Snack Time #8: Jelly Belly 10 Flavour Pack

After mentioning that I was craving jelly beans the other day, as a belated Valentine’s Day treat, Mrs. Sip picked up a box of the Jelly Belly 10 Flavour Pack for moi. The case was holiday-themed for the occasion, but also comes in a year-round format.

Flavours included blueberry, buttered popcorn, cinnamon, coconut, licorice, Sunkist tangerine mandarin, green apple, juicy pear, watermelon, and very cherry. That’s an impressively broad profile of tastes in one little pack.

jelly-belly-10-flavour-pack

The only one I didn’t like was the juicy pear, although I’ve never understood Jelly Belly always hyping their buttered popcorn bean. I would have rather seen strawberry or a lemon/lime flavour instead, among the company’s eclectic options.

I liked that the pack is spilt into 10 labeled pods as I always found assorted Jelly Belly packs frustrating with not knowing whether I was putting watermelon or jalapeño in my mouth. I think Jelly Belly sadistically thrives on that risk.

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Beer of the Week #8 – Stanley Park Foghorn India Brown Ale

In need of a case of beer for my hosting duties as part of a surprise birthday gathering for Mrs. Sip, I returned to an old favourite. Picking up Stanley Park Brewing’s Lord Stanley’s Pick (Winter Edition) case allowed me another opportunity to enjoy this product.

The Foghorn India Brown Ale was a hit with my guests who tried it, thanks to its roasted nuts and toasted malts. The somewhat rare IBA beverage comes with stats of 6% ABV and 50 IBUs and the beer has a great colour profile that is perfect for the fall/winter season.

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Suggested food pairings include turkey dinner with all the fixings, including gravy, sweet potatoes, pecan pie, or Camembert cheese. As is always the case with Stanley Park beers, the name is incorporated into the logo, with a drift of fog encompassing the famous lion.

I’m really looking forward to the brewery’s prospective restaurant and tasting room to be located in the former Fish House Restaurant in Stanley Park. Plans include producing “park inspired beer that is innovative and unique to the park location only”.

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Mixer Mania #8 – Family First

Fruit Punch is like the United Nations of juices, bringing crops of all walks of life together and trying to co-exist in harmony. That also sounds like the description for a blended family… therefore, here are some of the best fictional merged units to ever come together:

The Brady Bunch

The original blended TV family saw a mother and her three daughters join a father and his three sons. Of course, there was also maid Alice to play peacekeeper between the factions, so long as she wasn’t out with boyfriend, Sam the butcher (an awesome wrestling name!). Cousin Oliver later came along, although he basically signaled the end of the series and his name is now used to describe when a show adds a young character to avoid cancellation.

Step Brothers

It’s one thing to find common ground with young children that are suddenly asked to act like kin, but when you’re trying to find peace between two middle-aged slackers still living at home, it can be a total nightmare. Such was the case for Brennan Huff and Dale Doback, as their mother and father, respectively, decide to marry and bring their families together. They do become close, in the end, but the early stages included attempted murder.

step-brothers

Step by Step

An updated 90’s version of The Brady Bunch saw TV darlings Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy combine their offspring to make one massive family. Add in cousin Cody – who lives in a van on the Lambert-Foster property, despite their massive house – and you have a pretty large household. This was TGIF programming at its finest, my little sippers, and they even tried to shoehorn a new baby into the show, prior to advance-aging her.

Blended

You’d figure after starring together previously in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore wouldn’t be strangers anymore, but here they were bringing their respective families together in Africa of all places. Sandler, a widower with three daughters is joined by Barrymore and her two sons from a previous marriage and hilarity ensues when they’re placed in a myriad of African mishaps, before falling in love.

X-Men

While not a typical blended family, the students of Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted are like one big clan, with many of the mutants forced from their birth homes by parents who either can’t handle their child’s extraordinary powers or are too scared to. Sure, things get a little weird when you consider some of the romantic relationships sparked within the group and the jury is still out on whether Professor X is a good father or not.

wolverine-kid

Modern Family

When Jay Pritchett married Gloria Delgado, her son Manny was also part of the deal. Later on, Jay and Gloria have a child of their own to add to the mix. As the show’s name implies, the series includes a number of different family mixes, such as the Dunphy’s – your “typical” family of mom, dad, and three kids – and the Tucker-Pritchett clan, which is comprised of a gay couple and their adopted Vietnamese daughter.

The Cleveland Show

After reuniting with his high school crush, Cleveland Brown and son Cleveland Jr. end up shacking up with Donna Tubbs and her two children from her previous marriage, Roberta and Rallo. The move from Quahog, Rhode Island to Stoolbend, Virginia means a whole new set of family and friends for the Browns, who initially struggle to meld with the Tubbs unit. Eventually, they return to Quahog, as most blended families do when their spinoff is cancelled.

