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!

On the road to Canada…”Eh?”

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After a short flight, I arrive in Montreal where my Motley Crew: Luc Cartier, Martin Beaurivage, Shelly Beaurivage, Chad Waterhouse, Alex and Mathew, are all arriving from different cities to meet in Montreal for our pilgrimage to Mont Tremblant, some local ski resort that I have never heard off…and that’s never a good thing! After walking 3 miles to the custom area (you would think they are the busiest airport in the world!), i am shocked to see an ocean of people, probably thousands, all waiting in line to go through the 5, yes…five custom agents on duty for all those passengers. No worries, Mr. Kass has the “Global Entry Card” that allows you to get priority entrance and service in most international airports; you must input some information on a designated computer terminal in a private area and you’re on the other side of the border in minutes. Sadly, not today! Once at the Global Entry Terminal, the damn machine won’t accept my passport info and after trying 20 times, I am advised by an angry mob of waiting people, to leave the area and join the masses in the main collection area…I am livid!!!! I am in line for two and a half hours and by the time I reach the Canadian side and my friends, I literally turn into Lucifer and I’m ready for blood. My poor friends have a tough time getting me back to “Sweet Robert”, but after 3 cocktail and an apple tart, I am back to normal..ish! We finally make our way to our cars and on the road to Mont Tremblant, just a few hours out of Montreal. The drive is beautiful, especially when you start climbing to higher elevations and the snow is covering the whole landscape. The boys rented a large estate in Mont Tremblant for us for our 3 day visit and once there the property doesn’t disappoint. It’s a beautiful day and you can see across the whole valley, past the lake to the mountain range, if you can call them mountains.

 

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Our welcoming committee.

 

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View of Mont Tremblant sky resort from my bedroom.


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Our mountain retreat for the next 3 days.

 

IMG_8572Our mountain retreat.


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The grand Living room.

 

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And grand kitchen.



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My bedroom, complete with fireplace and stunning views of the mountains

 

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You know I’ll be in here very soon!

 

Mont-Tremblant is a municipality in the Canadian province Québec, set within the Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montréal. The year-round Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort, on the shores of Lake Tremblant, features intermediate to beginners slopes that take a long time to get to top of them and then minutes to come back down. Canadians love this place so I will try to contain myself and my judgment, but this is no mountain…more like a “Bump”, a very, very cold “Bump” with less than impressive skiing, with a very disturbing title of “Coldest ski resort in the world”!!! I’m a serious skier, so for me being in a place that is so cold, with such mediocre skiing, makes no sense; but I will say that the little village is very charming, if you’re into that Disneyland kind of thing. Thankfully, I did my skiing back in St. Moritz a few months ago and I am really here to spend some time with my buddies. I join the boys on the first day for the afternoon and quickly realize that between the crippling 18 degrees below zero temperature and the short, icy bunny slopes, I will not be doing anymore skiing after this. I last all of 1 hour on the slopes and finally make a mad dash to the first mountain lodge I see in the village for one of the best treat one can have after skiing: Glühwein (Mulled wine). This hot, red wine and spice concoction is a favorite for mountain skiers all over Europe; it warms your body on a cold winter day…and you get super drunk too!

 

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Mont Tremblant village

 

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Mont Tremblant’s gondolas.



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Freezing my ass off on the way to the top.

 

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At the summit at a chilly 15 degrees below zero

 

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Striking a pose.

 

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And another…

 

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And another with my friend Martin Beaurivage.



IMG_8610The infamous Glühwein.

 

After a lovely, hot bath facing the fireplace, an hour cat-nap and a few Luc Cartier “special’ cocktails, we all going for dinner at La Savoie (www.restaurantlasavoie.com), a favorite in the area, specializing in Swiss specialties such as: Raclette, Cheese Fondue, Fondue Bourguignonne and Fondue Chinoise. I absolutely looooove all these dishes; I grew up with them! They are very popular throughout the mountain resorts in Switzerland, France and Austria during the winter; I just never been in a place where you can have all of them at the same time, at the same table! There are 8 of us, so you can imagine how much food arrives at this table, it’s ridiculous! I gorge on so much melted cheese that after dinner I can barely wobble my fat ass through the snow and into the local bar for a nightcap.

 

IMG_8579Our living room at dusk…so beautiful!


IMG_8652The Motley Crew all bundled up in 28 degrees below zero temperature

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Charming architecture in Mont Tremblant.

 

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More Disneyland…

 

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La Savoie restaurant…Let there be cheese!

 

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Fondue Bourguignonne.

 

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One of my favorites: Raclette.

