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!

Video-Games-Money

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.

March 15 – Shamrocked

Kiss Me, I’m Irish

Around this time of year, we all want to be a little bit Irish… at least for the kisses! Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to name the top five greatest Irish citizens, invoking the 1/8th Irish within me. This is a hard list to breakdown, so I decided to take one member from each of the following worlds: literary, music, sports, business, and acting. I could have probably done an entire article about the greatest Irish drinkers, but that seems an even more difficult topic to tackle. Let’s get started, shall we!?:

#5: Bram Stoker

For turning Vlad the Impaler into the blood-sucking, eternal living, ghoul that has come to be the inspiration for countless movies, TV shows, plays, comics, and so much more media, Bram Stoker may be Ireland’s most famed writer, among a sea of other talented scribes. Including fictionalized diary entries, letters, and newspaper clippings, Stoker added an aura of realism to the story of Dracula, as the bloodthirsty count battled Professor Abraham Van Helsing and others. Sadly, Stoker could also be blamed for such vampire awfulness as Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Bram-Stoker

#4: Padraig Harrington

One of golf’s most successful players, Harrington has won two British Opens, as well as one PGA Championship. His 2008 season was exemplary, as the Dubliner won both of the aforementioned tournaments that season and was named European Tour and PGA Tour Player of the Year. Of the two golf majors he hasn’t won, his best performances were in the top five. Harrington is also heavily involved in charity work and is a global ambassador for the Special Olympics, hosting clinics for both players and coaches. Golfer John Daly may better exemplify the true Irish spirit with his personal trials, but we’ll take Harrington here.

#3: Bono

While I’d rather write about Enya and her moody, spiritual tracks, or Van Morrison and his classic rock, even I’d have to admit that Bono is a larger than life superstar. U2 (including fellow Irishman and buddy The Edge) are one of the most successful music acts of all-time. Their discography is full of hits, including Sunday Bloody Sunday, Vertigo, and With or Without You. The front man has received mixed reviews for his various causes with many critiquing him for being too preachy. If Bono doesn’t stop, I’ll reveal to the world that his real name is Paul Hewson… oops, too late! What’s so great about the name Bono anyway?

bono-looking

#2: Daniel Day-Lewis

This fine actor has wowed audiences with his portrayal of characters like Bill the Butcher (Gangs of New York), Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood), and even Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln). Day-Lewis is extremely devoted to his craft, researching his roles vigorously. For The Last of the Mohicans, he learned to live off the forest land, much like his character did. Later, for the period piece The Age of Innocence, he wore 1870’s aristocratic clothing (cane, cape, and top hat) out and about New York for two months. For Gangs of New York, he even apprenticed as a butcher. And here I refuse to even learn how to be a proper writer!

#1: Arthur Guinness

Ever notice that if you rearrange the letters in Guinness and tell a couple of them to screw off Irish style, you can spell genius!? Well, that’s what Arthur Guinness was. Sure, a Guinness stout is like a full meal and isn’t the easiest of beers to enjoy, but those who truly love a good pint will tell you until their blue in the face that Guinness should be held on its own pedestal. As far as Irish entrepreneurs go, I also have to toss some credit to Tony Ryan, the creator of Ryanair, which has helped Mrs. Sip and I cheaply traverse parts of Europe. Here’s a Guinness in honour of both gentlemen!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Shamrocked

Shamrocked Shooter

  • 0.5 Irish Whiskey
  • 0.5 Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Midori
  • Garnish with a Shamrock

For more Ireland coverage, check back later this week, as the Emerald Isle is out next stop for Around the World. It just so happens to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, which I hope all my little sippers out there are able to celebrate safely and happily!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty decent with the ingredients mixing together pretty well and creating a creamy melon taste. Luckily, I had bought Mrs. Sip a Shamrock necklace when I was in Ireland all those years ago and it was the perfect accent to the shooter.