Sip Trips #100: Easter Eggs (Part 2)

Part one of our Easter long weekend expedition to Las Vegas can be found here

Day three of our trip began with us finally buying some show tickets. With the task of having to redeem our seats – starting at Bally’s and then travelling all the way to the Luxor (Blue Man Group), before traversing nearly the entire strip and hitting Treasure Island (Cirque du Soleil: Mystère), then finally returning to The Linq… all while Mrs. Sip relaxed poolside – I knew I needed some good stiff drinks for the trek.

That was achieved by popping into the Fuel Bar, using one of their 2-for-1 drink coupons. For only $14, I was able to get two very strong Melon Mules, while enjoying the skilled flair bartenders. To say I set out on my expedition feeling good and fuzzy, would be an understatement!

Shut Up Liver

My arduous two-hour journey complete – to be fair, I actually like doing these missions… just don’t let Mrs. Sip know – I collected Mrs. Sip from the pool and we made our way to Hyde Lounge for drinks and the Bellagio fountains. I had wanted to order their Smore cocktail, but they were out of the Graham cracker rim. I settled for the Love Unit (Vodka, Vanilla Vodka, Thai Basil, Lime, Grapefruit, and Bell Pepper Juices), which was pretty good. I would also like to try their Mexican Hot Coffee in the future.

From there, it was off to see the Blue Man Group at the Luxor. This show was non-step energy and entertainment. I totally blue myself! Following the spectacle, we were given 2-for-1 drink coupons at the Centra bar, where we were able to mix and match some cocktails. I ended up with their Smoked Salt Margarita and Hrdara, which featured Jameson Whiskey.

Not content to end the night, we ventured to New York New York’s The Chocolate Bar, which had caught our eye a couple nights earlier. My beverage of choice was the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Martini (Castries Peanut Butter Rum, 360 Chocolate Vodka, Marie Brizard Chocolate Liqueur), which was every bit as decadent as it sounds.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

After a slow start to the next day, we took advantage of the Yard House’s weekday happy hour and grabbed a set of cheap appies: Buffalo Boneless Wings, California Roll, and Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds. To wash down all the delicious nibbles, I ordered a pint of the Ninkasi Tricerahops, which lived up to its awesome name.

Next up was our Cirque du Soleil: Mystère show, which combined a nice mix of acrobatics and comedy. Forgive me for going on a little rant, but I have to call out the loser who sat in front of us at the show. First, his family showed up after the opening act and then he proceeded to constantly turn his phone on and off throughout the show, even sending photos via messaging. The kicker was that he then left just minutes before the show was over, causing yet another disturbance. The phone constantly lighting up was so distracting and I wish Cirque would just outright ban the use of them at their presentations. Okay… breathe.

Not letting some asshole ruin our night, on our way back from the show, we passed The Piano Bar at Harrah’s. Noticing that their outside patio was open, we decided to watch some of the dueling pianos. I ended up ordering a bottle of Ballast Point IPA for a whopping $9, but at least I can justify the charge as part of being entertained.

Piano Lesson

Having always wanted to try eating at In-N-Out Burger and in need of a midnight snack, Mrs. Sip and I visited the location in the Linq’s Promenade area. We thought the burgers were decent and Mrs. Sip enjoyed a Chocolate Milkshake (seriously, she’s really into milkshakes and ice cream lately), but I found the name of the burger joint does give me some reservations.

On our last day, we decided to revisit our top choices from the trip. First, after enjoying the drinks and atmosphere so much, we returned to the Fuel Bar for a pair of Lynchburg Lemonades that made for a good day drunk buzz. For lunch, we revisited the PBR Rock Bar to repeat our usual menu selections, while also trying their House Made Chili, which was a very nice addition.

After a long walk along the strip, we popped into AmeriCAN for one last beverage. While I like their concept of offering largely canned craft beers, I think they will have to make some changes to survive in the uber competitive market. For example, there is no happy hour to speak of. Also, they don’t even offer guests water, instead trying to charge them $3 for a bottle. That is a cardinal sin in the Sip Advisor’s books. After being out of my first few choices, I selected the Joseph James Weize Guy Hefeweizen, which was quite refreshing, especially after our extensive walk in the Vegas sun.

That wrapped another amazing trip to Sin City. Given this is likely the last time Mrs. Sip and I will get to enjoy the adult Disneyland prior to kids arriving, I think we went out with a bang!

Sip Trips #99: Easter Eggs (Part 1)

The Easter long weekend found Mrs. Sip and me back in Las Vegas for another wonderful stay on the strip. With Mrs. Sip being pregnant, things are a little different than other vacations, but we still managed to have a ton of fun, despite her not being able to imbibe like the Sip Advisor.

