I fucking love Montreal

I went through six different titles and finally had to settle on the most blunt one. I fucking love Montreal. I cannot for the life of me understand why New Yorkers willingly get stuck in Hamptons traffic for six fucking hours, instead of just heading over to our neighbors in the north. The Canadian dollar is pretty shit ATM, so even with the rental car (I use Autoslash for cheap rentals btw) it still ends up being a less expensive weekend than if I were to stay in NYC (AirBnB’s are hella cheap, too).


The local language in Montreal is French (ooh, exotic), but most everyone speaks English semi-fluently, and if they don’t, well, Canadians are just so fucking nice that they will squawk like a chicken to help you understand the damn menu.

Also, shout out to Canadians for not wanting you to miss a minute of the v v important hockey game just because you've got to piss. Considerate AF

Also, shout out to Canadians for not wanting you to miss a minute of the v v important hockey game just because you've got to piss. Considerate AF

Montreal is very much an eating and drinking kind of city, but there are some other gorgeous things to do. I’ve never actually done any of these because I just stick to the eating and drinking part (and I always get blessed with shit rain/snow/fog weather), but I’ve heard that Mont Royal is stunning, as is the Notre Dame Basilica (where Celine Dion got married #praise). Montreal is also very artsy, and one of my incredibly talented artist friends, Natalia, recommended Dazibao at Rue Gaspe which has a ton of other galleries that she described as “crazy cutting edge.”

Mont Royal...one day I will get up here

Mont Royal...one day I will get up here

If you’re a beer lover (like Pate and I are!) then just plan on spending the rest of your life in this glorious craft beer hub of North America (yeah, I fucking WENT THERE). You can’t really get any bad beer in this city, so don’t sweat your itinerary too much. I will say Dieu Du Ciel is entirely worth the hype.

Pate at Dieu Du Ciel. We spent hours here and went through every beer on the menu #relationshipgoals

Pate at Dieu Du Ciel. We spent hours here and went through every beer on the menu #relationshipgoals

I also enjoyed Vices & Versa but wouldn’t recommend eating there, especially considering you can get amazing food throughout Montreal. Don’t settle.

Cerna has really nailed the Czech pilsners but let’s be fucking real, once you’ve had one pilsner, you’ve had them all (I know, I know, pilsners are actually incredibly difficult to make. I respect the art of it, I do. I just don’t want a tasting flight)

BreWsky has some great Quebec brews, and is close to the Old Town, but tucked away just enough to dodge the fanny pack tourists.

If you're into sour beer, Pub BreWsky always seems to have some solid choices

If you're into sour beer, Pub BreWsky always seems to have some solid choices

Saint-Houblon has 24 Quebec beers on tap AND, here it comes…

SEXY ASS POUTINE.

This poutine is SEXY, y’all. Like put my mouth all over it, IDGAF I-can’t-be-polite-about-it kind of sexy. If you’ve never had poutine, get ready for the heart attack: The base of it is french fries, gravy, and cheese curds. From there, the toppings are endless. On my first trip to Montreal, I went to La Banquise, apparently THE place to go for poutine in Montreal, but I was sorely disappointed. It was kind of eh and just made me feel like a fat fuck (I reckon La Banquise is to poutine in Montreal as Magnolia’s is to cupcakes in NYC). But at Saint-Houblon? LORD CHILD, queue Britney Singing “Give Me More”...we got that braised beef poutine and they sprinkled fucking scallions on top because they give a fuck about garnish. And I respect that.

Check out those cheese curds though!!

Check out those cheese curds though!!

If you’re keen on getting into those Montreal-style bagels (and you should!), there are two hot spots: Fairmount and St. Viateur. Pate likes Fairmount bagels more while I prefer St Viateur. Fairmount’s are smaller, but more springy. They are more sourdough-y and kind of like a flagel. St. Viateur’s are a little bit bigger and more dense. Also, St. Viateur is open 24/7, so they stole my heart and I will be loyal to them forever.

It's not glam, but it's fucking GOOD

It's not glam, but it's fucking GOOD

Now, if you’re looking for a really unique dining experience, I cannot recommend On Noir more. Here’s the deal: you walk into the restaurant, right? It looks like a normal fucking restaurant. Bar, tables, ambient lighting. Oh. But this is not where you will be eating. This is just where you will peruse the menu, and decide on your 2 or 3-course meal (get the three courses!) and place your order (there’s also an option for surprise meals which are not listed on the menu). They have lockers for you to store your bags, cell phones, anything that might light up. Then your waiter, who is vision-impaired, comes to retrieve you. They will tell your party to hold shoulders, and then lead you into a pitch black room.
Pitch fucking black. No candles. No exit signs.

A picture of dinner

A picture of dinner

Close your eyes right now. Now imagine if that is all you could see with your eyes open. You do not “adjust”  to the dark and magically start being able to see. You cannot even wave your hand in front of your face and “sense” that there is an object there. You just sit in this pitch black terror pit...I had a wee bit of a panic attack and was like fuckity BYE before I even sat down, but I took some deep breaths (and chugged my cocktail, whatever it was dark no one could see), and calmed TF down. And then your waiter brings your meal out, course by course. They will place it in your hands, so you have a bit more control/don’t get food all over you. It is an incredible taste of what it might be like to be visually impaired. It certainly upped my empathy (I mean, I ate creme fucking brulee with my bare hands because utensils were NOT gonna work). Add to that, the food is fucking awesome. I lost my shit over the rabbit saddle stuffed with poultry, bacon and apricot in a rosemary sauce. Lost. My. Shit.

I found that because my vision was taken from me in this room, my senses of not just taste, but also smell, sound and touch became much more sensitive. It was a bit overwhelming in the best way, and by taking away something I always rely on, I had without a doubt the deepest, most present dining experience of my life. If you can handle a few moments of anxiety, this is truly a highlight experience in Montreal.

If you live in NYC, have a valid driver license and passport, there is no reason not to take a long weekend in Canada.

Pate and me, on our first trip to Montreal in 2015. <3

Pate and me, on our first trip to Montreal in 2015. <3

Pro Tip: If driving through Vermont to get back to NYC, I highly recommend stopping at Folino's for pizza. Bonus: it's right next to Fiddlehead Brewery so you can literally pick up a growler of beer to eat with your pizza. Thank me later :)