Smoke's Poutinerie presents the most gluttonous dish in L.A.

I try and maintain a healthy lifestyle but every now and then I need to splurge. After running a half marathon recently, I needed something worth 13.1 miles of chugging along through the streets. I call it my "Post Race In It To Win It Eatstravaganza." It's the meal when I eat the most disgusting, artery-hardening, waist-expanding food I can find. I found exactly what I was looking for at Smoke's Poutinerie.

The first thing I really liked about Smoke's was that they do takeout. After running all that way, I certainly was in no mood to wait too long to get my food. They also deliver, which is always a plus, but you can sit down if you want to.

The second thing I liked was the vibe. The restaurant was homey, it reminded me of the very first mall in Windsor that I'd purchased my very first poutine. And the staff was super friendly. I looked at their website later and it says the owner "lives in a penthouse cabin made of Lego deep in the woods" and "when he's not at work he can be seen playing Frogger on his Atari." I love Legos and appreciate a good throwback, I was in.

The third thing I liked was the variety. I grew up near Canada so I'm very familiar with your standard poutine: fries, cheese curds, gravy. I love it, but it's ordinary. I needed something more and Smoke's had it.

They have some real WTF poutines. Case in point:
Bacon, Beans + Weenies Poutine
Perogy Poutine
Chicken Bacon Ranch Poutine
Bacon Cheeseburger Poutine

I went for their Chili Cheesesteak Poutine. I've never had a cheesesteak nor a poutine like this so I had to do it. Cheese sauce, cheese curds, steak, homemade chili, gravy, all piled on top of glorious fries. I waited (im)patiently and finally it arrived.

Credit: Megan Cooper

I didn't even know where to start. Would you? But I was starving, so I went at it with reckless abandon.

Let's talk cheese. I got this delivered. When it arrived at my apartment, the stripes of melted cheese on top were still gooey. But not rubber gooey, like you might expect it to be if it's not fresh out of the oven. If I'd wanted to, I could've swirled it around the mass of meat sitting atop the bed of fries. I didn't have time for that, though.

I had to move on to the steak. It was plopped on top of the rest of the dish like a nest on a tree branch. The danger with steak cut this thin and then cooked quick enough to get it delivered in a reasonable amount of time is that it'll be dry or underseasoned. I've had steaks at a proper steakhouse that weren't as good as this one. It was tender and just salty enough so as not to be overwhelming. And there was so much of it. Not too much, because yes there is such a thing as too much steak, I pushed it aside and started in on the chili.

I'm very picky about my chili. Where I come from (Michigan) they add sugar to it. I don't like that. Other places it's soupy, other places they add too much spice or too many vegetables. Smoke (the Frogger playing proprietor of this fine establishment) brought whatever recipe he had from Canada and ran with it here. He made a great choice. There was no added sugar (seriously, what's with that), no juice that settled in the bottom of the take out container, and a hint of smoke that I found later had permeated through the steak that had been in contact with it. Turns out smoke flavor is what really makes chili great.

So what's left? The cheese curds. Cheese curds are arguably the most important part of the poutine. Good curds make your teeth squeak just a little. Try some curds at the grocery store (or in some of Smoke's poutine) and you'll see what I mean. I'd say at least 75% of the curds in this poutine were good. The other 25% were melted so they're forgiven. I mixed 'em up a little with the fries and the gravy. It was an orchestra of cream and salt in my mouth, a crescendo to the finish when...

...I just mixed everything together in the takeout box and started shoveling forkfuls of it into my mouth. It was amazing. Since it was my first time eating at Smoke's, I wanted to experience all the parts before experiencing the whole. It put me in a righteous food coma. I'm confident it was because of the food and not the half marathon. I was full, but I didn't feel nauseous, which is a lot to ask for from what seemed like a pound of fatty, greasy, salty food. My phenomenal gluttony had led to phenomenal satisfaction.

See you next time, Smoke's.

Megan lives in Los Angeles and enjoys running and eating her way around the city. She's here to write, follow along on her website.