Sip Trips #175: Coastal Cruising

The September birthday blitz has come and gone for another year and it was fairly busy. It began with Sis-In-Law Sip’s birthday, where I concocted four relatively easy drinks to go along with the treats of autumn/fall theme. These cocktails utilized spirits such as Pumpkin Pie Vodka, Roasted Pecan Whiskey, Cranberry Liqueur, Apple-Cinnamon Vodka, and Cinnamon Whiskey. Mixers included Ginger Beer, Hibiscus Iced Tea and Chocolate Milk. Overall, the beverages went over very well with guests in attendance.

The next evening, we ventured to Maple Ridge for a meal at the Billy Miner Pub. While enjoying a pint of R&B Brewing’s delicious Orange Negroni Saison, I partook in an order of Teriyaki Fries, while also stealing a few nibbles of Mrs. Sip’s Cornbread. The meal was very good and the pub has become our go-to option when out that way.

To celebrate my birthday, as well as Baby Sip’s (we are one day apart), we booked a Princess Cruises itinerary from Vancouver to Los Angeles, with one day at Disneyland scheduled as well. The cruise featured its typical level of booziness, but I didn’t expect some of the treats that came my way (bucket of beers pre-ordered by Ma and Pa Sip and a pair of complimentary cocktails from the ship) and given I was drinking solo, I think I made quite an effort. That’s right folks, Mrs. Sip is pregnant with our second child – a boy this time – so Baby Sip will from this post forward be referred to as Toddler Sip.

second child

My goal for this cruise, was to not buy a single drink. After all, I had a bottle each of red and white wine, a couple mini bottles and the previously mentioned bucket of beers and cocktails to go through on my own. I used my two cocktail vouchers on Long Island Iced Tea variations, including the Georgia Tea (vodka, gin, rum, peach schnapps, Cranberry Juice, sour mix) and Italian Tea (vodka, gin, rum, amaretto, cola, sour mix). Both were strong and tasty, just the way I prefer libations to be.

I did crack on my “don’t buy a drink” credo, as we celebrated my birthday dinner at the ship’s Salty Dog Gastropub, where I ordered the Salty Dog Smash (whiskey, simple syrup, lemon juice, mint). The drink paired well with our food, as each diner gets to pick two main courses. We went with the Grilled Cheese, Lobster Mac & Cheese, Calamari Frites, and Ernesto Burger. The meal was quite decadent and was finished with desserts of Strawberries & Cream and Bourbon Chocolate Pot de Crème.

Our day at Disneyland was a lot of fun, with Toddler Sip getting to meet her hero Minnie Mouse and experience attractions such as the Enchanted Tiki Room, King Arthur Carrousel and the Mad Tea Party. We also tried a bunch of the specialty Halloween treats around the park, including the Toasted Salsa Roja Chicken Sandwich with Tortilla Soup, Blackberry Midnight Julep and Frozen Abuelita Horchata (mixing Mexican hot chocolate and horchata). Toddler Sip really liked the horchata.

tired disneyland

Admittedly, the day was exhausting and a bit of a bust, as far as my drinking goals were concerned. We were unable to secure a reservation at Oga’s Cantina (the only place to get a boozy drink in the park) in the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area and were too drained at the end of the night to journey to Ballast Point’s new location in Downtown Disney. These will both have to be saved for next year’s return to the resort.

After flying back to Seattle and being picked up by Ma and Pa Sip, we went for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. There, I ordered the Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwich and a pint of Mac & Jack’s Brewing African Amber Ale. We also took home a slice of Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake, which was so damn good when we finally got around to eating it the next night.

It should also be noted that I was gifted from the Sip-In-Laws a bottle of Swear Jar Whiskey, which can be used as a swear jar/piggy bank after being consumed. On the horizon is Oktoberfest, which we will be indulging in to celebrate Cousin Sip’s birthday. Time to get the lederhosen ready!

Sip Trips #170: Summer Drifting

Another couple of weeks are in the history books and we’ve been busy, busy, busy. Here’s what the Sip Family has been up to over that time:

Two weeks back, we attended the weekly Fridays on Front street party in New Westminster. Steel & Oak Brewing was on hand, pouring their Royal City Ale, which I had two servings of. Beer and wine tokens were only $5 each and there were a number of food trucks in attendance to satisfy people’s hunger. The area never got overly busy and we were able to find a nice spot to sit down with our beverages.

For dinner that evening, we walked up to the nearby Ludica Pizzeria, home to delicious pizzas and a massive collection of board and card games. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Pesto Chicken & Prosciutto Pizza, which has become a staple for us every time we eat there. I paired the meal with a Steel & Oak Red Pilsner, which complimented the pizza quite well. For our entertainment, we tried the game Blokus, which was easy to learn and fun to play.

sore loser

Over that weekend, I popped into a BC Liquor Stores location and was blown away by how many products I wanted – nay, needed – among their inventory. With a birthday upcoming, may I suggest gift cards to those who may want to get their favourite liquor slinger something. It was hard to only walk out with Cannery Brewing’s six-can Variety Pack, featuring two each of their Anarchist Amber Ale, Naramata Nut Brown Ale and Trellis IPA. This pack has long been a favourite of the Sip Advisor and was enjoyed once again.

Last week, we attended a Disney Trivia event at the Artful Dodger Pub in Langley. This trivia had a nice mix of easier and challenging questions, compared to other similar trivia nights we’ve been to on the subject. Our crew even won the third of three rounds (with a perfect score, might I add), winning a prize pack that included a can of Nude Vodka Cucumber-Mint Soda, which could be fun to experiment with. For dinner here, I ordered the Buttermilk Chicken Burger, which was good. We also split a pair of beer pitchers, the first being Red Truck Lager and the second being Okanagan Springs 1516 Pale Ale.

This past weekend, we twice ventured out to the Fraser Valley for the birthdays of my two nephews. On Saturday, we were in Mission, so popped into the Mission Springs Brewpub for lunch. My meal of Teriyaki Fries and a pint of the brewery’s Blueberry Wheat Ale were both fantastic. If the venue wasn’t so far from home, I would become a regular visitor to try more items from their menu.

bar food.jpg

The next day, we were in Abbotsford, so Field House Brewing was on the docket following mini-golf and games at Castle Fun Park. In their beautiful patio setting, I enjoyed a 24oz serving of Summer Haze Pale Ale. Had it not been at the end of a long day for Baby Sip (this was her 72nd brewery visited), I could have stayed for a while, enjoying the ambience and beverages of the place.

The last note for this week is a suggestion for those looking for reasonably priced beer to hit up Central City Brewing, who have their Across the Nation case available for $15 flat. That’s a smoking deal considering you get 12 beers brewed in collaboration with one brewery from each province and territory (minus Nunavut) across Canada. I’ll be picking up a couple more while I can!