This journey started with our Lyft driver offering to take us to the Total Wine store to pick up supplies. Not wanting to make her regret her very generous offer, I raced around the store grabbing some provisions, such as a bottle of Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum and a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo Tropical IPA. Mrs. Sip bought a couple non-alcoholic items, but I don’t think either the beers or wine were much of a hit with her.

Non-Alcoholic-Vodka

After dropping off our luggage and buying some walking drinks (Coconut Water for the well-behaved Mrs. Sip), we decided to go for lunch at what has become our traditional first meal landing spot: the PBR Rock Bar. We promptly ordered our favourite dishes in the Doritos Crusted Mac N Cheese for Mrs. Sip and Bucking Bull Fries for moi. Mrs. Sip added a plate of their Cornbread Muffins, just to spice things up.

Given we had stayed up all night, driving from Vancouver to Seattle to fly out early Friday morning, both of us were in the need of a little nap. Staying at The Linq, this was easier said than done, given our room looked out onto the hotel pool and made sleeping difficult throughout the stay, thanks to the 9am-6pm thumping music. I’d stay at the resort again, but request a room as far away from the pool as possible.

Once we did get some rest in, we returned to the strip at night, capitalizing on the free burger coupons we were given in February for the Shake Shack. We both went with the Shack Burger option and split a serving of their Bacon BBQ Cheddar Fries. To drink, I tried the Shackmeister Pale Ale, while Mrs. Sip satisfied her frozen dessert craving with a Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake.

cats-with-milkshake

We wrapped up the night sitting outside the Bar at Times Square, enjoying the dueling pianos with a drink (at least for the Sip Advisor), before Mrs. Sip needed to catch up on some more sleep.

The next morning, it was time to see what all the fuss and thumping was about at the hotel pool. In between tanning, cooling off and people watching, I did hit the bar. I elected to try the Cucumber Kick cocktail (Sauza Cucumber Chili Tequila, Watermelon-Cucumber Juice, Lime, Cucumbers), which was pretty tasty. I did get upsold to the $24 souvenir glass version, which did come in handy for later walks with my previously-purchased supplies.

For dinner, we made our way to the Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops and put our names in at The Cheesecake Factory. With only a short wait to endure, we were quickly sat down. I really enjoyed my Southern Fried Chicken Sliders, paired with a Great Basin Icky IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with the Avocado Toast. The meals provided a decent amount of leftovers, which we were actually able to take away for a change, as The Linq has very rare fridges in their rooms.

Back in the room for the night and halfway through our vacation, this seems like a good point to wrap up part one of our trip summary. Join us tomorrow for part two, highlighted by shows and sips!

Sip Trips #98: Suds Search

With Mrs. Sip on injured reserve – you know, being pregnant and all – the Sip Advisor has been without my best drinking buddy for a few months. I’d be completely lost if the guys in my life hadn’t stepped up to try and fill that massive void and while not the same, I greatly appreciate their efforts. Such was the case on Friday when we hit the town in search of beer, burgers and booze.

After a few drinks at the Sip Advisor headquarters, we made our way to the Central City Brew Pub for dinner and further beverages. To eat, I ordered my usual Crispy Crunch Burger (with Beer-Battered Fries), which was fantastic as usual. Being cheese sensitive, I noticed the change to Jalapeno Havarti on the sandwich, which I found to enhance the meal enjoyment. I paired my burger with the Strathcona North West Pale Ale and later the Longwood Steam Punk Dunkelweizen, which were both decent, without standing out too much.

Chicken Burger

Moving on from Central City, we stopped next at Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House. There, I enjoyed two servings of the Howe Sound King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen, which is a favourite of mine, especially on a hot summer day, relaxing poolside at Ma and Pa Sip’s place. A round of Scotch (Bruichladdich Classic Laddie) was also ordered for the table because why the hell not!

On Tuesday, we sat down to dinner with the Sip In-Laws at Patron Tacos & Cantina. Mrs. Sip and I combined an order of four tacos (Al Pastor, Carnitas, Shredded Beef, Shredded Chicken) with their Queso Fundido, which was more than enough for the two of us. To wash the delicious food down, I went with their Michelada (beer with spices), which was on special. It was a unique twist to just ordering a brew and it came in a massive glass, so there was plenty of the beverage to accompany my meal.

This weekend, Mrs. Sip and I are off to Las Vegas again. I’ve already stockpiled a list of places to hit, so next week’s Sip Trips should be pretty epic!

