By JC Poppe Special to Published Apr 22, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Canada is invading Milwaukee!

Well, not exactly. But, one of their staple dishes is all-of-a-sudden finding itself a new home in the Cream City.

Poutine, a dish that consists of fries, gravy and cheese curds, is beginning to pop up on menus in different places around the city.

Thanks to a contest in which fans could submit ideas for new menu items, Miller Park added the salty snack for their attendees, though there will be no Toronto Blue Jay sightings in Milwaukee for inter-league play. With two Canadians on the Brewers – George Kottaras and John Axford – maybe this addition will make them feel a little more at home since they are a long way from the Poutine Palace in Barrie, Ontario.

Poutine is not new to Milwaukee, though. Restaurants like The Red Dot, 2498 N Bartlett Ave., is known as the city's place for poutine.

For $3, you get a side, $5 nabs a regular and $6.50 will bring a party-sized poutine right to your table. The Red Dot also lets you customize your poutine with chicken, Canadian bacon, turkey and veggies.

AJ Bombers, 1241 N. Water St., also tossed their hat into the poutine ring.

Why did the award-winning burger spot decide to add the Canadian classic to their menu?

"I first noticed the concoction during a trip to Montreal and thought it was almost comical how 'Wisconsin' it was. I knew we had two of the three ingredients at AJ Bombers already and we could whip up a mean beef gravy, so it was a natural fit," says owner Joe Sorge.

"Then, more recently we saw a few of our customers discussing poutine on Twitter, so we decided to ask if it was something that our Twitter followers and Facebook fans would be interested in. The response was a flat-out overwhelming 'Yes please!' So, here we are."

On a recent visit, the poutine looked great. The fries were crispy looking. The gravy was a rich brown colour (err, color). The cheese curds were glistening, as all good cheese curds do.

The flavours (err, flavors), complimented each other quite well and AJ Bomber's new French fries hold their form well after a good soaking in gravy. The best part of the first bowl came as the warmth of the gravy and fries softened the fresh cheese curds.

For my second bowl, I tried it with deep fried cheese curds. I'd have to say that adding the gooey, melted, greasy cheese curds to the dish smoothed out the salty tinge a little bit and I didn't have to wait for the cheese to soften because it was already at the peak of yumminess.

There weren't many downsides to the poutine at AJ Bombers and it's only $6.50 for a good serving of it. In typical Bombers' style, Sorge is letting you call the shots about fried or fresh.

"We've tried it both ways; with fresh, squeaky curds and warm-melty-gooey fried curds. They are both stellar, so we decided to allow our customers to make the decision for themselves."

The only criticisms that I have about poutine is that eating fries with a fork is cumbersome, but it's probably more of a psychological affliction since I'm so used to eating them as finger food.

Also, poutine is fairly salty. Fries, gravy and cheese curds all together will give you a nice boost of sodium, so make sure you have a glass of water to hydrate or a cup of coffee to cleanse your palate.

JC Poppe Special to

Born in Milwaukee and raised in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, Concordia University Wisconsin alumnus Poppe has spent the majority of his life in or around the city and county of Milwaukee.

As an advocate of Milwaukee's hip-hop community Poppe began popular local music blog Milwaukee UP in March 2010. Check out the archived entries here.

Though heavy on the hip-hop, Poppe writes about other genres of music and occasionally about food, culture or sports, and is always ready to show his pride in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.