Sip Trips #159: Free Bird Follies

As winter fades away and spring emerges from the darkness, the Sip Family has been busy. Mrs. Sip was recently in Las Vegas with her girlfriends, providing the Sip Advisor a little time to get reacquainted with loved ones. Those would include new purchases, such as Steel & Oak Talanoa Wheat Ale and Lamb’s Cherry Spiced Rum. The Talanoa (Fijian for sharing stories and ideas to build relationships and understanding) was brewed by the ladies of Steel & Oak Brewing as their second annual Women’s Charity Brew. Proceeds from the beer, made with black currant and rosemary, are going to The Kettle Society, which provides support for people living with mental illness. The Spiced Rum was an interesting find as I perused the aisles of a nearby liquor store. Thanks to an online suggestion, I’ve used the booze in a Mai Tai recipe and look forward to throwing it in a Dark N’ Stormy soon.

rum locations

As for events, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert at the Abbotsford Centre last Friday. Prior to heading out to the valley, we had dinner at Milestones, capitalizing on their afternoon happy hour for servings of Phillip’s Electric Unicorn White IPA and Hoyne Dark Matter. The two Victoria-based brews paired nicely with my Crispy Sweet Chili Chicken Bowl, which I would definitely order again. Mrs. Sip had the Caprese Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which I snagged a bite of, and also enjoyed.

As for the concert, I think my hearing is still slowly coming back. The show was rocking all the way through the night and the band ending their appearance with an encore performance of Free Bird was everything a fan could have asked for. Arriving early, we took advantage of the Vancouver Island Brewing free tasting being offered and also grabbed cans of a couple Foamers’ Folly Brewing selections, including the Hot Box IPA for me and Raspberry Honey Hefeweizen for Mrs. Sip.

freebird nursery rhyme.jpg

After a day of “rest”, where we only had two commitments to make, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at Dead Frog Brewing. They turned their Steel Toe Lager green (with natural ingredients), so we crossed that tradition off the to-do list. Mrs. Sip also ordered a pint of the newly-released Pineapple Midnight Tropical Porter for us to share, which had an interesting blend of summer and winter flavours. For food, we imbibed with Pork Carnitas Street Tacos for moi and some Avocado Toast for the mademoiselle. Both were quite good and recommendable. The Dead Frog staff deserve major kudos for doing their best to make guests comfortable on a very busy day and for providing live music and cupcakes for children young and old at heart.

In the coming weeks, Mrs. Sip and I will celebrate 17 years of being in a relationship. I honestly can’t believe she’s put up with me this long!

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Sip Trips #81: Restaurant Roundup

While the Sip Advisor hasn’t posted a Sip Trips article for a couple weeks, that doesn’t mean I haven’t kept up my typical level of social activities. I was just saving up a few outings and before I knew it, there was almost too much to report on.

Dressed as my own inner child – seriously, I just couldn’t get inspired to come up with a costume for this Halloween season, so this was a last minute idea that actually worked out fairly well – we attended a friend’s fundraiser at Rusty’s Neighbourhood Pub in Cloverdale. The burger and beer deal didn’t leave much to the imagination, especially as far as beverages went, but through a technicality, we were able to upsize our burgers and I really enjoyed my Doc Holliday variation. Much of their menu looked really good, so next time we’re in the area, we’ll have to drop in again.

bacon-cheeseburger

The next day, we intended to check out Abbotsford’s Craft Beer Corn Maze, before a storm decimated the attraction. Instead, we used the occasion of being out in the Fraser Valley to visit Old Abbey Ales. Here, the Sip Alliance each constructed their own flight of beer and with so many options available at the tasting room, no two boards were the same. I really like that Old Abbey Ales has the customer fill out there selections, rather than recite them. This gives you more time to round out a perfect cross section of brews and decreases the chances your order will get mixed up.

A couple days later, as Mrs. Sip prepared for her ongoing trip to India, we visited Patron Tacos & Cantina for a meal. We typically order their Queso Fundido dish and then use the cheese and sauces it comes with on our tacos. This makes for quite the feast and Mrs. Sip and I both left with overly full tummies.

That weekend, after recently receiving a flyer advertising Milestones new Epic Eats menu, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to testing out some of the new additions. While Mrs. Sip ordered the Jiffy Pop Popcorn Shrimp, I had my eyes – and stomach – set on the Hottest Club in Town. This Sriracha chicken and waffles club sandwich was absolutely fantastic and I look forward to crossing paths with it again shortly. We also noted that the restaurant now has a Beers & Bros deal (a pitcher of beer and four appies for $40) to accompany their Girls’ Night Out Bellini promotion.

waffles-pancakes-with-abs

To celebrate Halloween, we decided to check out the Day of the Dead-themed Stanley Park Train. Following that, Mrs. Sip, Sis-in-Law Sip and myself made our way back downtown and popped into Steamworks Brewpub for a bite and beverage. With a $15 pitcher deal on Mondays, we settled on their Pumpkin Ale, while splitting their massive House Baked Pretzel. This was probably the best way to wrap up Oktoberfest festivities, through the month.

