October 3 – Waikiki Wave

Aloha

As many of you little sippers know, I recently celebrated my 30th birthday in Hawaii! While there, I did what the Sip Advisor does best: got smashed all around the island, leaving a path of destruction not seen since the attack on Pearl Harbor… too soon!? Here is an account of my misadventures and some great spots to hit if you are ever in Honolulu:

Birthday Crawl and 30-Drink Challenge

Mrs. Sip and I arrived on the beautiful island shortly before the clock turned over to my birthday. At exactly midnight, I sipped my first drink and was promptly challenged to down 30 libations before the day was done. I had six down the hatch before going to bed and awoke to a shot around 8am. After picking up friends at the airport, the birthday pub crawl was off and running. Over the rest of the day, we hit Jimmy Buffett’s, LuLu’s, Tiki’s, Rum Fire, and The Yardhouse, where I destroyed a half-yard of brew for my 30-in-30!

30th Birthday

Happy Hours and Mai-Tais

Hawaii, perhaps more so than any other place in the world, is famous for their midday and late night happy hours. You can bet that we took advantage of as many as possible, despite the collection of bottles we had waiting for us in our apartment. A must-have drink while vacationing on any of the Hawaiian Islands is the Mai-Tai. The Mai-Tai is among Mrs. Sip’s all-time favourite offerings, while I enjoyed a couple at Chuck’s Steak House (which is owned by Duke’s, another not to be missed dinner spot with a phenomenal salad bar located at the Outrigger hotel). They even came in tiki-head shaped glasses!

Yardhouse Options

While we enjoyed many locations, our group’s favourite hangout was probably The Yardhouse, which we visited nearly every day. Thankfully, I’ve learned this chain exists near enough to me that I will get to visit again soon. The food was great and the drinks even better. They have countless offerings on tap (definitely something for everyone) and I made sure to try nearly every wheat or white beer they had in stock. Food was also pretty good with boneless chicken wings and half priced happy hour pizzas!

Dave and Busters

In a previous article, I outlined some restaurants that I wanted to visit. One of those was Dave and Busters, which I learned only days before our vacation had a location in Hawaii. When Mrs. Sip and I stumbled upon the outlet, we made sure to enjoy some food (delicious pretzel dogs), copious amounts of beer (a shuttle of 100 ounces) and their midway games! We had a wonderful time, highlighted by a four-way air hockey contest, yours truly defeating Mrs. Sip on a massive Connect 4 game, and also scoring the only 5/5 on the trivia challenge!

Dave and Busters

Top of Waikiki

This top-rated bar was a wonderful retreat from Waikiki’s bustling streets. As we rotated around the bar, it was fun to check out the restaurant’s liquor collection and indulge in a few delicious cocktails. Our bartender, Kory, was second only to your very own Sip Advisor and catered to our every whim. It was here (as well as at Rum Fire) that I learned how much I enjoy and appreciate drinks with a little heat, whether through hot sauces or being mixed with peppers.  My favourite recipe was the Naughty or Nice, which combined rum, strawberry puree, mint, soda, and Serrano peppers.

Beach Time

While I’m not a huge fan of going to the beach (the poor man’s pool, as I call it), we did spend a number of afternoon hours soaking up the sun and getting filthy in the ocean and sand. A highlight, was making our own midnight pizza and taking it out onto one of the beach piers (along with some liquid sunshine) and enjoying the waves crashing against our bare feet as we ate, drank and pondered.

Boozy Ending

Mrs. Sip and I spent our last night in paradise kicking back and relaxing (not to mention polishing off every last bit of alcohol in our place). The only thing I like about coming home from vacation is introducing the liquor we purchase (our babies) to their new abode. On this trip, Mrs. Sip and I picked up bottles of Macadamia Nut Liqueur, Rock Coconut Rum, Apple Pie Moonshine, Malibu Red, and some mini bottles of various flavours to be featured soon!

Drink #276: Waikiki Wave (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Waikiki Wave Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Bacardi Oakheart)
  • Top with POG (Passion-Orange-Guava) Juice
  • Splash of Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Hawaii Cookie and Macadamia Nuts

I’d say the only area that Hawaii drinking needs improvement is that you can’t drink on the street and beach. If the island could remedy this and become a little more like Las Vegas in their public alcohol consumption laws, that would be amazing. Especially with all the ABC stores, I just wanted to grab a beer, crack it and walk a block to the next outlet!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This was an okay drink, but I think my Ginger Ale had gone a little flat and wasn’t the awesome ingredient it usually is. All the garnishes were certainly fun to eat after the drink was consumed and the munchies had truly kicked in!

September 20 – Blue Hawaiian

Mahalo

Mrs. Sip and I, along with members of the Sip Alliance are off to Hawaii in a couple days to celebrate my ‘Dirty 30’! I figured it would be a good time to look into things to do on the islands (I will focus on Oahu and the city of Honolulu, as that’s where we’re staying) and while the list could basically say “do absolutely nothing,” there are actually a few must-see and must-do attractions to be enjoyed!

Hike Diamond Head

While I’m vehemently opposed to any exercise while on vacation, the sights from atop Diamond Head are said to be spectacular, giving those brave enough to traverse the volcanic cone a view of the entire island paradise. I only wish it was like the 1975 game show The Diamond Head Game, where contestants stepped into a ‘money volcano’ and tried to grab flying cash!

Diamond-Head

Buy Something at the Aloha Stadium Market

When Mrs. Sip and I hit the market during our last visit, I grabbed a Hawaii 5-0 t-shirt that said “Book’em Danno” (my dad’s nickname for me when I was a wee little sipper), while Mrs. Sip grabbed a bottle of balsamic vinegar. There are so many other great items up for grabs here, but it doesn’t take too long before you tire of the search. Make sure to keep hydrated in the heat.

