Marin Headlands Day Hike

Let me preface by saying this is my favorite Bay Area hike SO FAR. I plan to go on many more adventures, but this hike is worth documenting, noting and sharing. 

Depending on your schedule and if you are driving or taking the bus sort of dictates where you start. Ideally, I'd recommend starting at Battery Spencer, making your way down to Kirby Cove and back up to Conzelman Road all the way to Point Bonita Lighthouse (4.4 miles according to Google). Now the only reason I recommend doing it this way is because Point Bonita Lighthouse doesn't open until 12:30pm. Keep in mind that PBL is only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12:30-3:30pm. I like to start my hikes early, so it made sense for me to start at Battery Spencer/Kirby Cove and end at PBL. Now, if you have already seen PBL and don't need to go inside the gate/see it again or you are a late hiker, starting at PBL and ending at Battery Spencer is an option, which was the route we took when doing this hike for the first time. Once you see PBL, you don't really need to see it again do you? There are already tons of other beautiful sights around you that the idea of trying to make it to PBL with a 3-hour window in mind is crazy annoying.

I'm going to share my route of starting at Kirby Cove and ending at PBL. Please feel free to do the complete opposite ;)

1. Start at Battery Spencer to get some pictures of the GGB, of course.  

Battery Spencer view. 

Battery Spencer view. 

2. From Battery Spencer, head down to Kirby Cove to get some more pictures of the GGB. You might also be lucky enough to swing on the infamous swing if it hasn't been cut down already. 

On the way to Kirby Cove. 

On the way to Kirby Cove. 

Hikers Club. 

Hikers Club. 

Kirby Cove. 

Kirby Cove. 

GGB at Kirby Cove. 

GGB at Kirby Cove. 

Kirby Cove. No swing so this tree will do. 

Kirby Cove. No swing so this tree will do. 

3. Make sure to check out your surroundings before leaving each spot; you never know what you'll find. Most places I visit that I have seen on IG aren't what I've expected or are too crowded with people that have the same idea in mind. I'm usually more impressed with other sights found off the beaten path.

4. Head back up to Conzelman Road and take it all the way until you hit Field Road. Make sure to stop along the way to take in those views! For instance, Headlands Lookout is one of my favorite spots to stop and snap a few pictures. Take a left at Field Road until you come to PBL. PBL is free and like I mentioned, only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12:30-3:30. We ended up going on Memorial Day which was probably the worst idea ever. There were a lot of people there and we had to wait in line to cross the bridge over to the lighthouse. Once we crossed, there really wasn't much space and we were out of there within 30 minutes. My favorite part about PBL was capturing it from afar, but it was nice to experience and see IRL.

Headlands Lookout.

Headlands Lookout.

Battery Rathbone McIndoe. 

Battery Rathbone McIndoe. 

Entrance to PBL.

Entrance to PBL.

Across the bridge at PBL in one of the buildings. 

Across the bridge at PBL in one of the buildings. 

Point Bonita Lighthouse 

Point Bonita Lighthouse 

5. Wander off. Head back up Field Road and take a left at Mendell Road to check out Battery Mendell. This is where I really enjoyed our hike. It was much more quiet and there were so many flowers blooming everywhere. Battery Mendell was pretty neat too (try prying one of the doors open, maybe you'll get lucky). Heading back up Field Road or Conzelman Road, you'll find two more Batteries: Battery Wallace and Battery Wallace 2. If you have time there are tons more to explore that I am leaving out, but that's for another time. For instance: Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Valley Beach, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach. 

Battery Mendell. 

Battery Mendell. 

Blending in.

Blending in.

California summer. 

California summer. 

We hiked down Rodeo Lagoon Vista Point for this shot. 

We hiked down Rodeo Lagoon Vista Point for this shot. 

Tyler looking fly. 

Tyler looking fly. 

An old Mercedes on Conzelman Road. 

An old Mercedes on Conzelman Road. 

6. Head up the trail to catch the 76x back to the city. You deserve a warm bath and a full glass of wine after the day you just had, so go make it happen. 

