New Brunswick – The Donald Sutherland

Each month, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel Canada, discovering the best each province has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also feature a drink the area is known for. Today, we travel to the east coast, visiting New Brunswick. Let’s figure out if the province is more aptly nicknamed Petit Québec or Picture Province:

Motto: “Hope restored” – This sounds like a movie tagline!

Food: Do you like the McDonald’s McFlurry? Well, you have a New Brunswick location to thank for the dessert. In 1995, a store in Bathurst was the first to sell the product. Next, it was tested at location across the U.S., before it was widely released in North America in March 1998. Franchisee Ron McLellan created the treat, which can now be found at McDonald’s restaurants around the world.

Drink: Canada’s oldest independent brewery, Moosehead, can be found in Saint John. It was founded in 1867 by the Oland family, who still own and operate the company. The brewery’s popular Moosehead Lager has earned medals at the World Beer Cup, Monde Selection and Canadian Brewing Awards. Michael J. Fox once noted he enjoyed the brand and received a free truckload of beer in response.

McFlurry

Site to See: The Bay of Fundy/Fundy National Park is a top tourist destination in New Brunswick. The bay actually lies between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – with a portion touching U.S. state Maine – while the national park is located near the village of Alma. 25 hiking trails can be found throughout the park, while highlights of the bay itself, include the highest tidal range in the world.

Street: The Fundy Coastal Drive offers a 460 km trek, with notable highlights including the Hopewell Rocks, Fundy National Park and Fundy Trail Parkway. The towns of Saint John and St. Andrews by-the-Sea can also be visited along the way. The route stretches from Moncton all the way to St. Stephen, with many points of interest in between.

TV Show: There wasn’t much to choose from here, but Race Against the Tide is a reality show, which sees teams compete to construct sand sculptures in the Bay of Fundy. The teams only have so much time before the tide washes away their hard work. 10 episodes comprised season one of the series, while the second season of the show will begin airing next month.

Movie: Still Mine stars James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold as a husband and wife Craig and Irene Morrison, who encounter difficulties from a government official when they attempt to build a new home to help with Irene’s failing health. Set in the village of St. Martins, the film has a 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for seven categories at the inaugural Canadian Screen Awards, winning once.

New Brunswick

Book/Author: Born in Fredericton, Julia Catherine Beckwith is recognized as Canada’s first published novelist. At just 17 years old, she wrote St. Ursula’s Covent (aka The Nun of Canada), although the novel wasn’t published until over 10 years later in 1824. Beckwith would go on to write two more novels, the last of which was never released. Only six copies of her first work are known to exist.

Fictional Character: La Sagouine is a 1971 play that tells the tale of the titular Acadian cleaning lady, who resides in New Brunswick. It was written in Acadian French by Antonine Maillet, who was born in Bouctouche. The collection of monologues has since been translated into English twice. Maillet was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976 and promoted to Companion in 1981.

Fictional City: Montgomery Falls is the setting for the young adult mystery novel You Were Never Here by Kathleen Peacock. Peacock was born in Campbellton and continues to live in New Brunswick. Her surroundings must have formed the basis for Montgomery Falls. Peacock also authored the Hemlock trilogy of teen supernatural books.

Actor/Actress: Donald Sutherland, star of movies such as The Dirty Dozen, M*A*S*H, Animal House and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, was born in Saint John in 1935. For younger audiences, Sutherland is probably best recognized for his role as the main baddie, President Coriolanus Snow, in The Hunger Games franchise of movies. Sutherland is recognized as one of the best actors to never win an Academy Award.

Donald Sutherland

Song: New Brunswick and Mary by Stompin’ Tom Connors tells the tale of a man missing the province and the girl he left behind to go to work out west. The tune drops a number of New Brunswick town names, as well as images and items the province can be associated with, such as the Miramichi salmon run and potatoes being grown in Woodstock.

Band/Musician: Speaking of Stompin’ Tom, he was born in Saint John in 1936. Connors is a Canadian institution, perhaps best known for The Hockey Song, which is played at hockey games across Canada and beyond. Connors wrote more than 300 songs, with other popular releases including Sudbury Saturday Night and Bud the Spud. In 1996, Connors received the Order of Canada.

People: Louis B. Mayer was born in Russia, but raised in Saint John. Coming from a poor background, Mayer worked his way up to being a successful film producer and co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, better known as the iconic MGM Studios. Today, Mayer is a controversial figure, with accusations of sexual abuse and controlling the private lives of stars attached to his legacy.

Animal: While I couldn’t find any notable live animals for New Brunswick, it should be noted the world’s largest lobster sculpture can be found in Shediac, known as the Lobster Capital of the World. The sculpture was erected in 1989 by the town’s Rotary Club. The work is 35-feet long and weighs 90 tonnes. A staircase allows visitors to have their picture taken with the carved crustacean.

Invention: As a fan of word games, I have to give some appreciation to Edward R. McDonald, who invented a crossword puzzle game with patents that predate Scrabble by 12 years. McDonald is a fascinating character, who was one of the first people to inhabit New Brunswick. Shediac, where McDonald lived, has taken up the moniker Scrabble Capital of Canada.

Crime: Allan Legere was dubbed the Monster of the Miramichi, following the murders of four people he committed in the area over a seven-month span, while having escaped custody for a previous robbery, sexual assault and murder. Legere’s 1991 trial featured the first use of DNA profiling in Canada, with the intent to convict, rather than exonerate. Legere is still in prison today, last denied parole in January 2021.

Sports Team: New Brunswick has no professional sports teams, but does have three entries in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Moncton Wildcats, Saint John Sea Dogs). It should also be noted, the World Pond Hockey Championships took place annually in the province from 2002 to 2019, on Roulston Lake, in the village of Plaster Rock.

Athlete: Fredricton’s Willie O’Ree did for hockey what Jackie Robinson did for baseball, breaking the colour barrier by becoming the first black NHL player on January 18, 1958. O’Ree accomplish the feat all while being blinded in his right eye by a puck two years prior, which he managed to keep a secret. Fredricton’s arena was renamed Willie O’Ree Place in 2008, the same year O’Ree received the Order of Canada.

Willie O'Ree

Famous Home: Roosevelt Campobello International Park on Campobello Island, was home to the summer cottage of former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. It was here where Roosevelt was stricken with the illness that resulted in the paralysis of his legs. The movie Sunrise at Campobello documents Roosevelt’s struggle and was nominated for four Academy Awards.

Urban Legend: The Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews has been called the Canadian version of The Overlook Hotel, from the Stephen King novel The Shining. In typically Canadian fashion, many of the ghosts said to inhabit the hotel are there because they love the place so much, rather than something tragic occurring to them there. Paranormal activity includes ghostly figures, such as a bellboy and night watchman.

Museum: Potato World highlights the potato’s impact on New Brunswick. Found in Florenceville-Bristol, dubbed the French Fry Capital of the World, the museum offers interactive displays and antique machinery. There’s also a Hall of Recognition, dedicated to people and groups who have made an impact on the potato industry. Lastly, the place has a restaurant that offers a French Fry Charcuterie Board.

Firsts: Mount Allison University in Sackville, was the first university of the British Empire to award a woman a Bachelor’s degree, when Grace Annie Lockhart graduated in 1875, with a Bachelor of Science and English Literature degree. Lockhart graduated with the man who would become her husband, J.L. Dawson, and the couple had three sons, while Lockhart remained a women’s rights activist.

Potatoes

Company: McCain Foods, the world’s largest makers of frozen potato products, was founded in Florenceville in 1957. The company’s headquarters still exist there today. McCain also sells frozen pizzas, other vegetables and desserts, as part of its portfolio, but potatoes are its main game, with the business producing a quarter of the world’s frozen fries.

Events: The Great Fire of Saint John occurred in 1877, resulting in the destruction of close to half of the city. It all began with an errant spark falling into some hay in Henry Fairweather’s storehouse. 19 people were killed and many others injured in the blaze, which also destroyed a number of hotels, churches, banks and watercrafts. The whole ordeal only lasted nine hours.