Come Friday, I was on the road again. Mrs. Sip and I are members of the Langley-based Backyard Vineyards and as such, are invited to their semi-annual customer appreciation nights. Mrs. Sip always seems to be on vacation when they occur, but that doesn’t stop the Sip Advisor from enjoying. With great live music filing the air, guests were treated to a fantastic meal and other goodies. Prior to arriving at the winery, we had made great time from Vancouver, so decided to pop into Trading Post Brewing for a beer. I liked my serving of their Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison and it was a good start to the evening’s entertainment.

beer-and-wine-consumption

The weekend was wrapped up with a visit to White Spot, where I was able to try a pint of Granville Island Harvest Ale. The beer, exclusively brewed for the restaurant chain, was a solid accompaniment to one of my all-time favourites, the Legendary Burger. You are not a true British Columbian if you have never tried this entrée.

Well, I ended up with much more to discuss than I first thought. With Mrs. Sip away in India for the next two weeks, it kind of feels like the calm before the Christmas season storm. I better enjoy my “downtime” while it lasts!

July 22 – Cincinnati Lunchbox

Burger Bar

Very few things compliment a tall, cold mug of beer like burgers do. I’ve been privileged to enjoy a number of fine selections. Here are some of my favourites:

Legendary Burger – White Spot

A darling of Western Canada (particularly the province of British Columbia), I can rarely remember a trip to White Spot that didn’t result in ordering this burger. You scan the menu every single time and even contemplate ordering something other than the norm, but you always end up asking for your favourite and you never regret doing so. The secret recipe Triple-O sauce is to die for and should be available to purchase.

Legendary Burger

Prime Rib Burger – The Keg

Ordered off of its bar menu, most Keg restaurants will allow this to be selected even if you’re in their main dining room, as well. The ones that don’t are listed near the top of my always growing ‘enemy list’. This burger is absolutely fantastic. The seasoning, combined with all the toppings makes for one tasty meal. Take my advice and throw in an extra buck for the bacon. Unbelievably, it’s one of the cheapest items on the restaurant’s menu to boot!

Whopper – Burger King

Flame broiled, yes please! The thing I love best about the Whopper is that it is loaded with toppings. Toppings are essential to any burger enjoyment and the King has read that message loud and clear. I appreciate that the chain has found its way into a number of airports, giving me an opportunity to have a decent meal on the run. Burger King is also one of the few food vendors in movie theatres around my parts, taking advantage of hungry moviegoers.

whopper

Big Xtra – McDonalds

Although I can only find this burger (known as the Big N’ Tasty in the U.S.) at Wal-Mart-connected McDonalds, it is worth the trip. In my opinion, all burgers need essential ingredients and this meal covers all the bases. You have your lettuce, tomato, mayo, ketchup, pickles, and onions… all the colours of the rainbow. Perhaps the only thing missing is a couple strips of bacon, but we’ll let that transgression pass.

Big Crunch – KFC

I had to include a chicken burger on this list and the best place in the world for bird meat is hands down KFC. I haven’t had a Big Crunch in a couple years, but just writing this has me craving the delicious 11 secret herbs and spices recipe. A little tip for chicken burger connoisseurs, try dipping your meal in ketchup before each bite, adding another wonderful flavour to the mix.

Big-Crunch

Kobe Beef Sliders – Milestones

Perhaps the only thing better than one big burger is three mini burgers! Most of my beef selections come sans cheese, but in this case, I’m happy to leave the mozzarella on. The Milestones sliders are topped with crispy onion straws and are accompanied by a delicious sesame mustard sauce for dipping. The appetizer is perfect for sharing and Mrs. Sip and I have been known to gorge ourselves on a couple starters prior to skipping dinner!

Bacon Deluxe – Red Mill Burgers

I learned of Red Mill Burgers watching Man vs. Food, as host Adam Richman toured a selection of restaurants in Seattle, Washington. Thankfully, that means the franchise’s locations are only a two-hour drive away for Mrs. Sip and I. Well worth it, I would say! When we arrived, the line-up for ordering was out the door and it didn’t take long to understand why. Loaded with toppings and the delicious Mill Sauce, I was in burger heaven and I enjoyed the euphoria the entire two-hour trip home!

Drink #203: Cincinnati Lunchbox

Cincinnati Lunchbox Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Amaretto
  • Top with half Orange Juice and half Beer (I used GIB Hefeweizen)
  • Garnish with Orange Slice

All this talk of burgers has got me really hungry… and all this mentioning of beer has got me really thirsty. Why won’t someone satisfy my needs!? I don’t ask for much. Only to be fed, thirst quenched, and legions of fans who will do my bidding!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Not a bad beer cocktail, but a little sweet and not really memorable… it doesn’t live up to the burgers listed above. I was looking forward to this drink, as Hefeweizen Beers are my favourite, but I think the Orange Juice took over too much.