Sip Trips #118: Pucks and Parties

This week has been a busy one as the Christmas season ramps up and Mrs. Sip and I have three Vancouver Canucks games on the schedule to attend. Thank god for our grandparent babysitters! Let’s get right to the action:

Late last week, with Ma and Pa Sip over, we grabbed dinner at the new Johnny Rockets location in Downtown Vancouver. I had their Original burger, which was pretty good. What I liked best was their half fries/half rings, allowing eaters to enjoy both side dishes. More restaurants need to adopt this concept. While we didn’t order them, the chain also offers a number of tasty milkshake options. It’s always good to have a reason to go back.

Close Enough Cat.jpg

On Friday, Mrs. Sip and I had our first Christmas party of the season, through her office. The meal took place at Piva Modern Italian Restaurant, where we tried a number of great menu items. For appies, I particularly liked the Polenta Fries, while my main course of Duck & Fig Pizza was terrific. The meal provided a perfect balance of sweet and savoury and while Mrs. Sip’s Prosciutto Pizza was good, we were both raving about my selection.  For beverages, I enjoyed the Terra Saison and Red Pilsner, both from Steel & Oak Brewing, and for dessert, I tried the Bagpipes in my Ferrari (Glenmorangie, Disaronno, smoke and oak bitters), which was a solid nightcap.

The next day, we had our first Canucks game of the week and this is one we’ve had circled for some time. With the dastardly Toronto Maple Leafs in town, I swapped some of our other half-season tickets in order to attend this game. With a 2-1 victory for the home side, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed servings of Shock Top Wheat Ale and Goose Island Honkers Ale throughout the game, which helped with the intensity and anxiety of the matchup.

The weekend wrapped with our annual family visit to the Bright Nights in Stanley Park and Christmas Train. This was Baby Sip’s first time riding the Christmas Train, although we did take her on the Halloween Train when she was only just over a month old. As is tradition, we followed the park visit with dinner at the nearby White Spot location. Here, Cousin Sip, her husband, Sis-in-Law Sip and I split a couple pitchers of Granville Island Winter Ale, while I ordered my usual Legendary Burger. The two pair quite nicely with each other and made for a delicious meal.

Man Sized Mug

Lastly, on Tuesday, we celebrate Ma Sip’s birthday at The Keg. I, once again, selected the Prime Rib Sliders with side of fries for my meal, which was very good. Unfortunately, Mrs. Sip and I had to eat fast to get to another Canucks game, as food took a while to be served thanks to the kitchen being backed up by a private party. My Sliders were only $13 during happy hour, down from their usual $18 price tag. For dessert, Ma Sip saved her slice of wonderful Billy Miner Pie for Mrs. Sip and I, which we consumed in quick order following yet another Canucks triumph.

The weekend is full of scheduled activities and doesn’t let up at all. ‘Tis the season, after all!

Advertisements

Mixer Mania #36 – Risky Business

Taking a trip through your local grocery store, you may come across one of the oddest drink flavours: Dandelion and Burdock. That got me thinking about other weird or odd soda flavours and I found that some companies seem to specialize in this. Here are some of those companies and their eclectic lineups:

Jones Soda Company

Perhaps Jones Soda’s most bizarre release was Poutine. I mean, I love the Canadian cultural dish, but don’t think that drinking the essence of fries, gravy and cheese curds sounds very appealing. Other seasonal releases from the company target holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and include oddities like Turkey & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes & Butter, Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto, Wild Herb Stuffing, Candy Cane, and Christmas Ham.

Jones Soda Holiday Packs

Lester’s Fixins

Bacon, Ranch Dressing, Buffalo Wings, and Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches. While these are some of my favourite things to have on my plate, I’m actually listing soda flavours from the Lester’s Fixins company. I’ve even used two of the products on previous Mixer Mania drink recipes this year. While the sodas weren’t bad, they are certainly novelty items and not repeat purchases. Perhaps they should have their soda making licence revoked.

Avery’s Beverages

In an divisive marketing ploy, Avery’s Beverages has released a line of sodas dubbed ‘Totally Gross Soda’ or ‘Sodasgusting’. While the intended flavours don’t sound too bad, the names alone will likely keep some customers from purchasing the drinks. Options include: Kitty Piddle (Orange-Pineapple), Dog Drool (Orange-Lemon), Bug Barf (Kiwi-Pineapple), Toxic Slime (Blue Raspberry-Orange), and Fungal Fruit (Passionfruit-Lime), among others.