Miscellaneous: New Brunswick has a fascinating professional wrestling history, thanks to Emile Duprée and his Grand Prix Wrestling promotion, as well as the Cormier wrestling family, comprised of grapplers Yvon ‘The Beast’ Cormier, Rudy Kay, Leo Burke and Bobby Kay. Emile Duprée has said the Cormier family was as important to New Brunswick as the famous Hart family was to Calgary.

New Brunswick: The Donald Sutherland

The Donald Sutherland

  • 2.25 oz Canadian Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Drambuie

This drink is a variation of the classic Rusty Nail cocktail, subbing Whiskey in for Scotch. It should be enjoyed while watching any Donald Sutherland film or if you’re enjoying a beautiful coastal view, with fresh air filling your lungs!

Sip Trips #210: Weekend Warrior

May was an interesting month, full of jam-packed weekends. We travelled a good portion of the Lower Mainland throughout, so here’s what we got up to on our journeys:

Our adventures began with eating at Taqueria Playa Tropical to celebrate Cinqo de Mayo. My meal of a Watermelon Margarita and Pastor Torta was fantastic, but there was some kind of issue with our food being delivered to us and we watched tables that had sat down and ordered long after us, be served before us. With a music lesson to get Girl Sip to, I ended up eating my meal hours after it was finally in my possession. Perhaps another visit on a non-Mexican holiday will be better.

Cinco-De-Mayo

That weekend, we attended the wedding of a close childhood friend at The Fairmont Waterfront. After our two drink tickets were spent during the cocktail reception, Mrs. Sip really wanted to get a fancy cocktail at the venue’s Arc Restaurant. She twisted my arm enough, so we had servings of the Salted Caramel & Peach Old Fashioned (Knob Creek Rye, Bacardi 8, Monin Caramel, Peach Bitters) and Summer Smash (Woodford Reserve, Hennessy, honey, lemon, orange, mint).

The next morning was Mother’s Day, so our little crew celebrated with brunch at the One20 Public House in Delta. My meal of the Cali Club and One20 Wheat Ale was a good combo. We’ve enjoyed our recent visits to the One20, as they have a good set up for families, including colouring for kids.

My liquor purchases for the month were a bottle of the new Bacardi Tropical Rum (very good in both rum and cokes and mojitos) and the Verve Vodka Soda variety pack, with an interesting selection of flavours, such as Wild Strawberry & Lemon, Peach Blackberry, Watermelon Raspberry and Grapefruit Elderflower.

Vodka Soda

Towards the end of the month, I attended the Brewhalla Beer & Music Festival with a couple of friends. Tickets were almost $50 each with taxes and fees and included a taster glass and three tokens. For $20, you could get a bag of 11 extra tokens. There was a good collection of breweries, with each one offering a nice variety of their wares. IPAs, saisons and sours seemed to be the beer themes of the event. Although we brought lawn chairs to sit back and enjoy the music, we spent most of the day going from line to line, drinking as we queued. This got worse later in the day, as some breweries tapped out early and lines grew longer. We left with tokens still to spend, feeling if we stuck around until the 6pm end of event, we’d have a tough time getting transportation out of the area.

Following the festival, we went for food at the Murrayville Town Pub. There, I had a Rajun Cajun Crispy Chicken burger, paired with a hazy pale ale/IPA I neglected to take note of. Regardless, it was delicious combo and we also ordered a pair of Pickle Back shots each because why the hell not!

Out in Abbotsford the next day for the Jurassic Quest event for the Sipplings, we dropped into Loudmouth Brewing for a late lunch. On a previous visit to the brewery and restaurant, another customer raved about their burgers, so I went out of my way to try one this time, while the girls and kids in our group split the Boss Platter. My Hamburger lived up to the hype and I still got to munch on a few items from the massive platter. As for my beverage, I went with the Hazy Pale Ale. Aside from food and drink, the best part about Loudmouth is its jovial, accommodating owner/operator. Every free moment he has, he’s chatting with customers and making them feel as comfortable as possible. He was great with our little ones, who were getting a little cranky after a busy morning, even moving a bunch of tables around to get us set up.

BBQ Platter

For the last weekend of the month, I was invited to join a group for the Langley Loop, hosted by The Clayton Pub. For $75 each, our group of six was shuttled from the pub to four different Langley breweries (Farm Country, Five Roads, Trading Post and Camp), then returned to The Clayton Pub to use an appetizer ticket. When finished at the pub, the shuttle would take folks home, so long as they lived in the area. Our driver Ed was amazing, as he navigated a bunch of groups around safely. I tasted quite the variety of brews as we went through the circuit and once back at the pub, our group had reduced to half, so three of us feasted on six tasty appies. Add a couple $3 rum and cokes to the finish the night and it was all quite the recipe for fun.

The next day, I joined another friend at the Red Card Sports Bar for the All Elite Wrestling: Double or Nothing pay-per-view. Over the close to five hour show, I enjoyed a pair of Red Card Pale Ales (at happy hour pricing), followed by a pair of Howe Sound Hazy Daze IPAs and capped with a spiced rum and coke. My meal for the evening was the Classic Burger, which was scrumptious, joined by yummy skinny fries. Best of all, the $10 cover charge we’d previously paid for other shows at the bar was not charged on this occasion.

That was it for the month of May. Just days from now, we’re off to Puerto Vallarta for a week of all-inclusive indulgence. Father’s Day is also around the corner, so there will certainly be much to discuss in the next Sip Trips!

Manitoba – The Winnipeg

Each month, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel Canada, discovering the best each province has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also featuring a drink the area is known for. Today, we’re in Manitoba, the province at the longitudinal center of Canada. Let’s see just how centered Manitobans are:

Nicknames: Among monikers like Keystone Province (for Manitoba’s shape and location amongst the rest of Canada) and Postage Stamp Province (also for Manitoba’s shape), I lean towards Canada’s Heart Beats – Travel Manitoba’s catchphrase since 2014 – or Friendly Manitoba, which adorns licence plates in the province.

Motto: “Glorious and free” – If you’re going to be free, you might as well be glorious, too!

Food: The Salisbury House restaurant chain claims to have introduced hamburgers to Manitoba in the 1930s. Known affectionately as Sals, the eatery is famous for their Nips, burgers which are a nip or a bite of Salisbury steak, the dish which the restaurant was named after. Sals also serves another Manitoba institution, the Flapper Pie, which they call a Wafer Pie.

Drink: Crown Royal Whiskey – a preferred alcohol of the Sip Advisor… seriously, I currently have five bottles of different varieties from the brand – is manufactured in Gimli. It was first introduced in 1939 for a tour of the country by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and has grown to become the top selling Canadian whiskey in the U.S. Crown Royal is perhaps best recognized for the felt-like bags the bottles come in.

Crown Royal

Site to See: Churchill is known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World and it is accessible for people to tour in the safety of caged tundra buggies. It is best to visit in the fall, when the bears can be viewed hunting seals on ice floes. Churchill even has a polar bear prison and locals are asked to leave car doors unlocked, in case people need to escape from a bear.

Street: Where the Red River and Assiniboine River meet in Winnipeg is known as The Forks. The area was designated a National Historic Site in 1974. Today, the popular Forks Market can be found there, hosting numerous restaurants, shops and stalls. During the winter, an outdoor skating rink is a widely used attraction of The Forks.

TV Show: Falcon Beach originally began as a made-for-TV movie before becoming a series that lasted two seasons and 26 episodes. The show was similar to The O.C. and was unique in that for each episode, two versions were filmed, one meant for Canadian audiences and another for American viewers, each using locations and terms unique to that country. The series was filmed at Winnipeg Beach.

Movie: The Ice Road, starring Liam Neeson and Laurence Fishburne, is about the aftermath of an explosion at a Manitoba diamond mine, which has trapped 26 miners. Neeson and Fishburne play truck drivers who lead a mission to save the miners, traversing the province’s frozen lakes and icy winter roads to get there. It was filmed in Île-des-Chênes and Gimli.

