Vancouver, Day 4: Mountain Monday Madness and the ultimate quest for cinnamon rolls


Today was Family Day in BC, and Tom had to work up at Cypress Mountain. Luckily his shift was a morning one, so he'd be back by late afternoon, which led me to have the day to myself to explore Vancouver.

I woke up around 8am since we went to sleep at a pretty reasonable time last night (my body isn't used to this much sleep on vacation!). Cullen was up and about making himself some breakfast while I lounged a bit and got a lazy start to my day. However, when you wake up that early and get a lazy start, you still head out the door before 10am. Who woulda thunk?!

Back on Friday, when Tom and I were seeking out a lunch place along Lonsdale Ave., we passed a bakery that displayed a tray of six cinnamon rolls coated in gooey cinnamon sauce and dripping in white icing for a mere $2.70 USD. I didn't get them then, and when sweets present themselves to me in such a deliciously sexy way, they stay in the back of my mind until they are in my possession. Therefore, my one true goal for today was to get me those cinnamon rolls.

I walked to the bakery and much to my disappointment, they were open at 11am due to the holiday. Why does Vancouver wish to prevent me from getting these cinnamon rolls? WHY!?

I instead head to the Lonsdale City Market, which is essentially a Whole Foods wannabe ("I've never seen so much cheese," said Tom upon our visit on Friday). I get a bottled fruit smoothie and browse the bakery section for cinnamon rolls. They have some sad-looking 4-packs without icing (a travesty) that are twice the price of my beloved wishlist rolls from up the street. I could get a croissant, but that is the cost of 3 delicious cinnamon rolls. I am measuring the cost of everything in cinnamon rolls, like Bek used to measure prices in bottles of vodka. I leave with just the juice (valued at 12 cinnamon rolls, for those keeping track at home).

I headed to the liquor store just as it opened at 10am to get some beer for Cullen and Emily for lending me my entire snowboarding outfit. I found some Goose Island (Chicago-made) beer for them and had to decide between an IPA or Honker's Ale. I get the latter since I feel like there are a lot of people against IPAs.

I returned with beer in hand to their house, and presented the thank you gift to Cullen, saying how I didn't want to get the IPA. With his Aussie accent, he said he didn't care. "I'm 'strayan. Beahs beah."

Robin messaged me and didn't have work until the afternoon, so we met up to hang out in the morning. I had no distinct plans other than to wander around downtown Vancouver and go exploring. We met up near the Sea Bus ferry and I went to The Coffee Bun and got a bun filled with Nutella, at the cost of six cinnamon rolls. Ridiculous. It was delicious, though, so I can't complain too much.

Robin and I chatted and wandered aimlessly on the streets of downtown Vancouver through Yaletown before getting to the waterfront David Lam Park where we sat in the gorgeous 50*F weather and people-watched. When it started to cool a bit, we headed back towards the Sea Bus through Gastown, since Robin had to make his way to work around 1:30pm.

After Robin left, I got on wifi at the ferry station to check out where I should get poutine. After all, it was one of the only things on my to-do list for Vancouver. I found a place with 4/5 stars just down Granville Street called Mean Poutine. I also found a bakery on Spotted By Locals called Purebread, which seemed like a nice place to chill and eat and use wifi, since the poutine place was just a streetside window and I would definitely need dessert.

But of course, Family Day provided me with hunger pangs again when I approached the doors of Mean Poutine and discovered they were closed for the holiday. My only intake of food for the day was some juice and that Nutella bun earlier and now it's 1:45pm. My body can only last so long on sugar. The only solution was more sugar, by way of Purebread.

I went to the cafe and it had more pastries and baked items than I could ever want, and I decided on a smarter choice than the sticky toffee roll and went with a prosciutto and egg roll to get some protein. I had no idea what time Tom and I would eat dinner, so I decided to snack on the lighter side.

