August 30 – Smokestack

Mains & Sides

Well, this is the last long weekend of the summer, which means it’s primetime for all the barbecue masters out there to whip up the delicacies we crave all winter long. While I’m pretty open to anything someone is kind enough to put on my plate, here are the Top 5 barbecue foods, according to the Sip Advisor:

#5: Kangaroo

Although Mrs. Sip and I only enjoyed this barbecued delicacy once, it’s a meal I will never forget… which is a little surprising because we were on a winery tour in the Barossa Valley of Australia and well on route to a drunken bender. The meat was prepared in red wine and was so tender and juicy that we went at the offering with a piranha-like frenzy. While I would usually never commit the faux pas of eating the last remaining piece, in this case, I even stabbed some poor dude with a fork to get it!

Kangaroo Meats

#4: Corn on the Cob/Cornbread

Corn is an essential ingredient for a good barbecue and thanks to these two serving options, can be enjoyed in different forms with equally pleasurable results. While the Sip Advisor hates getting food stuck in his teeth (the main reason he loathes popcorn), corn on the cob is one situation where that fear is thrown out the window. As for cornbread, you better lay your hands off my slice or it’s dueling time. Slap some butter on either of these side dishes and you’ll be in sweet-salty heaven.

#3: Potato Chips

My affinity for the potato chip has been discussed at length, but here we go again! I love my chippies and am practically addicted to the snack treat. Like a junkie, I start itching for that sweet release that comes with the first bite and the burst of flavour that will soon fill the void in my soul. Chips are an easy side for any meal, but work best when you have a big ol’ bowl of them on display for the Sip Advisor to steal, hide in some dark, dank corner and inject straight to the veins.

potato-chips-funny-quotes

#2: Pulled Pork

There’s nothing like smacking a glob of pulled pork down onto a fresh bun, topping it with some slaw and taking a mammoth bite out of the wicked sandwich. Preferably, you next move will be to wash down that food with an ice cold brewski, thus completing two-thirds of the holy trinity. All that’s left is to take a brief cat nap and repeat the process again. God bless the pig for all the awesomeness it provides.

#1: Hot Dogs

Is there anything that smells better in this world than a barbecue grilling up hot dogs? Other meats are all well and good, too, but for my money, nothing tops some smokies! Hot dogs are so amazing that they can become the icing on the cake or the cherry on the sundae, even when purchased on the street in the wee hours of the morning after getting blitzed all night long. Somebody better get the grill going because I’m ready for a feast fit for a Sip Advisor!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Smokestack (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Aug 30

  • Rim glass with Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 oz Absolut Texas Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • Garnish with Cucumber Slices

I have to throw a massive shout out and honourable mention to potato and noodle salads. Without these two brothers in mayonnaise, I don’t know how I would have survived barbecues as a little sipper picky eater!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This could be the world’s next great punishment shot, even though on their own, in various cocktails, the alcohols are quite nice. Speaking of the alcohol, Mrs. Sip and I recently stumbled upon this entry in the Absolut City Series, which combines Cucumber and Serrano Chili Peppers… a perfect summer blend. The Cucumber Slices were a nice touch visually, but were a choking hazard during the actual shooter.

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Australia – Moonlight Martini

Land Down Under

We’re going “down under” as we leave Estonia for the warmth and beauty of picturesque Australia. Mrs. Sip lived in the country for half a year and I was lucky to join her for six weeks. While together, we toured a fair portion of the country. There were numerous and diverse sites that we both fell in love with during our stay. Here are some of our favourites:

Phillips Island

Home to the World’s Smallest Penguins, hundreds of tourists gather each day and brave the elements to watch the little flightless birds return from the water, like clockwork, to their burrows on Phillips Island. Sadly, but understandably, you’re not allowed to take photos of the tiny travelers, as flashes from cameras can blind them and cause them to become disoriented, get lost, and turn into easy prey for predators.

Penguin Parade

Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is home to the Great Barrier Reef and its impressive collection of coral formations. In some of the clearest, most stunning water I’ve ever been in, I did my first ever scuba dive and saw species of sea creatures I may never see up close again. We also snorkeled the area for a few hours and enjoyed the bathtub temperature of the ocean… plus, it’s always fun to perv on Mrs. Sip in the water!

Daintree Rainforest

Also while in Cairns, Mrs. Sip and I also toured the Daintree Rainforest, including a river cruise where we searched for legendary crocodiles and a hike through the tropical bush. The Daintree is home to an untold number of animal and plant species and you never really know what you’ll come across in your trek. Mrs. Sip was on edge about seeing any spiders, while I was ever-vigilant in avoiding snakes.

Wildlife

There are some animals you will only see in zoos and around Australia during your lifetime. We decided to combine the two by visiting one of the country’s nature reserves: the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. There, we viewed epically large crocodiles, fed kangaroos, and were attacked by parakeets and lorikeets. We even got our photos with a koala and all was well until it peed all over our friend!

Koala Currumbin

Ayers Rock/Uluru

This mystical mass of land is located in the Australian Outback and while I did not journey there for my own personal walkabout, Mrs. Sip made the trip. It takes between two to three hours to walk around Ayers Rock/Uluru and it’s also a wonderful spot to view sunrise and sunset each day. Interestingly, it’s said that if you take any rock from the site you will be cursed, leaving many trying to return “souvenirs” they’ve pick up from the World Heritage Site.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney was such a neat city (surprisingly clean and green) in its entirety, but perhaps its most famous landmark is the Opera House located in Sydney Harbour. Mrs. Sip and I did a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour of the iconic metropolis and spent a fair bit of time hanging out in the harbour. Tourists can even climb the Harbour Bridge for a spectacular viewing opportunity.