Polar Bear

Book/Author: The Stone Angel was written by Margaret Laurence. It tells the tale of Hagar Shipley, searching for closure in her life, as she prepares to be moved into a nursing home by her son and daughter-in-law. The book was made into a 2007 film, starring Ellen Burstyn. The movie also features Elliot Page, before his breakout role the same year in Juno.

Fictional Character: Shirley Holmes, the great-great niece of Sherlock Holmes, is the titular character of the children’s mystery TV series The Adventures of Shirley Holmes. Shirley was played by Meredith Henderson, who won a Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series for her portrayal. Filmed in Winnipeg, the series contains many nods to the stories of Sherlock Holmes.

Fictional City: Manawaka is a fictional setting often used for the novels and short stories by Margaret Laurence. It is based on Laurence’s hometown of Neepawa. Works using Manawaka include The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, The Fire-Dwellers, A Bird in the House, and The Diviners. Laurence was a top figure of Canadian literature and was among the founders of the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Actor/Actress: Anna Paquin, star of True Blood (as Sookie Stackhouse) and the X-Men franchise of movies (as Rogue), was born in Winnipeg. Paquin won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the very young age of 11, for the film The Piano. It was also her acting debut, so that’s a good start to a career. Paquin is still going strong through both movie and TV roles.

Sookie

Song: There’s a song called Murder Me In Manitoba, but I think I’ll go with Stompin’ Tom Connors ode to the province, simply titled Manitoba. I mean, the ditty includes lines such as “Manitoba, you’re my heaven”. It should also be noted, rock classic Takin’ Care of Business was created by Winnipeg formed group Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and the province probably thinks of the song as an unofficial anthem.

Band/Musician: Manitoba has quite the musical history. Among the artists to hail from the province, rocker Tom Cochrane has enjoyed a long and successful career. Cochrane began with the group Red Rider, before going solo with hits such as Life is a Highway. I also have to give a special shout out to children’s musician Fred Penner, whose songs and TV show are memorable from my childhood.

People: It’s hard to believe the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s famous character James Bond was Winnipeg-born soldier and spymaster Sir William Stephenson. Fleming once wrote: “James Bond is a highly romanticised version of a true spy. The real thing is… William Stephenson.” Best known by his codename Intrepid, Stephenson worked as a conduit between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, even being credited with bringing the U.S. into World War II as a Western ally.

Animal: The bear A. A. Milne used as his inspiration for Winnie the Pooh was named Winnipeg, given the moniker by Lt. Harry Colebourn, after his hometown. Following World War I, Winnie was supposed to make her new home at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, but remained at the London Zoo until she died in 1934, at the age of 20. Despite never reaching Assiniboine Park Zoo, a bronze statue of Winnie, as well as a gallery of items regarding the famous bear, can be found there.

Winnie the Pooh

Invention: Winnipeg’s Harry Wasylyk (along with Larry Hansen of Ontario) invented the polyethylene garbage bag. The bags were originally sold to the Winnipeg General Hospital, as they weren’t intended for domestic use. Once Wasylyk and Hansen sold the invention to the Union Carbide Company, green garbage bags for home use were released in the late 1960s, known as Glad garbage bags.

Crime: A crime that made headlines across Canada was the 2008 beheading of Tim McLean aboard a Greyhound bus. The attack was committed by Vince Li, a complete stranger to the victim. Out of nowhere, Li began stabbing McLean, causing the bus driver and other passengers to flee the vehicle. Li then decapitated McLean and even ate some of his flesh. Following a standoff with police, Li was arrested. Less than a decade later, Li was absolutely discharged and lives free.

Sports Team: The Winnipeg Jets (NHL) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) are the two major pro sports teams in the province. There was an earlier version of the Jets, which began in the World Hockey Association before that league merged with the NHL, but the franchise moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996. American Hockey League club the Manitoba Moose shares an arena with the Jets (their NHL affiliate).

Athlete: Manitoba is known for their decorated speed skaters, including Susan Auch, Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes. Winnipeg’s long track speed skating oval is named after Auch, who won two Olympic silver medals and a bronze over her career. Meanwhile, Klassen won six Olympic medals, including five at the 2006 Games. Lastly, Hughes has competed at both the Winter and Summer Olympics, winning at both in speed skating and cycling, respectively.

Garbage Bags

Famous Home: Dalnavert, also known as MacDonald House, was designated a National Historic Site in 1990. It was the home of former Premier Hugh John Macdonald, the son of Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald. The estate was originally restored by the Manitoba Historical Society and welcomes visitors year round.

Urban Legend: The Manitoba Legislative Building is said to be haunted. Of note, the building’s grand staircase is said to be where the ghost of a man wearing a top hat is thought to reside, while other spirits inhabit the area nearby. Meetings between all these spectres are said to occur, with security guards being sure to knock before entering any room, so as not to disturb the proceedings.

Museum: The Canadian Museum for Human Rights can be found in Winnipeg. It’s mission is to “explore the subject of human rights with a special but not exclusive reference to Canada”. Opened in 2014, the museum was the first national museum created since 1967 and first ever located outside the National Capital Region of Ottawa. Exhibits include a look at Indigenous issues, as well as the Holocaust and other genocides from around the world.

Firsts: Beginning in 1959, Winnipeg became the first North American city to operate a central emergency system. They originally went with the number 9-9-9, but changed to 9-1-1, when the number was proposed by U.S. representatives. Manitoba was also the first province to let women vote in provincial elections and ban indoor smoking in public places.

911

Company: Old Dutch Foods, makers of some of my favourite potato chips of all-time, have their Canadian headquarters in Winnipeg. They also have a production plant there, so I must make a pilgrimage to the holy land one day. It should also be noted, restaurant chain A&W was founded in Canada in Winnipeg in 1956. A&W mascot The Great Root Bear originated in Canada in 1974, appearing in the U.S. two years later.

Events: The Red River Resistance/Rebellion of 1869 resulted in Manitoba eventually becoming a Canadian province in 1870. The uprising was led by Louis Riel, leader of the Red River Colony. During the conflict, Thomas Scott, a pro-Canada opponent to Riel, was arrested and later executed by firing squad. Years later, this would be remembered and referenced as a reason Riel himself was hanged.

Miscellaneous: Wheelchair Rugby, also known by the tame title Murderball, was created in Winnipeg by wheelchair athletes Gerry Terwin, Duncan Campbell, Randy Dueck, Paul LeJeune, and Chris Sargent, in 1975. Today, the game has grown to be a Summer Paralympic sport, played in 30 countries. The activity is comprised of elements of ice hockey, basketball, handball and rugby.

Manitoba: The Winnipeg

The Winnipeg

  • 2 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Amaro
  • 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • Garnish with Cherries

There were some interesting Manitoba-created cocktails I would have loved to make for this article, but I’m not sure where I would find Saskatoon Berries, needed for both the Manitoba Martini and Manitoba Made beverages. Thus, I went with The Winnipeg, feeling Crown Royal Whiskey should be included. I used Jagermeister in place of Amaro, as it’s an herbal liqueur I had on hand.

Sip Trips #209: Okanagan Opus

April was highlighted by two trips to the Okanagan region of B.C., one to visit a friend and another to celebrate the end of a good buddy’s bachelor days. Let’s see what the Sip Family got up to in the month of showers:

Upon returning from Las Vegas at the end of March, we immediately departed for Peachland the next morning, with the Sipplings in tow. On our way there, we had a late lunch at Empty Keg Brew House in Merritt. Along with a great beers and fun food, the brewery also offered an awesome selection of free arcade games to play, which the Sipplings loved, even though they don’t get the concept of any of them. Board games and puzzles for various ages were also available. To eat, we all split orders of a Hot Dog with Parmesan Fries and the Chicken & Cheese Quesadilla. To drink, I enjoyed the Ruby’s Irish Red Ale, while Mrs. Sip went with the Eight Seconds Cream Ale.

