Sip Trips #162: Seattle Story

For the Easter long weekend, the Sip Family travelled to Seattle for a few days of good eating and drinking, while also taking in some of the city’s top attractions. Here’s a look back at how we celebrated the break:

Leaving Friday morning, we stopped at Railroad Pub & Pizza in Burlington for lunch. There, Ma Sip and I shared the Reuben Pizza, while I enjoyed a pint of Triplehorn Folkvang Irish Red Ale. I’m really into red ales at the moment, as you’ll see again later and this was one very fine brew. I liked that the restaurant served beer samples in condiment cups, which was a unique twist to the concept.

personal pizza.jpeg

After our meal, Mrs. Sip and I briefly popped into Farmstrong Brewing, where we tried samples of a couple of their beers and purchased a bottle of their Steer You Right Imperial Stout for the road. We have yet to crack the drink open, but look forward to doing so soon.

Next up, was a visit to Walmart to stock up on Easter goodies and other supplies for the hotel. I found a bottle of Caliber Spiced Rum (only $6!!!), which when paired with a case of Dr. Pepper, meant I was drinking all weekend for about $10.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila and I can’t say enough good stuff about the staff at this hotel, particularly the weekend bartender, who immediately made a connection with us and memorized our favourite drinks. What we love most about the Embassy Suites chain is their amazing manager’s reception happy hour (it’s actually two hours), which allows guests to enjoy free drinks and snacks. The breakfast each morning is also very good and an impressive spread to say the least. Between the two, you don’t really need to eat a whole lot when out and about. During the happy hours, I didn’t want to look like a total lush (although I was capable of this), so I paced myself to four drinks each night, or one per half hour. After all, the Sip Advisor is a man of moderation.

moderation cat

As long time readers know, the Sip Advisor is a potato chip connoisseur and I brought along a few recent finds to be enjoyed on this vacation. Walmart in Canada has released a line of chips that are inspired by countries around the world, including India (Tandoori BBQ), Korea (Red Chili BBQ), Thailand (Red Curry) and Portugal (Charcoal Roasted Chicken). My favourites were definitely the Thai and Portuguese varieties, with the former having a butter chicken flavour and the latter just being straight up delicious.

One of the main reasons for the journey to Seattle was to check out the Woodland Park Zoo, which has some fun Easter events for kids and adults alike. Throughout the day, animals around the park are given Easter treats in the form of snacks they enjoy, while there are also egg hunts for various ages. Baby Sip loved running around and collecting the plastic eggs just about as much as she liked seeing all the animals.

Following the zoo, we grabbed a late lunch at Red Mill Burgers where I had the Red Mill Deluxe, while we shared orders of their fries and onion rings. Mrs. Sip also got a Chocolate-Peanut Butter Milkshake, which was thick and tasty.

cats-with-milkshake

On Sunday, we ventured to Pike Market and the Seattle Waterfront. One of our first stops was Cloudburst Brewing, which had some neat beers, but we weren’t able to stay long, as they don’t allow minors into the tasting room. This is something we have found to be unique to Washington, although it may be an issue in other parts we haven’t visited yet. We did partake in a quick 7oz serving each, with Mrs. Sip ordering the Grandma Take Me Home Coconut Imperial Oatmeal Brown, while I selected the Burst Ultra Pure Platinum Hoppy Session American Wheat. Both were quite good.

Along the Waterfront, we rode the Great Wheel, which we were told did three full revolutions, but we got five. The attraction gives you quite the view of the harbour and other landmarks and provided a safe pod for Baby Sip to roam around in.

For lunch, we visited the iconic Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant, sitting in their lounge, which allowed us Waterfront seating with happy hour prices. Here, we had a fantastic meal, with Mrs. Sip and I sharing the Two-Piece Fish & Chips, as well as the Chowder Sampler. We also ordered a serving of their Bruschetta, which is probably one of the best versions of this appetizer I’ve ever tried. To drink, I had a pint of Silver City Ridgetop Red Ale and it paired really well with the seafood meal.

seafood bad

Sadly, all great trips have to come to an end at some point. On our way home, we stopped at BevMo, which allowed me to pick up a couple treats. I grabbed bottles of Beefeater Pink Strawberry Gin – a product I’d searched for last year in London after seeing ads for it – and Crown Royal Texas Mesquite Whiskey. I love when I can only find Canadian goods in the U.S.