Until next time, 

Halee

Cinnamon Shore, Mustang Island TX

My friend Kat & I recently had the opportunity to visit Cinnamon Shore, located on Mustang Island in Port Aransas Texas. The first thing that popped into my head when I thought of "Cinnamon Shore" is, this place has to be filled with all the sweetest things since it has a name like that! I honestly didn't know much about this place, since the last time I went to Port A was probably almost 10 years ago (Spring Break baby!) I did my research and immediately got super excited about this place. The property is beautiful and very well maintained, and they offer plenty of amenities to guests during their stay. 

We arrived around 2:30pm on a Saturday and we stayed both Saturday and Sunday night, giving us one full day to get a feel for this glorious place. Our first stop was reception to get our room key. We went to our room first to drop everything off and check it out. We fell in love. It was decorated perfectly and everything in it was top-notch. We needed to make our reservations for dinner so we made our way over to the Real Estate office. All the ladies were very helpful, and from there we hopped on a tour of the property with LT. She told us many things about Cinnamon shore, including how many people are actual owners and how many are renters. I was also curious about how long Cinnamon shore had been around, and she answered 10 years! I couldn't believe that I had never heard about this place! 

Town Center 

Town Center 

Once we were done with the tour, we headed back to our room to freshen up. On the tour LT had invited us to check out the Texas Monthly Gulf Coast Show Home, where they were having a happy hour. Did you say wine and a tour of a beautiful home? I'm in. We went to check out Lake Colby first though.

Take 1

Take 1

Take 2

Take 2

Lake Colby

Lake Colby

Texas Monthly Show Home

Texas Monthly Show Home

Master Bath Floors

Master Bath Floors

Loft bedroom on the 3rd floor

Loft bedroom on the 3rd floor

I could get ready every day in this 3rd floor loft 

I could get ready every day in this 3rd floor loft 

View from the 3rd floor balcony 

View from the 3rd floor balcony 

<3

<3

After the tour we went back to our room to change and get ready for dinner. We had 7pm reservations (this place gets booked fast and they aren't open on Sundays). We were super pumped to have some fresh seafood at Lisabella's. Kat got seafood enchiladas that were smothered in this creamy sauce with a hint of heat and it was absolutely delicious. Of course I went with pasta and got shrimp linguine in a butter sauce with tomatoes, basil, pancetta, and parmesan on top. SO GOOD. We decided to quickly go back to the room and make some drinks, grab the blanket, our cameras, some strawberries, and make our way back to the Town Center where a band was setting up to play some live music. We watched for an hour or 2 before heading back to our room for some needed R&R. 

Inside of Lisabellas

Inside of Lisabellas

Shrimp Linguine with tomatoes, pancetta, basil and parmesan

Shrimp Linguine with tomatoes, pancetta, basil and parmesan

Golden Hour feat. Kat in Town Center

Golden Hour feat. Kat in Town Center

Before

Before

After

After

The next morning we got up bright and early to try and see the sunrise. It was a bit cloudy that morning so it didn't really work out, but A for effort! We headed back to the room and I made some pancakes for us (thanks Guenther House!). We then got ready for our big day! We first went to the Infinity pool, which opened at 9am. We wanted to beat the crowd of kids so that we could take an insta-worthy pictures :) Then we went back to the room (notice how we keep going back and forth from and to the room?!) to grab some drinks and made our way to the other pool onsite, which is BYOB (the infinity pool doesn't allow outside drinks since it has a bar onsite). There was only one person there so we took some more pictures and then acted like maniacs with the GoPro. We were being so silly but it was so much fun. We laid out for a bit and then headed to the beach. You can have the front desk reserve beach chairs for you and they will set it all up and have it ready for you by whatever time you request. We only stayed out at the beach for an hour or 2 before heading back to the property. We were getting hungry so we went to the Seaside Cafe at Kiera Pool. Apparently their fish tacos were all the rage so I had to get them and OH MY GOSH THEY WERE SO GOOD. 

