Where do I even begin?
First of all, we absolutely loved Vancouver and were treated to the most beautiful weather the entire the entire time we were there. The city itself is just beyond beautiful and 48 hours is no where near enough time.
We took the first flight out of LA on Friday morning, think 6:30am, and even though that 4am alarm clock sucked, we landed at 9 and had the entire day to explore. After we dropped off our bags at the hotel (we stayed at the Hyatt Regency downtown), our first stop was brunch at Medina Cafe, thanks to Kate's recommendation.
The wait was about 25 minutes when we got there but we had a cup of coffee and just enjoyed the awesome ambiance. It was the perfect spot to start our trip, not only because I needed a latte badly, but also because it lovely, smelled Heavenly, and was a relaxing and fun place that seemed captured the vibe of Vancouver spot on.
They're famous for their waffles and fancy dipping sauce, so we started with one and tried the milk chocolate lavender and berry compote, and then ordered brunch (Salmon Fume for me and Fricassee for Joel).
Once we were nice and full we decided to walk through the city and see as much as we could. Downtown is very walkable which is nice so we found ourselves in Gastown maybe twenty minutes later.
I absolutely adored Gastown. It felt like Boston and Paris had a baby in the best ways possible. At every turn we had views of the water and mountains, there were tons of front patios filled to the brim of people enjoying happy hour and late lunches, and everyone just seemed friendly and happy to be outside. We popped into a few stores, including DavidsTea which we love and don't have in LA, and then made it back to the hotel.
Friday night Joel's company hosted a private concert for their clients. The band didn't allow anyone to bring in their phones and asked us to keep all details (even their name) off the Internet before their tour starts next week. It was an incredible night and experience - but one that I'm going to have to just keep a mental picture of. How did people do it back in the olden days ;)
I did get a chance to sneak in a blow out before the concert which was a fun treat too and I was seriously impressed that we made it out til almost midnight!
Saturday was our only full day in the city so we tried to get in as much as we could. I slept in a little Saturday morning, but after Starbucks in bed, Joel and I ventured out.
Our first stop of the day was Thierry, another great recommendation (thank you!).
We started with macaroons, the maple pecan and vanilla, both of which were amazing and then Joel was in Heaven with his quiche Lorraine. I'm normally not a huge quiche fan, but this was one of the best I've ever had.
We enjoyed our little breakfast outside and just took it all in. So many moments in Vancouver reminded me of our trip to Paris, and this one absolutely was one of them.
From there, we continued our journey to Stanley Park.
Stanley Park is walking distance from where we stayed downtown (maybe a mile) and is 1,000% a Must Do when you visit Vancouver. There is a bike shop just a block a way from the park where lots of tourists were renting bikes, so we decided to join the fun too.
I am so glad we did because being able to bike the entire park is just a spectacular experience. I think it's 8 or 9 miles, it took us about an hour to leisurely ride, but it was just beyond words beautiful. The weather was perfect, the smell of the ocean was magical, and the views are just to die for.
If we had stayed longer I really would have loved to do it every morning we were there.
The bikes were around $8 dollars an hour and the bike trail is really easy to manage. It's totally separate from the walkers and runners so I didn't feel like we spent the entire time dodging people, like you do in Central Park or on Lake Shore trail.
After we returned the bikes we went back into Gastown for lunch. We wanted to spend a few hours just sitting in the center of the town, so we grabbed a prime seat at Chill Winston ordered an appetizer and drinks and played cards.
The people watching was great , the sun was out, the Arnold Palmers were flowing, we split a bison burger.....life was very, very good.
We went back to the hotel around 3ish to rest for a little bit before we hit the town again.
Dinner was in Yaletown which is another really cool neighborhood we were able to walk to from our hotel. We had a drink at cool gastro-pub before dinner and just took in the scene.
My favorite mocktail is a Virgin Moscow Mule....which is basically just ginger beer, lime, and a little club soda, but there is something about that mug that really helps you feel like you're drinking the real thing.
We walked just a block down for our phenomenal dinner at Blue Water Cafe.
We haven't had a fancy dinner like this in a while, so it was just so fun and indulgent to sit at the table for hours just taking our time and enjoying being together. We ate so much fresh seafood, Joel enjoyed some B.C. oysters,we stuffed ourselves to the brim, and just had the best time.
We left on the first flight back to LA Sunday morning and spent most of Sunday just relaxing after our fantastic, whirlwind trip. I am so thankful that I was able to join Joel on his work trip, because it was honestly the best birthday weekend I could have imagined. If you have a chance to visit Vancouver, I can't recommend it enough, and I hope that we are lucky enough to go back again sometime soon.
I want to wish my Dad the happiest and most relaxing of birthdays - and for this new year to bring great health, great success, and great happiness. Him and my mom are off to their favorite place in the world - Punta Mita - which is exactly where they both deserve to be and enjoy.