With Easter in the rear view mirror, we make our final push towards returning to Europe in early May. Mrs. Sip and I, along with Sis-in-Law Sip, will be attending a six-course beer pairing dinner tomorrow at El Santo in New Westminster. The brewers on hand will be Steel & Oak and Four Winds and we are greatly looking forward to the occasion.

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Sip Trips #85: Leavenworth Love

Over the Christmas break, the Sip Family returned to a familiar destination: Leavenworth, Washington. That said, it had been about 10 years since we last vacationed in the Bavarian-themed town for the holidays and so much has changed since.

The journey started with a trip to BevMo, shortly after crossing the Canada-US border. Here, I picked up a collection of mini liquor bottles to give out as part of our stocking stuffer exchange, where each person was responsible for a small gift – around $5 – for each of the other 10 family members. I tried to select a perfect spirit for each person, including Jameson Whiskey for Father-in-Law Sip, Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum for Pa Sip, Peach Schnapps for Cousin Sip, and Chambord for Mrs. Sip.

We arrived late Friday night in Leavenworth, allowing us a full day to explore on Christmas Eve. We began by popping into a couple of the wine tasting rooms that line the very busy Front Street, before taking refuge at Icicle Brewing at the end of the road. Although we could only find seating outside, this was a definite highlight of the vacation for the Sip Advisor, as it made me feel as if we were enjoying a true European Christmas market.

frost-bite-ice-tan

As for drinks, I started with the Bootjack IPA, while Mrs. Sip enjoyed a serving of their Christmas Spiced Altbier. I then moved on to what would become my favourite beer of the trip: the Dark Persuasion German Chocolate Cake Ale. I mean, does it get much better than sitting in a Bavarian-inspired town, drinking beers outdoors, and having one of them be of the German Chocolate Cake variety!? On another visit on Boxing Day, we also ordered pints of the brewery’s Colchuck Raspberry Wheat and Timbertown Brown.

For celebrating in the room, I picked up New Belgium Brewing’s Folly Pack. Included in the set was their Fat Tire Amber Ale, Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale (a collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s), and 2-Degree Below Ale. I really liked each of the brews in this collection and particularly enjoyed the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, which had the neat aftertaste of both chocolate chips and cookie dough.

Our stocking stuffer exchange was a lot of fun, including such gifts as a can of Big Rock Winter Spice Ale, can of Iron Horse Cozy Sweater Ale, flashlight, photo frame, lotto scratchers, Pez dispenser, mug, shot glass, and Starbucks gift cards. I look forward to doing this again in future years. As far as Christmas gifts with a boozy spin goes, Ma and Pa Sip provided me with a BC Liquor Stores gift card, while Mrs. Sip stuffed a bomber of Barkerville Demi-Mondaine Dunkelweizen in my stocking.

stocking-stuffer-present-appetizers

For Boxing Day, we did a bit of a drink crawl, which included another wine tasting room and the aforementioned secondary visit to Icicle Brewing. As we left Icicle, we serendipitously were approached by a family looking for Blewett Brewery. We decided to help them out in finding the place we didn’t know even existed and ended up at another great tap house.

While at Blewett, I tried their Winter Warmer Ale, while Mrs. Sip opted for the Belgian Wheat Ale. Ma Sip even grabbed a glass of one of the cider’s they had available. We also tried a taster of their Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Imperial Stout and chatted with one of the co-owner’s, Kyle, who mentioned the operation had only been open for a few months.

The vacation provided a wonderful way to get away from the usual Christmas pressures, while also allowing for a great deal of family time in one of the most amazing settings to enjoy the winter season. I would recommend anyone check out the area at some point in their life and particularly if you want a genuine Christmas experience.

September 6 – Wonderful Night

Time of Your Life

“Mr. Sip Advisor, this is your life!”… that’s how the show detailing some of my greatest triumphs would start. Every day is amazing for me, but some reach a level of infamy that leave it permanently burned into my brain. Good thing, too, cause with all the alcohol… wait, what were we talking about? You may quickly notice a trend in that my relationship with Mrs. Sip factors into a lot of these tales, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you little sippers. Here are a few of the greatest days of my life:

Wedding Day – August 25, 2012

Well, this one was an obvious choice. I’m not one to hog attention or anything like that, but on your wedding day, everyone is there for YOU. Thankfully, the bride gets more attention than the groom (which allows the groom to more easily sneak out and enjoy some beers in the parking lot with his groomsmen). Our wedding was amazing, complete with wonderful weather, touching speeches, amazing food, a wonderful candy buffet, a rocking live band (Vancouver’s Bobcats), and fantastic drinks to boot. You plan so diligently for one day and then it’s gone. Happily, everything went according to plan and I wouldn’t change a thing.

