Sip Trips #182: 20/20 Vision

Wow, I haven’t written a Sip Trips in almost two months. And it’s not like we haven’t been busy, I guess it’s just been in different ways. So, let’s get right to it with the first Sip Trips of 2020:

Lately, I’ve tried a couple neat new beers at ABC Brewing, including the Wool Socks Winter Dubbel and Strawberry Milkshake IPA. When we popped in for a drink on New Year’s Eve, it was my first opportunity to be served by the brewery’s beer cocktail mixologist, who whipped up a delicious Dunder Biest Mode Sour for me and a mocktail for Mrs. Sip. Both were delicious and wonderfully-crafted.

A couple weeks back, a friend and I had dinner at Browns Social House in Downtown Vancouver, prior to a whiskey tasting event. My meal of their Szechuan Beef Noodle Bowl, accompanied by a trio of their Social Beers was a perfect set up for our later event. As for the whiskey tasting, we were able to try some high-end bottles, including Glenmorangie Signet, Balvenie Week of Peat, Laphroaig Lore, Stronachie 18, and MacCallan Triple Cask 15. The night was filled with many more brews, in between the whiskeys. Gotta cleanse the palate, am I right!?

tasting-throwing

Last week, a friend and I attended WWE Smackdown Live in Vancouver. Upon arriving at the arena, we grabbed a few beers, with my selection being a pair of Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ales. The show itself was entertaining, but given their was a 45-minute stretch with no in-ring action, instead filled by commercials, backstage segments and interviews, it solidifies my feelings that I’d rather be at a house show (non-televised with mostly inconsequential matches) than a TV taping (storyline developments, but WAY too many periods of inaction).

Following the wrestling, we stopped into Devil’s Elbow Ale and Smoke House for an extended nightcap. My beverages of choice were the Howe Sound Sky Pilot Pale Ale and Moon Under Water Creepy Uncle Dunkel. It was nice to pay a fairer rate for the beers, compared to what we were shelling out inside Rogers Arena across the street.

The next day, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated a belated Valentine’s Day. We started with a late lunch/early dinner at Glowbal. Our table ended up filled with happy hour appetizers, the feast comprised of their Trio of Sliders (complete with Cotton Candy for dessert), Fish Fritters, Calamari, Avocado Toast, Cheese Croquettes, and Caesar Salad. It was a scrumptious meal, which I paired with a pint of Parallel 49 Pale Ale.

valentines-day

The celebration continued with a performance of The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The show was very good and you just can’t top a venue like The Orpheum for concerts.

To wrap the Family Day long weekend, we travelled across the border for an outing. While in Bellingham, we enjoyed a meal at Twin Sisters Brewing (brewery number 81 for Toddler Sip). Another buffet of many items consisted of their happy hour burger and tacos, along with Chili Cheese Fries and Beer Pretzel Bites, which may have been the best pretzel bites I’ve ever had. For drinks, I went with their award-winning Strawberry Zwickelbier, while Mrs. Sip added a taster of Cranberry Wheat Ale.

Hopefully it’s less than two months before my next Sip Trips. With baby number two set to arrive in under a month, we could be on lockdown for a little while, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops!

Sip Trips #177: Feast Fantastic

Another Sip Trips cycle is in the books and I can’t believe how fast the year is flying by. We’re already into November and much like every store out there, Christmas is coming on in a hurry. Here’s what we’ve been up to over the last couple weeks:

Fresh off a visit to Boston Pizza just the week before, we decided to dine at the restaurant again, this time at the Queensborough Landing location. For this meal, I tried the Mad Mac Pizza, which features McDonald’s Big Mac ingredients (think the famous jingle) in pizza form. The pizza was good, but I think I preferred my Royal Hawaiian from the previous meal. Toddler Sip had a kid’s meal, which included a main, side, drink and dessert for a very reasonable price. The generous serving of ice cream sundae was also enjoyed by mommy and daddy.

Sundae School

On Saturday, Mrs. Sip and I finally used the Cirque du Soleil: Luzia tickets I bought for Mrs. Sip for Mother’s Day. Turning the evening into a full-on date night, we began with dinner at Coast, part of the Glowbal network of restaurants. We split quite the meal, taking advantage of happy hour. Along with my pair of East Van IPAs, we ordered dishes of Lobster Poutine, Crispy Calamari, Fish & Chip Cone, as well as a three-course dinner, comprised of New England Chowder, Atlantic Lobster and Crème Brûlée for dessert. I even added a single oyster to the feast, in order to keep my aphrodisiac level high.

