Canadian restaurants or bars in the United States?
January 15, 2006 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for bars or restaurants in the United States that serve Canadian food.

Can anyone recommend any American bars or restaurants that serve Canadian cuisine like poutine, beaver tail, moose stroganoff, Molson beer, donuts, etc.? It'd be nice if it was decorated with Canadian stuff too, but, really, the food's the important thing. [And, yes, I'm familiar already with the book So You Want to be Canadian, but it didn't have any help in this department, unfortunately. Are there other resources that I should consider?]

If these places are anywhere near Los Angeles or San Francisco, all the better, but my girlfriend (the Canadian) and I (the American) go on frequent roadtrips, so anywhere is okay. Any suggestions, eh? Thank you.
posted by stst399 to Food & Drink (44 answers total)
cuisine eh?

Google found me this:

Canadian Café (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Pea bacon & eggs, Canadian style Rotisserie Chicken, Poutine Fries – covered w/ Gravy & melted Cheese Curds)
125 E. Colorado Blvd. (Take Myrtle north of the 210 Fry then right on Colorado)
Monrovia, CA
(626) 303-2303

posted by furtive at 7:44 PM on January 15, 2006

There are Tim Horton'ses in border / Great Lakes states. The farthest south I remember seeing one is Columbus OH.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2006

Explain Canadian food please.
posted by caddis at 8:01 PM on January 15, 2006

Explain Canadian food please.

Yes, please. I've lived in Canada my whole life and never had poutine, beaver tails, or moose, let alone moose stroganoff. Not sure the donut is Canadian either.
posted by loquax at 8:20 PM on January 15, 2006

I've had poutine in Madawaska, Maine... if you ever find yourself on the East Coast and looking for a long road trip. A lot of the border towns had diners/restaurants with poutine.
posted by jdl at 8:25 PM on January 15, 2006

Donuts may not be precisely Canadian per se, but Canadians eat more donuts then any other nation, or so I have read recently.

Man, I forgot about the fries and gravy dish.. shows how long it has been
posted by edgeways at 8:48 PM on January 15, 2006

Are those the only Canadian foods? I've lived in Canada my whole life and I only ran into those foods when I lived in Ontario for a short while. No sign of them on the West Coast. And I've never even heard of moose stroganoff. Seriously?
posted by acoutu at 8:52 PM on January 15, 2006

Bugaboo Creek calls itself a Canadian restaurant, but they're really just a a steakhouse with a gimmick. And buy do they ham up the gimmick!
posted by duck at 9:00 PM on January 15, 2006

"Donuts? I told you, I don't like ethnic food!

--Mr. Burns, to Homer Simpson
posted by sourwookie at 9:16 PM on January 15, 2006

Are those the only Canadian foods?

I'm in Ontario, and I see all those foods regularly. I can't imagine a life without poutine or Beavertails.

I'm also a fan of Tourtiere and Nanaimo Bars.
posted by Jairus at 9:18 PM on January 15, 2006

posted by Jairus at 9:18 PM on January 15, 2006

Canada: Because it's too cold for evil to take root!

Certainly corridor between Buffalo and Port Huron is lined with donut shops. Never saw the like. Yet equally, never heard of most of the rest.

I didn't know there were enough beaver for eating it to be popular. I've only seen beaver once in the wild.
posted by Goofyy at 9:29 PM on January 15, 2006

Beavertails aren't actually made of beaver.

posted by Jairus at 9:44 PM on January 15, 2006

Beavertails are silly, and tend to be sold to tourists as far as I can tell (but then I'm from Toronto.) I'd never seen one until I was in Winnipeg during the Pan Am games, although I'd heard of them being sold in Ottawa.

In Toronto you're lucky if you can find decent poutine. Peameal bacon is surprisingly common (given I don't remember it from my childhood at all,) and vinegar is often available for fries, though often not at the types of places you'd want it most.

"Canadian food" is such a silly genre. Within Canada, it's really just standard North American food with peameal or maple syrup somehow added to the recipe. And why is "Canadian" pizza pepperoni, mushroom, and bacon? We're supposedly known for a particular kind of bacon, not just bacon in general!
posted by maledictory at 10:02 PM on January 15, 2006

I thought Peameal Bacon (aka Back Bacon) was the only real Canadian food.
posted by Manhasset at 10:03 PM on January 15, 2006

It's too regional to pin down. A Montreal "all dressed" pizza is pepperoni, mushrooms and green peppers. You can get bacon in some places but it's not a basic element, and then it's ordinary bacon, not back bacon.

