March was a very busy month, highlighted by our two-week Hawaiian cruise. There’s much to cover, so let’s get right to it:
Before we could hit international waters, we had Boy Sip’s third birthday to celebrate with friends and family. As a result, we crossed the border into Blaine, Washington to pick up some ordered items for the occasion and once again popped into Bob’s Burgers & Brew for a bite to eat. This time, I ordered the Crispy Chicken Burger, going with Potato Salad as my side again. To drink, I had one of my favourite Bellingham beers in the Kulshan Amber Ale.
That weekend, was our long-awaited Vancouver Canucks game against the vile Toronto Maple Leafs. To help with the enjoyment of this 4-1 victory, I spent the entirety of my $50 Canucks membership gift card on a selection of beverages. Following the contest, Mrs. Sip wanted to go to the Caveman Café and get some keto items. I was just happy their “double” drinks are actually three-ounce pours!
Running more errands in preparation for Boy Sip’s birthday parties, I found myself in Maple Ridge one afternoon, needing to kill some time before making a pickup. So, I had dinner at the Billy Miner Pub, where I ate a very good Muzzle Loader Burger (braised onions, mushrooms, mozzarella, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Billy sauce), paired with a pint of Neighbourhood Happy Place Pale Ale.
With the birthday festivities out of the way, it was time to head to San Francisco and board our 15-day Hawaiian cruise. Going in, I joked the voyage would be a a tale of two cruises, with the first half being before Boy Sip turned three and we had to stay with him at the ship’s Kid’s Club, while the latter half, we’d be able to drop both Sipplings off and make a run for it!
Thanks to some maneuvering by Mrs. Sip, some other refunds and a generous Christmas gift from Ma and Pa Sip, we had $900-plus worth of ship credits to work through, so it was like being at an all-inclusive, in that we never had to worry about paying for drinks and other goodies. Even with Mrs. Sip buying internet and photo packages during the journey, we had plenty of money left for frivolities.
This was my first cruise as an ‘elite’ passenger, so I received my first complimentary bar set up. The eight mini bottles Mrs. Sip and I received, along with beers and mixers, went well with the other mini bottles I always pack for cruises and the one-liter bottle of Bacardi 8 Rum I bought at Duty Free on the way down that stowed away in my luggage.
As we set sail and passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, I purchased my first cocktail of the cruise, the Limelight (lime vodka, club soda, ginger ale, lime juice, cucumber). It would be the first of many, including the Red Carpet (vodka, cherry liqueur, ginger beer), Dark N’ Stormy, Pina en Fuego (tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, muddled pineapple, jalapeno), Paloma Caliente, Lynchburg Lemonade, Lucky Charm, Cartagena Cool (rum, cinnamon, orange and chocolate bitters, orange peel), Manhattan, and Floradora (gin, raspberry, lime juice, ginger beer). Basically, I never drank the same recipe twice!
Our first port stop of the expedition was in Maui. We began the excursion with lunch at Waikiki Brewing’s Lahaina location. Over the course of our meal, I enjoyed the Hana Hou Hefe and Jalapeno Mouth, while devouring a Chicken and Pork Belly Wrap with Potato Mac Salad. We had a lot of fun here, with the bar being in full-festive St. Patrick’s Day mode. Before returning to the ship, we also hit Kohola Brewing, where I tried their Red Sand Amber Ale and Mrs. Sip and I shared the Hana Mac Nut Stout.
The next day, we were on the Big Island, where we enjoyed an amazing lunch at Kona Brewing. Their pizzas are still some of the best I’ve ever had, as I went with the Kulana Bacon Cheeseburger variety. Over the course of a long meal, I indulged in servings of the Kua Bay IPA, Purple Grain (Amber Lager) and Koko Brown Ale. An unknown IPA was also accidentally delivered to our table and I was happy to help eliminate it.
Following lunch, we stumbled to the nearby Puna Chocolate Co., in search of shaved ice and other treats for the Sipplings. Upon entering, we became aware they served chocolate cocktails, dubbed Choc-Tails, so had to sample a couple. I went with the Aztec Old Fashioned (whiskey, Hawaiian chili pepper syrup, Aztec chocolate bitters, black cherry), while Mrs. Sip selected the Chocolate Margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, crème de cacao, lime, orange blossom water), which came with a delicious chocolate rim.