Arcade Games

Over our weekend stay, another stop we made was at BNA Brewing. We had hoped to partake in their bowling alley, but were unable to get a lane. We did have a good meal and drinks in their expansive space, though, with my dinner consisting of the Kung Pao Street Fries, along with servings of the Big Mario IPA and Ace Hazy Pale Ale.

Back at home, Mrs. Sip and I received our first VCBW Beer Box deliveries. The box was full of interesting selections from around the province, with only a couple being ones I had tried previously. I’m still working my way through it all and have enjoyed the variety and quality of the picks, thus far.

As part of our Easter celebrations, Mrs. Sip and I were offered a kids-free date night, allowing us to attend Bunnies and Booze at Maan Farms. Tickets were $75 per person and included a meal and one drink ticket. I went with the Chicken Tikka Masala with Fries option, along with an Old Yale IPA. There was also a couple games for all to participate in, prior to the big Easter egg hunt. Those who collected four eggs of different colours (which was very easy to do), were given a goody bag, including chocolate treats and a can of the Farms’ own Beltzer Berry Wine Seltzer. We wrapped the evening with a pre-ordered ice cream inside a chocolate egg.

Easter Hunt

Prior to our final Vancouver Canucks game of the season, Mrs. Sip and I managed to get into the Devils Elbow Ale & Smokehouse, where we feasted on happy hour eats like their Brisket Sandwich, Pulled Pork Quesadilla and Mac & Cheese Cornbread. We also capitalized on the pricing of beers, splitting between us the Twin Sails Livin’ the Dream Fruited Pale Ale, North Point Strawberry Blonde, Townsite Mystery Reef IPA, Parkside Almost Citrus Orange Drink Beer, Driftwood Raised by Wolves IPA, and an Old Fashioned cocktail. The food was fantastic and with such a great selection of beers, everyone can find something they like.

After taking the Sipplings to an Easter event in Maple Ridge, we made sure to have lunch at the Billy Miner Alehouse, which has long been a favourite eatery of ours. I had the deliciously messy 3:10 to Yuma burger (smoked chicken, beef patty, smoked gouda, bacon, whiskey BBQ sauce, crispy onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, burger sauce), which was so freakin’ good. We also shared their famous Basket of Cornbread. To wash down the food, I had a pint of Mission Springs Red Mountain Ale.

Next up, was a stag party weekend in Summerland. We had a beautiful home rented at the Oak Estate Winery and golf games and other activities to enjoy. A fun stop I made with a couple of the guys was to Alchemist Distiller. Here, we enjoyed a tour and tasting, which included pours of their Vodka, two Gins, Apple Liqueur, Herb Liqueur, and Absynthe. I walked away with the very last bottle of the Lady Fox Gin, which was at the end of production and at a discounted rate of $25 ($10 off).

Stag

Our big night out started with dinner at Cactus Club in Kelowna, where I had a pint of Ugly Wheat Ale, paired with some Chicken Tenders with Fries. This restaurant has a great location, but we waited outside the restaurant, in the cold, for close to half an hour, despite having a reservation. Inside, they really need to fix their bathroom set-up as there was a long wait for a stall throughout the night, causing an uncomfortable bottleneck as people took their place in line.

We finished the month with our Vancouver Warriors lacrosse game, thanks to the free tickets I won previously. I can best describe the experience as a combo of a hockey game, wrestling show and rock concert all rolled into one. During the course of the evening, I had a Stanley Park Amber Ale and Spiced Rum and Coke, to go along with a glorious Footlong Hotdog.

May is already shaping up to be an interesting month, with a wedding to attend, Mother’s Day to celebrate and other festivities scattered throughout. You’ll hear about it here; same Sip time, same Sip channel!

Sip Trips #208: Vegas Bound

To end March, Mrs. Sip and I entered the U.S. for the first time in over two years, which is a gap I thought I would never experience, unless I moved to another continent. We selected Las Vegas as the perfect place to celebrate our 20th dating anniversary and it was a journey full of good food, drinks and an adventure or two.

All the fun started at the Vancouver Airport, where we had a relaxed breakfast/lunch at the Canucks Bar & Grill. Their All-Dressed Poutine was one of the best poutines I’ve ever enjoyed and went really well with my mid-morning Stanley Park Wheels Up IPA.

Airport Drinking

In Vegas, we stayed at The Palazzo. Mrs. Sip booked us a Prestige Club room, which gave us access to the Prestige Lounge. We arrived just in time for happy hour on our first day, which featured free drinks from 4-7, along with delicious appies starting at 5. The staff at check-in and in the lounge were all fantastic and we would definitely recommend the Prestige experience.

For dinner that night, we had a reservation at Mon Ami Gabi. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed many meals over the years there, but our usual order of the Chilled Seafood Platter was sadly no longer on the menu. We adjusted and went with the Small Seafood Platter, along with the Escargot. All paired with a bottle of wine, we were even given a free dessert for our anniversary celebration.

The next day, we made the journey to the off-strip Ellis Island Hotel & Casino, home to Ellis Island Brewing. At The Front Yard restaurant, we enjoyed a couple $3 beers in the Amber Ale for me and Hefeweizen for Mrs. Sip. I also had a Bonfire Rauchbier for $5, while Mrs. Sip did a flight of the Hefeweizen, Wit, Belgian Tripel and Dubbel Trouble. To eat, we had an amazing CBR Flatbread, comprised of citrus garlic sauce, bacon, shredded chicken, pico de gallo and jalapeño cream.

Flatbread

Returning to The Venetian, we hit up happy hour at Trustworthy Brewing, which was my 200th brewery visited! There, I had the A Year in the Making American Amber Ale, while Mrs. Sip switched things up and drank a Southern Peach Smash (bourbon, peach nectar, ginger syrup, mint, ginger ale), as she is getting more into whiskey and bourbon cocktails of late.

Given we could also access The Venetian Prestige Lounge, we had happy hour there, allowing us to compare the two options. After another set of cocktails, we returned to The Palazzo side, where I squeaked in two more beverages for the road, enjoyed as we got ready for another night out.

While at The Paris the night before, Vanderpump à Paris caught Mrs. Sip’s eye, so we made that our destination for dinner. The restaurant had only been open for a couple weeks when we tried it and we had a fantastic experience. We ordered Bouef Wellington Sliders, Mini Monsieurs and Baked Brie En Croute to share, while Mrs. Sip had a glass of wine and I tried the Louvre At First Sight cocktail, which came in its own smoker shaped like the infamous Louvre Museum glass pyramid. The drink is called ‘A Smoked Work of Art’ and includes Gracias a Dios Mezcal, prickly pear, lemon, jalapeño honey, orange bitters, aquafaba and hickory smoke.

Cocktails

Our main event of the evening was supposed to be checking out the Omega Mart immersive art exhibit by Meow Wolf, which had caught the eye of both myself and Mrs. Sip. Sadly, once we got out to the Area 15 location, we learned the facility had been evacuated due to a fire alarm and the Omega Mart had been cancelled for the night. We still checked the Area 15 building out and had overly expensive drinks at its bar – seriously, $15 for an off-strip Spiced Rum and Coke??? – but the air had kind of come out of my sails with the Omega Mart debacle.

For our anniversary day, we did what good couples do best and went our separate ways for the day. While Mrs. Sip enjoyed some rest and relaxation poolside, I had a need to walk the strip and explore, since I hadn’t been to Vegas since March 2018. Along the way, I grabbed a few road beers, had a very good lunch from Dave’s Hot Chicken (which is apparently opening a couple locations in the Lower Mainland soon) and took care of buying some snacks and souvenirs for the family, along with our booze to bring home, in the form of bottles of Jameson Orange Whiskey and Bacardi Dragonberry Rum.

We reconvened to unfortunately have to race out and take care of our COVID antigen tests, which needed to be done as we returned on March 31, and the whole need to get this done in Canada was being eliminated on April 1. While Mrs. Sip inquired about changing our trip to avoid this, Air Canada (after many hours on hold to speak to an agent), said we couldn’t change anything because we had booked a vacation package. #BoycottAirCanada

Air Canada

Following our negative tests, we enjoyed a final Prestige Lounge happy hour at The Palazzo, toasting our 20 years together. We weren’t able to go too crazy on the hors d’oeuvres, though, as we had a big night out planned. That began with dinner at Picasso, my first Michelin Star restaurant experience. In fact, Picasso is ranked at two Michelin Stars and is thought to be one of the best restaurants in the U.S.

