Monday, June 8, 2009

the cheese factory - edmonton, ab

the cheese factory
8943 82 ave

I needed to pick up a package of curds last week, so I though I would have a quick look and snap some photos. While the Cheese Factory has always been my go-to place for squeaky cheese, I've never dined in. In fact, I don't even know what their menu consists of..anyone?

There wasn't a single patron in the restaurant when I stopped in, just a police officer picking up some cheese on the store side. The store has two coolers full of cheesy goodness.

And a metal shelving system with dry goods.

On the way out, I noticed this fold sign leaning against the wall and it reminded me that I seem to encounter more and more people lately who haven't indulged in poutine. Living out East as a child meant having easy access to great poutine, and chip trucks, so I shouldn't be surprised I guess. In simplest terms, it's a base of fries topped with fresh cheese curds and drizzled/smothered with gravy. While the, straight to me hips dish, seems quite simple, so many renditions are just so-so. It requires the right fries, right curds and the right gravy. Once you have found it, you will know. I've yet to try the Cheese Factory's claim, that they are the best in the west, but I will be back....maybe after a run or two.

From wikipedia;

In classic poutine:

  • The French fries are of medium thickness, and fried so that the insides are still soft, with an outer crust.
  • The gravy is a light chicken, veal or turkey gravy, mildly spiced with a hint of pepper. Heavy beef or pork-based brown gravies are typically not used.
  • Fresh cheese curd (not more than a day old) is used.
  • To prepare, first place the hot fries into a bowl or large plate, then spread the cheese curd on top. The cheese curd should be at room temperature. Then pour piping hot gravy over the cheese curds and fries.

Serve immediately. Ideally the gravy should partially melt the cheese curds. Eat before the fries turn to mush. Any favorite poutine spots in town?


Anonymous said...

I tried this for the first time on Friday. I had the poutine. It was an insane amount of cheese curds on a mound of crispy fries, drizzled with chicken gravy.

I have to admit it was not for me! the curds weren't really melted and there was something about it that just didn't do it. I think I have eaten to many inauthentic poutine dishes.

It also left me wanting their awesome beer cheese - so salty and delicous!

Chris said...

Hmmm beer cheese! The curds, IMO, should definitely start to melt nicely. Creating a big ol' mess of belly filling goodness. Thanks for the post Anon!

Dave said...

Next time you're there buy the kefir (if they have any).

Anonymous said...

The owners are from the former Yugoslavia - Bosnia, to be exact, and also offer an excellent variety of ethnic Bosnian food. They have cevapi (pronounced "Chivapee"), and "borek" - a meat pie in rolled phyllo-typ pastry. The restaurant is mainly busy on the weekend evenings. I don't even think it is open during the day, but I could be wrong.
Hope that helps. Take some friends and go for some cevapi some evening. They are delish!
A Canadian Foodie

Hanne said...

So their cheese curds are pretty good? I've despaired of finding a good squeaky cheese ever since we moved back home from Montreal.

However, in my Quebec poutine-eating experience, a really good cheese curd didn't melt a lot, I guess because they're so squeaky-tough. They just sort of softened at the edges, no matter how hot the gravy.

Chris said...

Dave - I didn't even know they sold kefir, I've always picked mine up from Planet Organic after you showed me the goods!

Thanks for all the information Val! That is wonderful. And I'll be sure to take some friends and tackle the Cevapi.

Hanne - I've had great success with their curds. Some days they are out, but the last few times I've shown up while they were packing fresh curds. Delicious indeed! Let me know if you check it out, as I haven't found anywhere that produces a better example in Edmonton.

Cheap Chicks And The City said...

Oh gosh, their kefir is absolutely amazing!

Their menu I find is actually pretty meaty. We normally go in groups because they have platters you can share. I wish I remember what the names of the platters are, but it's been way too long since I've been there. Definately worth a try.

First time I ever went, I wasn't quite sure why they were called the Cheese Factory, since they didn't have a lot of cheese dishes on their menu. Just so you're prepared when you go :)

Anonymous said...

Is The Cheese Factory still open? I've been there once, but every time I've driven by since, it looks like it is closed out. The food was amazingly good and *very* plentiful. Decor is pretty humdrum, but service was excellent. I hope it is still in business because I would like to return and feast again!

Chris said...

Hi Anon. It was open the last time I drove by, so I would be surprised if it wasn't. I have to agree, it doesn't really shout OPEN at passerby's.

Anonymous said...

Still open. But they are usually closed on Sundays, and only open for dinner on Friday and Saturdays. I just went last Friday for the first time. Enjoyed it a lot. Had the 1/2 roast chicken with poutine, split with my hubby (who still ordered a medium poutine on his own). The roast chicken was really good. Juicy with great crispy skin. The poutine that came with the chicken was almost the same size as the medium. Great light gravy, yummy fries, curds melted to perfection. And as Montrealer now forced to live in Edmonton, I agree with Hanne that the cheese curds should not melt all the way. I bought a package of their fresh curds before leaving the restaurant ($5.00 for the small bag, not sure about the big one) - polished it off on the weekend. As a side note, as we do in Quebec, I like to store a fresh bag of curds out of the refrigerator until it's been opened. After opened, I will store it in the fridge (until the expiry date, if there is one), but I will take it out and bring it to room temperature before eating to get teh squeaky-ness back.

Anonymous said...

Also, for ex-Montrealers... they have a full shelf of St-Hubert products - dried sauce packets as well as canned soups... yummy! St-Hubert's chicken gravy is the best.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I eat poutine at this place every Saturday.. I've eaten poutine in Montreal and this place is authentic! Best poutine in the west for sure.

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