I love Montreal!

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We are back in Montreal for a few day of the usual excess. The weather is definitely better then Mont Tremblant at a crisp 8 degrees below zero; sure glad I bought my long johns and layers and layers of cashmere! Our “Host with the most” Luc Cartier has planned an array of activities for us and here are some of the highlights: On our first night, our dear, dear friend David Cooley from LA, was kind enough to lend us his stunning apartment in the old town of Montreal, where we cooked up an amazing “Welcome to Canada” dinner for a dozen of our Canadian and LA friends; the best part of this was spending all day with the whole gang shopping at some of Montreal’s best food markets, like the charming Marché Atwater.

Atwater Market, opened in 1933, is a farmers’ market located in the Little Burgundy area of Montreal. The Art deco’s building interior market is home to many butchers, bakeries and restaurants, the outside market has many farmers stalls which sell both local and imported produce, as well as many cheese stores, wine stores and fish stores. We’re all like a pack of wild dogs going from stall to stall buying up everything in site as if we haven’t eaten for a month. If anything we are contributing to the local economy, not to mention…our waistline!

 

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Marché Atwater’s Art Deco building

 

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The beautiful displays art the market

 

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Amazing vegetable displays

 

At night yours truly, with the help of sweet Chad, cooked enough food to feed 20 people, though we are only 12. Another unexpected surprise on this trip is the arrival of one of my oldest and dearest friends from NYC who decided to join me for the weekend: Scott Currie. Scoot is probably the funniest person I have ever met and I don’t mean funny…I mean hilarious, stomach cramps, tears and convolutions type funny! Needless to say he is the life of the dinner and I can’t get enough watching my Canadian friends rolling on the floor crying in pain. The eating and drinking go on till the wee hours of the morning until we finally crawl back to our respective apartments for a good night sleep.

 

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Martin Beaurivage with a hotel dolly full of groceries

 

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Unloading

 

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Chef Kass mis-en-place

 

The following day Scott and I explore the streets of old Montreal; it’s his first time here and leave it up to him to find the most bizarre selection of museum to visit, such as the Agatha Christy museum, where you can aw in amazement at such things as her typewriter and a hat collection. After a day of strange exhibits, a lovely lunch at Bistro Modavie on Rue Saint Paul (www.modavie.com), sightseeing and listening to Scott complaining about the streets and sidewalks in Montreal not being clear of the snow thus creating all sorts of hazards; we all get ready to meet at one of the best restaurants in the city…are you ready? The Grinder Restaurant (www.restaurantgrinder.ca) !!!

 

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Beautiful Old Montreal

 

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Yup…Horse and coach

 

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Old Montreal


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Old Montreal

 

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Old Montreal

 

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The lovely Marché Bonsecours

 

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Our lunch stop: Bistro Modavie

 

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Interior

 

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Scott Currie posing with Agatha Christy prop

 

Yes, Grinder, like the gay sex app that a Chinese company recently purchased; if you don’t know what I’m talking about…look it up! I guess only in Canada you can get away with naming your restaurant Grinder! Besides the obvious, the restaurant turns out to be really great; full of life, gorgeous young people, great decor and decent food and drinks. The waiters are flirty and right up my alley!

 

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Grinder Restaurant

 

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Grinder’s window

 

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Grinder’s Interior

 

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My Steak Tartare

 

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Martin & Shelly Bearivage and Chad Waterhouse

 

After dinner it’s off to “Montreal en Lumière”, a yearly festival in the freezing weather where everyone comes to the center for lots and lots of drinking and carnival style activities. People are flying over your head on cables from one building to the other, there are Ferris wheels and DJ’s spinning away to the hundred of thousands of drunken Canadians on a rampage, dancing and vomiting in every corner. We last all of 15 minutes before we make our way through the very crowded streets to our dear friend Annie Delisle’s infamous Club “Le 281” for a bottle of vodka and some eye candy. The rest of the evening is not PG 14 and will remain secret, let’s just say, we had the best time as one can only have in Montreal!