Sip Trips #97: Baby on Board

Well, the cat’s finally out of the bag (that is such a weird saying… I mean, who puts a cat in a bag anyway): Mrs. Sip is pregnant! That has meant some great changes at the Sip Advisor offices, which I will delve into in future articles. Today’s post is about how we recently celebrated our big news, with the Great Cocktail Reveal party!

After taking a couple months to let our friends and family in on the secret, we were ready to reveal the gender of our little one in grand fashion. There was only one fitting way the Sip Advisor should learn of this detail and that was through either a pink or blue cocktail being poured by Mrs. Sip, who learned of the sex a couple weeks earlier.

Gender Reveal T-Shirt

Along with the cocktail being prepared for me, we also put together two pink and two blue recipes for our guests and let them make their wager through their beverage of choice. Each serving was garnished with either a pink or blue tuft of cotton candy, completing the presentation. Here are the tasty, yet simple cocktails I created for the event:

Blue Bubbles

  • Vodka
  • Bubble Gum Soda
  • Club Soda

Brilliant Blue

  • Tequila
  • Berry Blue Blast Juice
  • Lemon-Lime Soda

Pretty in Pink

  • Vodka
  • Pink Grapefruit Juice
  • Club Soda

Pink Danger

  • Tequila
  • Watermelon Juice
  • Lemon-Lime Soda

So, now that I’ve got your attention, I bet you’re wondering what the results were. Well, come late September (due date is estimated to be September 27th), Mrs. Sip and I will be the proud parents of a baby girl! While I’m still adjusting to writing lines like that, we are ecstatic with this development in our lives and can’t wait to meet the new addition to our family!

Sip Trips #91: City of Sin (Part 2)

With so much crammed into our short getaway to Las Vegas, I split the happenings into two articles. Part one included a fair bit of action. Could we top our efforts on days three and four?

We began the second half of our Sin City experience by visiting the Yard House for their afternoon happy hour deals. We gorged ourselves on orders of their Fried Chicken Strips, California Roll, and Queso Dip, while I put back pints of Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA and Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado Double IPA.

Later, en route to the other end of the strip, we popped into the new Shake Shack, where I got a massive “Roadie” serving (32 oz. mug) of Big Dog Dirty Dog IPA. As we chatted with a server and told him we had never tried one of their burgers, he disappeared and returned with coupons to try a couple of their offerings, on the house.

shake-shack

We capped the evening with another favourite, enjoying the dueling pianos from outside the Bar at Times Square inside New York New York. Inside, the venue can usually get pretty packed, so we opt for seats outside, where we can still enjoy the tunes, high energy atmosphere, and best of all, drink our own beverages.

The next day, we journeyed to the Bellagio’s Hyde Lounge, where delicious, yet expensive cocktails can be enjoyed while watching the amazing fountain shows. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t rank this visit very high, as my Burning Mango cocktail completely lacked the advertised jalapeno flavour and the fountains weren’t running as regularly (every 15 minutes) as they should have been at that time of day. The one show we did get is Mrs. Sip’s least favourite, so the timing just wasn’t right.

Not to be deterred, and to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Mrs. Sip and I bought a ticket package that included a buffet dinner at The Wynn, as well as tickets to their Cirque du Soleil-inspired Le Reve show. The meal and entertainment were top notch, with copious crab legs and other dinner and dessert items enjoyed, followed by a spectacular performance of the water-based program.

le-reve

The evening was topped with a visit to another of the strip’s popular dueling pianos hotspots at Harrah’s The Piano Bar. By this point, we were kind of running on fumes, so decided to call the night somewhat short and finish the drinks we had remaining at our resort, enjoying the amazing view we had of the area.

And just to show that we’re well-rounded (not physically… yet) people and are capable of doing more than shuffle through life with a permanent buzz, Mrs. Sip and I also managed to visit both the Neon Museum and Mob Museum attractions. Using a combo ticket, with nice discount, we would highly recommend both to anyone visiting the city.

The Neon Museum’s boneyard is home to 200 signs, each playing their own role in Las Vegas history. The guided one-hour tour takes you through many of these tales, such as that of the Moulin Rouge placard, which belonged to the first non-segregated casino on the strip.

neon-museum

As for the Mob Museum, we visited on an interesting day, as Valentine’s Day not only marked the exhibition’s 5th anniversary (and so it was open to locals for free), but it’s also the anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which is a featured attraction of the gallery. Our self-guided tour lasted three hours and we could have stayed even longer.

That wraps up a busy four days spent in Sin City. Did we enjoy ourselves? Well, we’re planning on returning over the Easter long weekend for even more debauchery!

