Sip Trips #84: Christmas Crunch

Well, my little sippers, the Christmas season is in full swing and Mrs. Sip and I have been busy with various events with friends and family. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been up to:

On Sunday, we checked out the Stanley Park Christmas Train. While the ride was enjoyable as usual, Mrs. Sip was hoping there would be more of a theme, as there has been in past years. Still, the lights were beautiful and the music was festive, so I’ll give it a passing grade.

Following the train, we had our traditional family meal at White Spot. To pair with my typical Legendary Burger order, we selected a couple pitchers of Granville Island Winter Ale. There’s something about this beer on tap that takes it to a whole ‘nutha level!


The next evening, Mrs. Sip and I got a rare date night, visiting the Vancouver Christmas Market. The new location does provide more room, but some of the lineups need to be better organized, such as the beer booth’s queue bleeding into another nearby line and causing confusion and blockages. Mrs. Sip enjoyed her spiced rum mulled wine, while I downed a serving of Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel. The price for each beverage was $8, leaving little cash leftover for two folks who largely use cards for payment. It seems odd that many vendors selling merchandise were able to offer a charge card payment option, but most food and drink stalls could not. Oh well, that’s money saved from the expensive event that we really only attend because Mrs. Sip gets free tickets each year.

That saved money was quickly put to use as we popped into the Earl’s Kitchen + Bar in Yaletown. Their Man en Fuego cocktail (Mezcal, El Jimador Tequila, Mango juice, green Tabasco, lime juice) was on special and it’s a very good drink. So good, Mrs. Sip and I each ordered a second. For our meals, Mrs. Sip selected the Avocado Super Toast, while I went with the Hunan Kung Pao noodle dish. Both dinners were very good.

This weekend, we have even more on the schedule, so it will be another whirlwind. ‘Tis the season, am I right!?

Sip Trips #10 – Creative Control

The last couple weeks, Mrs. Sip has been quite busy and out of town on both weekends. This weekend, we made a point of not having too many plans, allowing us some freedom to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. Here’s how that all turned out:

Friday night, we enjoyed a late night dinner at EXP Restaurant and Bar, which is one of my favourite places in downtown Vancouver. This haven for video game fans of all ages has a spectacular menu, with great food (I have yet to leave disappointed, after trying numerous items) and drinks, all themed after gaming franchises. I recently discovered their Classic Cheese Burger of Experience – complete with deep fried pickles – which I would throw on my Top 5 Vancouver burgers list. It’s also advertised to give the consumer +25% XP, so you have that going for you, too!


While at EXP, Mrs. Sip and I grabbed a pitcher of Granville Island Winter Ale, which we were told by one of the owners/managers was the last keg of the seasonal beer the brewery had. It’s a brew that I’ve enjoyed for a number of years and it is fantastic fresh from the tap. With winter giving way to spring, this will likely be the last time I get to enjoy it until next fall and we enjoyed it in style!

On Saturday, we joined Ma and Pa Sip for dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen. Mrs. Sip and I have celebrated a couple occasions here before and we really enjoy their food and cocktails. Another good meal was spoiled, though, as we were finishing up and minutes away from leaving, one of the staff (perhaps a manager) asked us, without any touch of courtesy, to wrap up quickly, so they could seat another group. We had put down some good money on this meal – appies, mains, and bottle of wine included – and to be asked to hurry up so another group can sit, was rude.

I don’t like to dwell on bad, though ,so let’s get back to the good. The weather in our neck of the woods has been amazing the last couple weeks, so Mrs. Sip and I decided to take full advantage with a long walk to Craft Beer Market and its neighbour, Legacy Liquor Store.

Walking Overrated

At Craft, we had great service from a bartender who was more than happy to let us sample some of the many beers they have on tap. We particularly liked the collaboration beer produced by the brewmasters of Craft and Granville Island Brewing, which was an Imperial Gingerbread Porter.

We then popped over to Legacy for their free tasting, which included Belhaven Scottish Stout and Crabbie’s Orange Ginger Beer. Thanks to my weekly Legacy newsletter, I was made aware of Breakside Brewery’s Tropicalia, a beer which combines lychee and yellow chilies. It was a very nice brew – paired later with nachos – with just enough of a singe on the taste buds, exactly the way I like it!

We wrapped up the week that was with a very unique experience: the combination of an Irish pub experience with the performance of an Irish ghost story play… or at least that’s the way it was supposed to be. The venue just recently changed its name and look from Cieli’s, an Irish watering hole, to The Roadhouse, a hole! I kid, as not much has changed aesthetically yet, but it’s a little tragic that the whole theme was swapped just prior to this engagement and St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish Bar

During the show (called The Weir), I made a point of enjoying a couple pints of Guinness, although I’m not the biggest fan of stouts. After all, if you’re going to watch an Irish show in a formerly Irish pub, you might as well drink Irish too!

Speaking of Guinness, a couple weeks back, Ma and Pa Sip stopped at a British product store and picked up a bag of Guinness potato chips for me. Now, I’m a huge chippy monster, but (as previously mentioned) have never been too crazy into Guinness as a beer option. All that said, these chips are amazing, with a wonderful flavour and good crunch. My only regret is that I didn’t have a bigger bag to enjoy, but at least I’ve now been introduced to this delicious stout-infused snack.