Sip Trips #132: Celebrations Galore

The Sip Family has been super busy the last couple weeks. So busy, that I’m just now getting a chance to document our recent adventures. Here’s what we’ve been up to since I was last able to write:

A couple weekends’ ago, we celebrated Father-in-Law Sip’s birthday, taking our revelry to Backyard Winery, followed by Township 7 Winery, in Langley. While at Backyard, where we enjoyed a couple bottles of Pinot Gris and charcuterie platters, Mrs. Sip rejoined their wine club now that she’s no longer pregnant and breastfeeding. At Township 7, our group did a wine tasting, while I toured the grounds with Baby Sip, who was visiting the fifth winery of her young life.

Later that week, we enjoyed a meal at EXP Restaurant + Bar. There has been some concern the place will be forced out of business, due to Vancouver’s ridiculous rent prices, so we wanted to visit before anything tragic occured. We ordered a round of Harry Potter-themed cocktails that were all pretty tasty. My favourite was the Gryffindor’s Liquid Courage, thanks to the Jack Daniels Whiskey base. To eat, I ordered the Triforce Burger, which is comprised of a crispy chicken breast, beef burger and bacon. It’s quite the meal, but oh so delicious.

Triforce

Heading into Easter weekend, I picked Mrs. Sip up from work and we enjoyed a drink at Steel & Oak Brewing. The brewery has recently completed renovations to allow for more patrons and the space is much-needed, as the place is often packed. We ordered the Encore collaboration with Yellow Dog Brewing and really enjoyed the beer. That’s really no surprise, as the two breweries are among my favourite in the province.

The next day, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our 16th dating anniversary. We began the occasion by using the Groupon I had purchased for Big City Hunt, which offers scavenger hunts in a number of big cities. Even though we’re locals, we learned some neat things about downtown Vancouver, as we embarked on the two-hour tour, featuring trivia and photo challenges.

The main event of our anniversary was dining at the Top of Vancouver rotating restaurant. We split a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, along with a starter of Baked French Brie and mains of Duck Duo for me and Baked Whole Lobster for Mrs. Sip. The dinner was not cheap, but you’re partly paying for the view, which we enjoyed for over two hours and three full rotations of the restaurant.

Lobster Immortal.jpg

We wrapped our evening out by stopping at Nero Belgian Waffle Bar, where the alluring smell of fresh waffles forced us to investigate further. We split their set of seven Mini Liège Waffles, which provided the perfect dessert to our earlier feast.

The following day, we journeyed back to Langley to celebrate Mrs. Sip’s grandpa’s 93rd birthday at one of his favourite restaurants, Andreas. This place has an amazing menu and I can’t remember not liking any item that I have ordered. On this visit, I combined their French Onion Soup (which may have been the best serving I’ve ever had of the delicacy) with Chicken Fingers and Fries. The meal was decadent and the prices were all very reasonable.

On Easter Sunday, we met with friends at Big Ridge Brewing in Surrey. Having eaten recently, Mrs. Sip and I split an order of their Beer Battered Garlic Fries. These paired nicely with our beer selections of Viking Funeral Norwegian Ale for me and Vanilla Bean Porter for Mrs. Sip. Next time we’re out that way, I’d like to try something from their Asian Kitchen menu.

Chows Mane

Afterwards, we were off to Baby Sip’s first drive-in movie experience at Twilight Theatre in Aldergrove. Our films included Ready Player One and Game Night, both of which were enjoyable, despite some inclement weather, including a touch of hail during the shows.

Last, but not least, we also attended three Vancouver Canucks games in the last week, including the emotional final home game for the Sedin twins. This magical night will live long in my memory and Daniel and Henrik deserve every bit of praise they have received since announcing their impending retirements. Thank you to both of them for their 18 years of service, both on and off the ice.

The coming week remains loaded with commitments and activities, which you can read all about in next week’s Sip Trips!

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Sip Trips #13: And Many More

While Mrs. Sip and I have only been married for two and a half years, this week, we celebrated our 13th dating anniversary. Why bother celebrating a dating anniversary when you’re already married, you might be asking? Why not, is my reply! Life should be full of merriment, so why swap one occasion for another? I’ll get back to the anniversary events later, but let’s look at the weekend that was first.

Thursday night, following our Urban Rec sports, we visited Milltown Bar, which is great looking building in a beautiful location. The food and drink was pretty good and the service was wonderful. Mrs. Sip and I each enjoyed a Dark N’ Stormy cocktail, as I was really in the mood for some ginger beer.

anniversary-celebrate-gave-up

On Friday, we visited Backyard Winery, where Mrs. Sip is a member. Musician Andrew Christopher was doing a one-man show of various covers, which provided the perfect entertainment to enjoy some rose wine and bubbly and welcome the weekend.

Saturday saw us head to Maple Ridge for a friend’s housewarming party. As true Suburban Commando’s, we made the point of visiting Maple Meadows Brewing, one of the regions newest beer outlets. The place had just opened the weekend before and only had two beers on tap, but both (a Blonde Ale and Amber Ale) were good. Carlo, a former home-brewer who owns, operates, and is a general jack of all trades at the facility said that two more selections, an IPA and Honey Brown Ale, will be available this weekend.

Onto the main event of the week, our big lucky number 13 anniversary! We started the day with lunch at Big Ridge Brewing, where we enjoyed a flight of their beers. I liked each of the Red Ale, IPA, ESB, and Imperial IPA, but wasn’t thrilled with the Lager. Hey, four out of five ain’t bad.

Love-we haz it

From there, we were off to Castle Fun Park for some mini golf. Each game was incredibly close and we ended up playing each of the place’s three courses, thanks to both Mrs. Sip and me each winning a free game by sinking a hole-in-one on the final hole of the previous course. We’ve had a number of great moments and earlier dates together at Castle Fun Park, so it was nice to return and let our kid-side come out and play for a little bit.

In the evening, we finally checked out Blackbird Public House, which I’ve wanted to try for a little while now. Mrs. Sip ordered their Standing Stonefruit cocktail, while I asked for their And Everything Nice drink. The two of us ended up swapping libations and I loved the peaty aroma and taste coming from my beverage, provided by the Ardbeg 10-year-old Scotch in it.

We ended the evening in search of food and decided on Hidden Bar and Lounge at the Westin Grand Vancouver Hotel. Mrs. Sip ordered a glass of wine, while I grabbed a pint of beer and we gorged ourselves on their Breads and Dips appy, before dishes of Lobster Poutine and their Hidden Burger for me. Our server, Jude, was fantastic in helping us decide what to order and keeping us well-served throughout the meal. All in all, that makes for one hell of a dating anniversary!

anniversary card

In booze news, government liquor stores in B.C. have recently – as of April 1 – changed their pricing practices, where instead of listing the price of a product, including taxes, they are now listing the price before adding tax. Some private liquor stores have followed suit, as well. I suppose it doesn’t make a huge difference, but I liked knowing exactly what I’d be paying for something, before approaching the cash register. Getting the final total after the fact can be a shitty experience.

Aside from that little note, it’s been an awesome week of visiting new places and returning to old favourites; a wonderful mix of celebrating where we’ve come from and where we’re going. There’s no rest for the wicked, though, as Easter weekend sees us heading to Portland (the mecca of craft beer) for a series of boozy adventures!