Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dispatch from Saguenay: Waddling to La Croix de Ste. Anne et une Poutine

Call it fate, a siren song, or just plain luck. I was back in my rooming house in South Chicoutimi, out on the fire escape, and just about to fire a Lucky when the rain stopped, the clouds, parted, and the sun shone through. Damn, I wanted a Lucky, a beer, and a reason not to go waddling through Chicoutimi. Now I had none of the above. And no Dolly-girl to boot.

OK, so I didn't have any Luckies and it was too early for beer (well, maybe not) and truth be told, I like to walk. I headed out on shank's mare, destination, La Croix de Ste. Anne in North Chicoutimi. Let me tell you, there's a lot of elevation change between the river and the cross. Jack got a work out.

Coming back down the hill, being a gumshoe and all, I noticed a joint that would catch the eye of anyone who happens to like french fries covered in gravy with cheese curds. Yep, a patate, right there before my eyes. I knew it was the best in town because it said it is the best in town. My French is THAT good! Besides, there was a dump truck parked outside. I gave a look over my shoulder--force of habit, but hell, the Good Professor can't be here. I sauntered in because it seemed like the French way.

I sat down at the counter and Missy stepped in front of me, gave me the once over, and said, "Que sera-ce, Jacques?" How the hell did she know my name? "Je voudrais avoir une poutine avec les frites, le sauce, et la fromage blanc." "Nous avons obtenu an autre traducteur Google, Gisette. Seigneur, prends pitié, pour l'amour de Mike..." She turned to me. "First of all, the sauce, how do you comme, gravy? The gravy is a she and the fromage, le fromage it is a he. Mais, je comprende et je suis ici pour vous dire, poutine, she is frites, sauce, and cheese, Jacques!"

She turned and went to do whatever--I hoped to make me a great poutine like I'd had with Rouge and Newshawk--so I tried to act like I knew what was happening. I took out the menu, maybe a quelqu chose to late, and had a look. Missy gave me le globe oculaire poilue so I went back to trying to behave. I put the menu back in the little holder. She was there in about 10 seconds to take it out of where I put it and put it behind the ketchup, apparently the real home for a menu.

The next thing I knew, a poutine was sitting right in front of me. My mouth was watering and I picked up my fork to dig in. "Oui, oui. Il est ici comme une question de fait. Jacques! Au téléphone, il est pour vous." What the?

"Jacques-garçon, be careful there. You have not waddled far enough to deserve that beautiful poutine served in what could pass for a cocotte." "Professor, what, how, why?" "Jacques, the Star Cluster is an international tracking system. You didn't think..." "A guy can hope."

"I'll tell you what, Jacques, since it's a vacation of sorts, I'm going to let you consume this petite poutine, provided you promise to walk at least 6 miles today. I did receive the report this morning and, as of today, you are falling behind the pace of both July and June. You have work to do..."

"Wail! I know Professor, but look at this. The gravy is tasty and just salty enough. The curds squeak. The fries...oh, oh. A chink in the armor. They looked crisp enough, but a little soggy. Now I wish I hadn't eaten the whole thing!"

"Sounds like a 3.5 curds with a half-curd bonus for ambiance and china." "Just what I was thinking, Professor, just what I was thinking."

"Jacques?" "Yes, Professor?" "Get your LARD! ass off that counter stool and hit the streets." "Yes. Professor."


Anonymous said...

The Professor is in Western Pennsylvania where he was, I'm sure in an earthquake this week. Why would he be calling you?

Ronna said...

Good review Jack! Can you email some of those pix so I can post them on poutine chronicles? THx.