Snack Time #18 – Twizzlers Pull ‘N’ Peel Watermelon

What do you get when you combine two of the Sip Advisor’s favourite things into one nice, neat package? A very happy Sip Advisor! Thankfully, we found this Twizzlers product at the Hershey World store inside the New York New York resort in Las Vegas.

The Twizzlers Pull ‘N’ Peel Watermelon release instantly caught my eye and knowing what a fiend I am for the fruit, Mrs. Sip promptly added them to our growing basket. I’m curious about some of the other flavours we came across in the store, such as Chocolate, Fruit Punch and their Filled Twists line.

Twizzlers Pull ‘N_ Peel Watermelon

Let me be clear, the Sip Advisor is a bigtime Twizzlers fan. No Red Vines for this guy and I just can’t comprehend someone liking the competition. Can anyone try to provide me with an argument for why Red Vines should even share shelf space with the amazing Twizzlers?

I’m not sure how easy it is to find this product elsewhere, but we did spot them at one of the pharmacy stores that line the Las Vegas Strip. We will also be gifting a pack of Key Lime Twizzlers to Ma Sip for Mother’s Day, proving again how great a son I am!

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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 #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!

January 3 – Pink Starburst

It’s Gonna Be Great

Each new year, provides time for reflection and an opportunity to plan for the future. With that in mind, here are the Top 5 things the Sip Advisor is looking forward to in 2015:

#5: New Opportunities

I have a feeling that 2015 will bring about some new adventures in the Sip Advisor’s life… all for the better, of course. Then again, I feel that way every time the calendar turns and while some years don’t hold the developments that others do, I refuse to not look at things with a positive and hopeful outlook. Not to steal a line from the Christmas season, but I hope every little sipper out there gets everything they want out of 2015.

Optimism Glasses

#4: Movies

There are some great theatrical releases in the 2015 pipeline. Regardless of what you’re into, there seems to be something out there for everyone. The films the Sip Advisor is looking forward to most, include The Avengers: Age of Ultron; Minions; Ted 2; and Deadpool. While I have absolutely no interest in it, it should be noted that Fifty Shades of Grey will finally hit theatres, so one can expect a spike in vibrator sales across the globe, following its debut!

#3: TV Shows

Returning to the small screen early this year are a host of great comedies, including Archer; Parks and Recreation (for its seventh and final season); and Community, the show that keeps on kicking. It’s hard to pick one out of those three that I’m anticipating the most, but I think the edge would have to go to Archer. Better Call Saul will also debut in 2015, for those looking to fill their Breaking Bad void!

Archer Astronaut

#2: Vacations

Already on the travel calendar for 2015 are jaunts to Disneyland, perhaps twice (once for a Sip Alliance member’s birthday scavenger hunt and later for the resort’s 60th anniversary); Portland for the Spring Beer and Wine Festival; and a likely trip to Las Vegas sometime during the summer. Mrs. Sip also has the wild idea of us going to South Africa in September, where the Sip Advisor will have to deal with his fear of snakes, Ebola, and hostile tribes, all at once!

#1: Flavour Revolution

Of course, one of the most enjoyable elements of the upcoming year will be the Sip Advisor’s Flavour Revolution Project, which will be rocking the world throughout 2015. I’m also really excited about adding some more personal coverage to the site with the “Out and About with the Sip Advisor” feature… it’s about time I combine all the fun I’m having with this wonderful site!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pink Starburst

Pink Starburst Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 0.25 oz Watermelon Pucker
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Pink Starburst

We need to enjoy 2015 to the max because 2016 will be inundated with a nearly full year of political coverage in the U.S., as they approach their presidential election. That’s one thing the Sip Advisor certainly isn’t looking forward to in the future.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
The recipe for this shooter seems incredibly out of proportion, asking the maker to combine four ounces of liquid… that’s enough to fill at least three shot glasses. I’ve tried my best to bring the measurements down to an acceptable number, but that may throw the taste out of whack. In fact, the Vanilla Vodka provides a different aftertaste than you are used to from the actual candy, but it’s still relatively tasty.

December 31 – Bring in the New Year

Auld Lang Syne

That may look like gibberish above, but most little sippers would recognize it in a heartbeat as the popular song of choice after the clock rolls over to a New Year. I have many fond memories from New Year’s Eve nights past. Here’s a sample of how the Sip Advisor watches the calendar turn!

Big Announcement

After Mrs. Sip and I got engaged, we were hoping to announce it to as many friends as possible in one shot, so we offered to host a New Year’s party six days after our amazing morning. Unfortunately, on this night, we were the victims of some inclement weather and it also having been a work day for most, a lot of friends’ bailed last minute, not realizing we had an ulterior motive for the gathering. We still wound up with a nice little group that we were able to celebrate the New Year and our engagement with.

New Year's Party

Staying In

I’ve always been a house party guy as opposed to going out to bars and clubs. I want to be as comfortable as possible and that is certainly not found out and about for ol’ Mr. Sip. I prefer to be with close friends, playing drinking games and other such nonsense, while not having to shell out tons of cash for drinks and food. Things always get a little crazy as the booze adds up and midnight approaches… then the party truly begins!

On Location

Mrs. Sip and I have been lucky to spend New Year’s Eve in a couple different parts of the world from Las Vegas, where we celebrated with countless others and enjoyed the strip firework extravaganza, to Playa Del Carmen, where our group partied on the beach. Last year, we were in Whistler, enjoying a lavish meal out before watching fireworks in the heart of the Village.

Good New Year's Party

Silent Night

When I was just a little sipper at the age of only 14, the Sip Family spent a very secluded New Year’s in the tiny town of Vanderhoof, B.C. (population non-existent!). We were en route to a funeral service for Grandpa Sip and this just happened to be where we ended up for Dec. 31. Luckily, we were able to find a pizza joint that was open and delivered, as most else was shut down. It was a good chance to spend the holidays quietly with family and away from the usual hustle and bustle.

Full House

If the house is a rockin’ don’t come knockin’! Growing up, my parents hosted a number of New Year’s Eve parties. That meant, while the adults got blitzed upstairs, the young’uns were left to their own devices downstairs. Hand hockey was usually the activity of choice, although professional wrestling battle royals snuck into the evening’s agenda often, as well. Then came the years when we tried to sneak the odd beer into the festivities!

Drink #365: Bring in the New Year

Bring in the New Year Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Bubble Gum)
  • Top with Champagne
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

What are your New Year’s Eve memories? I’m a little surprised I still have some given the wear and tear this old mind has endured!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Despite my aversion to bubbly, there is really only one way to celebrate a New Year in style. This drink was a pretty good offering. I only wish I could have garnished the cocktail with streamers and confetti… gotta save something for tonight!