I was growing tired and really wanted to make sure I was able to get those cinnamon rolls before the bakery closed, so I decided to head back to North Vancouver. I hopped on the ferry and walked up Lonsdale to my beloved bakery and snagged the last package of cinnamon rolls the bakery had in stock. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

I hung out at Tom's until he returned from work a short while later. Cullen and Emily were home and Emily suspiciously raised her eyebrows as she asked us if we "wanted to play some games." Well, she literally meant some games and was just unintentionally weird about it (I thought she maybe wanted to play the Most Dangerous Game) so we played Balderdash and Monopoly Deal for a couple hours, which was pretty fun. I never play board/card games enough, and when I finally play them, I realize how entertaining a simple game can be. Human interaction is pretty undervalued, in my opinion.

Tom and I changed and headed out around 9pm, taking the ferry to downtown, where we got dinner at The Warehouse. I'd read about it on Spotted By Locals, but Tom had been there before as well. For a place that offers up $4.95 CAD meals, it was not the vibe I was expecting. I was expecting a usual pub/restaurant, but this place had a scrawny tattooed bouncer who led us to a decidedly dimmer and darker bar table. Surrounding us at each booth were pierced and tattooed types wearing mostly black. I teased Tom, saying that he shouldn't be allowed in without tattooed arms, but if he gave off the right attitude, they might let him stay. He had a red mark by his eye from wiping out while snowboarding before my arrival, and I told him he had to play it up like it was the result of a fight.

I was digging on the music (with accompanying music videos on the screens), as any place that blasts K. Flay upon my entrance gets bonus points. The music dipped from hip-hop tinged alternative hits to 90s hip hop, and the table of six behind us was dancing and chanting along with each track.

The meals here are all $4.95 CAD, with extras costing a little more here and there, but most of the items are good enough on their own. I modified my BBQ burger to include poutine on the side instead of regular fries, which tacked on an extra $1.95 but still cost me under $7.50 USD with tax and tip. I ended up passing half of my burger to a man sitting on the street corner as we headed out towards Belmont Bar down the way.

Belmont Bar is where Mountain Madness Mondays take place, a weekly bar night with free entry for anyone and everyone who works at any of the nearby ski resorts. For people like me who don't, cover is $5 CAD, which isn't bad at all. They have a live DJ the whole night and give away hats, shirts, and passes to Whistler. Upon entry, they ask for two IDs (like your credit card and regular ID), and they scan your driver's license, AND they take a photo of you. This happened on Friday night at the club,  too. Canada is losing some of its chill factor. I thought this was super weird, but Tom said they scan IDs back in Australia as well, so he was used to it. Strange.

We head down the stairs and into the bar. Tom noted earlier that because today was super busy at Cypress Mountain due to the holiday, he didn't hear of a lot of people wanting to head out to the bar tonight. They were all exhausted. Tom's supervisor even asked if he could stay to work until 10pm, which he declined. I can only imagine how insane it was getting when he left work at 4pm.

Thus, Tom knew no one at the bar. It was crowded, as it was already 11pm, but Tom said he not only didn't see friends, but he didn't even see people he recognized as staff from Cypress. He usually sees at least one familiar face, even if he doesn't know their name. But not tonight, they were all strangers. It was okay, though, since we still could have a fun time.

I ordered a vodka lemonade, and the bartender asked me what I meant, because it depends on where I'm from what a "lemonade" means. Tom and I have discussed this before, since to him, a lemonade can mean a Sprite or 7up. No, to me, lemonade means lemonade, aka lemons and sugar and water. I relay this to the bartender and he puts lemon juice and simple syrup in the drink to top it off, which was just slightly off in flavor from a usual vodka lemonade. This land is so similar, yet so different.

The music here, generically pre-described to me as "I dunno, hip hop" by Tom, was Missy Elliott and Kid Cudi and other songs I was digging. Eventually, as the dance floor got packed, the music blurred together into one of those mashup sets of electronic sounds and familiar verses and beats just to make people move and sway for hours. But after a couple, I was getting tired and we headed home on the night bus around 1:30am.