Vancouver Food Tour Announcement + Guilt-Free Miso Mushroom Poutine Recipe

I made this recipe Urban Rush, a local talk show today. While we cooked, I also announced my exciting new business venture:

Vancouver Food Tour – Local Food Culture Experience

Vancouver Food Tour – During and after the Olympics, I’ve received an alarming amount of requests for restaurant and food recommendations from readers around the world. The passion behind these emails inspired me to start my own touring business where I’ll personally guide visitors to Vancouver’s best culinary destinations. From top-notch restaurants, local wine and beer samplings, to our gorgeous public market, I’ve got you covered!

If you or someone you know are planning to visit Vancouver and want to experience the best of our food culture, be sure to join the mailing list or contact me on Twitter for more details.

My appearance on Urban Rush will air on Shaw TV at these times:

Vancouver and Shaw Satellite – 5, 7, 11 pm and noon tomorrow (ch 4)
Victoria – 5 pm (ch 11)
Calgary – 8 pm (ch 10)
CJBN, CTV (via Shaw) – 9 am tomorrow

There, you’ll see me make the following recipe and stumble over my words. I will also upload a clip after it airs.

Guilt-Free Miso Mushroom Poutine

The traditional Quebecois poutine consists of fresh French fries topped with cheese curds, then drowned in scalding gravy. It’s not rocket science – this proud Canadian concoction of crispy fries, oozing cheese, and meaty gravy is mind-blowingly delicious. Sinfully delicious.

It neither takes a genius to figure out that this dish packs on a billion calories and a gagillion grams of sodium. But nobody does the math while eating poutine. My favourite version is kicked up one step further and it knocked me breathless against my chair. Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne serves it comme ça:

Duck Poutine Lyonnaise with Shredded Duck Confit, Onion, Mushroom, Cheese Curd, Duck Jus, topped with a Sunny Side Up Egg.

During the Olympics, many of us had our fair share of poutine as it was served in numerous venues. I became hooked. When one becomes dependent on such an addictive substance, quitting cold turkey just won’t cut it. I needed to gradually ween off the food-crack.

In the process of creating something to emulate the sensations that only a true poutine can deliver, I came up with a different, but still very comforting version. Take extra comfort in feeling guilt-free when indulging in it.

  • Miso-tahini gravy +
  • Crispy oven-baked fries +
  • Sauteed garlic mushrooms +
  • Light mozzarella cheese +

= Guiltless Poutine

Still not convinced? Scroll through these lip-smacking photos first.

Then, grab the recipe at the bottom, along with a simple vegetarian option.


  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • 3 C mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 2 C chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • low-fat mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Oven-baked fries

  • Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)
  • Scrub and wash the potatoes, then cut them into 1/2″ thick batons. Soak in salted cold water (1 tbs to 1 L) for 15 minutes.
  • Drain and pat potatoes dry. Toss in a bowl with 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tsp coarse sea salt. Spread in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crispy (approx. 30 minutes, turning them every 10 minutes).

Sauteed Garlic Mushrooms

  • In a large skillet, heat up some olive oil over medium heat and infuse it with the garlic cloves. When the garlic turns golden brown, discard.
  • Saute the mushrooms in the garlic oil with a pinch of salt until golden brown. Reserve.

Miso Tahini Gravy

  • Cook the flour with an equal amount of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until the roux becomes lightly golden.
  • Slowly pour in the stock while whisking vigorously. Continue to whisk until the sauce comes to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and whisk in the miso paste, tahini, and mustard. Adjust the thickness with more stock. When the gravy returns to a boil, remove from heat and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

To Assemble

  • Fries + mushrooms + cheese + hot gravy = enjoy!
  1. March 23, 2010 by Teresa

    1st off…congratulations! that’s an amazing amazing venture you’re taking on. I know Seattle has a popular food tour, so it’s a surprise that we don’t a well known established one of our own (at least I’m aware of…until now!
    congrats and good luck!!!

  2. March 23, 2010 by Eleanor Hoh(wokstar)

    Congrats Mel. If anyone can do this, it’s you. From all the Twitters and posts you’ve done, you know the best places, good luck. Keep us posted on progress.

  3. March 23, 2010 by Victoria

    Can’t wait to see your tv appearance! Nice work Mel. And congratulations. :)

  4. March 23, 2010 by Eleanor Hoh(wokstar)

    Oh, forgot to say this dish looks like a good dish with different textures, gravy and crunch plus duck with anything is too tempting.

