August 30 – Smokestack

Mains & Sides

Well, this is the last long weekend of the summer, which means it’s primetime for all the barbecue masters out there to whip up the delicacies we crave all winter long. While I’m pretty open to anything someone is kind enough to put on my plate, here are the Top 5 barbecue foods, according to the Sip Advisor:

#5: Kangaroo

Although Mrs. Sip and I only enjoyed this barbecued delicacy once, it’s a meal I will never forget… which is a little surprising because we were on a winery tour in the Barossa Valley of Australia and well on route to a drunken bender. The meat was prepared in red wine and was so tender and juicy that we went at the offering with a piranha-like frenzy. While I would usually never commit the faux pas of eating the last remaining piece, in this case, I even stabbed some poor dude with a fork to get it!

Kangaroo Meats

#4: Corn on the Cob/Cornbread

Corn is an essential ingredient for a good barbecue and thanks to these two serving options, can be enjoyed in different forms with equally pleasurable results. While the Sip Advisor hates getting food stuck in his teeth (the main reason he loathes popcorn), corn on the cob is one situation where that fear is thrown out the window. As for cornbread, you better lay your hands off my slice or it’s dueling time. Slap some butter on either of these side dishes and you’ll be in sweet-salty heaven.

#3: Potato Chips

My affinity for the potato chip has been discussed at length, but here we go again! I love my chippies and am practically addicted to the snack treat. Like a junkie, I start itching for that sweet release that comes with the first bite and the burst of flavour that will soon fill the void in my soul. Chips are an easy side for any meal, but work best when you have a big ol’ bowl of them on display for the Sip Advisor to steal, hide in some dark, dank corner and inject straight to the veins.

potato-chips-funny-quotes

#2: Pulled Pork

There’s nothing like smacking a glob of pulled pork down onto a fresh bun, topping it with some slaw and taking a mammoth bite out of the wicked sandwich. Preferably, you next move will be to wash down that food with an ice cold brewski, thus completing two-thirds of the holy trinity. All that’s left is to take a brief cat nap and repeat the process again. God bless the pig for all the awesomeness it provides.

#1: Hot Dogs

Is there anything that smells better in this world than a barbecue grilling up hot dogs? Other meats are all well and good, too, but for my money, nothing tops some smokies! Hot dogs are so amazing that they can become the icing on the cake or the cherry on the sundae, even when purchased on the street in the wee hours of the morning after getting blitzed all night long. Somebody better get the grill going because I’m ready for a feast fit for a Sip Advisor!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Smokestack (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Aug 30

  • Rim glass with Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 oz Absolut Texas Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • Garnish with Cucumber Slices

I have to throw a massive shout out and honourable mention to potato and noodle salads. Without these two brothers in mayonnaise, I don’t know how I would have survived barbecues as a little sipper picky eater!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This could be the world’s next great punishment shot, even though on their own, in various cocktails, the alcohols are quite nice. Speaking of the alcohol, Mrs. Sip and I recently stumbled upon this entry in the Absolut City Series, which combines Cucumber and Serrano Chili Peppers… a perfect summer blend. The Cucumber Slices were a nice touch visually, but were a choking hazard during the actual shooter.

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Sweden – Hunky Dory

Home Furnishings

Recent ads for IKEA used the slogan “Home is the most important place in the world.” Mrs. Sip and I, however, maintain that the company’s motto should really be “Ruining relationships since… like, forever!” Yes, if you’ve ever survived building any IKEA item with your loved one, then you are, in fact, a special couple, with the strength to overcome any and all adversity. Around the world, IKEA is one of the most recognized Swedish imports, but what do we really know about this furniture and accessory outlet? Let’s dig a little deeper:

Ikea Slogan

IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad, with the name coming from his initials (I.K.), along with the farm in which he grew up on (Elmtaryd) and its nearby village (Agunnaryd). The company was incorporated in 1943 and marketed its first piece of build-it-yourself furniture in 1956, with the LOVET, a leaf-shaped side table. There are now 349 stores located throughout 43 countries.