Gross Gus’s

Again, we have some tantalizing flavours… if only you can get over the beverage’s name and imagery produced by it. Releases consist of Pimple Pop (Marshmallow), Dinosaur Dung (Chocolate), Bloody Nose (Cherry), Dragon Drool (Black Licorice), and Pirate Piss (Banana). Some have even recorded themselves trying to complete the Gross Gus’s challenge of drinking some of these products. All the power to them, if they succeeded.

Mixer Mania #36: Spiced Roots

Spiced Roots.JPG

  • ​2 oz Spiced Whiskey
  • Top with Dandelion & Burdock Soda
  • Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick

This list does not include Pepsi’s eye-popping limited edition releases in Japan, which include Salty Watermelon, Ice Cucumber, Pink (Strawberry Milk) and White (Yogurt). Only in Japan!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
There are actually a few cocktail recipes – although all are basic – offered by Fentiman’s, who produce the Dandelion and Burdock Soda. I settled with this drink, as I wanted to use my Spiced Whiskey. It was actually a pretty good combo with a unique flavour. I’d love to see some more complex recipes for the mixer.

Sip Trips #114: All the Hits

Well, another busy week is in the books (I’m starting to sound like a broken record), with Mrs. Sip and I finding time to have as much fun as possible, while getting things as ready as possible for the arrival of our daughter, sometime in the next few weeks. Here’s what we got up to:

The week began with the Sip Alliance’s long-awaited return to Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row. Before arriving there, though, we had to first travel to Coquitlam’s Mariner Brewing, which had only opened days before and is the first of its kind in the city. With four beers on tap, I tried their Northeast IPA, which I found to be pretty tasty. The brewery promises much more to come in the future and their space and constellation theming are really good starts.

Brewery Water

Next up was Brewer’s Row, with stops at Yellow Dog, Twin Sails and Parkside breweries, where I had pints of their High Five Hazy IPA, Street Legal IPA and Motel Five-Hop Pale Ale, respectively. Sadly, we didn’t manage to get to Moody Ales before closing time, so we owe them a visit in the future. I love this area of four breweries packed within a five-minute walk of each other and the new Evergreen SkyTrain line makes heading out that way so much easier. We will be back again soon.

On Friday, we finally got around to hitting one of our favourite annual summer traditions: the Twilight Drive-In Theatre in Aldergrove. While no drinking was involved, it was a great start to the Labour Day long weekend, as the lineup included Cars 3, followed by Despicable Me 3. We only stayed for those first two movies, but in celebration of the drive-in’s 12th anniversary, they were playing four movies on both Friday and Saturday night. While we love our trips out there for movies outdoors and you can’t beat the price of $12.50 per person for the entire evening, this was the first line-up this summer that actually appealed to us. Perhaps bad movies in general are to blame.

The next day, we started with some relaxing pool time at Ma and Pa Sip’s place before returning to Vancouver to move some furniture. Following the move, we treated Ma and Pa Sip to dinner at The Parlour in Yaletown, which had come highly recommended to me. We were not disappointed, as the place has a good happy hour to go along with great service. Our pizzas (The Dirty and Roasted varieties) were very good and were enough for a group of four to be happily fed.

Fitness Whole Pizza

After dinner, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Rio Theatre for their presentation of Dysfunctional Disney Cabaret. The goal here, according to our host, was to completely f*ck up our childhood memories with Disney-themed burlesque acts. It was quite the entertaining show and I have to commend the Rio for having a jug of water available to patrons on this hot, hot day. One server even steered me away from buying bottled water, in favour of the cooler, which I did not know about.

Sunday began with another round of furniture buying and baby laundry loads, but the reward came with hitting Jimmy’s Taphouse for happy hour. This has always been one of my favourite happy hours in the city with a number of half priced menu items and cheap drink options. We enjoyed their poutine with chipotle drizzle and an order of hot wings, which really hit the spot. The spicy combo was washed down with the Phillips Solaris White Peach Ale and a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey.