 

After making fun of the locals at the bar and risking getting our ass whooped, we finally make it back to our massive chalet where we where planning to have a rip roaring party till the wee hours of the morning. Sadly, the cheese got the best of us and after a few minutes trying to whip it up…we all fall into a “Cheese Coma” and go off to bed. The next day is pretty much the same thing as today; not much happens up here in Mont Tremblant, though I will admit, it’s growing on me…I think it’s the cheese talking.

 

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Matt, Alex and Luc being his usual charming self.

 

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When in Rome…

 

On the last day, I wake up in the morning to find out that it snowed all night and we are totally snowed in! Not a problem, I am so very happy laying in bed in front of the fireplace, watching movies and looking out the window into a stunning, white winter wonderland…I can do this forever!!! Unfortunately, this afternoon we must pack up and drive back to Montreal for another 4 days of shenanigans. Worth mentioning, is our pit stop at the famous breakfast place in the middle of nowhere on the way back to Montreal, named Au Petit Poucet (www.aupetitpoucet.com). This super kitsch, though charming, Canadian eatery with Mousse heads and Dear heads and choo choo trains and fake snow everywhere (I know…you gotta love’em), is obviously a favorite around here and packed to the tilt with locals, nibbling away on their Canadian bacon smothered in Canadian Maple syrup. No need to twist my arm, I’m in for bacon, eggs, waffles and a gallon of maple syrup…probably the best in the world (though every time I try to bring some back in the US, they take them away at customs…those bastards!).


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Enjoying being snowed-in under my fluffy comforter.

 

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View from my bedroom.

 

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The fabulous Au Petit Poucet on the way to Montreal


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Au Petit Poucet interior

 

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Luc Cartier being Luc Cartier…with pig in hand

 

All right possums, I’m driving back with Mr. Cartier and I’m on co-pilot duty, so I’ll see you soon back in Montreal…”Eh?”

Back in LA and off to the MOCA Gala presented by Louis Vuitton

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Talk about getting right back onto the swing of things! I just got back from my amazing South American trip and it’s time to tux up and attend the very glamorous MOCA Gala at the Geffen Contemporary at the MOCA museum downtown LA, honoring renowned native California contemporary artist, John Baldessari (www.moca.org). Both myself and my on-and-off wife Loree Rodkin are guests of my dear friend Eugenio Lopez, who is a board member at MOCA and just about every other big art museum in LA. Loree picks me up at the KassPad with her on-and-off “other” husband Mark Brooke and off we go to mingle with the art scene’s elite. Loree is in head-to-toe leather Dior (as only she can pull off), I’m in Tom Ford and we are ready to rock & roll…It’s good to be back and play dress-up!

As the sun sets on this beautiful summer evening, Patricia Arquette, Marisa Tomei, Tessa Thompson, Dita Von Teese, and Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson arrive on the red carpet to celebrate the museum’s 36th annual gala. Young Hollywood darlings Nathalie Love, Gia Coppola, and Britt Robertson, all clad in Louis Vuitton, joined artists Ed Ruscha, Mark Bradford, and Catherine Opie for cocktails beneath a canopy designed by Frank Gehry, also attending. I love the enormous 55-by-16 foot William Pope.L flag hanging on a pole in the middle of the gallery continuously blown by large industrial fans, it really makes you fell proud to be an American somehow. We make our way to our table to meet Eugenio Lopez and his usual suspect: Janette Longoria, Esthella Provas, Isa Jonay, the beautiful Celesta Hodge, real estate mogul Daniel Mani and his lovely wife. After the customary speeches given by gala chair Lilly Tartikoff Karatz, museum director Philippe Vergne and honoree John Beldessari, the beautiful Janelle Monáe takes the stage, which quickly gets nearly everyone in the room on their feet for one last time before heading back out into the night.

The event is winding down and it’s time to join “The Velvet Pack” at The Standard hotel downtown LA: David Cooley, Chad Waterhouse, Kevin Huvane, Martin Beaurivage, Larry Hancock, etc… This night is about to take a different course all together…and I’m still wearing a tux! Loree drops me off at The Standard where my posse is waiting and ready to go to the rooftop to party the night away under the stars! 3AM…Uber! Welcome back to LA!!!

 

IMG_3686Robert Kass ready for Gala action in Tom Ford


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Disco flooring on the way to the main tent

 

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Table setting

 

IMG_3699MOCA’s main tent


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“The dark one” Loree Rodkin and the hilarious Mark Brooke

 

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Loree Rodkin showing off her jewelry as only she does

 

IMG_3708Honoree John Baldessari addressing the large room of guests


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Our host and MOCA Board Member Eugenio Lopez, Esthella Provas and Robert Kass

 

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Stunning art installation by William Pope.L

 

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The beautiful Janelle Monáe performing her hot songs

 

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Stunning views of downtown from the Standard Hotel rooftop

 

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Martin Beaurivage, Chad Waterhouse and Robert Kass at the Standard Hotel Downtown