More copies of the IKEA catalogue are printed each year than the Bible. In fact, 212 million copies of the catalogue, more than double the 100 million Bibles, are manufactured. The register comes in 29 different languages and has gained a cult following of sorts, with people able to pick out interesting hidden items within its pages. Some concealed images include odd books making up the shelving units on display, references to Mickey Mouse, and pictures of cats.

IKEA’s 2013 revenue was disclosed as being $37.9 billion (US) and since the company is actually owned by charities established by Kamprad, much of that money isn’t lost to the greedy government via taxes. The INGKA Foundation, which oversees the IKEA brand, is thought to be the world’s largest charitable organization, promoting “innovations in architecture and interior design”. While some decry that this is all a tax evasion strategy, it should be pointed out that the INGKA Foundation gives away millions of dollars each year to various causes and efforts. Granted, that pales in comparison to other efforts, particularly the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which donations measure into the billions.

returning-ikea

The company employs 150,000 people worldwide. While Disney has its ‘Cast Members,’ IKEA has ‘Co-Workers,’ which really doesn’t sound all that special. It would be much more awesome if employees were collectively known as ‘Swedish Meatballs!’

IKEA’s most popular product today is the Billy Bookcase, which it sells hundreds of thousands of each year. It’s estimated that one of these bookcases is sold every 10 seconds.

Products are named under specific guidelines including Swedish places for upholstered furniture; Swedish men’s names for chairs; Swedish women’s names for fabrics and curtains; Swedish islands for garden furniture; Finnish places for dining tables and chairs; Norwegian places for beds, wardrobes and hall furniture; and mammals and birds for children’s items. Approximately 85% of the items you find in your own IKEA could be located at any IKEA around the world, while the IKEA website contains 12,000 products and is the most comprehensive source for available pieces.

stool_samples

The way IKEA names products has resulted in some unintentional humour when the product arrives in other countries and is translated into the native language. There was the ‘Jerker’ computer desk, which went hand in hand (literally!) with the internet’s primary use; the ‘Fukta’ plant spray; the ‘Fartfull’ workbench (frankfully you should be able to do whatever you want in your own workshop!); and the Askholmen outdoor suite.

IKEA is nearly as famous for its cheap concession food as it is for furniture. Kamprad opened his first restaurant inside a store in 1960, after realizing people left the store without buying anything because they were hungry. Since then, IKEA has sold an untold number of hotdogs, meatballs, and breakfast meals.

While IKEA seems to be a decent company, they’ve also experienced their fair share of controversies. A teenage Kamprad was once involved with a pro-Nazi movement in Sweden, although the IKEA founder calls it the “greatest mistake of my life”. Three people were trampled to death at a store opening in Saudi Arabia over $150 vouchers being handed out (and I thought the Saudi’s were all wealthy princes). In Atlanta, Georgia, historic building were demolished to make way for a IKEA store and in similar fashion, ancient tombs in Nanjing, China were destroyed for another store opening.

ikea fight

It’s estimated that 10% of all Europeans were conceived on an IKEA bed. I know I’ve slept in one, sans conception (not for my lack of trying, of course), and given their popularity among college and university students, you can bet that number will drastically rise over the years.

IKEA was the first company to feature a homosexual couple in one of their ads (targeting the community much more frequently since) and has also compiled commercial material depicting a transgendered person.

If you’re a fan of The Sims video game series, you can actually purchase IKEA furnishings for your virtual family. Lucky for them, they don’t have to put the furniture together, although it would be hilarious to watch your simulated humans get as frustrated as you’ve been. It’s always better when it’s someone else’s misery!

Sweden: Hunky Dory

Hunky Dory Cocktail

  • 1 oz Absolut Vodka
  • 1 oz Galliano
  • Top with Sprite
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

While IKEA served a purpose for Mrs. Sip and myself as we went through our schooling and settled into our first home together, I’m happy to say that the cursed furniture won’t be making any more appearances around the Sip Advisor offices for the foreseeable future. Perhaps when we have to furnish the place for our own little sippers, then we may go that route, but for now, we’re both happy to not be dealing with the make-your-own products.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink wasn’t bad, but Mrs. Sip had a better version of it at a nearby restaurant, Subeez Cafe, and their recipe didn’t outline exactly all the ingredients needed to make the full cocktail. I did my best, but admittedly, the eatery had me beat.