Sip Trips #90: City of Sin (Part 1)

While Mrs. Sip has made countless girls trips to Las Vegas in recent years, this was a rare occasion (so rare in fact, that this is my first chance to do a Sip Trips article about Las Vegas, despite the posts being a site feature since 2015) where I was allowed to partake in the fun… and there was a lot of it to go around. Here’s what we got up to over our stay in Sin City:

Upon arriving and checking in at The Wynn, we hit the street in search of hookers and cocaine… er, beer and potato chips… yeah, that sounds more like us! Our first stop was at the nearby Walgreens (which would become a base of sorts over our vacation) to grab a couple road beverages.

Moving on, the PBR Rock Bar and Grill has long been a favourite eatery for Mrs. Sip and I, as we adore their Doritos Crusted Mac N Cheese and Bucking Bull Fries. While chowing on those menu items, I ordered the 8 Seconds cocktail, comprised of Bulleit Bourbon, ginger beer, bitters, orange juice, and basil.

doritos-crusted-mac-n-cheese

Following lunch, we made our way to Sin City Brewing, which is part of the Planet Hollywood resort’s Miracle Mile Shops. Here, I ordered a large serving of their seasonal Double IPA, which was enough to get me feeling pretty buzzed.

With a couple of friends also staying in the city, we met up at the Public House in the Venetian. My brew of choice at this stop was the Victory Hop Devil Nitro, which was paired with the bar’s Duck Confit Poutine.

Next up, we were off to XS Nightclub, where we had a spot on the guest list. This was my opportunity to experience some of the nightlife Mrs. Sip gets to revel in while away with the ladies, although we were only allowed to go so far before us guys were asked to cough up cash for further entry. Still, we managed to score a few free drink tickets, so that was a bonus. We largely used them on vodka sodas and procured one of the empty cabana areas to take in the scene.

XS Nightclub.png

The next morning, we were off to Downtown Las Vegas for a bar and craft beer crawl. Our first stop was Hop Nuts Brewing, where I started slowly with pints of their Belgian Wit and Snickerdoodle Brown. As we drank, we grabbed a two-for-one drinks Groupon for the nearby Velveteen Rabbit, a bar with very cool cocktails. I used my selections on the Love Potion No. 9 (lime peel-infused mezcal, house fig and pepper liqueur, grapefruit and mole bitters) and the Velvet Waltz (chai-infused dark rum, sherry, averna, vanilla and burnt sugar).

From there, we popped into Tenaya Creek Brewing, where they had a unique “spin the wheel, drink the beer” option. My spin resulted in a pint of their Pilsner GABF Gold, which I followed with an Imperial Stout. We then ventured to the Fremont Street Experience, beginning with Banger Brewing. While scarfing down some Korean Pork Fries, I tried pints of their Perfect 10 Pale Ale and Jalapeno Heffe with Pineapple.

Fremont Experience.jpg

Chicago Brewing at the 4 Queens was up next on the crawl, where they had a 8 beers for $8 flight deal. Our last stop of the tour was Triple 7 Brewery, inside the Main Street Station hotel and casino. Their late night happy hour included $2 beers and food deals. Although, by this point, I didn’t need any more to quench my thirst, I ordered their Brewmaster’s IPA and Bad Guys Wear Black Imperial Stout.

We’ll temporarily wrap things up there at the halfway point of our vacation. Come back tomorrow for the rest of our journey, including a few rare non-beverage-related experiences!

Sip Trips #86: Best of 2016

Each year, the Sip Advisor fondly looks back at the best drinking nights (in order of occurrence) of the previous calendar… at least what he can remember of them. Join us as we take a moment to dissect and celebrate 2016:

Libational Learning

When a night ends with the Sip Advisor passing out on the couch, sans clothing, you know it’s been a good one! The Science of Cocktails extravaganza was a fascinating and booze-fueled evening. We wanted to return this year, but Mrs. Sip has a trial starting the next day, so that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. #Responsibilities

Family Day Festivities

Over the Family Day long weekend, the Sip Alliance explored both the Fraser Valley and North Vancouver craft beer regions, hitting more than a dozen locations. Many of these, were first time stops for our group and it opened our eyes to all the wonders that exist outside of Vancouver.

family-time

Crawling Around

Just one day after the Portland Beer & Wine Festival, we were back at it, hitting the streets of the City of Roses and searching out some of its most popular breweries. Over the course of the day, we worked our way through a half dozen tasting rooms. Eventually, we ended the journey with an Easter-themed burlesque show and Voodoo Doughnuts… because why the hell not!?