  5. March 23, 2010 by Ju (The Little Teochew)

    Hey, stunning dish!! Perfect for brunch. :) Congrats on the TV appearance … you’re officially a food blogger superstar!

  6. March 23, 2010 by _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    Hey, congrats! How exciting! Best of luck on your new venture. =)

  7. March 23, 2010 by zenchef

    I want my own personalized tour of Vancouver. I’m not sharing you ! :)

    Congrats on the exciting opportunities!

  8. March 24, 2010 by SuperChef

    Awesome! I know where to come to when I visit Vancouver!

  9. March 24, 2010 by Miriam/The Winter Guest

    Wow, on TV! Congrats!

  10. March 24, 2010 by Bonita

    Congrats Mel! TV spot. New business venture! 2010 is definitely shaping up to be an exciting year for you! Best of luck with everything!

    When I come to Vancouver, you’ll definitely be my foodie guru!!

    It’s way too early for poutine right now, but I want a plate of that. Right. Now. Miso-tahini gravy? Brilliant! Love that your fries are thick-cut AND baked as well!

  11. March 24, 2010 by Divina

    Did I just mention before that you deserve your own TV show? I think I did. This is just the beginning and it’s going to get better and better. Oh that poutine is a must-have. Congratulations dear. :)

  12. March 24, 2010 by Darina

    Congratulations, Mel! How exciting. I’m glad to see all these great opportunities coming your way.

  13. March 24, 2010 by Tangled Noodle

    Congratulations on your new endeavor – now, I want to head out to Vancouver! I look forward to seeing the video of your TV appearance, but thanks for giving us this preview of what you’ll be making. Poutine, with or without guilt, is all good!

  14. March 24, 2010 by Amy Blogs Chow

    Hello, Mel! I’m so excited about your new business! Sorry I didn’t get here earlier to congratulate you but better late than never – just like your trip to New York City :) (Also, I am scatterbrained.)

    You are a super talented lady & I know more TV spots (and lots of business!) are coming your way. And one more thing – I’m really glad you’re back on Twitter. I was wondering where you disappeared off to. Sending you a big, big hug!

  15. March 24, 2010 by justcooknyc

    congrats. about the poutine… yeah, i am generally consumed by guilt when I eat it, sort of like “omg, what was I thinking?”

  16. March 24, 2010 by Stay-At-Home-Chef

    Wow – what a great (and much needed!) idea for our city. CONGRATS! I look forward to hearing more about your new venture…

  17. March 24, 2010 by Cookin' Canuck

    Good luck on your new venture, Mel! It’s been long enough since I lived in Vancouver that I may have to sign up for one of your tours when I come back for a visit. I’m looking forward to watching the TV clip when you upload it.

  18. March 25, 2010 by Linn @ Swedish home cooking

    Miso is one of my favorite flavors, I can very much see myself making this recipe! Delicious. I just uploaded a new episode of my cooking show, please check it out!

  19. March 25, 2010 by wasabi prime

    Fabulous news!! Both the business venture as well as guilt-free poutine. ;) What a wonderful adventure you’re embarking on!

  20. March 25, 2010 by Kristi Rimkus

    Congratulations on your business venture. The poutine looks terrific. I’ve saved the recipe for the future!

  21. March 25, 2010 by Melissa S.

    Great news and congrats!

    I found your blog through Foodbuzz Daily Buzz Email and can’t wait to try this recipe too!

  22. March 25, 2010 by Rose @ The Bite Me Kitchen

    Yay! Congrats congrats congrats! You’ve been working your ass of and you deserve it! This is amazing :D

  23. March 25, 2010 by Angela@spinachtiger

    I know you will be just perfect at this venture. It will make a lot of folks very happy.

  24. March 26, 2010 by Marc @ NoRecipes

    Congrats on your TV appearance:-) I’m on a plane somewhere over Colorado on my way to film something in LA, but I wish I could hop off the plane right now to go make this poutine.

  25. March 30, 2010 by linda

    Congratulations Mel!! Knew you be a superstar one day with tastebuds like yours! :)
    All the best on your new venture! Hope to see you around soon!

  26. April 03, 2010 by Frank Z

    Melody, well done! congrats. How did you all that TV thing go?

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