Saturday, March 25, 2017

Poutine Poppers

 THE GAME: Oregon vs Kansas

With very few exceptions, no food is as hit-or-miss as poutine. The best poutine - when the fries are crisp and the cheese curds and gravy play off each other in a salty, gooey combination - is one of the great heavy dishes you will ever eat. You end up inhaling more than you probably want, definitely more than you need, but it's worth it.

The worst poutine, on the other hand, is as bad as food gets, resembling the kind of amorphous glop your cat pukes up when he eats crickets too quickly. You will not each much of this poutine, no matter how drunk or stoned you may be.

Most of the poutine I've had in California falls into the latter category. As a result, I don't order it very often.

But I saw these frozen poutine poppers the other day and I won't lie: I was intrigued.

I did not buy it right away, but rather took a photo of the package and later that evening showed it to my friend Marina, my guru on all things Canadian. (True, she's my only Canadian friend, so the title is hers by default, but whatever. )

"That doesn't look bad," she said. "You should try it with ranch dressing."

That had never occurred to me. I'm not the biggest fan of ranch, especially not with cheese; the combination always takes me back to a pizza I saw a man eating at a sports bar in Wisconsin, a hideous concoction of cheese and buffalo sauce floating on a base of ranch dressing.

Still, if a Canadian told me I should try it with ranch dressing, I was game.


  • The box cost $5.99 at Ralph's. That seemed a little pricey for a store-brand product... but then again, it's their "Private Selection." Whatever the hell that means. 
  • There were 16 in the box; I only cooked half. 
  • The instructions provided are for baking in the oven. There was no chance I was going to cook them that way. I knew exactly what would happen: the cheese would leak out all over the pan. So I deep fried them. I mean... they're breaded balls of potato and cheese curds. It's not like frying them is going to make them significantly unhealthier. 
  • While I was debating what kind of ranch to use - as I mentioned, I'm not the biggest fan - something occurred to me: the Blackened Ranch at Popeyes is pretty damn good. So I went there (when they opened at 10 AM) and bought four containers. And nothing else. 
  • I was shocked at how much I liked the poppers. I had expected them to be devoid of any real flavor except possibly cheese. But I could taste the cheese, potato, and gravy. 
  • I will get these again, and if I ever see them on sale, I'm going to stock up. 

  • Mike Scioscia got thrown out of the Angels spring training game today. I don't remember the last time I've seen that happen. That has nothing to do with this game, but it made me laugh. (Like the old joke about the man in confession, I'm telling everybody.)
  • The Patriots won another Super Bowl in February after Atlanta committed the biggest choke job in NFL history. UCLA basketball put together its best offense in more than two decades but decided not to even pretend to play defense. The Lakers have the worst record in the Western Conference, yet it's basically a coin flip whether they get to keep their draft pick in June. 2017 is shaping up as a truly awful sports year, which is why I have no doubt that Oregon will be going to the Final Four. 
  • Ten seconds after I typed those words, Josh Jackson picked up his second foul and had to go to the bench. 
  • Reggie Miller and Marv Albert are carrying on about Larry Brown being the greatest coach ever. If you could choose one college coach for one game, and your life depended on the outcome, who would it be? Brown? Bob Knight? Tom Izzo? Pete Bell? Dean Smith?
  • Pete Bell was Nick Nolte's character in Blue Chips. You can't actually select him. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. 
  • Oregon shot 59% in the first half. Their penultimate three-point attempt of the half went in, came out, and then went in again. Their final three-point attempt banked in. This is New England Patriots-level lucky. 
  • Josh Jackson just flopped and Reggie Miller announced "I love it!" We know you do, Reggie. You were the whiniest flopper I ever saw in the NBA. You made Vlade Divac look like an immovable object. 
  • Kansas is now down by 15 - the largest deficit they have faced all season. 
  • Now it's 18. I'm gonna check what movie is premiering on HBO tonight. 
  • Uh, never mind. It's Independence Day: Resurgence. I saw that in the theater. (Don't ask.) That is one of the ten worst movies I've ever seen. 
  • With three minutes left, Kansas is down by 9. They are also 0-9 on three-pointers this half. Oregon is 27-28. (That's not actually true, it just feels like that.)
  • Kansas was all set to get the ball back down 6... and it went through not one but TWO Jayhawk hands, right back to Oregon, who then drilled a three-pointer. That's gonna be the ballgame. 
  • Jordan Bell's line tonight: 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 blocks. Jesus, that's a monster game. 
  • After scoring 100, 90, and 98 points in their first three tournament games, Kansas scored 60 tonight. They were an atrocious 5-25 from three. 

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