Lion City Leisure

With three nights in Singapore to start our five-week Asian adventure, we decided to spend one of those nights at the swanky Marina Bay Sands. Our hotel package included their evening happy hour, which in true Mr. and Mrs. Sip fashion, we rocked until they kindly asked us to leave. We followed this with swimming in the resort’s rooftop pool, 63 floors above the city.

The Happiest of Valleys

The fun didn’t stop there, as our cruise made a two-day stop in the vibrant city that is Hong Kong. This allowed us the chance to enjoy some nightlife, helped along by Mrs. Sip having a few friends living in the city. Coincidentally, it was also Wednesday race night at the Happy Valley Racetrack. Over a couple pitchers of beer, the Sip Advisor even picked a winning horse and took home a small prize.

horse-racing-for-rich-people

So Many Options

Arriving in Tokyo, Japan, we chose to stay near the Golden Gai district of the city. For those unfamiliar with the area, it is home to approximately 300 little bars, within a six-block radius. Our exploration led us into a few uniquely-themed watering holes, such as the one centered around horror movie and metal music cultures.

Drinking Sky High

Our fun in Tokyo didn’t stop there. The moment Mrs. Sip discovered that this attraction existed, we knew it would be a highlight of our stay in the city. At the Park Hyatt, their Peak Bar offered visitors the chance to drink all-inclusive during sunset hours, while looking down at the bustling city below, from the 41st floor. We ended up sitting next to a couple from Australia and spent the night drinking with them, as I challenged the bartender to make me her best drink with each different alcohol available.

Tipping N’ Tasting

Among my favourite annual beer festivals is the Tip N’ Taste event in Langley. It provides a chance to sample brews from companies based more in the Fraser Valley region of BC, as well as other entries from around the province. This year, we stayed overnight at the Convention Centre Hotel, which hosted the event. That meant the after party quickly moved to our room!

beer-crisper

Island Wedding

While on Prince Edward Island for a friend’s wedding, Mrs. Sip and I were introduced to a number of great people, who we partied away the weekend with. Following a meet-and-greet barbecue on the eve of the wedding, we accompanied our new associates back into Charlottetown for an impromptu night on the town, which ended much later than we had anticipated.

All You Need is Love

The Made with Love cocktail competition has become an annual tradition (three years running) for Mrs. Sip and I. It’s always a fun night out, trying the drinks of some of Vancouver’s most popular bartenders. Best of all, we get to play a role in picking the winning entry, although none of our personal favourites ever seem to come out on top.

Cruise Credits

To celebrate Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday, we booked a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver. Over the course of the evening, the Sip Advisor took in parts of four bottles of wine, a half-dozen beers, a couple cocktails, and a bottle of bubbly to boot, won through a ‘Finish the Song Lyrics’ quiz.

cruise-captain-morgan

Irish Blessings

Over the last couple years, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have celebrated my birthday in Hawaii, aboard a cruise ship, in Southern Africa, and now Ireland – although it was a couple days after the actual date. The Sip Syndicate was along for this ride and we celebrated in true Irish style with shots of Jameson Whiskey and pints of Guinness.

Fear and Loathing

Our trips to Disneyland nowadays typically include enjoying the sights and sounds (and lines) of the park with a cold beer or glass of wine in hand. In October, we were also primed for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, which involves getting a good buzz going, prior to entering. Once that was accomplished, all we had to deal with was psycho killer clowns, a rogue’s gallery of baddies and even some Jabbawockeez!

Award Season

My first year attending one of BC’s best craft beer shindigs proved why I had missed out in previous years. Unable to attend because of vacations and other commitments, we finally made it to the BC Beer Awards, where the Sip Advisor was able to sample about 20 different beers from the wonderful breweries that make up the province’s craft industry.

awards-season

Diamond Celebration

To commemorate Ma Sip’s 60th birthday, the entire family ventured to Disneyland, which also recently celebrated the same milestone. Mrs. Sip’s aunt also had her 50th birthday on that weekend, so there was much to revel in. That included a fair bit of drinking at the park and in our hotel rooms, as we made the change from day to night wear.

Traditional Tidings

To celebrate Christmas this year, the Sip Family stayed in Leavenworth, Washington, which is famous for being a little slice of Bavaria, hidden in the mountains. The town is a haven for Christmas lovers, and it’s here that we explored the many wine tasting rooms, a couple breweries and exuded as much festive spirit as one is allowed to, by law.

2016 was an amazing year… at least drinking wise. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has to offer, even though it has quite a bit to live up to!