Morning vibes

Morning vibes

This view never got old

This view never got old

Kiera Pool&nbsp;

Kiera Pool 

Dune Pool (BYOB)

Dune Pool (BYOB)

Kat @ Dune Pool&nbsp;

Kat @ Dune Pool 

Kat @ Dune Pool pt. 2!

Kat @ Dune Pool pt. 2!

On our way to the beach!

On our way to the beach!

Fish tacos at Seaside Cafe

Fish tacos at Seaside Cafe

We were getting exhausted from our day and it was soooooo hot outside so we decided to take a break from the heat. We went back to our room and starting watching Sweet Home Oklahoma on Bravo. We-could-not-stop-watching. If you are a fan of trash tv aka anything on Bravo, I highly recommend this show. We pulled our butts off the comfortable couch and made some drinks and made our way to the Town Center to watch sunset. We walked around through the streets of Cinnamon shore and stopped by Lake Colby. Sunset at Lake Colby was phenomenal and we were probably there a good 20 minutes just taking it all in. We walked back to the room and showered, I made eggs for dinner (the kitchen in our room was to die for by the way), and plopped our butts back on the couch to finish watching Sweet Home Oklahoma (laugh out loud). 

Waiting for sunset

Waiting for sunset

Town Center

Town Center

Sundown at Lake Colby

Sundown at Lake Colby

The next morning, we packed all of our stuff and said goodbye to Cinnamon Shore. It was such a fun 2 days and I can totally see myself going back. Cinnamon Shore plans to have a grocery store, pizza shop, liquor store, and more by Spring Break of 2018. Their whole idea is to have as much as possible available to you so you basically never have to leave. I can completely support this idea. 

Recap on Cinnamon Shore and the amenities on site:

  • Dune Pool (9am-10pm everyday-BYOB)
  • CBar Cafe 
  • Dune Park
  • Kiera Pool (9am-10pm everyday)
  • Seaside Cafe (Open 11am-8pm)
  • Fitness Center located at Kiera Pool
  • Lake Gavin (Catch & release fishing is available)
  • Lake Colby 
  • Great Lawn (Where Smore's night is held)
  • Butterfly Park
  • Hummingbird Park
  • Lisabellas Bistro & Bar (Open Monday-Saturdays 5:30-9pm)
  • Wifi
  • Golf cart shuttle/ equipment rental- Rentals such as golf carts, beach chairs and umbrellas, bikes, and fishing poles with tackle boxes are available to rent through Cinnamon Shore. 
  • Pet-friendly units

Cinnamon Shore also has a calendar of events, which showcases the events going on at that time. For instance during the summer on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday they do Yoga on the beach at 8am. They also offer surf lessons, sand castle lessons, Kid's Camp, Smore's night, Live music, and Movie night. Make sure to ask for the calendar of events so you know what's going on while you visit!

Thanks for the hospitality Cinnamon Shore, hope to see you soon!

xo, Halee

All Things San Francisco

Where do I even start?! San Francisco is full of so many places to eat, drink, visit, and explore. Here is a little guide I've put together from when we visited recently for nearly 5 days. We tried to hit up every spot on our list possible, and even though there were a few places we couldn't make, I think we did a pretty good job. 

1. Golden Gate Bridge

See the Golden Gate Bridge, somehow, some way. Whether you drive over it or see it from the distance, it is worth seeing. 

2. Explore the Different Neighborhoods

There are SO many areas and neighborhoods in SF that are worth exploring. The homes are full of unique characteristics and details, and some are super vibrant and colorful. It was hard NOT to take a picture of every house we walked past. Some areas we walked through that I recommend are, The Castro, The Mission, Hayes Valley, Dolores Heights, Fillmore District, Presidio Heights, Japantown, Chinatown, Western Addition, Marina District, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Potrero Hill. Basically all of San Francisco, ha!

