CANADA 2013

vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.
vancouver 2013.

Me and V headed on over to Vancouver for Vince's family reunion a few weeks back and I must say: Vancouver, you're alright. You're not as lackluster as we thought you were on our last visit 7 years ago. But what do ya expect from a quick day trip? Our bad. This time around we took the time to get to know the city. And man, did we go places in Vancouvertown! We took a 4hr bus tour around the city and checked out the vast expanse of beautiful Stanley Park and grazed up and down Granville and dabbled a bit in North Vancouver and re-explored Gastown and Chinatown. Yah, it's not so bad here. The nature-y backdrop added a nice, serene experience to the mini touristy adventures around town.

Aside from the usual touristy stuff, 2 things I def recommend if ya ever find yourself in Vancouver. Numero uno: Lavender Latte from Cafe Medina. Get it. If not for the lavender, go for the ambiance. It'll make ya wanna stay all morning! Numero deux: Samesun Backpacker Hostel. I know, right? I love hostels. Never had a bad experience in one and never thought I'd stay in a hostel outside of Europe, Asia and South America. But we did and it was awesome. Not only were we walking distance from everything, but there's something about the hostel vibe that makes ya wanna explore everything with eagerness. Oh! And the people you'll meet! Me and V shared a room with 2 cool Aussie dudes. Both in their 30s, both full of interesting travel stories. As I've mentioned before and I'll mention it again, world travelers are probably one of the easiest groups of people you'll ever talk to. You know how you get together with your siblings and conversations are totally candid and unhindered, peppered with bunch of joking moments? Yah, it's kinda like that. =)

So. Vancouver. Lavender lattes and hostels. Dooo it.

besos ... jin.

vancouver eats // cafe medina.

vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.

Testimonials of the best lavender latte popped up in the Pinterest universe a few months back, getting my coffee taste buds all tingly with excitement. Is it true? The very best?? It would be nice to finally get my lips on a perfect cup of one! It's not like I've spent all summer attempting to concoct a mind-blowing version, only to have most of them fail miserably. (This lavender flavoring business is a finicky art!) So now I've made it my mission to get to Cafe Medina if I ever find myself in Vancouver again.

Which I did. 2 weeks ago. Oh, sweet, sweet elixir. We finally meet!

Good espresso kick. Dash of milk. Hint of lavender. Smooth on the tongue. Subtle bitterness. No chemical aftertaste. More cowbell. Now that's some exceptional lavender latte! Perfect complement to my gigantor bowl of granola, fruit and yohgurt, which was the energy boost I needed without the crash. Surprisingly fulfilling, too. Even Vince's mini cast iron entree of Fricassé was also a gourmet treat, a culinary mastery of balancing light and heavy, rich and delicate. And honestly - who can say no to braised short ribs and grilled foccacia?

But it was the ambiance that sealed the deal for me. After waiting outside the cafe along with the hungry masses for 15 minutes, we were ushered pass the main dining area to a side door leading into a non-descript hallway. The journey continued pass the kitchen into a dark room, which led to another room. What welcomed us was an intimate setting perfect for candid chatter. Brick walls, exposed wood beams, tall ceilings, urban art, contemporary light fixtures. All squeezed into a small, private room. My favorite part: natural light flooding in from the 9-foot windows.

Swoon.

Hidden gems just makes the food that much better, innit? Needless to say, I ate my brunch extra slow that morning. Cafe Medina, I kinda like you. I'm def hitting you up again the next time I'm in Vancouver! 

besos ... jin.

travel tips // vancouver recommendations.

traveling feet.

Heading to Vancouver in a week and who better to ask than a local who just so happens to be a fellow wanderluster + awesome photog friend? Wished I had met her 7 years ago when I first traveled to Vancouvertown. She would have made my stay quite a fun-filled one peppered with tons of laughing moments, I'm sure! Anywho, looks like we won't be crossing paths in her hometown anytime soon (Carli is traveling to one of my fave European cities, Prague, while we're in town. Lucky duck!) so I just have to settle for her written words of wisdom. And because I'm much too lazy to summarize her 'book', I hope she won't mind me posting the entire email here. Word for word. 'Cause ain't it nice to hear it straight from a local, anyways? Can't get any more authentic advice than that! Looking forward to the day we get to play in your ol' stomping grounds together in the near future, Carli woman! I may still need more convincing then that Vancouver is a cool town. =P

Oh, and one more thing, Carli! Let's get that much anticipated photowalk in gear! Somewhere, anywhere in this big, big world. Over a cup of coffee, lavender or not, yah? (That last one's for dissing my Lavender Latte hunting efforts, lol. But, whatevs, I still love ya!)