Why was I getting my shot game on? Because we had received complimentary ticket to the Lionel Richie-Mariah Carey All the Hits concert, as part of Mrs. Sip’s recent anniversary gift to me of Vancouver Canucks half-season tickets. This was the first time either of us had ever sat in the exclusive 500-level Club seats, which provided a bar and bathrooms to about 50 people. As for the show, Mariah Carey didn’t do Fantasy or Honey, which if I know them, must have been hits. That’s okay, though, as Lionel Richie was extremely entertaining. His Dancing on the Ceiling with all the lights and video effects was the highlight of the night.

Lionel Richie Hello

We wrapped the long weekend by celebrating Pa Sip’s birthday at The Keg. Sitting atop the restaurant’s rooftop patio was very relaxing and the service was top notch. I ordered their Keg Burger, which pales in comparison to their former Prime Rib Burger, which I mourn the loss of to this day. As for beverages, I imbibed with a Keg Size Watermelon Mojito and Keg Caesar, perfect accompaniments to my still decent entree. A slice of Billy Miner Pie to finish the meal was the perfect bow on an incredible weekend!

But the family celebrations weren’t done there. On Tuesday, after Pa Sip helped me move some more furniture, we had another dinner in his honour at the Old Spaghetti Factory in New West. I tried their Pot-Pourri Spaghetti with meat, mushroom and clam sauce options. Best of all, the meals come with bread, salad or soup and ice cream for dessert, so we left quite stuffed. My beverage of choice was the Cobblestone Lager, developed for the restaurant by Granville Island Brewing.

The coming week doesn’t have much on the schedule, so I may grasp the opportunity for some rest and relaxation. Following that, the Sip Advisor has a bachelor party, Vancouver Canucks pre-season opener, Sis-In-Law Sip’s birthday and much more on the docket… not to mention who knows when the baby will decide to arrive!

Sip Trips #112: Summer Sizzle

For Mrs. Sip and I, I’ve coined the phrase: Weekend Warriors, Weekday Legends! Our insanely busy last week is a perfect example of our quest to live life to the fullest. Here’s a recap of all the action, which still has my head spinning:

The week that was started with the Sip Alliance attending Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert. Prior to the show, we met for dinner at The Kingston Taphouse, where Mrs. Sip and I shared their delicious Chicken Caesar Flatbread, followed by a slice of fantastic Oreo Cheesecake for dessert. Looking to build a buzz for the concert, I started with a serving of Original 16 Pale Ale and then doubled down with a Spiced Rum and Ginger Ale, which came with the lightest splash of the mixer.

Tom Petty.png

As for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (with special guest The Lumineers), the show was absolutely amazing. The band went through all their hits and had the place rocking from start to finish. Should they return to our beautiful city, I would certainly attend again. During the performance, I shelled out big bucks for a couple Stella Artois pilsners, which was simply the price of doing business.

On our way home afterwards, still feeling the adrenaline, we decided to go for a nightcap at The Loose Moose. There, I had a pair of Stanley Park Windstorm Pale Ales, while the bar filled the area with rock music, including my favourite Tom Petty track, Running Down a Dream.

On Saturday, Ma and Pa Sip hosted our Baby Shower Beer Garden. In the weeks leading up to the celebration, I lost sleep over my concerns that we’d run out of brews. The night before, I even made a run to get another two cases for additional coverage. In the end, we survived the night, thanks to mixed packs from Phillips, Whistler, Vancouver Island, Bowen Island, Central City and Big Rock breweries. We also had some ciders, coolers, wines, etc. to cover all the bases. Our guests really enjoyed the set-up and being able to try a variety of beverages. A huge thanks to both our sets of parents for their help with the party and to all those who attended and were so generous with gifts for our little one.

Biergarten.jpg

The next day, I was right back at it, meeting up with the guys at Colony on Main for a couple beers, prior to attending a Vancouver Canadians game. While at the stadium, I visited the amazing Craft Beer Corner on multiple occasions, grabbing servings of Big Rock Citradelic IPA, Whistler Grapefruit Ale, and Steamworks Summer Ale and Flagship IPA. While I’m still not the biggest baseball fan, there’s something so appealing about foot long hotdogs, a beautiful day and drinking at the ballpark.