3. Clarion Alley

If you're a fan of murals and street art, Clarion Alley is a must see. The alley is maintained by the Clarion Alley Mural Project, who support over 500 artists, receive 200, 000 visitors annually, and have created over 700 murals since 1992. The organization also collaborates with many community neighbors and partners, and work in support of social, economic, and environmental justice. It is located between Valencia and Mission Streets and 17th and 18th Streets.

4. Twin Peaks

If you are looking for a stunning view directly in the center of San Francisco, Twin Peaks is for you. You can hike up or drive/uber. We decided to uber since we were running low on time, but we walked all the way down and back to our airbnb. I recommend walking part of the way so you can walk through Dolores Heights/The Castro (depending on which way you're headed), or Noe Valley, Cole Valley, or Vista Del Monte.

5. Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is full of so many things to do and see. We decided not to do everything within the park because we probably would have spent loads of money, but I would advise choosing a few things that sound appealing and doing them. One thing that I had to see (and was free) was the Bison Paddock. You can learn more about the history of this part of the park here. We visited the Conservatory of Flowers, which is also located in the park. And, we walked the entire park until it ends at the beach. 

6. Conservatory of Flowers

Within Golden Gate Park, the COF is a must see if you are a fan of plants and flowers. TIP: It's also a nice place to warm up if it's cold outside.

7. Go to the beach

You might as well! If you are already in Golden Gate Park and heading towards the Bison Paddock, Ocean beach isn't much further. Once you get to Ocean beach, Sutro Baths is nearby as well. Just get your pen out to mark a ton of things off your list!

8. Sutro Baths

To learn more about Sutro Bath, click here.

9. Mission Dolores Park

All of the yes! Not going to Mission Dolores Park, especially on a sunny day, is basically sacrilege. It is another spot in the city that offers a great view. It's also a wonderful place to have a picnic, play tennis, basketball and/or soccer, play with your dog, relax, or even take a nap under the trees. 

10. Drink all the Coffee & Eat all the Pastries

The Mill

11. Eat a Burrito

There are plenty of burrito joints to go to, especially in the Mission. We ended up going to Pancho Villa and it ended up being the best damn burrito I can ever remember having. I also got watermelon agua frescas which went perfectly with the flavor of the burrito; match made in heaven I tell you!

12. Eat Oysters

Like burritos, there are plenty of places to get oysters. For instance Swan Depot, which has been around for over 100 years, and Hog Island Oyster Co. located in the Ferry Building, are two well known places. But, after doing some research, I knew I had to go to Leo's. It is probably the most beautifully decorated place we went, and the oysters were just as good. I tried hot oysters for the first time; flavors carbonara and hot wings. YAS. It was a little pricey but we did have some bubbles with our oysters (because why not?), and we had to the get the fries which were recommended by my friend Nanette :) 

13. Go to a Museum

San Francisco is a hub for tech, food, and art. There are plenty of museums to go to while visiting. For instance de Young, SFMOMA, California Academy of Sciences, AAMSF, and SO MANY MORE. We decided to go to SFMOMA. I have never been to a MOMA and heard this one was good. It is $25 each to enter, whereas de Young is $30 each. I did really want to go to  de Young but we decided to just pick one and spend more money on food ;) We also missed seeing Matisse by ONE day. Darn.

14. Bi-rite Creamery...

...is a must. There are actually a lot of ice cream shops in SF currently and I was bummed we only made it to one, but Bi-rite didn't disappoint. I got honey lavender and balsamic strawberry and it was seriously perfection. The two flavors went so well together. Some others that I'd like to visit in the future are Smitten, Salt a & Straw, and Humphry Slocombe

15. Eat a Nice Meal

There is SO much good food in San Francisco, including some Michelin star restaurants. If that is something that you're into, you should take advantage of it in SF. We dined at Saison (3 Michelin star, which I will talk about in my next post), Aster (1 Michelin star), and The Progress (1 Michelin star). There are a total of six 3-Michelin restaurants in SF giving them a total of 54 stars. New York has 75, so they aren't too far behind. Another Michelin restaurant (2 star) that we really want to go to is Atelier Crenn , which is Dominique Crenn's restaurant from Chef's Table.