Once Upon A Time

A big theme in Disney animated movies (and the fairy tales that they’re based on) is that of the blended family. Therefore, it’s no surprise that these would be transferred over to the Once Upon A Time world, most notably with Evil Queen Regina becoming the stepmother of Snow White and later sharing mother duties of young Henry with Emma Swan, the boy’s biological mama. Regina also becomes a pseudo mother to Robin Hood’s son.

Mixer Mania #8: Alabama Riot

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  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with Fruit Punch
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

I must ask, if the world drank more Fruit Punch, would we be more accepting of each other’s differences? Yeah, probably not, but it would be neat if the solution was that simple…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
With this recipe, I was most curious with how the Peppermint Schnapps would work with the other ingredients. While it actually made a decent partnership with the Fruit Punch, it still remained a little too noticeable. I happy I tried the drink, though.

Snack Time #7: Pringles Kickin’ Chicken Taco

While in Las Vegas this past week, I knew I’d find some kind of treat to profile. After all, Sin City is a place of great indulgence and my quest was quickly accomplished in the form of this Pringles potato chips release.

The Kickin’ Chicken Taco flavour definitely has a taco seasoning/salsa kick to the chip, with the chicken taste finishing the experience. I liked that there was a little heat coming along with the snack, but nothing extreme.

pringles-food-truck-flavors

Part of the Food Truck Flavors series, apparently the only other product in the collection is Cheese Burger, which apparently tastes like a McDonald’s burger. I’d love to see something like Korean BBQ added in the future.

While Pringles, admittedly, aren’t my favourite potato chip brand, I do appreciate their line’s willingness to experiment with different flavours, even having dessert options. And yes, once I pop, I just can’t stop!

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Sip Trips #91: City of Sin (Part 2)

With so much crammed into our short getaway to Las Vegas, I split the happenings into two articles. Part one included a fair bit of action. Could we top our efforts on days three and four?

We began the second half of our Sin City experience by visiting the Yard House for their afternoon happy hour deals. We gorged ourselves on orders of their Fried Chicken Strips, California Roll, and Queso Dip, while I put back pints of Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA and Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado Double IPA.

Later, en route to the other end of the strip, we popped into the new Shake Shack, where I got a massive “Roadie” serving (32 oz. mug) of Big Dog Dirty Dog IPA. As we chatted with a server and told him we had never tried one of their burgers, he disappeared and returned with coupons to try a couple of their offerings, on the house.

shake-shack

We capped the evening with another favourite, enjoying the dueling pianos from outside the Bar at Times Square inside New York New York. Inside, the venue can usually get pretty packed, so we opt for seats outside, where we can still enjoy the tunes, high energy atmosphere, and best of all, drink our own beverages.

The next day, we journeyed to the Bellagio’s Hyde Lounge, where delicious, yet expensive cocktails can be enjoyed while watching the amazing fountain shows. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t rank this visit very high, as my Burning Mango cocktail completely lacked the advertised jalapeno flavour and the fountains weren’t running as regularly (every 15 minutes) as they should have been at that time of day. The one show we did get is Mrs. Sip’s least favourite, so the timing just wasn’t right.

Not to be deterred, and to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Mrs. Sip and I bought a ticket package that included a buffet dinner at The Wynn, as well as tickets to their Cirque du Soleil-inspired Le Reve show. The meal and entertainment were top notch, with copious crab legs and other dinner and dessert items enjoyed, followed by a spectacular performance of the water-based program.

le-reve

The evening was topped with a visit to another of the strip’s popular dueling pianos hotspots at Harrah’s The Piano Bar. By this point, we were kind of running on fumes, so decided to call the night somewhat short and finish the drinks we had remaining at our resort, enjoying the amazing view we had of the area.

And just to show that we’re well-rounded (not physically… yet) people and are capable of doing more than shuffle through life with a permanent buzz, Mrs. Sip and I also managed to visit both the Neon Museum and Mob Museum attractions. Using a combo ticket, with nice discount, we would highly recommend both to anyone visiting the city.

The Neon Museum’s boneyard is home to 200 signs, each playing their own role in Las Vegas history. The guided one-hour tour takes you through many of these tales, such as that of the Moulin Rouge placard, which belonged to the first non-segregated casino on the strip.

neon-museum

As for the Mob Museum, we visited on an interesting day, as Valentine’s Day not only marked the exhibition’s 5th anniversary (and so it was open to locals for free), but it’s also the anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which is a featured attraction of the gallery. Our self-guided tour lasted three hours and we could have stayed even longer.