Following the contest, which the Canadians won, we visited Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub for a wrap-up. There, I had a pair of their Gatekeeper Caesars (complete with chorizo stick and pickled spiced bean), which were on special. The drinks provided a perfect finish to the hectic, but oh so memorable weekend.

Did things get lighter with the work week arriving? Heck no! Remember, the Weekday Legends portion of our credo? On Tuesday, Cousin Sip and I attended Caskapalooza 2017 at Craft Beer Market. The event featured 36 casks, with all the industry’s big players on hand. Tickets were $25 each – with partial proceeds going towards the Dress for Success charity – and included 12 tokens. With Cousin Sip’s help, we tried more than two-thirds of the available beverages, with my favourites being Yellow Dog’s Mango High Five Hazy IPA and Granville Island’s Porter Con Chocolate Picante.

Beer Work

The week wrapped up with a return to Darby’s Gastown for their pub trivia night with Mrs. Sip’s work crew. Over pints of Fuggles & Warlock Agent Orange IPA and Steel & Oak Towers and Trains IPA, our team put up another valiant effort, but finished tied for fourth place. Still, this earned us a set of passes to one of the local Escape Room companies.

On tap for another busy week upcoming is our first Dinner en Blanc; our fifth wedding anniversary, celebrated by visiting the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) for the first time in 15 years; a baseball tournament, complete with beer garden; our one-day pre-natal course (we’ll find a way to make things fun); and a return to Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row!

Mixer Mania #31 – Hard as they Come

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been a root beer fan for many years, but I still can’t fully fathom why hard root beer has taken North America by storm. I mean, if I have the choice between a hard root beer and any craft beer, I’m reaching for the craft suds. With the fad in mind, let’s look at some of the hardest things out there, some real and some fictional:

Samoan Wrestler’s Heads

It’s long been a running joke in professional wrestling that a Samoan grappler’s head is virtually indestructible. For example, when an opponent would attempt a head butt, they would be the one to experience injury, while the Samoan would feel no effect, often laughing off the feeble attack.

Diamonds

That pretty little thing you’ve placed on your partner’s hand is actually one of the hardest substances known to man. Doesn’t seem so elegant anymore, does it!? Mrs. Sip has advised me that I should be shopping for another… better get on that.

Jawbreaker

Sometimes I don’t understand why this candy exists, given its unpleasant nature of causing dental damage for little to no enjoyment. A Gobstopper is okay because they breakdown easily enough, but those massive jawbreakers are simply a dentist’s dream.

Adamantium

Thought to be virtually indestructible, Adamantium is the element that has been fused to mutant Logan’s skeletal structure, turning him into a super weapon, code name: Wolverine. The painful procedure also caused Logan to become amnesic and forget his past.

Adamantium

Feminum

Sticking with indestructible super hero alloys, we have Feminum, used to forge Wonder Woman’s bracelets. This material can only be found on Paradise Island, home to Wonder Woman (aka Princess Diana) and her fellow Amazonians.

Anvil

Is there a better weapon in animated comedy than the anvil? Whether dropped by one of the Animaniacs or in a botched fashion by the lovable Wile E. Coyote, it can do some serious damage. You know, the type that causes chirping birdies or flashing stars to circle your noggin’.

Mixer Mania #31: Amber’s Revenge

Amber's Revenge.JPG

  • 1 oz Scotch
  • 0.5 oz Rum
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The whole hard root beer craze reminds me of a story my dad has told of a German relative trying root beer while visiting Canada and practically spitting out the soda upon discovering his beverage was far from the ales he was accustomed to back in Germany.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure who Amber is/was, but she must have been pretty pissed off, as I had to quarter each of the liquor ingredients to make the cocktail palatable. Not many drinks include Scotch, which is a slight shame because it works really well here and probably in other recipes.

Sip Trips #110: Rest & Relaxation

While last week was insanely busy, this one was far less so. However, that may just be the calm before the storm with a booze-fueled long weekend approaching. Let’s see what we recently got up to:

To celebrate a friend’s birthday on Saturday, we started with dinner and drinks at The Diamond in Gastown, known for their exquisite cocktails. For my meal, I went with the Classic Cuban sandwich, which was delicious. My beverages included the Ancho Ready (tequila, cacao, mezcal, grapefruit oil, ancho chili) and Fog Cutter (cognac, dark rum, gin, sherry, citrus, orgeat), with both being very nicely crafted and presented. I also had sips of the Vancouver (gin, vermouth, Benedictine, orange bitters) and the $25 Premium Penicillin (two types of Scotch, lemon, ginger, honey), which earned its standing as a ‘notorious’ cocktail on the lounge’s menu.