So, what did I think of the meal. Overall, I was a little disappointed, to be honest. Nothing really blew my mind and I’ve had $14 burgers make me lose all my bodily functions. The price of this meal was absurd… like, I won’t even print it absurd. I did leave overly stuffed, which Mrs. Sip says is rare for Michelin Star restaurants, since portions are usually doled out to perfection, so eaters get just enough and are comfortably full by the time the feast is finished.

Upon arrival, I ordered the Greyscale cocktail (Earl Grey-infused gin, orange oleo saccharum, fresh lemon juice and a splash of soda). I went with the Menu Dégustation (Tasting Menu), which included four courses plus dessert (Maine Lobster Salad, Pan Seared U-10 Day Boat Scallop, Sautéed Steak of “A” Foie Gras, Prime Petit Filet Mignon). Mrs. Sip did the Prix Fixe Menu (Warm Quail Salad, Sautéed Crispy Gnocchi and Sautéed Medallion of Fallow Deer) with wine pairings. The desserts were fantastic, but Mrs. Sip didn’t even get a wine pairing with hers. Part of the draw of the restaurant is the many Picasso paintings that adorn its walls. Since I’m not an art guy, I preferred to watch the Bellagio fountains from our table, but the music accompanying the fountains was hard to hear, so that detracted a little from the shows. As we left, we were given boxed chocolate, which Mrs. Sip and I still have to eat.

Michelin Restaurant

To end the evening, we attended the Absinthe show at Caesar’s Palace, which was as wild and raunchy as advertised. Going into the performance, Mrs. Sip and I shared an Absinthe Hallucinator cocktail (vodka, pomegranate, blood orange, lemon, absinthe), which helped get us into the spirit.

The next day, with mere hours before we had to checkout and head to the airport, we tried to get to The Chocolate Bar at New York New York, but it was closed when we arrived, despite online sources saying it was supposed to be open. Dejected, we hurried back to The Palazzo to check out and finally enjoy the welcome bubbly we didn’t have at arrival, since happy hour was afoot.

It was amazing being back in Las Vegas, especially after what the world has gone through the last couple years. I will say, though, I was feeling my age a little on this getaway, as I was in bed each night by about 1 a.m. and my feet were done long before that each evening. Maybe I just need to “train” better in advance of the next trip!

Sip Trips #207: Rinks and Drinks

Well, March was interesting, full of outings and even some travel. In fact, the month was so busy, I’ve split our experiences into two entries, something I haven’t had to do for a very long time when it comes to Sip Trips diaries. Let’s see how the majority of March played out:

The month began with the Sip Advisor meeting a friend to watch the All Elite Wrestling Revolution pay-per-view. Prior to arriving for the show, we had a couple beers at Roxy Burger, a former frequent haunt for the Sip Family. There, I had two James Brown Ales, at the Sunday special price of $4.50 each.

Next up was the pay-per-view, hosted at Red Card Sports Bar. Throughout the amazing, but lengthy show, I consumed two Red Card Pale Ales, two Howe Sound Sky Pilot NW Pale Ales and one Howe Sound Hazy Daze IPA. To keep from over liquefying, I enjoyed a serving of the bar’s Hotiyaki Wings at happy hour pricing, as well as a Classic Burger later in the evening. The wings were delicious and I really liked the blend of hot sauce and teriyaki. The burger was also very good and we hope to return for future events.

Wrestling

Later that week, Mrs. Sip and I both signed up for Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Boxes at the Founding Membership level. This means, four times per year (spring, early summer, late summer and winter), we will receive 24 curated craft beers from a variety of breweries, for only $69 each delivery. We felt this was an amazing deal and can’t wait to see what our first Beer Box holds.

Offered a mid-week date night, Mrs. Sip and I finally visited Gotham Steakhouse, something we had always intended to, but never got around to, while living downtown. We picked Gotham from the list of places that were supposed to be doing Cinq A Sept, as part of Vancouver Cocktail Week, but nobody seemed to know what I was talking about with regards to the special happy hours. Not to be deterred, Mrs. Sip and I both had the restaurant’s Feature Cocktail of the day (Aperol, St. Germain, Gin, Lemon Juice, Absinthe Rinse). I also enjoyed pints of Backcountry Widowmaker IPA and Parkside Dusk Pale Ale, while Mrs. Sip was recommended to order a Whiskey Sour, which we both enjoyed. For eats, we shared the Steak and Prawn Skewers, Caesar Salad and Seymour Street Fried Chicken, all of which were tasty.

Following our meal, it was time for the Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens game we had tickets to. After the first period, we tried Strawberry and Passionfruit Margaritas from the Rogers Arena margarita bar, which I’d like to think spurred the Canucks on to their eventual victory that night.

Margarita

That weekend, we took the Sipplings to the Dead Frog Carnival, where the brewery was releasing two new beers with cotton candy additions. The beers, which I tried each of, were the Hippity Hop Hazy IPA and Pondside Pale Ale. Mrs. Sip had a Black Raspberry Sangria Sour. Our food consisted of the yummy Maple Jalapeno Beef Dip, a Jumbo Beer Pretzel and Smoked Salt & Pepper Wings, which ended up at our table by mistake, but the server said they couldn’t take them back, so we might as well enjoy them.

The next day, prior to another Canucks contest, Mrs. Sip and I had a pre-game meal at The Keg. I paired a Gin Basil Lemonade with an order of French Onion Soup, as I had earlier finished my Beef Dip from the day before and wasn’t super hungry by the time we sat down for dinner.

For St. Patrick’s Day, we went to the 120 Pub for dinner and drinks. It was a great stop for the entire family, as a magician/balloon animal artist was on hand to entertain the kids. My meal consisted of a pint of 120 Winter Wheat Ale (brewed by Red Truck Brewing), to go with the Cali Club sandwich.

St. Patrick's Day

Next up, was Boy Sip’s 2nd birthday. Following a day out, our extended family met for dinner at Boston Pizza. Here, I had a Kick’n Memphis Chicken Sandwich, along with a Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA. Best of all, throughout the month of March, kids meals were free, so long as adults purchased entrees.

For guests at Boy Sip’s Choo Choo Two birthday party the next day, I picked up the Mt. Begbie Bundle of Joy case, containing three each of their Nasty Habit IPA, Tall Timber Brown Ale, Attila the Honey Amber Ale and High Country Kolsch. The pack caught my eye for its unique combo of beers.

We arrived early for our last Canucks game of the month, so decided to start at the arena’s SportsBar. There, we shared the Buffalo Chicken Poutine, where the Buffalo chicken, gravy, veggies and fries all made for a good combo of flavours. To drink, I had a pint of Main Street Naked Fox IPA. We sat and watched the first period in the bar, before moving to our seats for the rest of the match.

Sports Bar

To celebrate another handful of March birthdays on Mrs. Sip’s side of the family, we again ate at The Keg. This time, I went with The Keg Burger, which was decent, but reminded me of how much I missed the original Keg Burger. My beverage choices included a Chili Mango Margarita and a Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA.

The last week of March was spent in Las Vegas, celebrating my and Mrs. Sip’s 20th dating anniversary. What did we get up to in Sin City? You’ll have to wait for the next Sip Trips to find out!

Sip Trips #206: Mexico Musings

February has come and gone and when you spend close to half the month on vacation, that can never be a bad thing. How did the Sip Family’s first international travel in over two years go? Let’s find out:

To begin the month, we finalized the purchase of our first ever new vehicle. After picking it up, we went for a late dinner at Montana’s in Langley. There, I took advantage of their $4.99 Rickard’s Red  special, pairing it with a Southern-Fried Chicken Sandwich. We also had a coupon for a free appy, using it on their Loaded Garlic and Cheese Pull-Apart Bread. The beer hit the spot, while all the food was tasty. This was my first time to Montana’s for some time and I hope we can return soon for more comfort food goodness.