Anyways, here's a big ol' hearty 'Eh!' to get into the Canadian spirit. Bring on the moose, maple syrup + poutine! Eh! O Canada, O Canada! ... EH!

--

Hey darlin'

A friend of mine called me very frantically yesterday with the exact same question. I've never heard of this medina cafe, but someone gave me a tin of horrible lavendar cookies a few months ago that left a very strong floral aftertaste for HOURS after eating one, so I'm not particularly into the whole lavendar in anything trend.

Alright - here are some of the things you NEEEED to eat in Van: Grounds for coffee cinnimon buns in Kitsilano (@Alma and Broadway), while you're on a sugar binge in Kits 49th Parallel Coffee (@W4th Ave and Yew) has awesome drinks and the best donuts I've ever had. Rootbeer float donut?

Apple maple bacon donut? oh yes. From there, you can just wander up and down W4th - lots of cute shops around there. Granville island is a lovely place for grazing on a little bit of everything.

MUST. EAT. SUSHI.

Having sushi twice a day, every day, is not a waste of time if you're in Vancouver. It's awesome, it's cheap and pretty much any sushi place in the city is good. Sure there are probably some upscale places that make it extra good, but I could never be bothered to pay more for it than the normal sushi places that are like every 3rd restaurant.

Korean is also super good. There's a few places at the west end of Robson street I normally rotate between. Now there's some lame rule against open flames at tables or something though, so everything's done on stupid table top hot plates instead of grilling.

Pho is good everywhere. My favorite is in Kits right near UBC. I don't know the name of the shop, but it's a hideous green with a neon sign that says "Thai Spicy Vietnamese Food" what the hell is that? I don't know, but their soup is wicked. It's just opposite the Safeway supermarket at the very end of W10th ave before it goes into the UBC campus.

Raw oysters in BC are fantastic. if you're into that sort of thing, find some in Van. yummmmmmm Fable on W4th is supposed to be brilliant. Serious culinary goodness, but their prices are really decent. I was supposed to go there last time I was in town, but we couldn't get in the day I wanted to go and then it just didn't work out after that :(

As far as non-food places... hmmm...

Sanley park is nice, Granville island's nice to wander a bit, Kitsilano has some nice shops and lots of coffee/people watching potential.

UBC campus is really pretty if the weather is good. Anywhere in town is really pretty when the weather is good, really.

SOOORRRY for being silent on the flickr! I'm here, I totally promise! I've just got nothing remotely interesting to post, and I've been trying to be a good little curator and actually make my monthly selection target for the first time in like... ever, probably. hmmmm I AM here though! I'm also on your blog, but I hate how wordpress makes me comment and it confuses me, so that's my excuse for just creeping on there without leaving any evidence. Sorry 'bout that.

ok, I just scrolled to the top of this short novel. This is getting silly... I should stop typing and go to bed. nighty night!

C

--

besos ... jin.

CANADA 2006

A few snaps from me and V's day trip to Vancouver back in October 2006. When getting across the border without a passport was easy breezy. What's not easy breezy was learning the hard way just how pricey Canada can be! Like getting taxed twice. By Canada and the Queen. Not cool. Not cool at all. Despite the 'extortion', heh, we made the most of the short time we had in 'The Great White North' before heading back to Seattle, like checking out Chinatown and Gastown, but we would like to explore more of the outdoorsy recreational fun that Vancouver is renown for on our next trip back. Only a 4ish hour bus ride from Seattle!

throwback travel thursdays // vancouver 2006.
throwback travel thursdays // vancouver 2006.
throwback travel thursdays // vancouver 2006.
throwback travel thursdays // vancouver 2006.
throwback travel thursdays // vancouver 2006.
throwback travel thursdays // vancouver 2006.
throwback travel thursdays // vancouver 2006.
throwback travel thursdays // vancouver 2006.

besos ... jin.