That wraps up a busy four days spent in Sin City. Did we enjoy ourselves? Well, we’re planning on returning over the Easter long weekend for even more debauchery!

Sip Trips #90: City of Sin (Part 1)

While Mrs. Sip has made countless girls trips to Las Vegas in recent years, this was a rare occasion (so rare in fact, that this is my first chance to do a Sip Trips article about Las Vegas, despite the posts being a site feature since 2015) where I was allowed to partake in the fun… and there was a lot of it to go around. Here’s what we got up to over our stay in Sin City:

Upon arriving and checking in at The Wynn, we hit the street in search of hookers and cocaine… er, beer and potato chips… yeah, that sounds more like us! Our first stop was at the nearby Walgreens (which would become a base of sorts over our vacation) to grab a couple road beverages.

Moving on, the PBR Rock Bar and Grill has long been a favourite eatery for Mrs. Sip and I, as we adore their Doritos Crusted Mac N Cheese and Bucking Bull Fries. While chowing on those menu items, I ordered the 8 Seconds cocktail, comprised of Bulleit Bourbon, ginger beer, bitters, orange juice, and basil.

doritos-crusted-mac-n-cheese

Following lunch, we made our way to Sin City Brewing, which is part of the Planet Hollywood resort’s Miracle Mile Shops. Here, I ordered a large serving of their seasonal Double IPA, which was enough to get me feeling pretty buzzed.

With a couple of friends also staying in the city, we met up at the Public House in the Venetian. My brew of choice at this stop was the Victory Hop Devil Nitro, which was paired with the bar’s Duck Confit Poutine.

Next up, we were off to XS Nightclub, where we had a spot on the guest list. This was my opportunity to experience some of the nightlife Mrs. Sip gets to revel in while away with the ladies, although we were only allowed to go so far before us guys were asked to cough up cash for further entry. Still, we managed to score a few free drink tickets, so that was a bonus. We largely used them on vodka sodas and procured one of the empty cabana areas to take in the scene.

XS Nightclub.png

The next morning, we were off to Downtown Las Vegas for a bar and craft beer crawl. Our first stop was Hop Nuts Brewing, where I started slowly with pints of their Belgian Wit and Snickerdoodle Brown. As we drank, we grabbed a two-for-one drinks Groupon for the nearby Velveteen Rabbit, a bar with very cool cocktails. I used my selections on the Love Potion No. 9 (lime peel-infused mezcal, house fig and pepper liqueur, grapefruit and mole bitters) and the Velvet Waltz (chai-infused dark rum, sherry, averna, vanilla and burnt sugar).

From there, we popped into Tenaya Creek Brewing, where they had a unique “spin the wheel, drink the beer” option. My spin resulted in a pint of their Pilsner GABF Gold, which I followed with an Imperial Stout. We then ventured to the Fremont Street Experience, beginning with Banger Brewing. While scarfing down some Korean Pork Fries, I tried pints of their Perfect 10 Pale Ale and Jalapeno Heffe with Pineapple.

Fremont Experience.jpg

Chicago Brewing at the 4 Queens was up next on the crawl, where they had a 8 beers for $8 flight deal. Our last stop of the tour was Triple 7 Brewery, inside the Main Street Station hotel and casino. Their late night happy hour included $2 beers and food deals. Although, by this point, I didn’t need any more to quench my thirst, I ordered their Brewmaster’s IPA and Bad Guys Wear Black Imperial Stout.

We’ll temporarily wrap things up there at the halfway point of our vacation. Come back tomorrow for the rest of our journey, including a few rare non-beverage-related experiences!

Beer of the Week #7 – Dead Frog Reina De Fuego Mexican Chocolate Porter

The Sip Advisor is far from a Twitter junkie, but sometimes I’m checking my feed at just the right time. Such was the case the other evening when this Dead Frog Brewing product hit the market and went viral.

The Reina De Fuego (‘Queen of Fire’) Mexican Chocolate Porter combines Mexican chocolate and chili peppers. The result is flavours of chocolate and toffee, with a little spice and heat on the back end of the 6% ABV, 34 IBUs beverage.

dead-frog-reina-de-fuego-mexican-chocolate-porter

The limited edition small batch is available in bomber-sized bottles at the Dead Frog brewery and tasting room in Aldergrove. It can also be found on tap at some locations around British Columbia, arriving in Alberta in mid-February.

Debuting in December 2016, suggested food pairings for the brew include Mexican chocolate, brie cheese and roast beef. The drink won’t be around for long, so make sure to grab a serving while supplies last.

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