Comfort Food

Next up, was our long-awaited family trip to Cancun, Mexico. We had booked this vacation all the way back in January 2021, thinking the world would be back to normal by February 2022. Well, it isn’t quite back to normal yet, but we weighed all the pros and cons and decided to still go ahead with the trip, despite pandemic concerns, having to take tests to return home, having to quarantine once we returned, and some of our fellow travel group deciding against travelling.

First, a couple quick notes about Vancouver International Airport and our flight to Mexico. Prior to our flight boarding, I noticed a Whistler Brewing Lodge was coming soon. I greatly look forward to this dining/drinking option at the airport and hope I get to enjoy it at some point. As for our flight, while we were saving our drinking for the all-inclusive resort, I was dismayed to hear flight attendants turn down drink orders and end drink service early because they didn’t have enough stock for the return trip. I mean, come on, people are starting their vacation and may want to get into the festive spirit or make their trip more relaxed. How could they not stock up properly for the round trip or why can’t they restock once in Mexico?

Upon arriving in Cancun, we boarded our private transport to the resort, with our drvier providing us with some of the most satisfying Coronas I’ve ever enjoyed. After a 1.5-hour journey, our long travel day was finally complete and we could begin relaxing and enjoying. Here are my notes about out resort, the Grand Palladium Riviera Maya:

All-Inclusive

Our bar set up was supposed to included two bottles of our choice, but we were thrilled to hear upon arrival that we would now get to select five bottles. In a bit of a panic, I quickly chose Stolichnaya Vodka, Havana Club 7 Rum, Jim Beam Bourbon, Bombay Sapphire Gin, and Don Julio Reposado Tequila. When looking into my selections, our bottles would have cost me close to $300 if purchased at a BC Liquor Store, so I was very satisfied with that. With free drinks across the resort, we planned to bring three of the bottles home and only opened two in the room.

Speaking of those drinks around the resort, my orders largely consisted of Margaritas, Palomas, Dos Equis Amber beers, Rum and Cokes, Gin & Tonics (using the delightful Tanqueray Rangpur whenever possible), and Jameson & Ginger Ale with lime juice. I also enjoyed the many “make your own” drink stations. There was ones for Mojitos, G&Ts, Bloody Marys and Mimosas.

As for food, it was mostly very good. I can’t say we had a single bad meal at any of the dinner restaurants and we enjoyed the various themes, including steakhouse, Thai, Japanese teppanyaki, family barbecue, Mexican, etc. We didn’t get a chance to hit them all, though, and particularly would have like to have tried their beach-set seafood and Spanish tapas options.

Resort Food

Okay, now for some negatives and areas where the resort can improve. I felt the resort was too big, comparing it to my opinions of rather being at Disneyland than Disney World, for manageability. Next, their computer system was atrocious with communication between different departments being almost non-existent. Add in some typical language barrier issues and there was a few problems we had to unfortunately work through, when we should have been relaxing without a care in the world. Lastly, I never got to try any of the resort craft beers, as they were only free in one part of the place, although they were on display everywhere. That said, I wasn’t thrilled with the varieties offered anyway.

My Top 5 experiences at the resort were:

  1. Playing with the Sipplings at the water slides
  2. Watching the kids dance at a couple of the parties
  3. Seeing Girl Sip perform live on stage for first time, through the Kid’s Club
  4. My night out with Mrs. Sip to watch the Chic Cabaret performance
  5. Our infinity pool getaways at the adult-only portion of the resort

We left the resort twice, once to see a friend’s mother in Puerto Venturas and a couple days later to Playa del Carmen to visit that same friend’s sister and her family. In Puerto Venturas, we had a late lunch at Café Ole International. There, I tried a Chamoy Michelada and scarfed down a delicious Baconnator Burger. The Chicken Strips for the Sipplings were also quite good, as I just had to try one. We also had a drink at the Beach Club & Hotel, where I had a Mai Tai.

Mexico

In Playa del Carmen, we ate at the Sonora Prime steakhouse, where I ordered the Skull Rabbit cocktail. For food, we shared a number of menu items, including the Calimari and Cheese Dip and Chips. For a main course, Mrs. Sip and I shared the Wellington Burger, which was injected with hot cheese. The burger was spectacular, but sadly, Girl Sip was dealing with a bout of heat/sun stroke and that put a damper on this outing, as we were concerned with her illness and recovery.

On our return trip home, at the Cancun Airport, we wanted to eat at Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen Bar, but it inexplicably closed at 6. This, during a dinner rush with many weary travellers looking for a good meal before boarding their long flights home or to their own vacation destinations. We ended up getting some eats in the food court area, but I was disappointed with not getting to try Guy Fieri’s.

That wraps the shortest month of the year. In the end, I’m glad we took the risk and went on this vacation. It provided a chance to have some wonderful family time together and experience some new things. March will be fun, as we have a number of Canucks games, other events and we celebrate my and Mrs. Sip’s 20-year dating anniversary!

British Columbia – Vancouver Cocktail

Each month, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel Canada, discovering the best each province has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also featuring a drink the area is known for. Today, we are in British Columbia, where the Sip Advisor resides. Although we lack large egos (in this humble writer’s opinion), the province once called itself “The Best Place on Earth”. Let’s see what life is like on the Left Coast:

Nicknames: ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ is the slogan that appears on licence plates in the province after being adopted as an official motto in 1964. Another common catchphrase used here, particularly by the local tourism industry, is ‘Super, Natural, British Columbia’. No matter what moniker folks want to tag onto the place, I prefer to simply call it home.

Motto: “Splendor without diminishment” – Ooh la la, tres fancy!

Food: The Nanaimo Bar – a sweet treat consisting of layers of a crumb base, icing middle and chocolate top – was invented in Nanaimo in the 1950’s. The bar’s popularity grew when it was featured at Expo 86 and efforts have been made to see the Nanaimo Bar named ‘Canada’s Favourite Confection’. The dessert even got the stamp treatment in 2019, but I’d rather lick the real thing.

Drink: British Columbia has amazing craft beer, wine and distillery industries, making the Sip Advisor a very happy man. A nostalgic entry here is Clearly Canadian, which was founded in B.C. in 1987. The flavoured sparkling waters grew wildly popular quickly, being featured in movies and TV shows such as Jerry Maguire, Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex and the City.

Nanaimo Bar

Site to See: Having travelled a fair bit of the province, there’s really not many bad choices to explore. If I had to pick a favourite place, it would probably be Whistler, which provides an amazing escape in both winter and summer. Situated in the mountains, Whistler offers picturesque landscapes, while the has village a number of great dining and entertainment options.

Street: The Downtown Vancouver portion of Granville Street is lined with much of the city’s entertainment district and can be a very interesting place to traverse at night. The street was once illuminated with numerous neon light signs, reminiscent to Las Vegas, but many have been removed. Granville Street is the second most expensive property in Canadian Monopoly.

TV Show: While B.C. is sometimes referred to as Hollywood North, thanks to the film and TV industries that do so much shooting here, not many project are actually set in the province. The most enduring series was The Beachcombers, running for 19 seasons and 387 episodes. The Sip Family recently stayed in Gibsons, where the show was set, seeing the boat (Persephone) and café (Molly’s Reach) used in the show.

Movie: No movie takes place entirely in B.C., but a couple films have the majority of their plots occur in the province. Of these, I really enjoyed The Hunted, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro. del Toro plays a former armed forces operative, while Jones, his former mentor, is tasked with tracking his student down. The movie mostly uses hand-to-hand combat fight scenes.

Granville Street

Book/Author: Environmental activist David Suzuki was born in Vancouver in 1936. He has authored 52 books, including 19 for children, mostly on scientific topics. Suzuki is also known for his long-running TV series The Nature of Things and the David Suzuki Foundation, which is dedicated “to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that does sustain us”.