 

 

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“Montreal en Lumière” Festival

 

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Crazy people dangling form a wire over our heads

 

IMG_8509“Montreal en Lumière”


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Massive outdoor dance space with DJ spinning amazing music

IMG_8512Funny plastic enclosures

 

The following day Luc, Martin and I have our farewell brunch at the hip Richmond Restaurant and Market (www.lerichmond.com) and one of my favorite eateries in Montreal. Half the place is a fine gourmet market with specialties form all over the world and the other is a super hip, yet casual bar and dining room all inside a stunning refurbished industrial warehouse. After the best duck comfit grilled cheese sandwich in the world, it’s time for hugs and kisses and tears because this little piggy is off to LA and back to work.

 

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The Richmond Restaurant and market

 

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The Richmond Restaurant and market


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Bar and dining room

 

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The Richmond restaurant

 

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Mr. Luc Cartier and Martin Beaurivage at The Richmond

 

I’ve been coming to Montreal now for over 2 years after my friend David Cooley kept telling me for years how much fun this city was and how I should really make an effort to visit. Well…since the first time I came to this city, now you can’t keep me away! It’s not just the fun places and the “everything goes” attitude, but the people of Montreal are really the nicest people I know, they are delightfully uncomplicated, real to the core, sans all the LA hang-ups and attitude and just a joy to be with! I made some very special friends here that quickly have become some of my closets and dearest and I always look forward to coming back to this crazy city!

One more holiday weekend in Paris before returning to LA for Christmas with the family.

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After a few days in Los Angeles for work and to get my Christmas tree together, it’s off to Paris again for one last weekend before coming back to LA for Christmas Eve with the family. Paris has recently gone though one of the worst terrorist attacks in their history, it has shaken them to the core and I feel that it is imperative to support them by doing exactly what the perpetrators of such evil want from you: to live in fear and hide at home, disrupting an entire city’s economy and lifestyle. So now more than ever, it is crucial to go to Paris and support them by being there and doing all the things that you would do at any other time whilst visiting this magical city. It’s a small contribution, but worthy of my efforts!

The moment I arrive at LAX airport, I immediately notice the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks; it’s one of the busiest times of the year at LAX, but you won’t know by entering the Tom Bradley International Terminal today…It’s a ghost town! The State Department just issued a travel alert for all Americans traveling abroad and you can definitely see the impact it has had on travelers. That’s why I firmly believe, it’s now more important than ever to travel and show these terrorists that we shall not change our way of life and give in to fear and intimidation. Finally, it’s time to board my Swiss flight to Paris in my very comfortable business class seat for the 12-hour flight.

 

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Arriving at LAX

 

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The incredibly empty International Terminal at LAX

 

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Not a soul in the Duty Free shopping area at LAX

 

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More…



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I’m the only pine at the Business Class lounge…so spooky!

 

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My home for the next 12 hours

 

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My comfortable cubical on Swiss Airlines

 

I’m meeting my dear friend Luc Cartier, who is flying in from Montreal with a few friends of his to support the Parisian as well. We are staying at a lovely apartment in Avenue Montaigne, one of the best neighborhoods in Paris and where all the best shopping, eating and drinking happens daily in great style. The flat is literally 2 doors up from one of my favorite restaurants: L’Avenue, 2 blocks away from the George V Hotel and across the street from Louis Vuitton…perfection! Once I arrive at the Paris airport, I immediately notice the high security presence all around and a chilling sadness on people’s faces; it’s gut wrenching to see my favorite city going through such heartache. I leave politics and acts of war and terrorism out of my blog, but I can’t help feeling so sad about what’s happening here. On the way to the center of Paris you can’t ignore how empty the streets are and when I finally arrive at my destination, you immediately see all the empty streets, cafes and shops…it’s a tragedy! All I can think about is to go out there with my band of friends and eat and drink in as many cafes and restaurants as possible, go to more museums (even though I’ve seen them all) and go shopping for Christmas presents. I will be out there defiant and undeterred and in due time, so will all the Parisians who will always rise from the ashes to shine once again!