August 14 – Death by Chocolate

Culinary Scene Investigation

I think most people out there are lovers of food and a lot of pleasure can be gained through culinary delights. That said, that which sustains us can also kill (and I’m not even talking about the world of foodborne illness outbreaks, such as E. coli, salmonella or food poisoning). Here are some of the more interesting deaths by eats:

Chocolate Chaos

This has has to be one of the better ways to go, but it’s tragic nonetheless. Vincent Smith, Jr., an employee at the Lyons and Sons Chocolate Factory in Pennsylvania fell into a vat of boiling chocolate and then met his end courtesy of one of the mixing propellers. Augustus Gloop would be so proud! Perhaps most ironic is that this incident led to the discovery that the chocolate company did not have proper licensing in place and was distributing its products illegally.

death-by-chocolate

Fugu Follies

I like to consider myself immune to poison (don’t we all), but this guy took it a little too far, challenging the limitations of the human body. Acclaimed Kabuki (that’s Kabuki, not bukkake) actor Bandō Mitsugorō VIII perished in 1975 after demanding four fugu liver orders. He insisted that he was impervious to the pufferfish’s poison, but turns out, not so much. He died after seven hours of paralysis and convulsions. Fugu was featured in The Simpsons episode One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish.

Molasses Mania

The saying “slow as molasses” took a different turn during Boston’s 1919 Molasses Disaster (I’m surprised it hasn’t been made into a summer blockbuster movie yet). The usually slow-moving syrup killed 21 and injured 150 when a tank holding 2 million gallons of the substance exploded. The great ball of molasses death was estimated to have been travelling upwards of 35 miles per hour.

Hot Dogs for Haiti

Poor Noah Akers… the 12-year-old died after choking on a wiener during a hot dog eating competition that was supposed to benefit victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. This is precisely why I advise people not to do any charitable work. What’s even more bizarre is that the organizers, The Boys and Girls Club, chose to hold an eating competition to raise money for people that desperately needed food supplies.

hot dogs

Banquet Blunder

King Adolf Frederick of Sweden ate himself to death, following a feast that included caviar, smoked herring, lobster, kippers, sauerkraut, champagne, and 14 servings of dessert (and here I feel like a glutton after two small cookies!). I guess if you’re going to leave this world, you might as well have one hell of a last meal. His has a lasting legacy, which can’t be said for other monarchs.

Carrot Juice Conundrum

Basil Brown, one of those crazy health nuts, died in 1974, at the age of 48, after ingesting 10 gallons of carrot juice over a 10-day span. That doesn’t sound too bad (actually it sounds horrible) until you realize that’s 10,000 times the recommended daily dose of vitamin A. I’m not sure what point ol’ Basil was trying to make by downing so much carrot juice. Perhaps he was trying to find a decent carrot juice cocktail, with no luck.

Cola Killer

Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old mother of eight died of a heart attack in New Zealand in 2010. After dying at such a young age, an inquiry took place and it was discovered that Harris drank upwards of two gallons of soda each day (hopefully some was used for rum and cokes!), ingesting two pounds of sugar and 970 milligrams of caffeine. Without pop, Harris suffered withdrawal-like symptoms. She also ate poorly and smoked heavily, all of which contributed to her early demise.

coca-cola

Buggy Blues

Edward Archbold entered a bug eating contest in West Palm Beach, Florida, hoping to win the free python grand prize. Archbold won the competition after consuming a quantity of meal worms, horn worms, and roaches, before he began vomiting and collapsed. The 32-year-old died of “asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents”. All the man wanted was a python… wait, why would anyone want a python!?

Water Boarding

In yet another contest gone wrong, Jennifer Strange died of water intoxication after drinking a hefty amount of the liquid, trying to win a Nintendo Wii video game console. The competition, held by a Sacramento, California radio station had volunteers drink the H20 and then try to not pee (Hold Your Wee for a Wii) for the longest amount of time. Strange’s family sued for wrongful death and were rewarded over $16 million in damages. Oddly, Strange was found to have not contributed to her own death, but then who drank all that water trying to win a Wii?

