer, wine, and cocktails.

2nd Annual Poutine Challenge/Dunn's Famous

Dunn’s Famous is located at 827 Seymour Street in Vancouver.

Both these poutines were delicious with plenty of flavour, and if I had to pick one, it may very well be Dunn’s, perhaps due to the fact that originating from Montreal, they’ve had the time to perfect poutine.

2nd Annual Poutine Challenge/Dunn's Famous

Regal Beagle’s however was very impressive and with the soft poached egg on top seeping through the potatoes, pulled pork, and aged cheddar, I’m anxious to try other items on their regular menu in the future.

That’s two. There’s 19 more to sink your tastebuds into until February 28. Voting will then take place from February 26 to March 2.

Tweet and Instagram your photos throughout the challenge using Twitter handle @vanfoodster and hashtag #PoutineChallenge. As far as voting for your favourite poutine? Think originality, creativity, uniqueness, traditional vs. non-traditional, price, value and most importantly taste.

Visit the Poutine Challenge webpage for venues and additional information/updates.

My poutine lunches were generously provided by Regal Beagle and Dunn’s Famous for the purpose of writing this article.

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