I live in Quebec and I've only had moose once, when I was visiting Alberta a long time ago, and I've never seen pea bacon.

Talk to a Newfie sometime about food and you'll hear about lots of things you've never had elsewhere in Canada.
posted by zadcat at 10:11 PM on January 15, 2006

and vinegar is often available for fries

...there are places where it isn't? I had no idea.
posted by Jairus at 10:13 PM on January 15, 2006

...there are places where it isn't? I had no idea.

Try asking for it in the states. They look at you funny and bring out the litre jar of cooking vinegar from the kitchen. Crazy bastards.
posted by loquax at 10:20 PM on January 15, 2006

Nanaimo Bars rock. But you can't get Beavertails on the West Coast and poutine is pretty rare.
posted by acoutu at 11:15 PM on January 15, 2006

The moose thing was a joke, right?

And calling that random grouping of foods 'canadian cuisine' was also a joke, right? Because seriously, if thats canadian cuisine, then that's just embarrasing.

Another canadian-ism when it comes to food, is my favourite bar-rail cocktail, the Rye and Ginger. That's whisky to you americans, and ginger ale. Its fabulous. But if you ask for it in the states, you get one of those liter-jar-of-vinegar type looks in response.
posted by Kololo at 11:25 PM on January 15, 2006

Not to nitpick, Kololo, but my understanding is that Canadian Rye and American Whiskey are wholly different drinks, not just two words for the same liquor.
posted by Manhasset at 12:09 AM on January 16, 2006

Still trying to figure out what the hell a beavertail is. Is that a scone-ish type item? Do 'All-dressed' chips count? I've never seen them stateside.
posted by Zendogg at 5:40 AM on January 16, 2006

Beavertails are sticky greasy sweet pastryish things generally sold in areas where tourists are likely to be found. Not at all like seal flipper pie or cod cheeks.
posted by fish tick at 6:28 AM on January 16, 2006

A beavertail is essentially the same as an elephant ear (big 'pastry' thing served at fairs etc), just with different toppings available*. I've only ever seen them in Winnipeg at the Forks market.

* toppings like maple syrup, chocolate and other options
posted by raedyn at 6:31 AM on January 16, 2006

Canadian foods that I eat regularly (e.g. more than once a year): tourtière, poutine, paté chinois, soup au pois, baked beans, tarte au sucre and of course maple syrup.

I can also think of a few more that I don't eat regularly but have had more than once in my lifetime: we used to make and eat la tire St-Catherine every November 25th as children, I can't think of a Canadian kid who's gone camping and not made bannock at least once, and I've made pemmican a few times too. Oh, and although you can find pork rinds outside of Quebec, here we call them oreilles de criss which translates literally to "Christ's Ears", and a trip to the cabane a sucre wouldn't be complete without them.

I've had beaver tails dozens of times and even worked at one, but I wouldn't consider it a Canadian food per se...more of a tasty gimmick. I've also had moose burgers a few times but I wouldn't really consider that Canadian cuisine any more than rainbow trout or les les petit poissons des chenaux. As for drinks, there's Canadian Rye, and of course Caribou which is a sort of mulled port with sherry and brandy mixed in. I'm not sure if ice wine is considered Canadian or German, but we are known for it.
posted by furtive at 6:51 AM on January 16, 2006 [2 favorites]

Ceasar's are Canadian too. Americans generally think clam-based coctails are weird. More for us!

Also, beavertails (with cinnamon sugar and lemon) are an important part of the the whole skating on the canal experience in Ottawa.
posted by bonehead at 6:51 AM on January 16, 2006

Oreilles de criss are specifically hog cheeks are they not? That's what I've always been told. Very rural Quebecois.
posted by bonehead at 6:54 AM on January 16, 2006

Martin Picard, the chef at Pieds du Cochon in Montreal, has been doing what he calls a Quebec take on standard French food. This is the first step into Canadian cuisine that I have ever seen taken.
posted by jon_kill at 6:55 AM on January 16, 2006

Thank you jon_kill, I couldn't remember the name of the restaurant. Yeah, Au Pied de Cauchon does French Cuisine but with Canadian meats and berries. It's good but I wouldn't consider that Canadian food either.
posted by furtive at 7:06 AM on January 16, 2006

Try asking for it in the states. They look at you funny and bring out the litre jar of cooking vinegar from the kitchen. Crazy bastards.