The Progress

Aster

16. Eat Sushi

Find a sushi restaurant, sit at the bar, and order the "chef's choice". You'll thank me later ;) We ate at a place called Ebisu recommended to us by our friends Todd and Craig. We went for lunch and loved it. They do bento box lunch specials and I almost got one but I was feeling soup and sushi :)

17. Day trip to Oakland

We decided to see what all this Oakland fuss was about. The BART near/in the Mission all the way to DT Oakland only took about 20 minutes. We got off DT and grabbed a coffee nearby. We walked towards Uptown, where a couple places we wanted to check out were located. First stop was Homeroom for some mac n' cheese. I was basically in some kind of heaven. Homeroom has about 12 different mac options, but your can create your own mac as well (probably should have done that)! Paul wanted pizza, so we went to Slicer for a slice! Then we walked off the macaroni and pizza and made our way back to the DT area where Sweet Belly was. SB was by far my favorite part of Oakland. The ice cream/donut combo I got was only $5.50, which included ice cream, topping, donut, and drizzle. They also make the donuts on the spot so when you get it its piping hot! SO GOOD.    

18. Palace of Fine Arts

To learn more about the Palace of Fine Arts, click here. 

Lucasfilm is also located near the Palace of Fine Arts, so that was something we had to see (especially Paul). But how could we NOT take a picture of yoda??

If you're in the Marina District, find this house.

19. Pier 39

The one and only one reason you should ever go to Fisherman's Wharf is to see the sea lions (if you're into that sort of thing, like me). 

20. See the Damn Painted Ladies!

You have to, you just HAVE to. There are certain things you have to do and see while visiting SF and I personally think this is one of them, especially if you've never seen them before. 

Here is a video recap of our trip made by Paul!

And that concludes my "guide" to SF, and everything we were able to do in 4-5 days. I kind of feel like I am missing a thing or two but to be honest, it's a bit longer than I was expecting. Be on the lookout for my next post, where I will compare my meal at The French Laundry vs. Saison. Thanks for reading!

-Halee 

Napa + Muir Woods

Our week long vacation started in Napa. We arrived in SF at about 8:15am, went to pick up our car, and on to Napa we went! Our first stop was Bouchon for some pastries where I finally met up with the infamous Emma K. Morris

After Bouchon, we went to The French Laundry (where we would be having dinner that night!), to check out the garden onsite. They try to use as much as they can from their garden in dishes, and at times they are using 95% of what they grow. 

We then had to hurry off to make our first tour & tasting at Schramsberg, which has been served at official state functions by every U.S. President since 1972. Bravo! 

After Schramsberg, we had to rush back to check into our Airbnb, get ready, and head over to The French Laundry for our reservation. I will posting a different blog post talking about my experience at TFL compared to my experience at Saison in San Francisco (both 3 Michelin stars). Stay tuned for that!

The next day we had two more tour & tastings booked, but we had to get one more meal in with Emma, before setting off. We met at this amazing local place called Alexis Baking Company or "ABC". I ordered the chilaquiles, which was amazing and such a large portion! Their iced chai was pretty spot on as well. We still had a bit of time before needing to leave, so we walked over to Oxbow Market after breakfast. 

Oh yeah! Before we went to Oxbow, Emma took us to this authentic Italian shop that only does to-go orders and the man that runs it is 95 years old and still working there (pictured talking to Emma). He created "malfatti" years ago, which is a cheese, spinach, and herb dumpling. Wish we had the time to stay and eat some of his delicious food, but off to Oxbow we went. 

IMG_7350.JPG
Malfatti

Malfatti

Next, we were on our way to Mayacamas Vineyards for our first tour/tasting of the day. When we arrived, I seriously and literally was in awe. The property was so beautiful and private. We were introduced to Cassandra, who gave us the tour, and who happens to be the daughter of McPherson Wine. Once we knew who she was and her being from Texas and all, we instantly bonded with her. The 3 of us hopped on an ATV and Cassandra showed us the land. She mentioned that Mayacamas owns roughly 475 acres and 50 or so is used for wine. The tour was breathtaking. We got to see so many different areas where they are making wine, learn about the struggles they have gone through and are still going through, and see so much beauty and nature. This was by far my favorite experience in Napa. 

