La Belle Patate

Cakes was absent for this adventure… choosing to eat at *ahem* fancier places, but luckily my friend Kate was up for it!

It all started when my Dad asked for a good place to get a sandwich in Victoria. I contacted Kate, who luckily has an awesome brother, Mike, who has urges to seek out such things as the best sandwich place in town. Mike was searching for a Reuben, but what he found was so much more…. Tucked in Esquimalt is La Belle Patate, a Montreal-style diner boasting authentic Canadian cuisine.

My Dad went. He had a Smoked Meat Sandwich. The next day he went back. He had a Smoked Meat Sandwich, a side of Poutine and a Spruce Beer. He sent me this picture:

La Belle Burger

And that was the moment I knew I had found a higher calling. I had to make a pilgrimage to this glorious dive.

We arrive and I want everything on the menu. My hopes were quickly dashed with the astonishing news that they were out of Smoked Meat. However, this was only my second choice, for it was foretold that I must have La Belle Burger.

The place is jammed! Navy dudes, hipsters and families are all squeezed into the small space which seems slightly absurd with a freezer next to the tables. We sit in the window and wait… They call out the orders by what it is. I’m ridiculously excited and twitch every time they call “Poutine,” which is a lot!

And then it arrives. My burger is so big, the Chinette plate can hardly support it. It’s massive. Kate laughs at the though of me cramming it into my mouth. I have no doubt I’ll manage. Two patties, double cheddar cheese, 4 slices of bacon, fried onions & mushrooms, mayo, and Belle sauce all on a fresh bun. It’s mouthwateringly delicious, literally my mouth is watering right now while I reminisce. The Poutine is as good as it gets, awesome crispy fries, skins still on! The squeeky cheese curds just slightly melting under the rich, hot gravy — not that we gave them much time to melt. Kate’s Steamie All Dressed is a glorified Hot Dog, but for $1.20 you can understand why they’re lining up. My Spruce Beer isn’t as wild as they others let on, I thought it was great. Kate described it best, “It’s like drinking a 7-Up with your head in Christmas Tree.”

It took me quite some time to finish my meal. The banter going on around us was phenomenal! First, Spruce Beer had been discontinued, but La Belle Patate orders enough that the company is making it just for them! But what really captured our attention was the ongoing parking lot saga…. La Belle Patate doesn’t have a parking lot, but the two restaurants next door do, the only problem is, no one’s going to those restaurants because this one is so freaking awesome! Being, most likely, bitter and jaded by this, the other restaurateurs have a tow truck on call; in fact he’s making such a good living that he’s parked around the corner. One of the guys in the kitchen noticed the action, calls out the vehicle being towed. A Navy guy drops everything and runs, his friend however will not be pulled away from his poutine for a mere tow truck incident. They lowered that truck and everyone calms down and then they pick up another car… this went on! Whenever anyone came in the restaurant they had to be asked where they parked! Great entertainment for us!

As I moped up the last of the sauce and onions from my plate, Kate told me she didn’t think I was going to finish it. She was so proud!

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