Drink #226: Death by Chocolate

Death by Chocolate

  • 1 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.5 oz Vodka (I used Absolut Raspberri)
  • 1 Scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream (I used Wunderbar)
  • Blend with Ice
  • Garnish with Chocolate Syrup, Peanut Butter Cup Chunks, and Graham Cracker Crumbs

I personally would prefer to die in a potato chip-related asphyxiation incident. At least that way, I’d be going out with some style and while enjoying one of my favourite treats. How would you preferably spend your end of days?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I took the Death by Chocolate recipe and adapted it to suit the ingredients I had and wanted to use. I wanted to call it orgasm by chocolate, an homage to chocolate-obsessed women everywhere, but we went with this moniker instead.

April 13 – Candy Apple

Fun Fare

With summer rapidly approaching, we’re nearing fair season so it’s time to sit down and plan out what you want to eat when that glorious period arrives. It’s also time to think about how you’ll work off those calories before or after the event!

Cotton Candy

The melt-in-your-mouth treat is fun for the first few bites and then you realize how sticky your fingers are getting and someone (cough, cough, Mrs. Sip) reminds you that cotton candy is pure sugar, while also asking for constant bites of your treat. Which one is it, unhealthy or delicious? Why can’t it be both?

Cotton Candy

Is that Morgan Freeman?

Mini Donuts

You can smell these suckers from miles away and the scent often drags you by the nose to a little booth where you shell out $5 for a bag of 12 mini donuts. And you’ll do it again the next time that cinnamon-sugar deep fried goodness invades your nostrils. It’s always sad how quickly these snacks disappear, but that’s why you happily go home broke.

Caramel Apples

I remember when I was a young’un that our last stop of the day at the fair was to grab a caramel apple for the road. Today they put all kinds of crazy stuff on apples, but back in the day you were happy to have a mound of caramel and if you were really lucky – I’m talking best day ever lucky – you’d find a caramel apple with Smarties on it.

Funnel Cake

This treat absolutely rules with all the options you can stuff in it or heap on top. It’s like a donut-pie combo and I’m a huge supporter of anything deep fried. I’ve even gone so far as to try to put a deep fryer on my wedding registry. When this was vetoed by Mrs. Sip, I launched a petition campaign to get the fryer on the ballot. Speaking of fried delectables…

Deep Fried Anything

From pickles to Mars bars, hot dogs to onions, anything can be wrapped in dough, shoved into a fryer, and found at a fair… and they all taste fantastic! I implore you to find me something that doesn’t taste like it was meant for a deity after it’s been glorified in batter.

Deep Fried Everything

Popcorn/Caramel Corn

I’m not a fan of the stuff, but Mrs. Sip is and if I don’t include it, I fear for my safety. Why don’t I like popcorn and other kernel-based snacks? Because I always seem to get those damn kernels stuck in my teeth, along my gums or worst of all, in my throat. For me, the risk-reward just doesn’t pay off. Mrs. Sip, on the other hand, could eat the stuff for dinner after loading it with butter and mixing the occasional Junior Caramel into each handful.

Corn on the Cob

Probably (and sadly) the healthiest item on this list. This is the one exception I will make in the kernel wars, as I don’t really care how much of the yellow stuff I get caught in my teeth or how much butter ends up smeared across my mouth… it’s all worth it in the end when I go for a smooch with Mrs. Sip and she realizes how messy I am…

Of course, you could always drink your carnival treat… yeah, let’s do that!

Drink #103: Candy Apple

Candy Apple

  • 0.5 oz Crown Royal
  • 0.5 oz Sour Puss Apple
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Caramel/Candied Apple Slice

This shot was a great excuse to buy an entire, delicious caramel apple just to decorate it with… as if we need much of an excuse around here to go over the top! For those of you who don’t buy an entire candy apple each time you make this shot, a nice garnishing detail can be to rim the glass with caramel.

Well, I wish you all a wonderful trip to the fair, where I hope the food is awesome, the rides don’t make you yak, and that the demolition derby is still presented in your neck of the woods!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The pleasure of this shot was two-fold, as the shooter itself was quite tasty and then Mrs. Sip and I chased the liquid with the absolutely scrumptious Caramel Apple. We even fought over the last piece, before she distracted me with another shot!