Given most of the year was affected by pandemic considerations, meaning almost all my favourite events were cancelled, I figured I would finally have to drop to a basic Top 10 of each year list, rather than my usual number of highlight events matching the year (ie. Top 19 of 2019, etc.). That said, we still managed to fill the calendar with fun and coming up with 20 great experiences was easy:
For the third straight year, I attended a friend’s whiskey tasting event, which featured a handful of bottles I would likely not get to experience without an event such as this. The evening was filled with alternating drams of whiskey and pints of beer, just the way the Sip Advisor likes things.
Love and War
My Valentine’s Day was not spent with Mrs. Sip, but with a friend attending WWE Smackdown Live at Rogers Arena. Thankfully, our respective loves were cool with us checking out the TV broadcast and making a night of it with drinks afterwards. Had we known the pandemic shutdown that was looming, we probably would have stayed out for a few rounds more.
All You Need is Love
To make it up to Mrs. Sip that I had been out without her for Valentine’s Day, the next day we journeyed to Downtown Vancouver for lunch at Glowbal, followed by a Beatles tribute concert featuring the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The only downside was a pregnant Mrs. Sip couldn’t join in on some beverages.
While March 18, 2020 will go down in the lives of most people in our neck of the woods as the day we officially went into a pandemic lockdown, it was also the day Baby Sip was born, arriving at 12:45am. The next days and weeks were filled with a mix of emotional ups and downs, and not just because we added to our family.
For Father’s Day, we planned a poolside beer tasting at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, with attendees bringing beers they wanted to share with the group. Our compilation of beverage options was quite impressive and while I couldn’t swim as I was recovering from my vasectomy, I enjoyed a different style of liquid relief.
Throughout the summer, Ma and Pa Sip’s pool was the site of a number of small gatherings, with drinks flowing and the summer heat soothed by dips into the crystal-clear water. The meetings allowed for all our little ones to play together and gave us all a break from being stuck at home 24/7, working remotely for some of us and not getting to experience our typical daily lives.
Grilled to Perfection
An annual summer highlight is my aunt’s barbecue, which has had a different theme each year. With most of the guests pining for some sort of vacation – which was unlikely to happen – this year’s BBQ had a tropical theme, complete with Hawaiian shirts and dresses and similarly inspired food and drink.
No Kids, No Worries
To celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I spent our first night away from both kids since Baby Sip entered the picture in March. Our one-night stay in Downtown Vancouver was bookended with fun activities including the Dimensions Art Gallery and a Vancouver Mysteries cold case. In between, we enjoyed dinner at Lift Bar Grill View.
Our actual wedding anniversary day was spent driving to the resort town of Whistler. With the kids in tow, we spent three nights in the area, visiting a bunch of breweries (including those in Squamish and Pemberton), eating some very good meals and exploring the village. It was our only getaway this year, which if you’ve followed this site for any period of time, you know is rare.
Will You Still Need Me?
Pa Sip is a massive Beatles fan and with him turning 64, we figured why not have a British-themed “When I’m 64” party. Between British beers and gin-based cocktails, it was a fantastic time and a perfect way to end the summer.
The Happiest Place on Earth… Sort Of
For Toddler Sip’s third birthday, we were supposed to be in Disneyland, enjoying a big family holiday. Well, the pandemic scuttled those plans, so we turned Ma and Pa Sip’s home into a version of the magical resort instead. Best of all, I compiled a themed cocktail menu for the occasion.
With my actual birthday largely spent preparing for Toddler Sip’s special day the next day, I was feeling a little bummed about my own celebrations. Little did I know, Mrs. Sip had planned to surprise me with an outing to Port Moody’s Brewers Row with a couple friends. Despite inclement weather, we enjoyed the evening without responsibilities.
Das Ist Gut
The last time we were allowed to gather in a big group, was to do a late Oktoberfest celebration. Between German beers Ma and Pa Sip accrued, along with drinks I compiled for the event, it was quite the boozy night. Given we have not been able to assemble since, I’m glad we got this occasion in under the wire.
With Halloween around the corner, we put together a crack trivia team and rendezvoused at the Rendezvous Pub in Langley to exercise our minds and taste buds. Our team did very well, but did not hit the podium on this occasion. Still, we enjoyed the pub’s blend of challenging, but not overly difficult trivia.
All Hallows’ Eve
The Halloween season was a lot of fun, as Toddler Sip was really into the holiday this year. It was all capped off with the big night, which highlighted the efforts of so many people who wanted to make the occasion special for kids, in spite of pandemic concerns. Seeing Toddler Sip enjoy Halloween, as we sipped road beverages along the way is now a treasured memory.
Scavenger Hunt Spoils
Taking advantage of the gift card we won during the Quest New West weekly scavenger hunt in the summer, we finally enjoyed our outing to Piva Modern Italian. It was one of those meals you wished would last forever. Alas, we had to return to reality eventually.
While we couldn’t gather for Ma Sip’s birthday, we did our best to make the occasion special, sharing a Chinese dinner, while being joined virtually by family. It was a nice surprise for Ma Sip, who was sad about not getting to see her beloved relatives, but thrilled by the turnout for this socially-distanced dinner.
Along the Water
Afforded another date night in early December, Mrs. Sip and I had a lovely meal at The Boathouse in Port Moody. We each had the restaurant’s Holiday Feast three-course dinner, compiling different combinations for a smorgasbord of eats. My Honey Sriracha Salmon was very memorable.
‘Tis the Season
Christmas this year was definitely different, but we made the most of the day, beginning with a relaxed Christmas Eve, where we put together a buffet of different appetizers and joined family members for a Zoom chat. Christmas Day was largely spent watching the kids open their many presents, which is always fun, if not exhausting.
Auld Lang Syne
With the kids put to bed early, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed a number of beverages, while recounting the year that was and saying farewell to 2020. It wasn’t all bad, but I’m happy to put the year in the rear-view mirror.
I marvel at the fact that we were able to accomplish all this in a pandemic-dominated year. If 2021 provides some relief to the virus and we’re able to return to some semblance of normality, I can only imagine what fun this year will offer.