Fictional Character: Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother, is played by Vancouverite Cobie Smulders. She is a true Canadian girl, best shown through her love of hockey and the Vancouver Canucks. Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed How I Met Your Mother even more with the touch of Canadiana and our hometown being involved. I’ll even forgive Scherbatsky for her time as teen pop idol Robin Sparkles.

Fictional City: Edgemont, a made up suburb of Vancouver, was the setting for a teen drama series of the same name. The show ran for five seasons and 70 episodes, centered on the young love and break ups of students at McKinley High School. A couple cast members went on to more recognized projects, such as Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang on Smallville) and Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua on Hawaii Five-0).

Actor/Actress: This is a tough category. First, there’s universally-beloved movie star Ryan Reynolds. Then, there’s stoner comedy icon Seth Rogen. And, who could forget the legendary Michael J. Fox. A sentimental nod also has to go to Raymond Burr for his iconic role as lawyer Perry Mason. All are from Vancouver or its surrounding suburbs and have represented the province quite well.

Ryan Reynolds

Song: British Columbia is certainly not the easiest name to turn into lyrics, but on New Year’s Eve 1965, Jewel of the West (Beautiful B.C.) was made the official theme song of the province. It was composed by musician Machelle Shapira. Another song worthy of mention is Home for a Rest by Spirit of the West. That home the North Vancouver-based band is longing for is B.C.

Band/Musician: Bryan Adams is one of the most successful musicians of all-time, selling close to 100 million records and singles worldwide. He is best known for songs such as (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, Summer of ’69 and Heaven. Also deserving of mention is crooner Michael Bublé, who has had a number of chart-topping songs and albums, to go along with four Grammy Awards.

People: Terry Fox is a national hero. With one leg amputated due to cancer, Fox was only 21 when he embarked on a cross-country trek to raise awareness about the disease. Sadly, Fox didn’t achieve his goal of going coast-to-coast, as his deteriorating health forced him off the road. His legacy exists to this day thanks to all he inspired with his courage. Terry Fox Runs are done annually around the world, raising an estimated $800 million for cancer research.

Animal: The Great Bear Rainforest is home to the rare Kermode Bear (aka Spirit Bear), which is recognized as B.C.’s Provincial Animal. The bear was named after Frank Kermode, who helped discover the animal. Spotting a Spirit Bear is said to bring good luck. One bear, nicknamed Clover, is believed to be the first in captivity, after the cub was abandoned and not suitable for release into the wild.

Spirit Bear

Invention: In 1911, the modern Egg Carton was invented by Joseph Coyle, a newspaper editor and publisher in Smithers. Coyle developed the device to help settle a disagreement between a farmer and hotel owner over deliveries often resulting in numerous broken eggs. Eggs were previously transported in baskets. Coyle turned the creation into a successful business venture.

Crime: B.C. has a sordid history, with criminals such as Robert Pickton and Clifford Olsen part of our unfortunate past. Pickton confessed to 49 murders, following the discovery of various remains on his family pig farm in 2002. Olsen, known as the Beast of British Columbia, killed 11 kids and teens in the early 1980’s. There’s also the Highway of Tears in Northern B.C., where at least 80 women have gone missing or been murdered from.

Sports Team: The Vancouver sports scene features three teams, the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), B.C. Lions (CFL) and Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS). From 1995 to 2001, there used to also be the Vancouver Grizzlies (NBA), but after six dreadful seasons, the franchise relocated to Memphis. Despite their short existence, the Grizzlies still have a cult following in the province and outside it.

Athlete: Two Burnaby-born icons fill this category. Hockey star Joe Sakic (commonly referred to as ‘Burnaby Joe’) and Christine Sinclair, perhaps the greatest female soccer player of all-time, both come from the Vancouver suburb. In Burnaby, a street has been named after Sakic, while Sinclair’s name is attached to a community centre located near Joe Sakic Way.

Grizzlies

Famous Home: Because so much filming is done in B.C., many recognizable homes from TV and movies can be found. This includes Archie’s house from Riverdale, the home Happy Gilmore is trying to save for his grandma, and Jacob’s property from the Twilight franchise. For something a little more historical, there’s Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1992.

Urban Legend: B.C. is home to some legendary mythical creatures, including the Sasquatch – was even used as one of the 2010 Olympics mascots, named Quatchi – and Ogopogo, a water monster said to inhabit Okanagan Lake. There have also been various sightings of mermaids, sometimes made along B.C. Ferry routes. It’s almost as if they want to be seen.

Museum: The Revelstoke Railway Museum is home to the Last Spike at Craigellachie, which completed the Canadian Pacific Railway’s cross-country expansion in 1885. This construction made the line the first transcontinental railway in Canada. The spike was driven into the ground by financier Donald Smith, then removed and turned into a souvenir for some of the wives of Craigellachie.

Firsts: Kim Campbell, born in Port Alberni, became the first female Prime Minister of Canada in 1993. Although her term only lasted 132 days (the third shortest in the country’s history), it was still a gender barrier-breaking moment. Canadian women’s magazine Chatelaine named Campbell its Woman of the Year for 1993. To date, she is the only Prime Minister to come from B.C.

Mermaids

Company: A family-favourite dining spot for the Sip Family is White Spot, famous for their comfort food. The company, founded almost 100 years ago in 1928, has branched out to offering their wares in fast food settings, with those locations known as Triple-O’s (named after the restaurant’s popular burger sauce). Mrs. Sip and I had part of our first-ever date at a White Spot, so I will always be fond of the chain.

Events: Two events put the province on the world stage: Expo 86 and the 2010 Olympics. Expo 86 marked only the second time a Canadian city hosted a World’s Fair, with the theme being “Transportation and Communication: World in Motion – World in Touch”. At the 2010 Olympics, Canada set a new record for gold medals at an Olympics, capped by winning the hockey tournament on Sidney Crosby’s ‘Golden Goal’.

Miscellaneous: Ladysmith’s own Pamela Anderson, recognized for her role on TV show Baywatch and appearances in Playboy Magazine, was actually famous from the day she was born. Born on July 1, 1967, the 100th anniversary of Canada’s official founding, Anderson was Canada’s Centennial Baby… at least from British Columbia. It’s like she was destined to be a star.

Vancouver Cocktail

Vancouver Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Benedictine
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

This drink was created in 1954 at the renowned Sylvia Hotel. Apparently, the recipe was lost until it was rediscovered by bartender and cocktail historian Steve Da Cruz in 2006. The beverage can now be found at various locations around Vancouver. I subbed my Jagermeister Spice for Benedictine, as I can’t justify buying a new bottle of something for a 0.25 oz serving.

Sip Trips #205: Dome Dining

Well, the first month of 2022 is in the books and it was a pretty good one. Even with Mrs. Sip trying out a keto diet, we managed to have a lot of fun, especially since Mrs. Sip enjoyed a cheat day for her mid-month birthday. Here’s what we got up to in Januray:

To welcome 2022, on New Year’s Day, the Sip Family had a delicious meal at The Keg. My beverage of the Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA combined very well with my Keg Burger with Fries. I had stopped ordering the Keg Burger a few years back when they sadly changed the beef blend the burger was made with. I’m glad I finally gave it another shot because although I still miss how the burger was done when I originally fell in love with it, it’s still a pretty damn good meal.

The next day, we met up with a friend at 3 Dogs Brewing in White Rock. I enjoyed servings of their I Like Big Mutts Hazy Tangerine IPA and K-Nein Mandarin Kolsch, as well as the walk I took with Boy Sip between the two brews, so he could stretch his legs and see the cars and trucks he has become obsessed with as he enters the toddler stage of life.

Toddler

The next weekend, Mrs. Sip and I were offered a childless night from Ma and Pa Sip. We took advantage of the occasion with a visit to Piva Modern Italian, where we used some of the gift card Ma and Pa Sip gave us for Christmas. Mrs. Sip and I split the Calamari Steak, which was very tasty with olive tapenade on top. To drink, I had the Viola cocktail (Empress Gin float, Cointreau, lemon, mango syrup, guava, soda), which was very refreshing thanks to the citrus and soda blend.