Next stop, Cade! This place was stunning as well. The view was unbelievable and the tour in their "cave" was pretty impressive. We really did our homework when we picked these places. Both vineyards were relatively quiet and away from all the packed touristy vineyards like Cakebread and Lewis.   

After Cade, we headed to Gott's Roadside before making our way to Mill Valley for the night. Now this burger was off the chain. I will forever put a fried egg on my burger if I have the opportunity. Oh, and I can't forget about that Horchata milkshake! 

Okay, treehouse here we come!

This house FTW!

This house FTW!

We woke up bright and early after a quiet night in the woods. We grabbed some coffee for the road and headed to the Muir Woods. We were told to get there before 8am because it starts to get busy after that. 

Hello Muir Woods!

After ending our 2-3 hour hike, we noticed tour bus after tour bus as we headed to the parking lot. We really did go at the right time!

And that's a wrap for Napa + Muir Woods! Next blog post will be all about San Francisco, and the one to follow will be my experience at TFL vs. Saison! Stay tuned guys, and thanks for reading :)

 

-Halee

Vancouver/Seattle

Hi again! Where do I even begin? I'm going to talk about our recent trip to Vancouver and Seattle. We had heard so many good things about Vancouver from friends so we were excited about our trip.

Our morning started at the airport where we were then told that Paul needed a special waiver to fly since he was British, and we only had 45 minutes until our flight left. It took Paul nearly 15 minutes to fill out the form on his phone and when we get to the counter they basically told us that they may not have enough time to get it all confirmed before the plane leaves. So, Paul told me to go without him. I didn't want to leave him and travel by myself so I stayed for a few minutes longer. It made more sense for only one of us to buy a ticket to Canada rather than two so in the end I had to leave him at the check in desk… But, he made it! As I was taking my shoes off and going through security, I see him running behind me calling my name. A smile instantly appeared on my face. I ran ahead to get on the plane and to let them know he was right behind me. He was the last person on before they shut the doors. Talk about a sigh of relief! 

Sunrise as we flew into Dallas, TX.&nbsp;

Sunrise as we flew into Dallas, TX. 

Dallas to Vancouver was a breeze. We finally arrived in Vancouver and the airport was about 30 minutes outside of the city center. I remember feeling that cool air on my skin for the first time and was so in love. I finally got to wear my new coat and scarves and got to bundle up. First stop was fish and chips for lunch.

The Fish Counter  @thefishcounteronmain

The Fish Counter @thefishcounteronmain

The fish at The Fish Counter was insanely good. Highly recommend going if you ever visit Vancouver. From there we hopped on the train into the city center and it worked out perfectly; you don’t realize how good public transport can be for getting around a city that you don’t know. The first stop once we arrived in the city was our airbnb, which was a little studio on the 18th floor of a high rise. We had an amazing view of downtown.

IMG_2551.JPG

We set our bags down, freshened up, and headed for the streets. We headed to Chinatown to check out a coffee shop, but of course we stopped on the way for pictures.

Propaganda Coffee  @propagandacoffee

Propaganda Coffee @propagandacoffee

The Husband  @andtheboat

The Husband @andtheboat

We wandered over to Crab Park which was right on the water. There weren't many people around and it felt like we had the place to ourselves. That is one of the main reasons we went in February/March, so that the city wasn't full of tourists like ourselves :)

 

Crab Park&nbsp;

Crab Park 

Crab Park

Crab Park

Downtown Vancouver&nbsp;

Downtown Vancouver 

For dinner, we made reservations at a place called Hawksworth. It was fine dining in an upscale restaurant, so we thought it was right up our alley. We decided to do the tasting menu so that we could try a little bit of everything. Out of the 6 plates, I think I enjoyed 3 or 4 of them. In my opinion, it wasn't the best place we ate at and it definitely wasn't worth the money. But you live and you learn, right?