Prior to getting back on the ship, I did an ABC Stores run, smuggling onboard a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, along with a couple mixers for the next stage of the trip. That night, Mrs. Sip and I won a bottle of the cruise’s not-so-good bubbly, nailing a perfect score while playing 90s Sitcoms trivia.
Our last Hawaiian island stop was a two-day sojourn in Honolulu. Following a morning spent at the Waikiki Zoo, it was time to quench our thirst with a stop at Maui Brewing’s Waikiki location. This meant, we went to Waikiki Brewing in Maui and Maui Brewing in Waikiki! At the restaurant, Mrs. Sip and I shared a yummy order of MBC Nachos with Pulled Pork. To drink, I had the Waimea Red Ale. Boy Sip then awoke from his slumber and demanded a McDonald’s cheeseburger, so I raced to the other end of the beach strip, stopping for a brief beer at Lulu’s.
I then hurried back for our dinner reservation at Duke’s Waikiki. Here, Mrs. Sip and I shared a pair of appies in the Korean Sticky Ribs and Crispy Coconut Shrimp. For beverages, I had both the Hana Koa Rooftop Pale Ale and Maui Lahaina Town Brown. Of course, we finished with a serving of their famous Kimo’s Original Hula Pie, which was complimentary, as we were celebrating Boy Sip’s birthday from the day before.
The next day, we only had a few hours on land before setting sail again, so visited Aloha Brewing, which had quite an extensive menu of beer options. Between Mrs. Sip and myself, we tried the Hi-Bitchcus Ale, Froot Lupes IPA, Kaka’ako Tripel and Aloha Hefeweizen. Although we definitely didn’t have the time to do it, Mrs. Sip insisted on popping into Honolulu Beer Works on our return to the ship, so we rushed servings of their Cocoweizen and Cream Ale. A more relaxed return is warranted in the future.
Aboard the ship again, Mrs. Sip and I partook in a wine tasting, which is free for elite passengers. My only complaint with these, is there’s too much yapping… I was done all my wines well before they finished talking about each one and thankfully had the excuse of checking in on the kids to make my quick exit.
Over our return days at sea, I composed a bar crawl that hit some of the more unique settings on the ship, with the caveat that Mrs. Sip and I had to each order the other’s drink. It all went down like this:
- Outriggers Bar – Margaritas: Chocolate & Chili Margarita for Mrs. Sip, Sweet & Smoky Margarita for me
- Wheelhouse Bar – Adapted Classics: Elderflower Paloma for Mrs. Sip, Jack Daniel’s Smash for me
- Crooners – Martinis: French Martini for Mrs. Sip, Sailing Through Orchards for me
- Bellini’s – Bellinis: Fellini for Mrs. Sip, Sweet Annie for me
- Vines – Classics and Beyond: Beverly Hills Iced Tea for Mrs. Sip, Rob Roy for me
- Good Spirits – elaborate cocktails: Sandia en Fuego for Mrs. Sip, Bangkok Mule for me
Our final port stop, offered a few hours in Ensanada, Mexico. We rushed over to Thor, which we thought was a craft brewery, but was just a bar. There, while trying to fix one of the kid’s toys, I knocked over a freshly-poured pint of Harry Polanco Red Ale, which sucked. We did use the bar’s internet to figure out where an actual brewery was, so headed over to Wendlandt, where I tried their Perro del Mar IPA. We then rushed back to the ship again for our final day at sea.
Upon returning home, Mrs. Sip surprised me with tickets to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the end of the month, as part of our 21st dating anniversary celebrations. Prior to the show, we had dinner and drinks at Original Joe’s, where their daily special was 22oz tankards of beer. Mrs. Sip went with the Golden Lager, while I had the Red Ale. We followed that up with the Silver Dollar cocktail for Mrs. Sip (suggested by me) and a Double Spiced Rum and Coke for moi. To fill our tummies, we shared the Chicken Tenders with Poutine. I like that many of the meals at Original Joe’s come with two sides and we will have to frequent the restaurant more often, as they had numerous menu items we wanted to try.
As for the concert, I find you’re always trying hard to maintain your buzz throughout a long show, while not letting the stadium take too big of a bite out of your wallet. Mrs. Sip and I started with a tall beer each and later a pair of margaritas per person (they offered Lime Margartita, Charra Negro and Tequila & 7). The show was fun, but when the band closed out the night without playing my favourite song of theirs, Scar Tissue, it all seemed a little anticlimactic. Maybe next time…
April is already shaping up to be insane, with a fully-booked calendar, despite us still recovering from March. Par for the course, for the Family Sip!