Address: 100 Queen St (between O’Connor and Metcalfe)
Hours: 10am – 3pm (M-F); closed Sat-Sun
Green factor: Styrofoam containers for burgers and poutines; plastic utensils; didn’t see any bins on site.
On a recent, spring-ish Ottawa day that appeared between our charming (re. morally devastating) April snowstorms, I was on the hunt to try a new-to-me chip wagon. My Vina may not have been my planned target, but it was the one that was open in its usual spot. Consistency pays, folks.
My Vina has recently upped their truck décor game, with a colourful, professional design that makes it stick out a bit more than the many yellow chip wagons around the city with less-than-new paint jobs.
This investment gave me some hope for the food, but the menu itself was very standard fare for these mobile fryer jockeys – burgers, hotdogs, pogos, and of course, fries and poutine. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with doing simple things well. If they are done well.
The prices are very reasonable; a large poutine will set you back a mere $7.50 (taxes in). I settled on the most expensive item on the menu – the cheeseburger and poutine combo – and that wasn’t exactly a bank breaker at $11.75.
My burger was ready first. You top burgers and hotdogs yourself here; I went with the proper burger toppings of mustard, relish, pickles and onions. At this point in my life, I’m not sure ketchup’s continued existence is even necessary.
Once I had my poutine and drink in hand as well, I took a short stroll to the stairs in front of the World Exchange building to soak up the sun and some carbs while the weather allowed it.
I went for my burger first – figuring that it would cool down the quickest in the cool spring air, while the poutine would keep itself warm in its Styrofoam container. My first impressions were mixed. On one hand, the bun was nicely toasted, and the cheese was melted on the patty. On the other hand, the patty was one of those frozen patties that has irregular edges in an effort to look more like a real burger. It’s like the burger equivalent of a Snapchat filter – no one’s getting fooled by this. My first bite confirmed my visual disappointment, as the meat was mushy in texture and lacking that fresh beef flavour. It’s hard to find a good chip wagon burger in Ottawa!
Last but not least, was my potato salad…that just so happens to be deep fried and topped with cheese and gravy. Their small poutine is what comes with the combo. The fries were of average thickness, and while I know some people prefer a thick fry in their poutine, this was perfect for me. And speaking of perfect: these golden brown sticks of potato-ey goodness.
Fresh cheese curds and gravy were layered throughout the fries, and the gravy was rich and not too salty. All in all, this was a very good poutine.
I appreciate the initiative that My Vina is taking with their branding, and if they can extend that care to their burgers (and have greener packaging), then they’ll really stand out in the chip wagon crowd.