OTTAWA -- What's an off night on the road during the Stanley Cup Playoffs without a calorie overload?
It's a wasted night if you ask me. And I wasn't about to waste a gorgeous Friday night in Ottawa with no game on the schedule here, not when I finally had the chance to eat at BeaverTails, try some Obama cookies and when there was a poutine fest going on.
I've been told that in Ottawa you absolutely have to get your sugar fix at a BeaverTails and, of course, sample some of the fine poutine offerings. I know my friends in Montreal may object to poutine from outside their great city, but own this great French fried, um, delicacy you do not.
Ottawa can make some delicious poutine too. How do I know? Well I was with a Québécois on this journey, our LNH.com journaliste principal Robert Laflamme.
Robert's response to the poutine fest journey was, "Oui, oui, allons-y!" That means yes, yes, let's go.
So we went, Robert and I, along with our Boston-based colleague Amalie Benjamin, into downtown Ottawa.
Now, mind you, this isn't the easiest trip when you're staying out by Canadian Tire Centre. Downtown Ottawa is a good 30-minute drive from our home for Games 1 and 2, the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Terry Fox Drive. But Robert, who is from Quebec City but lives in Montreal, drove here and was happy to load us in his car and drive us into town.
We immediately went to the famous ByWard Market, home of the Sens House, which is supposed to be a terrific place to watch the Senators playoff games. There was no game on this night, which is why we could get downtown.
First stop, the original BeaverTails.
BeaverTails, for those who don't know, is uniquely Canadian. It's a pastry shop that serves fried dough in the shape of a beaver tail. You can get all kinds of unhealthy and delicious toppings. There are 10 signature items on the menu. Seeing as there were three of us we got three to sample.
We had to get the No. 1, the cinnamon and sugar, which is the original BeaverTails pastry. We also got No. 2, which is chocolate and hazelnut, and the No. 7, which is coco vanil', or cookies and vanilla icing.
Total 1,470 calories. It was gone in about five minutes. Yes, this was dessert first and it was so worth it. I highly recommend going to BeaverTails and getting all three.
Amalie said her favorite was the No. 1. Robert said he liked the No. 2. They were both wrong. The best was the No. 7. It was loaded and amazing.
And now it was time to take a walk to Le Moulin de Provence to find the cookies that former president Barack Obama made famous on his first trip to Ottawa while in office in 2009.
As the story goes, President Obama stopped at Le Moulin de Provence and got cookies in the shape of a maple leaf that had red icing and Canada written in white icing on the top. It's really not the most fascinating story, but now they are well known here.
The cookies sit in a case with a sign that reads OBAMA COOKIES and there are pictures of the former president buying them. There are also cookies with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau's picture on them. Hey, gotta be homers, right? Yes.
The cookies stayed in the bag until after we took down the poutine fest. There were at least a dozen trucks slinging their poutine, one line longer than the next. It took us 40 minutes to get our poutine at Fat Les's Chip Stand. It sounds as healthy as you think.
They advertise their award-winning double bacon cheeseburger poutine. They also advertise on the truck that they were voted the best poutine in Montreal at the Montreal Poutine Fest in 2015.
They are Montreal approved. And for good reason. It was unbelievable.
Robert and I got the double bacon cheeseburger poutine and Amalie got the popcorn chicken poutine with fried pickles. Full disclosure, I stole one of her fried pickles.
To get the proper review of the poutine I turned to the Québécois in the group. Robert said he would have preferred slightly less meat and more cheese but overall he gave it a 9.5 out of 10 and said he could understand why it was voted the best poutine in Montreal.
All this and we still had two minutes to spare before puck drop in Game 2 between the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators.
But first, a sampling of the Obama cookies. Then a nap.