The next morning is what I was most excited for. We stopped off at another coffee shop before adventuring through Stanley Park. 

Green Horn Cafe  @greenhorncafe

Green Horn Cafe @greenhorncafe

Stanley Park&nbsp;

Stanley Park 

Stanley Park cont.&nbsp;

Stanley Park cont. 

After the perfect morning at Stanley Park, and a good amount of walking, we headed back to the city to meet up with Amy H. aka @constellationinspiration at @revolvercoffee. She ended up taking the cutest pictures of Paul & I that I want to frame!

Inside Revolver

Inside Revolver

Outside of Revolver Coffee

Outside of Revolver Coffee

We then headed to “Ask for Luigi” (@askforluigi) for lunch; an Italian spot specializing in fresh handmade pasta. It was absolutely scrumptious and a local favorite, I would recommend it in a heartbeat. We then made our way back to our place, but not without stopping for a donut from @cartemsdonuts first. 

Cartems

Cartems

Cartems Donuterie&nbsp;

Cartems Donuterie 

We decided to go to Vancouver Urban Winery before dinner, and try some Vancouver wine. We both had flights- I chose the pink flight and Paul did the red. We really enjoyed this place and the atmosphere and would recommend it to anyone visiting. Then we made our way to Bauhaus, a restaurant specializing in German food. SO GOOD. I ordered the wiener schnitzel, cranberry sauce, and I ordered spatzle with it. If you don't know what spatzle is, it’s basically like a German mac n' cheese. I couldn't stop raving about this meal and definitely still think about it to this day. We ended the night at The Diamond, which is a bar on the top floor of an old building, overlooking Maple Tree Square. It was lovely, and recommended by the lovely Amy H (@constellationinspiration).

Our last full day in Vancouver started with another highly recommended place, @beaucoupbakery. We started there and then made our way over to Granville Island Market.

Beaucoup Bakery&nbsp;

Beaucoup Bakery 

Beaucoup Bakery cinnamon scroll

Beaucoup Bakery cinnamon scroll

Granville Island Market&nbsp;

Granville Island Market 

Can't forget about the only colored wall I found in Vancouver!

Can't forget about the only colored wall I found in Vancouver!

After Granville Island, we walked over to another donut shop called @luckysdoughnuts. Instead of cake donuts like the one I had from Cartems, this one was yeasted. Super tasty! Then just a few blocks down was where we were having lunch. A place called @maenamrestaurant, specializing in Thai Cuisine with a twist, who were voted best restaurant in 2016 in Vancouver. Again, this meal was AMAZING. 

Maenam

Maenam

We then headed back into the city and stopped at another great coffee shop reccommended to us by Amy @constellationinspiration. Are you noticing a pattern here?! 

The Birds and The Beets  @birdsandbeets

The Birds and The Beets @birdsandbeets

And again, it was back to our place before our last dinner in Vancouver. We ate at a place in Chinatown called Bao Bei (@baobei1). It was an upscale Chinese restaurant that had things like potstickers, sticky rice, and pork belly on the menu-all with a little twist. This place was phenomenal. And I wish I had a picture of our food, but I highly recommend it. We then went for drinks afterwards at a bar a few doors down called @thekeeferbar. The bathrooms were super creepy and cool. 

Bathroom at The Keefer Bar

Bathroom at The Keefer Bar

After dinner and drinks, we headed back to our place to get some sleep, since we had to be up at about 4:30am to catch the Amtrak to Seattle. 

When we woke up the next morning, we made sure that we had plenty of time at the Amtrak station – Trying to learn from our previous airport experience. We arrive about an hour before the train departs. We already have our tickets and are waiting in line. They finally start boarding and we get to the counter and that's when more problems arise… *Backstory: Paul recently renewed his visa and didn't have his new card yet since it was being mailed to him. It said in the letter that his old one will act as his current one until the new one comes so he didn't think anything of it.* The woman working immigration told us he was supposed to have this piece of paper and since we didn't we needed to go to a separate room and get verified before being able to get on the train and go back into the U.S. Luckily, after taking finger prints and pictures, they were able to verify Paul. But seriously, talk about a bunch of stress! We made it on the train and finally made it to Seattle 4 hours later, about 10:45 am.