Afterwards, as Mrs. Sip did some shopping for snacks for her new diet, I went to the 8th Street Liquor Store, where I bought a single tall can of Stanley Park Deck the Malts Holiday Ale. I hadn’t had the chance to try the seasonal release prior to this and the brew came at a slightly discounted price, so how could I refuse the offer.

Another liquor shopping trip resulted in Mrs. Sip picking up two flavours of Nude Vodka Soda (Strawberry Kiwi and Watermelon), as well as Pyur Coconut Vodka Soda. I’ve enjoyed all three variations and it always feels good to get your drink on and know you’re not sacrificing too much in the calorie intake category.

Calories

Stocking up for a guys’ drinking night the next weekend, I visited the Clayton Liquor Store. There, I bought tall can four-packs of Steel and Oak Throw Blanket West Coast IPA and Boombox Paradise City Passionfruit Coconut IPA, along with a single can of Dead Frog Field Tripper Hazy Rye IPA. The Paradise City was particularly good, with a hint of coconut at the back end of each sip.

As for the guys’ night, our first stop of the evening was Farm Country Brewing. I’ve always liked Farm Country’s set up and enjoyed this stay too, with orders of the Last Call Cocktail Inspired Ale and Hoppy Tonk 2.0 Azacca Fresh Hop IPA.

Next up, was Camp Brewing. I love that Camp sticks with their theming, offering smokies and s’mores on their food menu. I took advantage of that, eating the Ranger Danger Smokie (Korean BBQ sauce, mayo, honey mustard, cilantro, sesame seeds), which really hit the spot. We stayed here for a while, enjoying the fire pit spot that opened up shortly after we arrived, with the Sip Advisor downing pints of Kodiak West Coast Brown Ale, Fall Camp Smoked Amber Ale and Winter Camp Gingersnap Ale. The only downside of the evening was a random woman coming up to us as she was leaving, informing us we had stolen their spot at the fire pit. This, after we asked a server for permission to move and had been sitting at the spot for an hour and a half before being approached. Had the woman come up to us earlier, we would have happily given up the spot in the name of good liquor karma.

Karma

Later that week, we celebrated Mrs. Sip’s birthday with the extravagant Winterlust dome dining experience at H Tasting Lounge. We began with an arrival bottle of bubbly and cheese and meat charcuterie plates. My cocktails consumed during our 2.5-hour reservation, included the Balrog’s Demise (Ardbeg Wee Beastie Scotch, Goslings Black Seal Rum, Lemon Hart 151, Cherry Heering, Averna, pineapple, lime, coconut, tiki bitters, spice), Cut The Chit Chat (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Cynar, Campari, Apricot Liqueur, antica formula, hellfire bitters) and Isle of Man (Copper Spirits White Rye, Esquimalt Dry Vermouth, Boomsma Genever, Maraschino Liqueur, Sombra Mezcal). I also had tastes of some of Mrs. Sip’s beverages, including Bobby’s A Cinephile (ghee washed Lemon Hart 151 Rum, Angostura 5yr Rum, roasted corn lemon, vegan foamer, popcorn) and Like, Basically (strawberry jacked Absolut Vodka, O5 Elderflower Soda, Chambord, Galliano, lemon). Each cocktail was delicious and presented uniquely. This included my Balrog’s Demise being lit on fire and the Cut the Chit Chat coming in it’s own hand-painted flask, while Mrs. Sip’s Bobby’s A Cinephile was served in a popcorn bag, with caramel corn. To eat, I ordered the HTL Smash Burger and also enjoyed shared plates of Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Chicken Wings and Bread & Oil. The meal wrapped with the restaurant serving up some slices of birthday cake, which we all shared. The experience was well worth it and we had no problem surpassing the $300 minimum order, even though our group was only four people, instead of the six we had originally planned.

With the Sipplings staying over at Ma and Pa Sip’s for the night, we also managed to hit the House of Comedy for a show. As if we needed more food, upon arriving, we ordered the Chicken Tenders and Chips & Guac. To drink, I enjoyed the Dark Humor cocktail, which is their version of a Dark N’ Stormy.

We wrapped the month with a Vancouver Canucks game. Prior to heading to the arena, I needed some dinner and went to White Spot for my meal. I paired a pint of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale with a Legendary Burger Platter. It was a fantastic meal and set me up nicely for the hockey ahead.

Burger and Beer

At the game, I got a large-size Parkside Dreamboat IPA. It was nice to have the arena at 50 per cent capacity, for ease of moving around, emptier bathrooms and bar line ups, as well as using transit home. Of course, a packed stadium is good too, but I will enjoy the limited crowd while it lasts.

February promises to be a very interesting month, as the Sip Family goes on their first international vacation since November 2019. We’ll be staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, so that will surely provide some good material for next month’s Sip Trips!

Cocktail Corner – Quick Decision

Great Debates

Since the dawn of time, there have been certain arguments that have divided families, torn apart lovers, and broken up friendships. Yes, my little sippers, we’re talking about issues as important as peanut butter: crunchy or smooth and toilet paper: over or under. Here are some of society’s most crucial concerns:

#5: Marvel vs. DC

I prefer the Marvel Universe, in general, but there are some DC characters I love, such as Batman (does any superhero have a better rogues gallery?). This argument is no longer isolated to the world of comic books. It has spread to movies, TV shows, video games, and pop culture in general. Despite being competitors, the companies have co-existed for some crossover projects, including a number of comic book battles and alliances. After all, the scent of money can make for strange bedfellows.

Marvel & DC

#4: Boxers vs. Briefs

There are boxer briefs, but I don’t want to take the easy, harmonious route out of this conundrum. I’m a steadfast boxers man and have been since a young age. I suppose I like to have breathing room for my buddies. Us boxers guys have been buoyed by evidence that sperm count is enhanced when packages aren’t all bunched up. There is, of course, a third option in going commando, but I’m always weary of zippers when practicing complete freedom.

#3: Android vs. iPhone / PC vs. Mac

Personally, I’m not a fan of Apple products and refuse to use them whenever possible. Of course, when they have the market cornered with something like the iPod, my decision is practically made for me. While I haven’t ever used an iPhone or iPad, save for taking the odd photo for someone while travelling, I do have ample experience with Mac computers and much rather be sitting in front of a PC, regardless of potential capabilities.

Android vs. iPhone

#2: Coke vs. Pepsi

Many don’t like soft drinks at all, but for those who do, this rivalry has existed for eons, reaching its peak in the 1980’s. The companies (Coca-Cola and PepsiCo) also wage war with their other products: Sprite vs. 7-Up, Barq’s vs. Mug, Minute Maid vs. Tropicana, Nestea vs. Lipton Brisk, Powerade vs. Gatorade, Dasani vs. Aquafina, and so on. The two entities even compete to be major event sponsors and get their lines into various restaurants. Coke has McDonald’s, Subway, and Dominos; while Pepsi has KFC, Quiznos, and Pizza Hut. Personally, I side with Pepsi, but I’m actually more of a Dr. Pepper-Snapple Group man.

#1: Cats vs. Dogs

I’ve never been all that comfortable around dogs. I don’t know from where exactly this unease stems, but perhaps it has something to do with all that crotch sniffing. Plus, while it’s rare for a dog to pose a danger to people and fellow animals, you’ve never heard of a cat killing anything other than vermin (they can barely stay awake long enough to feed themselves!). No, my little sippers, I’ll take a cuddly kitty any day of the week over big, drooling, can’t clean themselves dogs.

Cocktail Corner: Quick Decision

Quick Decision

  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 0.75 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Dark Rum
  • 0.5 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • Garnish with Whip Cream

Honourable mentions include East Coast vs. West Coast, Cities vs. Suburbs, Burgers vs. Hot Dogs (the great barbecue dilemma), Coffee vs. Tea, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Glasses vs. Contacts, Ovens vs. Microwaves, Disneyland vs. Disneyworld, and T vs. A! What great arguments have you witnessed?