All right, let’s do this! First thing is the Christmas village down the Champs Élisée, where every holiday season, a bunch of street vendors build their little Christmas themed huts and sell just about anything wintery or touristy. Luc and I start the late morning with a Vin Brulée to get the internal temperature up from the frosty 45-Fahrenheit Parisian weather. My favorite part is the Michael Jackson’s Thriller ride with black mannequins of Michael Jackson dressed as Santa…to funny! We are making our way to Place de La Concorde where the enormous Farris Wheel stands in the middle of the square; I have serious fear of heights, but as I said, we must show our support by going on these very public rides in order to make a point…that’s of course if I don’t throw up in the little gondola on the way up; that would make a different kind of point all together! Sadly, there is no one in line, so we make our way to the scary gondola in no time; the climb to the top is beyond scary but the fear is quickly repaved by the shear beauty of this city from high up! Everywhere you look is spectacular and gives you a real understanding of the size and beauty of this City of Lights. All right, photos taken…get me off this thing!!!! We are meeting my darling friend Vincent Simonet, the Opera Singer, at Chez George, a charming, super French bistro in the Marais area; though my food was not terribly good, the place is simply fabulous; don’t order the Veal Brains…No Bueno! The server was hilarious trying to pick up my friend Vincent during the entire lunch with no shame whatsoever…Got to love these French! It’s back at Avenue Montaigne for a siesta before our marathon night with Luc’s Canadian friends followed by my international posse.

 

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Walking by the Super Chic Plaza Athenée on Avenue Montaigne

 

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The charming Christmas market on the Champs Élisée

 

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My favorite…Roasted Chestnuts

 

IMG_6780Vin Brulée to warm the soul


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More Vin Brulée…got to keep warm possums!

 

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The hilarious Michael Jackson Thriller ride with the scary black mannequins dressed as Santa

 

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The giant Ferris Wheel in Place de La Concorde

 

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Scared to death!!!

 

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The amazing views from high-up on the Farris Wheel: Arc de Triomphe

 

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Tulleries

 

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Eiffel Tower

 

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The Louvre

 

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Rue Rivoli


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The quirky Chez George

 

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Dining Room at Chez George

 

First order of things is drinks at out favorite bar at the George V Hotel…again!!!! It’s a great way to start the evening with my usual Lychee Martini. When you walk in the hotel you are immediately mesmerized by Jeff Leatham’s extraordinary new 10′ tall blue-mirrored penguins that sit in the center of the lobby along with the most beautiful flower arrangements that only Jeff can produce. When you make your way to the Bar…another gasping surprise: a 14′ glass freezer enclosure with a 10′ tall Ice sculpture of a few penguins inside it; never have I seen such originality and “Wow” factor for a Christmas display.

 

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View from our balcony on Avenue Montaigne

 

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Walking over to George V Hotel

 

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The Dior store CHristmas decoration

 

IMG_6754Jeff Leatham’s incredible mirror Penguins at George V Hotel


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With Vincent Simonet

 

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More…

 

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The mirror Bear in the Couryard at George V Hotel

 

IMG_6757My favorite Martini in the world

 

Luc and I are meeting a whole bunch of Canadian actors and producers friends of his from Montreal at this darling restaurant: La Rotisserie on the Rive Gauche                             (www.larotisseriedelatour.com), owned by the legendary La Tour D’Argent                           (www.tourdargent.com), which happens to be just next door. My dear friend Vincent Simonet is join us for what will surely turn out to be a messy evening…you know those Canadians! The Duck Confit is beyond amazing, which is their specialty, and the company is hilarious with a very drunk Diane who keeps singing Donna Summer’s hits and our fabulous friend from Montreal Annie Delisle, who owns the best male stripper club in Montreal!!!

 

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The legendary La Tour d’Argent Restaurant

 

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La Rôtisserie Menu

 

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La Rôtisserie dining room

 

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And kitchen…

 

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My canadians: Luc, Annie Delisle and Diane

 

Finally it’s time for the glamorous segment of this evening; a uber-chic party at Ginger Restaurant, that my jet-setter friend Carol Asscher is having for her usual group of fabulous people…just because she can! There, I’m meeting my beautiful friend Kasia and a fellow Angelino and realtor Barry Peele. This is the part where we all get slaushed and messy, so I will kindly take my leave and say goodnight now and see you all back in LA by Christmas Eve where I will meet with my family for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner.

 

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With the super chic Carol Asscher and friend

 

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With the stunning Kasia and Barry Peele


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IMG_6763The Symbol of French endurance and perseverance…Vive la France!!!