This last month I turned 21. I really wanted to do something special, so I got in my car and dragged my friends to Vancouver with me. We had such a fabulous time eating fantastic food. That’s one thing about these friends, when we go out, we mean it; I’m so glad that I have friends that will appreciate good food with me. We left home and hit the border about 2 hours later.
Our first stop in British Columbia was Granville Island in Vancouver. It’s a quaint little place with an indoor market and some little shops. Unfortunately, when we got there it was raining and it continued. We walked through the market and bought some lunch-y salads from one of the vendors. I had been to Granville Island before, and I will say, I was a little underwhelmed this time. There weren’t as many shops as I remember, and the rain took away a bit of the fun.
The next stop, after we got thoroughly lost from using a paper map, was our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn downtown and it was perfect for our little getaway. We stayed one night there, and got a pretty decent deal on it. We had a good size room for the four of us, and it was very clean. We all wished we could’ve stayed longer so that we could’ve swam in the pool (adorned with a giant orca whale floor). The Holiday Inn was the perfect location for us to get around by foot to explore. We were able to leave my car in the garage and walk everywhere the rest of the weekend.
Once we took a quick breather in our room, we were all pretty pooped from navigating, we decided we needed a coffee pick-me-up. Some of my friends are pretty intense Yelp-ers, and did some prior research on good cafes and restaurants to hit while we were here. We ended up walking to a little cafe called “Small Victory” several blocks from the hotel. When I walked in, I instantly was excited by the decorating – the walls were covered in white tile, there was a gorgeously long coffee bar, and gold geometric structures hung from the ceiling. They had many bakery items to choose from in beautiful glass cases. Sadly, the barista that I ordered from was less-than-friendly, and I felt a bit judged when I tried to order an iced mocha (which they did not have). I cheered up when I did get my delicious latte and cookie. The gals and I sat at the bar for awhile enjoying the atmosphere, and a sweet barista approached us with free tea; they had made the wrong kind for a customer and didn’t want this one to go to waste. He was the nicest guy and even made another pot for us for free.
You can see the delicious cookie I ate above…
When we hit up Yelp once more back in our room while freshening up for dinner, we found a restaurant called “CinCin” and were able to make a reservation through OpenTable fairly last minute. It was a bit of a walk from our hotel, but very worth it. I would highly recommend CinCin to anyone in Vancouver wanting a little bit of a fancier atmosphere for dinner. It’s a fairly intimate restaurant that sits atop some stores on one of the main streets and feels pleasantly secluded from the city bustle. The hostesses were friendly and took our coats before we were seated. Our waiter provided exceptional service, and genuinely cared about our experience. I ordered a pasta dish with beef tenderloin, and my friends had the halibut. We were all satisfied.
Later in the evening after socializing and exploring, we ended up at a Poutinerie at about 2 or 3 in the morning. A bonafide Canadian even bought Poutine for us to share as his way of getting us to “experience the true Canadian culture.” Let me say it was sure an experience. If you don’t know what Poutine is, it’s the Canadian delicacy that is fries covered with gravy and cheese curds (amongst other add-ons). It was both delicious and disgusting all at the same time.
After realizing I left my phone somewhere along the way and stressing the freak out, some Canadian friends we had made were able to track it down and hand-delivered it to me after it had potentially made a brief trip to one of their houses (they had grabbed it for safe-keeping after seeing I left it). Overall though, we had a fabulous night and I felt thoroughly celebrated.
In the morning, we went to a little restaurant called Medina Cafe after hearing some great reviews. Sadly, when we put our names in, we discovered we were going to have to wait an hour (that’s what we get for trying to weasel our way in last minute for a nice Sunday Brunch). We still decided to go for it and went to a coffee shop to pass the time. When we got back for our reservation, we had to wait at least another half hour.
By the time we got in, it was about 1:30 in the afternoon – so more like just lunch. Boy, was it good though. Some of my favorite things about Medina Cafe were the coffee options and the mini Waffles with sauces. I ordered a Lavender Mocha (this thing was ridiculous and perfect) and a mini waffle with salted caramel sauce – I would hook that sauce up to an IV if I could. After than, I had some avocado toast and scrambled eggs. I felt like a king. I would definitely revisit Cafe Medina if/when I go back, but I would check to see if they took reservations ahead of time.
It rings so true. ^
After breakfast, we walked to some shops around the area, but decided we were all pretty exhausted and our piggy banks were mostly empty. We called it a day and headed back to the good ol’ U.S. of A. I couldn’t have asked for better friends or a more perfect weekend.
If you are curious about the places we visited or want to know more, feel free to shoot me a message!