Sip Trips #13: And Many More

While Mrs. Sip and I have only been married for two and a half years, this week, we celebrated our 13th dating anniversary. Why bother celebrating a dating anniversary when you’re already married, you might be asking? Why not, is my reply! Life should be full of merriment, so why swap one occasion for another? I’ll get back to the anniversary events later, but let’s look at the weekend that was first.

Thursday night, following our Urban Rec sports, we visited Milltown Bar, which is great looking building in a beautiful location. The food and drink was pretty good and the service was wonderful. Mrs. Sip and I each enjoyed a Dark N’ Stormy cocktail, as I was really in the mood for some ginger beer.

anniversary-celebrate-gave-up

On Friday, we visited Backyard Winery, where Mrs. Sip is a member. Musician Andrew Christopher was doing a one-man show of various covers, which provided the perfect entertainment to enjoy some rose wine and bubbly and welcome the weekend.

Saturday saw us head to Maple Ridge for a friend’s housewarming party. As true Suburban Commando’s, we made the point of visiting Maple Meadows Brewing, one of the regions newest beer outlets. The place had just opened the weekend before and only had two beers on tap, but both (a Blonde Ale and Amber Ale) were good. Carlo, a former home-brewer who owns, operates, and is a general jack of all trades at the facility said that two more selections, an IPA and Honey Brown Ale, will be available this weekend.

Onto the main event of the week, our big lucky number 13 anniversary! We started the day with lunch at Big Ridge Brewing, where we enjoyed a flight of their beers. I liked each of the Red Ale, IPA, ESB, and Imperial IPA, but wasn’t thrilled with the Lager. Hey, four out of five ain’t bad.

Love-we haz it

From there, we were off to Castle Fun Park for some mini golf. Each game was incredibly close and we ended up playing each of the place’s three courses, thanks to both Mrs. Sip and me each winning a free game by sinking a hole-in-one on the final hole of the previous course. We’ve had a number of great moments and earlier dates together at Castle Fun Park, so it was nice to return and let our kid-side come out and play for a little bit.

In the evening, we finally checked out Blackbird Public House, which I’ve wanted to try for a little while now. Mrs. Sip ordered their Standing Stonefruit cocktail, while I asked for their And Everything Nice drink. The two of us ended up swapping libations and I loved the peaty aroma and taste coming from my beverage, provided by the Ardbeg 10-year-old Scotch in it.

We ended the evening in search of food and decided on Hidden Bar and Lounge at the Westin Grand Vancouver Hotel. Mrs. Sip ordered a glass of wine, while I grabbed a pint of beer and we gorged ourselves on their Breads and Dips appy, before dishes of Lobster Poutine and their Hidden Burger for me. Our server, Jude, was fantastic in helping us decide what to order and keeping us well-served throughout the meal. All in all, that makes for one hell of a dating anniversary!

anniversary card

In booze news, government liquor stores in B.C. have recently – as of April 1 – changed their pricing practices, where instead of listing the price of a product, including taxes, they are now listing the price before adding tax. Some private liquor stores have followed suit, as well. I suppose it doesn’t make a huge difference, but I liked knowing exactly what I’d be paying for something, before approaching the cash register. Getting the final total after the fact can be a shitty experience.

Aside from that little note, it’s been an awesome week of visiting new places and returning to old favourites; a wonderful mix of celebrating where we’ve come from and where we’re going. There’s no rest for the wicked, though, as Easter weekend sees us heading to Portland (the mecca of craft beer) for a series of boozy adventures!

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June 18 – Paradise

Paradise Found

Everyone has their own idea of paradise. Here’s mine:

Cat-Is-Ready-For-Paradise

Drinks

Let’s start with the easy stuff. There is a 24/7 all-inclusive open bar. All the best liquors from around the world are in full stock and the taps are filled with my favourite beers. Every garnish you can imagine is ready to be used and interesting glassware is in abundance.

