Snack Time #22 – Dutch Crunch Parmesan & Garlic Kettle Chips

When Mrs. Sip and I returned from our recent vacation, Ma Sip was raving about a new chip flavour she had discovered. Upon hearing about the Dutch Crunch variety, I was totally ready for a serving!

The Parmesan & Garlic Kettle Chips are very tasty and addictive. A balance between “rich parmesan and light garlic flavors” was the aim and Dutch Crunch says the chips are perfect for a family picnic or afternoon snack.

Dutch Crunch Parmesan & Garlic Kettle Chips

Kettle chips rank second right behind ripple chips on the Sip Advisor’s potato chip depth chart. I love a good crunch and kettle chips provide that in spades. That’s why I’ve long been a fan of the Old Dutch Foods brand.

Another Dutch Crunch Kettle Chips flavour that intrigues me is the Bistro Blend. This variety features “a savoury mix of garden grown spices” and are apparently served in Upper Midwest restaurants.

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Sip Trips #105: Went By in a Blur

This past week was incredibly busy for Mrs. Sip and I. So busy, that my head is still spinning… and that’s not from all the booze consumed! Let’s get right down to it…

On Friday, we wrapped up work and immediately hit the road to Tacoma, Washington to watch comedian Christopher Titus perform at the Tacoma Comedy Club. We made it just in time for the 10:30pm show and beers were desperately needed for us weary travellers. Cousin Sip’s husband and I split a couple pitchers of Manny’s Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing out of Seattle. The show was amazing, as expected. As we waited in line to meet Mr. Titus afterwards, the bar was selling pints of Budweiser for $2 and we figured, “Ah, why the hell not!”

I had also picked up a bomber of Alaskan Brewing Icy Bay IPA at a gas station en route to Tacoma, so that acted as my nightcap before grabbing a few hours of sleep and returning to Vancouver Saturday morning. I wish we didn’t have to rush the stay across the border, but with friends visiting from London, we had to be back for more fun.

morning sunglasses

After meeting up with our guests, the ladies went their way, while the gents searched for craft beer. Our first stop was at Central City’s Vancouver location. There, I paired some Chicken Strips and Fries with the brewery’s Super Stellar IPA, which made for a great combo. For dessert I ordered their Hefeweizen, bringing to mind thoughts of summer, as we wait patiently for the weather to cooperate.

Next up was a short walk to Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House. Here, I was able to try the Britannia Brewing Sirens Chai Saison, which was available as a guest tap. Following that, I had the Howe Sound Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale, another successful selection. Then, the night took a turn for the extreme with a round of tequila shots.

Feeling suitably buzzed, we rejoined the ladies for dinner at The Keg in Yaletown. Sitting on the restaurant’s rooftop patio, I enjoyed a pair of Caesar Diablo servings, made even better given their $5 daily special pricing.

Drinking Problem

On Monday, Ma Sip met me for lunch at Tap & Barrel in North Vancouver. Unfortunately, I was working, so was not able to imbibe as I usually would when visiting a T&B location. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my PB&J Burger, which made for a nice substitute to my traditional meal of a PB&J Sandwich during the work week. The burger was messy, but totally worth the experience.

Tuesday, we finally had a meal at the Homer Street Cafe, which is located kitty-corner to my and Mrs. Sip’s humble abode. There to celebrate a friend’s birthday, I ordered their rotisserie quarter chicken meal, which was highlighted by their chicken jus for dipping. To wash it all down, I had a trio of brews, including the Howe Sound Summer Saison, Powell Street Old Jalopy Pale Ale and Storm Black Plague Stout. For a small beer menu, they sure packed some quality selections in.

It should be noted that this week’s wrap up doesn’t even include two games of baseball, Father’s Day celebrations, a trip to the theatre and another meal with our visitors from London. Busy times, for sure.

Beer of the Week #22 – Mt. Begbie Powerhouse Pale Ale

With a theatre show to attend, Mrs. Sip and I decided to turn it into a full date night, stopping for dinner at Burgoo. There, I inquired about their Burgoo Brew and learned it was the Mt. Begbie Powerhouse Pale Ale.