8 Cocktails

For dessert, we moved over to Mosquito. While the rest of the crew scarfed down lavish desserts, I occupied my time with another drink, the Gambit (bourbon, peach, honey, lemon, habanero). I also had a glass of Steel & Oak Dark Lager from the birthday boy’s 650ml bottle order, a solid nightcap for the evening. Despite living relatively close to the Gastown district, we tend to stay closer to our Yaletown home, but after being there twice this past couple weeks, we’ve realized we’re missing out on some gems and will have to frequent the area more regularly.

The weekend also included some liquor store shopping. I picked up a bomber of Vancouver Island Brewing’s Juniper Lime Ale, which attempts to recreate a Gimlet cocktail experience. I also grabbed a tall can four-pack of Spinnakers Brewing’s Juice Monkey IPA, which made for good drinking at Ma and Pa Sip’s place Sunday afternoon, as I hosted our baseball team for some fun in the poolside sun. Mrs. Sip also picked me up a tall can of Longwood Brewing’s Steam Punk Dunkelweizen for the gathering.

That about wraps things up, as the rest of the week was fairly laid back. You can expect much more from the Sip Advisor in next week’s Sip Trips article, as the upcoming calendar is pretty stacked and full of potential mayhem!

Sip Trips #108: Here, There and Everywhere

The summer has been crammed full of events and adventures thus far. Here’s a look back at what Mrs. Sip and I have been up to over the last couple weeks, bouncing around this beautiful province of ours:

To celebrate the end of a long work week a couple weeks back, we ventured to Ludica Pizzeria & Game Room, which is home to a wide collection of board and card games, which you can sit down to while enjoying beer and pizza. Our Pesto Chicken and Proscuitto Pizza was delicious and paired nicely with a pint of Phillips Blue Buck Ale. As for our game of choice, we grabbed the cooperative Pandemic, but by the time we read through the rules, the restaurant was closing for the night.

Board Game Friends.png

The next day, we were visiting friends of ours out in Langley, so I grabbed the Cannery Variety Pack (containing two each of their Anarchist Amber Ale, Naramata Nut Brown Ale and Trellis IPA) as a housewarming gift for them. As I’ve written before, I’m big into these mixed six-packs, so I picked up a set for myself, as well.

Our weekend concluded with a walk to the Carnaval del Sol at Concord Pacific Place. The Latin America festival featured a 500-seat beer garden, but the lineup was very long and I was more interested in trying out some of the food. We chowed on a collection of tacos from La Taqueria, as well as an empanada from a stall Mrs. Sip snuck off to.

There has also been a fair amount of drinking from home during this spell, which has allowed the Sip Advisor to delve into some newly gifted products. Ma and Pa Sip, when returning from Victoria, provided me with a mini bottle of Vin Gin from De Vine Spirits, which I’ve put to use in some tasty Gin & Tonics. They also gave me bottles of Honey Shine and Strawberry Vodka, while Pa Sip took home their Honey Spiced Rum, which I’ve been able to also sample.

Rum I'm In.jpg

Last Thursday, World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT brand arrived in Vancouver for the very first time and I just had to check out the event. Molson Canadian beers were available for $8, although strangely, higher end options such as Blue Moon and Granville Island were only 50 cents more. The PNE Agrodome also needs to work on paying electronically, as this option was offered for merchandise and alcohol purchases, but not for food… of which, Mrs. Sip thought her hotdog wasn’t very good at all.

Another work week wrapped up with a visit to Green Leaf Brewing in North Vancouver. Here, I tried the Weizenhower Wheat, before returning to their Burning Rock Ale. We also ordered some of the brewery’s nut snacks, which went very well with the beverages.

Now, we enjoy a brief respite from our hectic schedule, before ramping things up again this weekend with a guy’s night out, games of golf and baseball, and so much more…