Pay Your Respects at Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial

The Ben Affleck flick just doesn’t do the story justice… in fact, it probably detracts from the history. The site was home to Japan’s attack on the United States on Dec. 7, 1941, pulling the country into World War II. Make sure to grab your ticket for the attraction early in the day, as the limited vouchers are sold before the morning turns into afternoon.

Learn at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Eight different villages are honoured at the Cultural Centre, including Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, and others. Here, you can get a henna tattoo, learn how to hula dance, participate in tribal games, or even sample the utterly disgusting poi. A true highlight is the Royal Feast, which will leave you completely stuffed, as you enjoy Polynesian dancing and other performing arts.

hawaii-oahu-polynesian

Do an Island Pub Crawl

In researching this article, I found out there is a Dave & Buster’s in Honolulu, so that is definitely going on the list. Sadly, though, Senor Frog’s closed down this year due to a rent disagreement. When Mrs. Sip and I were on the island in 2009, we travelled around and found some amazing spots and drink deals. Pitchers of beer for $5 and $2 Mai Tais… this isn’t brain science!

Eat, Eat, Eat

There are numerous locations you have to visit in Hawaii for their culinary delectables. From American cuisine favourites at The Cheesecake Factory to romantic seafood meals at Duke’s and everything in between, there’s something for every taste on the island. Mrs. Sip and I found this hidden Mexican joint the last time we were there and hopefully we can track it down again!

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Get Wet at Waikiki Beach

Whether you want to try your hand at surfing or snorkeling, play among the waves that crash against the shore, or just hang out on the sand and perfect your tan, hitting the beach offers all this and more. I like to grab a spot close enough to the bars on the other side of the street so that you’re primed for when hunger, thirst, or happy hour strikes.

Appreciate Wildlife at the Honolulu Zoo or Waikiki Aquarium

Perfect for kids and adults who still want to be young, both the zoo and aquarium are home to a number of amazing animal species. The zoo houses 1,230 animals that will keep you enthralled with their behaviour, while the aquarium is located right along the beach, the optimal setting for viewing creatures of the water. Must-see attractions for all ages.

Drink #263: Blue Hawaiian

Sept 20

  • 0.75 oz Light Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Slices

Do you have any suggestions for our upcoming trip and birthday celebration? We’ll try to squeeze it in among all the drinking and relaxing!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
There are other Blue Hawaii and Blue Hawaiian recipes, but I went with the traditional offering. It was a strong drink and needed a little dilution to taste decent. Perhaps using a Pineapple or Lemon-Lime Soda in the future would give it a little more zip.

August 13 – The Wave

Chain Gang

Mrs. Sip and I are always looking to try new restaurants. We travel often enough that it’s always good to have some ideas of places to hit in locations we aren’t accustomed to. That said, here are some chains I want to visit for the first time:

Carl’s Jr.

Watching TV the other day, I saw a new commercial for Carl’s Jr. that featured the Epic Meal Time guys presenting the burger joint’s new offering: the Super Bacon Burger. While this sandwich would have previously been unobtainable to me, save for a jaunt down to the United States, a Carl’s Jr. just opened up in my neighbourhood.

Carl's Jr.

She seems to like it!

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle is another chain that recently crossed the border and opened a location mere blocks from my home and work. Sadly, I have yet to visit, despite hearing good things. The restaurant’s food spiciness has been lampooned on South Park before, thanks to Cartman’s often disgusting eating habits.

Sonic Drive-In

I’ve enjoyed a number of commercials from this outlet and it would be totally nostalgic to visit one of these drive-in locations, complete with roller skating carhops. In recent years, the brand has also opened two Sonic Beach locations, which offer outdoor seating and serve beer and wine!

In-N-Out Burger

The draw of In-N-Out Burger is their “secret menu,” which features options like Animal Style Fries (fries with two slices of melted cheese, sauce, and grilled onions). The chain remains quite popular with customers because of this and other moves, such as paying employees well above the minimum wage in the areas they operate.

in-n-out-secret-menu

Chick-Fil-A

Despite the owner’s checkered history with public relations, I’ve heard great things about the food at Chick-Fil-A and would like to give it a shot. I love chicken burgers and any place that claims “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich,” deserves a chance to prove their mettle, in my books.

White Castle

If it was good enough for Harold and Kumar, then it’s good enough for me! It would be interesting to see how many of their famous sliders I could force down my gullet. I’m no competitive eater, but if these treats are as good as advertised, I’d love to take a crack at demolishing a stack of them.

Dave & Buster’s

This is like the adult version of Chuck E. Cheese’s combining video games, booze, food, and fun! If I was near any location, I would most certainly have my birthday there and redeem game tickets for penny candy, bouncy balls, and squirt guns! Come on, little sippers, let’s make this dream come true!!!

Drink #225: The Wave (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Wave Cocktail

  •  1 oz Cherry Lemonade Vodka
  • 1 oz Captain Morgan Bite Rum
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with Club Soda or Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Blend with Ice
  • Garnish with Maraschino Cherries and a Cocktail Umbrella

Do you have any suggestions of chains I should try as Mrs. Sip and I travel the world? Obviously, you don’t know where we been and what we’ve tried, but if there’s a restaurant you treasure and you’d like to share that with us, feel free to throw it out there.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This recipe was created by Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip and used some very interesting spirit choices, creating a tasty blend. Depending on how sweet you want the cocktail, you can use either Club Soda or Lemon-Lime Soda as a mixer. For added presentation points, the girls added a light-up ice cube to the frozen concoction, giving it an alluring glow!