As soon as I heard the brewery’s name, I was in for a pint, as the company has long been a favourite of mine. The 4.7% ABV, 22 IBUs beverage was just right for our night out, with nice flavouring and a moderate level of hops.

Mt. Begbie Powerhouse Pale Ale.jpg

The Powerhouse Pale Ale has been around for some time, winning a gold medal at the 2004 Canadian Brewing Awards. In fact, Mt. Begbie Brewing took home the Brewery of the Year prize at the 2017 version of the event.

While the ale is described as pairing best with spicy food, it also worked with my Chunky Chicken Salad. The brew can be found in bomber-sized bottles, as well as being a hidden gem of the Burgoo drink menu.

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Mixer Mania #22 – What’s In A Name?

When Mrs. Sip and I travelled to Egypt in 2008 – you know, before the country descended into total chaos – we found it funny that nearly every Egyptian would mention Canada Dry, the moment they discovered we were Canadian.

I mean, sure, they were likely just associating us with the one Canadian product they had come across in their lives (ironically manufactured by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in Texas), but should we take offence that they think we’re dry, packed with ginger and fizzy? At least we work well when healing an upset stomach or other ailment.

With Canada Dry in mind, here are a couple other nicknames for us Canadian folk:

Crazy Canucks

Canucks

I’ve never really liked this one, given that the Vancouver Canucks are my hometown hockey team and I don’t like the term being shared by the rest of the nation. The nickname dates back to being an Americanism, used to describe Dutch or French Canadians. We sure showed them, by creating the character of Johnny Canuck to combat their Uncle Sam.

At least the name has found its way into some good references, such as our national rugby team; the Crazy Canucks of ski racing; used at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics; and even Marvel Comics character Wolverine being dubbed “Ol’ Canucklehead” in some instances.

Canadian Animals.png

Hosers

Made famous by the duo of Bob and Doug McKenzie (played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, respectively), these two hosts of the Great White North show were the original Wayne and Garth of Wayne’s World fame. The skits examined life in the Great White North that is Canada and the pair’s insult term of hosers kind of stuck.

While originally a disdainful term (along with the closely related ‘hosehead’), Canadians have grown fond of it over time, and have even embraced the nickname. Although it is rarely used anymore, for people of older generations, this is a handle we can all still appreciate with our trademark Canadian indifference.

The Coolest, Raddest, Baddest, Dudes and Dudettes on the Planet

Okay, I might have made that one up, but I think we could take this viral and, eventually, make it official!

Mixer Mania #22: The Grave Digger

The Grave Digger.JPG

  • 2 oz Hard Cider
  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Licorice

I would have thought there’d be a lot more nicknames for Canadians, either created by us or by our American neighbours, but alas, there are only a few.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was okay, but the Hard Cider overshadowed the Ginger Ale. I’m also not thrilled with any recipe that only has an ounce of liquor in it.

 

Snack Time #21 – Ritter Sport Cocoa Creme

When Cousin Sip joined Mrs. Sip and I for our weekly dinner, she supplied dessert in the form of a trio of new Ritter Sport releases. I will focus on one of those treats.

The Cocoa Creme variation was my favourite of the bunch. It seems Ritter Sport knows what they have on their hands, asking: “Better than ice cream? Yes: cocoa creme!”

Ritter Sport Cocoa Creme.png

Made with crispy chocolate flakes and creamy filling, Ritter Sport go on to say the Cocoa Creme product “makes everyone twice as happy!” The limited edition bar is only available for a short time.

The other varieties Cousin Sip brought over were the Honig & Crisp (honey with crispy flakes) and Johannisbeer Streusel (red currant yogurt and crumble).

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Sip Trips #104: Babymooning (Part 2)

Yesterday, we took a look at the first portion of our Rome to Dubai babymoon cruise, with stops in Rome, Naples, Athens, and Santorini. Today, we make our way through the Suez Canal to Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, with many ships hijinks in between:

While our ship was brand-spanking new with some great updates to behold, I missed some of the charms of the older vessels in the Princess Cruises line. For example, the Explorer’s Lounge has been replaced by the Princess Live Studio. This is where many trivia events take place, respectively, but the studio is lacking tables, so there’s no surface to write on. Even worse, there’s nowhere to rest a drink… heck, the place doesn’t even have a bar, which is practically criminal.