As for the show itself, it was very good. The first half included some acts that even seasoned Cirque veterans such as Mrs. Sip and myself have never seen before and we left quite entertained. We noticed a new feature they were trying out at the event was an all-inclusive lounge to enjoy drinks and snacks before the show and at intermission for $50 per person. Given a single can of beer is $12, we hope this option will be available the next time the big top comes to town.

Cirque Tryouts

Earlier this week, Pa Sip and I took in the Vancouver Canucks game versus the Florida Panthers. The 7-2 victory was a great end to the night, with our meal at Brown’s Social House (at Queen Elizabeth Theatre) providing a fantastic start. Again, capitalizing on happy hour, or in this case, social hour, I enjoyed a pair of Social IPAs with orders of Howlin Hot Fried Chicken & Pickles and Parmesan Garlic Fries. There were other items on the menu that stood out to me, so I hope to return soon for another feast.

This weekend, the Sip Family leaves for Honolulu, Hawaii for a week. I can’t wait to try some breweries there, as well as eat and drink to my heart’s content. You’ll hear all about it in the next installment of Sip Trips!

Sip Trips #173: Annual Activities

This past week was incredibly busy for the Sip Advisor. Two of my favourite yearly events sandwiched my and Mrs. Sip’s wedding anniversary, which is always highlighted by some unique activity. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get right to it:

The week began with a trip across the line to Washington State. We decided to pop into Bellingham’s Aslan Brewing for dinner, where I enjoyed a pint of their Ginger Rye Ale, paired with a host of food items, including Mac Bites, Bacon Bison Burger with Waffle Fries Poutine and Pepper Chicken Taco. The beer was tasty, with a nice spice to it and each culinary item was downright delicious. Even Baby Sip was into much of the meal, chomping down on the mac n’ cheese balls and beef from the burger.

On Saturday, we attended the Battle of the Brews in Surrey for the second straight year. I love this event, as our $40 early bird ticket allows unlimited beer and food over the four-hour runtime. Over 20 breweries and a handful of restaurants participated. While each brewery offered some great variety, Russell Brewing brought a spectacular and unique lineup, with three fruit-flavoured beers: Cucumber Sour, Triple Berry Milkshake IPA and Strawberry Hibiscus Milkshake IPA. As for the food, everything I had from Pulled Pork Sliders from Benny’s Texas BBQ to Double Chocolate Brownies from Brown’s Social House hit the spot.

cat bbq

Not content to end the day after the event, we ventured to ABC Brewing, where they were hosting a pop-up patio party. Here, I tried their Bradburied Australian Pale Ale and I continue to be impressed with the company’s releases and experimentation with different styles, many of which you don’t come across very often.

Sunday marked seven happy years of marriage for me and Mrs. Sip. To celebrate the occasion, I booked us a surprise Taste Vancouver Food Tours route, wandering through the Gastown neighbourhood of the city. I felt the $90 fee was reasonable, as we learned a lot of history for the area, while stuffing our faces with a number of savoury and sweet selections: Chicken Kara-Age at Guu Izakaya, Tortellini at Brioche Urban Eatery, Fish & Chips at 131 Water Kitchen & Bar, Pulled Pork Sandwich at Peckinpah, Ice Cream at Soft Peaks, Cheesecake at Trees Organic Coffee, and Chocolate at Rogers’ Chocolates. The tour also included a sample of Summer Ale from Steamworks Brewing and taste of wine at Brioche.

After a day of rest, I was back in Vancouver to attend Caskapalooza 2019 at Craft Beer Market. This was my third time taking in this event ($25 for 12 tokens), featuring the wares of over 30 breweries. The experimentation for this year’s Caskapalooza was amazing, highlighted by ingredients such as yellow watermelon, caramelized cinnamon and pequin peppers, among many others. With so much variety, it’s hard narrowing down my favourite beer of the day, but it may have been R&B Brewing’s Tart Strawberry Rhubarb IPA. This year’s Caskapalooza included no food, which may have been for the best as it was usually a frenzy anytime a tray came out of the kitchen. Better to not offer and therefore not disappoint, than leave people upset that they missed out.

disappointed cat

After using up all our tokens, we travelled to the nearby Brewhall for dinner and further drinks. My Korean Chicken Burger with Curly Fries was tremendous. The burger included a sumptuous gochujang sesame sauce and any place that offers Curly Fries will also be tops in my books. To wash the meal down, I enjoyed pints of Brewhall/Dageraad Citriplicate Belgian Blonde Ale and Brewhall Neon Lights Pale Ale, both of which were very much in my wheelhouse.

Next up, is the Labour Day long weekend, which I’ve taken an extra day off for, to help offset how busy we’ll be. We have 1st birthday parties and family barbecues to attend, as well as take Baby Sip to the Vancouver Aquarium and check out the newly-opened Stanley Park Brewing location.