Not true. In Maryland they are refered to as Boardwalk Fries after the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. Most pubs in the northeast carry malt vinegar on the table (along with catsup*) for fries.

* Ketchup is a trademarked product of Heinz. Anything else is catsup.
posted by terrapin at 7:37 AM on January 16, 2006

I'll take your word for it, but no establishment that I've been to in NY, MA, or CT has not been surprised by a request for vinegar, let alone provided it as a default.
posted by loquax at 7:51 AM on January 16, 2006

Tim Horton's has locations in some states. The furthest west is Kentucky, though. (They need to open some in Illinois!)
posted by SisterHavana at 9:05 AM on January 16, 2006

furtive: as a matter of peripheral interest, though your link says bannock is Cree, I know it as a Scottish speciality, and the wheatflour-based Selkirk Bannock is one of the best mountaineering staples ever. (Bannock being not only a historically known variant of oatcake, but also a 14th century battle site.)
posted by methylsalicylate at 10:19 AM on January 16, 2006

Nanaimo Bars rock.
posted by acoutu at 11:15 PM PST on January 15 [!]
Oh man, do they ever!:)
posted by Radio7 at 11:01 AM on January 16, 2006

Bloody Caesars! (Clamato, too)
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 11:12 AM on January 16, 2006

Nanaimo Bars rock.

Well, I find them somewhat variable -- some okay, others revoltingly sweet. And what's this about American Cheese being labeled Canadian Cheese up north? I've looked in vain, found only Kraft Cheese slices, but never any labeled Canadian Cheese.
posted by Rash at 11:13 AM on January 16, 2006

And what's this about American Cheese being labeled Canadian Cheese up north? - Rash

I've never heard of such a thing. Although I seem to remember once running into a recipe calling for American cheese and wondered what that is... are you saying it's just processed cheese slices? Yuck.
posted by raedyn at 11:17 AM on January 16, 2006

methylsalicylate, you're absolutely correct, bannock does comes from the scotts and was introduced to the natives. However the preparation and the end result are a bit different over here because we wrap the dough around a stick and cook it over a fire, rather than bake it in a pan.
posted by furtive at 11:24 AM on January 16, 2006


- Beavertails are easily found at the Lonsdale Quay in NorthVan. They have sweet and savory tails (garlic is my favourite).

- Poutine is easily found at A&Ws and KFCs on the West Coast. A&W's poutine is better.

- Rye and whiskey are two different liquors.

- My "wedding cake" was a sheet of Nanaimo bars. Although I have a major sweet tooth (there's a reason I'm diabetic), I find them too sweet.
posted by deborah at 12:03 PM on January 16, 2006

Terrapin, do you have a citation for the ketchup trademark? I just looked it up in both the US and Canadian trademark databases and found that it is only trademarked as Heinz Ketchup, not ketchup. There are other companies with trademarks on other ketchups. See CIPO and USPTO.

Once, I went to Seattle and ordered a Seabreeze. The bartender said we had to be from Vancouver. He said they don't have that drink in Seattle (well, they have the ingredients) and that only Canadians order it.

If you find Nanaimo Bars that suck, that's because the people making them aren't using the recipe from the back of the Bird's Eye Custard can. All Nanaimoites worth their salt use this recipe.

American cheese is some sort of orange cheese that looks like cheddar but isn't.
posted by acoutu at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2006

You mean American Cheese Food (the USDA doesn't allow them to use the term cheese alone on this stuff; it is "cheese food."
posted by caddis at 4:16 PM on January 16, 2006

KFC and A&W have poutine? I must go.

Real Nanaimo bars don't come in sheets. I must insist that you did not have the real thing. :)
posted by acoutu at 6:39 PM on January 16, 2006

I think the word ketchup was invented by Heinz as a way to brand their product which had previously been refered to as "tomato catsup." I'm sorry, I may be wrong. I don't have a source other than hearing my father tell me (he refused to say "ketchup" if the product wasn't Heinz, and he didn't like Heinz's ketchup anyway. He also only would use Miracle Whip, and I would only eat real mayo, but that's neither here nor there). I believe it may also have been in a Heinz documentary I saw last year. *shrug*
posted by terrapin at 7:19 PM on January 16, 2006

Yes to KFC and A&W serving poutine. It almost makes up for not being able to find biscuits in BC fast-food outlets (McDonald's, why hast thou forsaken me?).

Does Safeway make real Nanaimo bars? Hm, prolly not. I've also had homemade and they're still too sweet for me.
posted by deborah at 11:45 PM on January 18, 2006

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