Also, the Skywalker’s Lounge – home to the Elite/Platinum Lounge – is gone from the newer ship design and so the lounge time for loyal guests now takes place in a windowless room of the ship, with servers having to travel some distance to hook passengers up with the daily drink special. As a result, one of my favourite parts of the day on most cruises, was only attended twice by me and Mrs. Sip. The experience just didn’t feel special at all.

Fix Your Own Drinks

Another missing piece from other ships we’ve sailed on was the line’s Crooner’s Martini Bar. Apparently, we weren’t the only guests to notice, as a few days into the cruise, the Juice Bar was turned into a pop-up Martini Bar each evening. On its opening night, we dropped by for their Tropitini (Bacardi Oakheart, Malibu, Creme de Banana), which was very tasty and far better than a health smoothie.

As we docked in Aqaba, Jordan, I tallied my 50th country visited. With a Rob Roy ordered in the Elite/Platinum Lounge, I was also able to cross off country number 50 that I’ve drank in. This is a feat I’m very proud of and just may make the cut to be immortalized on my headstone: Here lies the Sip Advisor… he drank EVERYWHERE!

That evening, as Mrs. Sip and I were checking out what the buffet had to offer, we were stopped by the team selling shots of Limoncello and souvenir shot glasses. Eventually, they coerced me into buying a glass and shot for $3. Then, the lead of the group offered to give me a second pour on the house, if I downed the concoction right there. That was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Before I knew it, I was four shots deep – one for me, one for Mrs. Sip, one for Baby Sip, and one just for the hell of it – and I had still only shelled out $3.

Shots You Take

The next day brought the British pub lunch that seems to occur at least once per cruise voyage. I paired my delicious fish and chips with a Blue Moon, which got the ball rolling on it being a beer day. Afterwards, while laying in the sun and watching Queensland vs. New South Wales (National Rugby League) on the pool deck with a horde of Aussie passengers, I delved into a bucket of Heineken beers, which all made for an entertaining and relaxing afternoon.

With my stock of mixers depleted at this point, I purchased cans of Tonic Water and Barq’s Root Beer. For whatever reason, I was really craving a Gin & Tonic (perhaps I needed to stave off scurvy) and after getting a couple lime wedges from the pool bar, I had all the ingredients needed to make some really good beverages for myself.

Nearing the end of our cruise, we attended the Captain’s Circle Party, which is hosted for Elite/Platinum passengers and provides free drinks. I had a few beverages here, but they weren’t of the best quality, as usual for this event. We did however win a bottle of champagne, amongst hundreds of entries. As soon as they said Mr. and Mrs. I knew they were going to announce our names, since Mrs. Sip isn’t drinking much at this point.

Champ in Champagne

We were also invited to a Farewell Cocktail Party, as the ship’s captain was also taking leave in Dubai. Hosted in the Hollywood Pool (an indoor, adult’s only area they unsuccessfully tried to turn into a night club setting in the evenings) this was an absolute drinkfest for the Sip Advisor. With Mrs. Sip’s help, I grabbed a few really good Cosmos and Gimlets, as well as some other treats.

Upon arriving in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it was time for Mrs. Sip and I to sadly disembark the cruise. While Dubai was an absolutely fascinating place to visit, drinks are pretty difficult to find. I did manage to have one cocktail at our hotel’s bar, the Double Decker Pub. I ordered the Eldery Flower (Elderflower-infused Gin, topped with Lime, Apple and Cranberry Juices), which was very refreshing, but expensive (45 Dirham = approx. $16 CDN) . It was worth it, though, as consuming drinks in “dry” countries is a guilty pleasure of mine.

That wraps up our babymoon, our last big trip before we move from a family of two to three. I can promise all you little sippers, though, that the fun is far from over!