Surfer’s Paradise

While I failed miserably at my attempt to learn surfing in Australia, the beaches around the country are a sight to behold. Surfer’s Paradise is where all the youngsters go to hang out and hang ten. If you’re not into the beach and ocean stuff, the area is also home to numerous dining and shopping options. If you choose to stick to the sand and water, be careful of disruptive visits by anything from jellyfish to sharks.

Australia: Moonlight Martini

Moonlight Martini Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Blackberries
  • 1.5 oz Shiraz/Syrah Wine
  • 1.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with Blackberries

Australian wine is also a big deal and they are most famous for their Shiraz/Syrah grape variety, which was brought to the country from Europe by James Busby in the 1830’s. Speaking of Aussie wine, Mrs. Sip and I also thoroughly enjoyed the Barossa Valley wine tour we joined in Adelaide, specifically our meal of kangaroo cooked in… you guessed it: red wine!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Given the World’s Smallest Penguins was one of my favourite Australian attractions, coming across the Little Penguin Shiraz Wine was almost too perfect to be true. Sadly, I didn’t have the Orange Vodka the recipe asked for, so I subbed in Raspberry Vodka with a splash of Triple Sec to get the orange flavour. The drink was pretty good and had a number of different notes to tease the taste buds!

June 15 – Carpet Licker

Regionals

The world is littered with wonderful wine regions, where fans of the grape can pilgrimage to and get blasted winery-hopping style. While wine is far from my favourite libation, I do like to get travel wasted and visiting a winery provides some of the greatest surroundings for doing so. Here are some of the best stops to hit if you’re a connoisseur of reds and whites (and pinks, I suppose!):

Barossa Valley – Australia

This was a fun little wine tour Mrs. Sip and I did while visiting Adelaide, Australia. As good as the wine and scenery was, what I will always remember most from the tour was our picnic-style lunch, where the main course was barbecued kangaroo, marinated in red wine. I never thought kangaroo meat could be so delicious. I gorged myself on the delicacy, as well as the rest of the lunch, probably facilitated by the copious wine samples we had already enjoyed up to that point.

barossa valley

Okanagan Valley – British Columbia

Mrs. Sip just got back from visiting the Okanagan wine region on a stagette and if the 13 new bottles taking up space in my liquor racks is any indication, she had a good time and found some wines she really enjoyed. Heck, rumour has it Cousin Sip brought back 30 bottles of grape goodness after this 2 day trip!

Champagne/Beaujolais – France

Champagne was another wine excursion enjoyed by Mrs. Sip, minus your faithful Sip Advisor. How do I let her get away with this desertion!? While there, she sampled the wines and champagnes the region is renowned for. We were together for a brief stop in Beaujolais, where we climbed to the “Top of the World” and had a wine and picnic lunch before staying the night at a Beaujolais winery property.

Hood River – Oregon

On a weekend away with family, we hit a number of stops criss-crossing the Washington-Oregon border. We had a convoy of vehicles stopping at each business and it was fun to roll through a tasting with such a large, increasingly boisterous group. Our favourite stop was probably the Maryhill Winery, home to a summer concert series, and where guest can even hop into a tub and stomp some grapes.

Maryhill Winery

Columbia Cascade – Washington

On yet another wine tour (damn, we go on a lot of these!), Mrs. Sip and I, along with Cousin Sip and her husband braved the oncoming winter to sample a number of wines in the Cascade area. The last stop of our tour was the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, where the main drag houses many underground wine tasting options. Getting Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip back on the bus was far from easy for us guys.

Napa Valley & Sonoma Valley – California

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many California wines, but never had the chance to visit any of the winery regions the state is home to. While Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed a wonderful and quite memorable wine tasting in San Francisco (see Bay Breeze), we have never had the time to do a tour of the Napa or Sonoma Valleys. It is on our Bucket List to do together, we just need to be in the area for longing than a cruise port stop.

Bubbles over Napa

Santorini – Greece

The last stop as part of a tour exploring the island was visiting the Wine Museum of Santorini and Koutsoyannopoulos Winery. How do I remember such a crazy long Grecian name, you ask? Well, you see, Mrs. Sip has (or at least had) this little habit of “collecting” souvenirs from her travels. On this occasion, she wanted a glass from the little winery and to make a long story short, she got it!

Monticello – Virginia

While visiting Washington, D.C., our hosts took us out of the American capital to Virginia, specifically Monticello, where we had access to numerous wines and enjoyed a nice picnic lunch on the storied grounds of the winery surrounded by 19th century plantation ruins. Later, we ventured to the home of Thomas Jefferson, where unfortunately, no wine was served, which would have been a great tribute to the former president.

Drink #166: Carpet Licker

June 15

  • 1 oz White Wine
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur (I used Watermelon Pucker)
  • 0.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • 0.5 oz Dr. Pepper
  • Top with Whipped Cream
  • Garnish with Sprinkles

I’m sure I’m missing some of the best wine regions, but I wanted to focus on areas we’ve actually visited or plan to visit in the very near future. Have any suggestions for a future getaway? Feel free to give us your best Lonely Planet review.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I thought this shot tasted fantastic, especially with my substitution of Watermelon Pucker for Melon Liqueur… I just had a feeling. The presentation is spectacular which certainly justifies the high score. The shooter ingredients and measurements are enough for two servings, so share the love!