We left the Floribell Resort early Sunday afternoon to go home after having had a good time with family and friends. Frolicking on the beach, swimming in the lake, drinking a few cold ones. Life was good. Especially since yours truly became International Champion of Water Frisbee. But that’s another story.
So we left Saint-Élie-de-Caxton and started looking for a place to have a quick bite. We hit Road 351 then Road 153 before arriving in Saint-Barnabé and spotting a Casse-Croûte just off the main street. The place didn’t look busy, but there were a few cars in the parking lot.
The classic Pepsi sign told us that we were at le Casse-Croûte du Parc Vert.
Built in 2005, Casse-Croûte du Parc Vert is located downtown St-Barnabé Nord, such as it is. It is basically about 20 minutes from Trois-Rivières, Shawinigan and Louiseville.
They claim that everything on their menu is home made. The spot used to be a classic snack bar hole-in-the-wall – but clearly they renovated to add indoor seatings, about 30 seats. Outside, a couple of picnic tables if you prefer.
The menu is posted on a couple of boards over the order window. Here, you can find the usual casse-croûte fare:
French Fries, Poutines, Subs, Hamburgers and Hot Dogs; but also Chicken Wings and Pizzas.
The owner, which was operating the kitchen, was very friendly and resourceful, answering all our pre-meal requests: high chair? booster seat? (nooooooooooooooooo, papa! I am tall now!) and even a band-aid to cure a bébitte’s bite.
The Waffle Jr. wanted chicken and they were offering nuggets by single unit – a great option - but I knew she would want French Fries from our order, so I got her the full platter ($7.83). Mrs. Waffle didn’t hesitate either – she wanted an Italian Poutine – a small one ($5.96), with a tomato-bacon sandwich ($3.05) on the side. For my part, I took my time to look at the menu, asking questions. After pondering my options, I ordered a medium Poutine du Parc ($7.83).
For drinks, they were selling juice and milk at the window – but for pop, you had to get a can from a Pepsi machine in the corner - $1.50 a pop. Mel got a Mountain Dew, me a Pepsi.
Our lunch was ready in a jiffy – except for the sandwich, which was forgotten – but it would soon be made and delivered to our table.
Mel’s Italian Poutine looked good, smelled good – and tasted good. The Italian sauce had a strong, fresh tomato flavour. There were bits of carrots, but not too much - the sauce was nicely balanced, not too sweet. “The curds squeak-squeak”, she exclaimed. Great news! There wasn’t too much sauce, the fries were holding firm and the curds weren’t melting too quickly, holding their chew – and their classic sound. A nice dish. Mel was also satisfied with her sandwich – even though she got a Tomato-Bacon Grilled Cheese instead of what she wanted. My bad, I guess.
The Waffle Jr. was quite excited about her plate. She didn’t like the coleslaw, so I had it – it was a classic sweet and sour salad, the way coleslaw should taste, with a great crunchy texture. The French Fries were really good – probably better on their own than in the poutine, I thought. A dark golden colour, thick with a nice crisp on the outside and quite fluffy inside. Jr. would dip them in the gravy and in ketchup, alternating between the two until she decided that ketchup was much better. Of course! The chicken nuggets, however, were quite ordinary. A little thin, a little dry. Flavourwise, they tasted good enough for Jr. to keep at it – but I suspect that these guys are not homemade.
The spectacular dish of the day was my medium-sized Poutine du Parc. What a beauty! A poutine with a classic brown gravy, topped with ground beef, green peppers and onions. It was delicious! The gravy was served hot, covering the fries and the toppings. It was a classic brown gravy, not too salty. It was smooth, silky, delicious. I mean, you almost wanted to drink the stuff! Beef, onions, peppers – what a great combination. The steak was nicely seasoned, cooked perfectly - throughout without being dry. The onions brought some sharpness while the peppers brought some sweetness. The challenge was to get the perfect bite each time: potato, beef, onion, pepper, cheese curd, gravy. Man, that hit the spot! And yes, medium is quite large. I was done and done.
The owner, still very friendly and ressourceful, answering all our post-meal requests: a cup to go for Jr.’s milk, a paper bag for the fries she didn’t eat and wanted to keep for later. Great service!
Right before we left, a new customer arrived.
A Green. Yellow. Black. Orange. #11. Saturn.
You never know what you’ll find when you stop for a poutine somewhere on Quebec’s back roads.
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