Sip Trips #103: Babymooning (Part 1)

Back in 2012, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our honeymoon with a cruise through the Panama Canal. Nearly five years later and with a little girl on the way, we decided to take our babymoon from Rome to Dubai – through the Suez Canal – aboard another luxury liner. Here’s part one of that expedition:

Our first stop of the journey was Rome, Italy, a favourite city for both Mrs. Sip and myself. Friends from London joined us for this portion of the vacation and after some sightseeing, we journeyed to the 404 Name Not Found bar, which one of our companions had researched. There, complex cocktails (and a mocktail for Mrs. Sip) awaited us. Always a fan of spicy drinks, I tried the 666, complete with Jalapeno-infused Tequila, Cointreau, Lime Juice and Honey.

The next morning, I was able to cross an item off my drinking bucket list, when I enjoyed my first ever McBeer (Beera Moretti Baffo D’oro) at the McDonald’s just outside the walls of the Vatican City. Despite beer being available at a McDonald’s stop or two prior, this was the first time I’ve imbibed in the option and it was a great experience with my set of famous hamburgers.

McBeers

Later that day, we were off to board our ship at the Civitavecchia Port, over an hour outside Rome. After checking in, we arrived at our room (which had been upgraded from a balcony to a mini suite) and were promptly given glasses of sail away bubbly. It was a very nice start to our two-week journey aboard the Majestic Princess.

Mrs. Sip surprised me with bottles of Bacardi Rum, Skyy Vodka and Gordon’s Gin to go along with the two bottles of wine I had just grabbed at the Termini train station. I also brought a handful of Grey Goose mini bottles, so giving I was drinking solo, I was quite set for the voyage. I never buy the all-inclusive pop package available on the cruise, so having mixers for my booze can be challenging, but I’ve picked up some tricks along the way. I did purchase a soda set, which provided me with six cans of pop, while also taking advantage of free orange juice for breakfast and lemonade throughout the day. This allowed me to create an array of drinks, enhanced by some clever fruit pick-ups at the buffet.

Our first stop of the cruise docked in Naples, Italy. Our excursion for the day would take us to the island of Capri, where I got to do a little Limoncello tasting, followed by lunch in Sorrento (where I chugged back close to a bottle of house wine) and finishing with a tour of the historic Pompeii.

Pompeii Stoned

Our next port of call was in Athens. Mrs. Sip and I elected to take a hop-on, hop-off bus into the city, where we visited the 360 Cocktail Bar. With views of the legendary Acropolis from the bar’s rooftop patio, I sat back and enjoyed servings of their Heat Wave (Russian Standard Vodka, Mezcal, Jalapeno Chillies, Oregano, Herbs, Agave, Lime) and The Journey of Chivalry (Chivas Regal 12-year, Noilly Prat Vermouth, Cashews, Smoked Salt, Coconut Water) cocktails. I had also tried to order the Summer Loading (Bacardi White Rum, Watermelon, Orgeat, Lime, Three Cents Agean Tonic), but sadly it was not available.

As we continued to explore the area, we popped into a store where I purchased a bomber-sized bottle of Alfa Weiss Beer and cans of Fanta Strawberry-Kiwi and Tuborg Orange-Cinnamon Soda to add to my mixer collection. The greatest treat came as we returned to the port. There was a duty-free shop in the terminal and after confirming purchases wouldn’t be taken away, as there was no security check to go through boarding the ship, I popped back into the store before we set sail to snag a half-liter bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon.

Our stop the next day on the Greek island of Santorini was one I was greatly looking forward to. We had visited for a week 10 years prior and it became one of my favourite places I’ve ever been to. Sadly, this trip wasn’t nearly as good, as the tiny island was hosting three different ships and was overrun. To salvage the day, Mrs. Sip and I sat down in a tiny bar in the capital city of Fira, where I had an Alfa Beer and enjoyed the sights. Then we travelled down 700 steps to the port, dodging donkeys and their droppings along the way.

That wraps up part one of our expedition. Join us tomorrow for the second half of an amazing holiday.