Oh how much I miss Canada sometimes. I’ve been living in the US for 6 years. Holy crap. 6 years. I just did that math and thats pretty much accurate. Anytime someone asks me how long I’ve been working for WWE i always draw a bit of a blank but yes, it’s coming up on 6 years this fall. The time just flies by so so quickly. Always on a plane, in another city that we’ve visited several times over, in a hotel, in an arena, and then beeline back home to try and acclimate to a ‘normal’ life for a few minutes. But I do feel myself missing Canada the more I’m away from it. From my family, of course, to the food, to the people, to the culture. So when we had Raw and Smackdown in Montreal this past week I took full advantage!
I couldn’t sleep the night before, and what I tend to do when I can’t sleep is I turn to my phone to look at scandalous photos of food from different restaurants, or my obsession with Tastemade’s sites – any of them. Japan ranks high though. But I tend to plan pretty much any trip I do around food. Classic fatty. So at 5 AM I found this gem of a spot in Montreal called L’original. Noted. Went back to sleep, flew out from Birmingham (not a good food airport) and on to my sweet motherland. Canada. Not Montreal – I am from Toronto, but Montreal was going to be my surrogate mother for a few days.
So I landed, ubered to our hotel, and it was freaking raining!!! Of course. Got in contact with my pal Charly Caruso, because I wanted to show her to some proper Canadian food. AKA POUTINE!!!!!!! We hit up 3 Brasseurs and ordered just a standard poutine from the bar. It was fine, nothing to write home or on a blog about. So we decided to heel toe our asses over the L’Originale. AND LET ME TELLLLLLL YOU!!!!! It was the cutest spot. Looked and smelled like a Chalet, very nice and accommodating staff. And NO ONE WAS THERE!!! the antisocial I can tend to be was v excited about this. It was raining and I guess Quebec’ers aren’t into umbrellas. My score!! So we had the full attention of the staff. We has the bison tartar and the salmon tartar, fresh shucked oysters WITH freshly grated horseradish – and if you’ve never been treated to such a delicacy – please the next time you have oysters ask. Hopefully they’ll have it on hand. Its grated finely like fresh parmesan, but spicy and fluffy. Honestly sometimes Im touch and go on oysters, but the horseradish sucks me in every time. Same with a fresh wasabi – GAME CHANGER!!!
Anyways L’Origanle’s main deal is gamey meats. So I asked the server what the end all be all was on their menu and he said with zero hesitation – the rabbit. I don’t think I’ve ever had rabbit before and if I had it was on a pizza or something, and not the stand alone. It was a soon so good. It’s very similar to chicken thighs. It was cooked in a mustard sauce, and I loved it.
END DAY 1
THIS MADE ME SOOOOOO HAPPY!!!!! I was wrapping up with Monday Nigh Raw, trying to figure out what the move was gonna be that night and the my little cousin Jackson messaged me on Instagram and him and my aunt Bonnie just happened to be in Montreal for the weekend! Hip Hip!! I had so many people asking me if I was going to see family this week and I always said no because I have zero family in Montreal. My mom is in Nova Scotia currently and my dad and brother are both in Toronto, a solid 6 hours away. So when I realized that I was in fact gonna see some of my family I was super duper stoked. I went and met them at a little speakeasy pub close to the hotel and we caught up a chatted and drank some cocktails. Also my cousin isn’t actually little. Just little to me. And my Aunt is a super trooper because she was in bed, and took a melatonin and then put clothes back on and trudged out into the rain to hang out. THATS A BOSS ASS MOVE IF IVE EVER SEEN ONE.
But after we parted ways I was STARVING. some pals of mine from work were winding down at a little hole in the wall and I took them to Dunns. Nothing fancy or cool. Just open late with a lot of bad food choices. Soon I took it upon myself to order for the table like some sort of late night food matriarch. I got us the standard poutine (because NONE OF THEM HAVE EVER HAD THIS!! WTF???) a smoked meat poutine, Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, aaaaaaaaand Montreal smoked egg rolls. It should be noted that I barely slept this night because of the giant rock in the stomach. It was a terrible experience and I was shaming myself around 6 am while I tossed and turned in my own bed of disgust and despair.
OH WHAT A DAY DAY 3 WAS. You know, as much as I travel around and get to do a lot of cool things, a lot of the time it’s spent either trying to catch a bit of extra sleep, hitting the gym, doing more work etc, I end up missing out on really exploring the cities I’m in. So When my friend Sami Zayn and his lovely sweet wife invited me to brunch, yes I had to get up after barely sleeping from the food choices from the night before, and then go off and eat again – it was so worth it. I went and met them at a great spot. I had eggs Benedict with brie and avocado, with the hollandaise sauce on the side, because honestly I didn’t deserve a buttery creamy sauce based on the damage I did the night before. I pick and choose my own battles you guys. I can’t be a monster at every restaurant I go to. Always we then bopped around through the neighborhood, went to the sweetest little cafe you ever did see, got a savory cheddar chive scone, the 3 of us split it, because again, damage control, yet not wanting to miss the experience. It was served with creme fraiche. OHHHHH baby. THEN they took me to Fairmount bagels. Heaven in a non-donut form. We stuck with just straight up sesame seed, and I brought a half dozen back home to feed my husband. He loves him a good bagel. Sidenote: I didn’t realize they put a plastic bag in with the bagels and they went stale. But not before Jon could try one, it was the next day. So we didn’t get enjoy them all, but the Montrealness was ingested. Anyways – then I went to Smackdown. Already feeling like I did the day right.
But then the evening came, and honestly I was tired and just thought I’d wrap it up because I had an early ass fight in the AM. 5:45 Am. gross. However I went back out with the Zayns to get more of the lay of the land. I really wanted to check out Old Port because thats where all of the locals seemed to keep pointing me. And it really is like being transported back to Europe. Its so pretty and quaint with cobblestone roads and sweet little cafes and delicatessens. The first place we stopped into was Dépanneur Café. Holy shit it was cuuuuuuute. They were just about to close to we had to kinda motor our way around to pick up some trinkets and snacks. I walked away with a few gems. But again the hunger starts to creep up late at night after strolling the mean streets of Montreal, and also picked up a straggler in the form of 205 Live commentator Vic Joseph. So we passed Garde Manger. If you’re in Canada you probably have heard of Chef Chuck Hughes. He’s a bad ass and we wanted to see if a.) he was there and b.) could we please get some food. We walked into a restaurant that was clearly closing down but everyone there seemed like they were having the best time of their lives – staff and patrons (there was just a few people at the bar) singing and dancing to a 80’s jammer. So while they were shutting down the staff did recommend a place that they go to after hours called Cadet. A vegans/ vegetarians dream. They have meat there too, but the veg dishes are the bees knees. Beets with beurrasse, ground cherries and pecans – Broccoli with spaetzle, labneh and pistachio, Oyster Mushrooms with fleur des monts and pear, Octopus with chickpeas, eggplant and grapes, and tofu curry. Capped it all off with a little Crown Royal.
(Blurry donuts was worth adding)
It was the best time spent with friends and lucky enough family! It definitely scratched my Canada itch, metaphorically, thats not a condition. I brought home too many snacks that I had to cram into my luggage and luckily customs had zero problems with it. So thanks to everyone for making this trip so so so very good. Canada, Je t’aime. Until next time you sweet little minx.
Here’s some of the stuff I brought back to the US with me