wedding-cost

Engagement – December 25, 2010

Backtracking a little, as we approached Christmas Day 2010, Mrs. Sip had no clue what was about to happen to her life. Perhaps if she did know, we wouldn’t have both got sick and spent Christmas Eve bundled up and passing out to Neo-Citron servings, all while watching the god-awful Babes in Toyland. It was our first Christmas living together and I wanted to make it especially memorable. I’d had the ring since September and was able to keep the whole thing a secret from everyone except my future father-in-law. Christmas Day finally arrived and I popped the question. Thankfully, Mrs. Sip didn’t hesitate in saying yes. That day, we were able to announce to both our families that we were now engaged… well, I had to do all that work, as Mrs. Sip completely lost her voice in all the excitement!

Christopher Titus Show – April 12, 2013

Taking a brief break from relationship milestones, we have this wonderful day in Sip history, which I have this site to thank for the entire experience, as I checked Titus’ tour schedule while researching an article and discovered he would be in Tacoma, WA at the Tacoma Comedy Club. Mrs. Sip, always up for a wild time, instantly said yes to going and we booked our tickets. Dinner at Red Lobster and my first BevMo visit were precursors to a fantastic night of comedy. Titus did over an hour of work, followed by a half-hour long encore, and even met with audience members afterwards. Following the show, still buzzing from what a great night it had been (and the great drinks that the Club makes), Mrs. Sip and I cracked a bottle of wine at 2:30 am. I was up until 4am thinking about everything good in life before finishing the last drops and finally getting some rest.

First Bungee Jump – December 2, 2008

Any day that starts with McDonald’s is a good one in my books, but all the things that followed made it truly amazing! After a lunch that included a treasure childhood treat in shaker fries, Mrs. Sip and I made our way to the Taupo Bungy location. I was a little nervous the entire walk there, but there was no way I was going to back out. I’d wanted to do this for years. After signing away my life, I was strapped into the jumping gear and led out onto a platform high above the water below. Looking down, I couldn’t believe I was about to leap into thin air and before I knew it, I was hurdling through the sky. All that excitement was followed by a trip to a hot spring with beers in hand, as we drank the night away!

Asking Mrs. Sip Out – March 22, 2002

Of course, anytime in Disneyland – the happiest place on earth, you know – is special, but the energy level is heightened even more when you’re pursuing a lovely girl, with the hopes of busting out of your shy shell and asking her out on a date. Cousin Sip was playing matchmaker and things were going well in the couple evenings we were able to all hang out together. I had long thought about the perfect way of completing my task, but I never figured things would come together as perfectly as they did.There we stood, in front of the famous Cinderella Castle, the nightly firework show illuminating the sky and I turned to her and popped the question. She said yes… how could she not at least give me a chance with this scenario playing out!? The asking was done. Now I just needed to win her heart.

Asking Out

First Date with Mrs. Sip – March 30, 2002

One week after asking the gorgeous and talented future Mrs. Sip out, we went on our first true date. We had had a couple really good phone conversations in the days leading up to our rendezvous and I think we were both hoping it would go as well as our non-face-to-face meetings. The night started with me picking Mrs. Sip up and heading to the local theatre where we watched Panic Room. Following that, it was time to satiate the ol’ sweet tooth (and I don’t mean on Mrs. Sip), so we were off to find dessert. We shared a hot fudge brownie and talked until they closed the restaurant. I knew things were going well when she agreed to come back to my place to continue talking. I finally dropped her off at home around 2am with plans to reconvene in a couple days… she was mine!

Drink #249: Wonderful Night

Wonderful Night Drink

  • 0.3 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.3 oz Gin
  • 0.3 oz Vodka
  • 0.3 oz Galliano
  • 0.3 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Apple-Lime Juice
  • Garnish with an Apple Pick and Lime Wheel

I think everyone should do an exercise like this to truly help you feel special. It’s been said so many times that it starts to lose meaning, but we really need to embrace each day we have and make the best of our lives. I like to think, thanks to the evidence above, that I’ve done exactly that!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
Perhaps this cocktail benefits from low expectations, thus resulting in its high score, but it is delicious. Mrs. Sip didn’t agree with my assessment, but that’s why she’s only Mrs. Sip and not the Sip Advisor. The Peppermint Schnapps is actually really nice with all the other spirits playing their own role. Definitely give this one a whirl!