Well Played Medina, Well Played (Cafe Medina)

Putting all my favourite things into one dish and then whacking a runny egg on top?  Well done.  Looks like it obviously ain’t their first rodeo here at Cafe Medina.

Okay, okay, I finally get it Medina.  I finally understand why there are horrendous lineups (that are often the subject of my nightmares) starting at 8:30am every weekend.  All I’ve wanted for months now was a little brekky, and on a beautiful sunny hump day, I finally got my hands on some of that grub.

In an intimate cafe setting, Medina manages to to be eclectic, comfortable, and trendy all at once.  With a unique location just at the edges of both Gastown and the Downtown core, this little bistro with a fun French flare just oozes charm and elegance without all the pretension.

Arriving for a late lunch midweek, I thought for sure I’d be guaranteed a table upon arrival, but even at 1:30 on a workday, the waitlist goes on.  Lady Fortune must have been on my side though because we  lingered only a couple of minutes before getting seated.

Lavender lattes and paella – when it comes to Medina, these are all I’ve heard about for the past few months.  And when my menu arrived, it was not without great internal conflict and struggle (as well as the calm and reassuring counsel of the friendly server) that I finally settled on the two.   With options like gourmet belgian waffles, massive juicy venison burgers, or Fricasse (a dish served with runny eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, and onions), it’s no wonder it took me almost twenty angsty minutes to decide.

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Served in a clear glass with a simple design folded in the creamy foam, my medium lavender latte arrives first.  Upon further reflection, I’m not entirely sure why I opted for the lavender since I’m not a lavender fan in the first place.  (Call me a sucker for peer pressure.)  Even so, I managed to really enjoy this delicious cup of frothy goodness and the subtle lavender notes managed to make my cuppa a nice prelude to my meal.

Ten minutes into sipping on lattes, our eyes light up at the sight of our food gliding towards us as if guided by the grace and goodness of angels.  Like a halo of light, my lunch arrives piping hot in a round dish topped with a bright yellow yolk, decorated in vibrant red and topped with fresh greenery.

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I’m not too small to admit that with a description of “1 Baked egg, curried Orzo, Hungarian chorizo, zucchini, red pepper, roasted corn, Grano padano. Watercress, avocado, and tomato salad,” I was initially hesitant in ordering the paella, but boy was I wrong.  A refreshing flavour explosion of zesty tomato, chorizo, and melted cheese paired with the creamy richness of the runny yolk all atop a lovely bed of orzo – what was I even thinking doubting myself.  Ordering the paella has definitely got to be the best decision I’ve made all week.

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One of my weaker decisions however, was probably deciding to finish the entire thing in one sitting because let me tell you, it made walking home more than just a slight inconvenience.  With poor impulse controls, I have only myself to blame.
An hour and a half, a floral latte, and one exotic paella later, would I return to Cafe Medina?
I don’t do lines very well, but I am willing to bend some fundamental core values of mine for Medina.  Sure, I may have to wake up before the sun rises and strategically plan my mealtimes to avoid peak lineup times, but when $13 paella, indulgent lattes and specialty waffles are at stake, I don’t mess around.  Medina, Me like. Meet me at the crack of dawn.

Cafe Medina on Urbanspoon

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