We then headed to our hotel. We stayed at the Kimpton Palladian Hotel (@palladianhotel) on 2nd Ave. I did my research beforehand so I knew I was going to LOVE this place. It's one of those hotel rooms where you really don't ever want to leave. 

Bedside table&nbsp;

Bedside table 

Angelina Jolie comes with the room

Angelina Jolie comes with the room

View from our hotel window

View from our hotel window

We set our bags down and went to explore @pikeplacepublicmarket

Pike Place Flowers

Pike Place Flowers

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

After our walk and a little exploring, we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We ate at a place called @bateauseattle, which specialized in meat. They had a chalkboard of all the cuts they had on hand and as someone ordered a cut, it would get crossed off the list. It was a very good steak and meal, AND it was connected to two amazing places that we would visit the next day: @gpdoughnuts and @barmelusine. After dinner we headed to @thesmithtower for drinks with our friends, Craig and Todd, before heading over to the Museum of Pop Culture. The Smith Tower costs us $10 to get to the top for drinks, but once we were up there, the view was incredible. You can even walk along the edge of the building for pictures and exhilaration. 

Smith Tower&nbsp;

Smith Tower 

The next morning, Saturday, we went for a coffee @stumptowncoffee, and then headed over to General Porpoise so that I could grab a donut before we headed to Bar Melusine for Oysters and bubbles. I've never really had a filled donut before that I loved, so this was quite the experience for me. The donut was to die for. I ordered the chocolate marshmallow one and I think I made a good choice.

General Porpoise Doughnuts  @gpdoughnuts

General Porpoise Doughnuts @gpdoughnuts

Bar Melusine  @barmelusine

Bar Melusine @barmelusine

Bar Melusine

Bar Melusine

Saturday was the night of Paul's Pub Quiz (@geekswhodrink), which is the real reason for this trip in the first place. So after Bar Melusine, we walked around Capital Hill (which ended up being our favorite area and would recommend anyone to stay in this area because there is so much to do, see, eat and drink). We went in some shops, Paul bought some new shoes, we went to a wine bar, and then grabbed a burger at @lilwoodys. I got the 'Stranger Things Burger" which consisted of an Eggo waffle bun, maple cream cheese, grass fed beef, bacon, and creamy peanut butter. Did I just blow your mind???

Lil Woody's Stranger Things Burger

Lil Woody's Stranger Things Burger

We found some really cool graffiti and wall art in Seattle, which is something that I didn't find in Vancouver. This made me happy :)

Paul headed off to his competition with the boys and I met up with Aaleen and Trinity for drinks. I made it back to the hotel before he finished aka I got to hop into bed and watch crappy TV. The next morning was the day we were leaving, but we were able to squeeze in breakfast and one last stop for coffee at @elmcoffeeroasters.

Biscuit Bitch  @biscuit_bitch

Biscuit Bitch @biscuit_bitch

Elm Coffee Roasters  @elmcoffeeroasters

Elm Coffee Roasters @elmcoffeeroasters

Overall our trip was filled with tons of food, coffee, drinks, and walking. We had such a great time exploring these new places. I think my first impression of Vancouver wasn't as high as everyone seemed to make it, but once being there, eating the food, and exploring, I grew to love it. The food in Vancouver was by far my favorite. Almost every meal was a 10/10. In Seattle we had good food, but some meals weren't 10/10. I do feel like we didn't have enough time in Seattle to give it a chance, so I wouldn't mind going back ;) 

Paul also made a video of our trip! If you haven't seen it already, you should take a look :) 

Thanks for reading! Hope to do another post soon; whether that be an adventure, a recipe, or a collaboration. Stay tuned!

-Halee aka The Gingersnap