Food & Snacks

All my favourites are served around the clock. We’ve even imported items from my preferred restaurants and room service is available at all hours of the day, with no extra charge. There is a bottomless (Mrs. Sip won’t be alone!) candy bar that is filled with all the finest chocolate, gummies, and sours the world over. Similarly, every chip flavor is represented with a fully-stocked chip bowl bar, where the motto is: “come for the salt, stay for the flavour!”

Wardrobe

It is illegal for Mrs. Sip to wear anything more than a bikini, including in the winter, although she is allowed to wear a robe then. Meanwhile, the weather is so perfect, that I spend my days in swimsuit and tank to show off my chiseled-out-of-rock body!

cute chick

Music

Classic rock tunes are pumped into the atmosphere non-stop and only shut off for naps and sleepy time. Mrs. Sip is allowed the odd dance tune, but it has to be approved by my commission of music experts and it will cost her half her wardrobe.

Movies & TV

Only the best in adult animated comedy is broadcast in my paradise… okay, I’ll allow some other programming, but it will largely be comedy-based, with only a few dramatic shows sprinkled amongst the line-up schedule. Everything is, of course, viewed on a state-of-the-art projection screen in our theatre wing.

Activities

Aside from the open bar and buffet, there are a few essential setting elements I can’t forget. There is a lazy river that I can wind down every day, eventually finishing off with a dramatic raft waterslide and pool drop. There is also a hot tub where we can party and relax our tense muscles. Looking for evening entertainment? How about trying your luck at the casino or taking your lady on a date night to the fully-stocked games room or even 18-hole mini-golf course! Finally, what dreamland would be complete without one of these…

paradise ball pit

Exercise

In a perfect world, we would all look exactly how we wanted without having to put any effort into keeping fit and healthy. That said, all my favourite sports equipment is readily available, including an ice rink for hockey and a complete gym. Best of all, in this little world, you don’t get gross callouses on your hands that take forever to fully heal. Let’s not forget about the hardcore calorie-burning sexercise either!

Miscellaneous

There has to be some pets in this perfect world and that would definitely include kitties and puppies. Birds are shot on sight, if they somehow manage to make it past my crack security staff. I think that about sums it up. Ah, I love imagination!

Drink #169: Paradise

Paradise Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • 1 oz Apricot Brandy
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Garnish with Apricot Slice

I guess, for the most part, I basically described a cruise where you largely stay in your room, eat and drink what you want and have a number of entertainment options at your fingertips. What would you include in your paradise? There are NO wrong answers… except for birds!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Like all Orange Drink/Apricot Brandy concoctions, this reminds the palate of a Creamsicle. The addition of Gin makes it a little boozier than other recipes, but it tastes good. I subbed Orange Soda for Orange Juice because I wanted to try something different and OJ, I’m just not that into you!

February 15 – Banana Split Martini

Sip Harmony

Valentine’s Day 2013 has come and gone, which means you have 365 days to find a partner (or new partner, if you weren’t happy with your V-Day gift) for the 2014 edition. If you follow The Sip Advisor’s date night advice (yeah, I’m good at that, too) you’ll do just fine… only fine, not great (our legal counsel insisted I throw that line in to cover our asses).

Dinner Out

I like to take Mrs. Sip to the finest McDonalds, which in our neck of the woods, means homeless people outside, bathrooms you have to be buzzed into, watered down pop stations and receiving you order wrong two-out-of-every-three times. Remember to always keep your options open. If your date is being fussy and wants to try something new on this special occasion, make sure there’s a Burger King nearby as a back-up.

Dinner Date

Movie Time

The first obstacle with this option is agreeing on a movie. Unfortunately, as they don’t show pornography in megaplex cinemas, my second choice is usually a comedy. Problem is your date will likely want to see one of the romantic variety and now you’re really suffering. She better be worth it, friend. Sneaking in your own snacks is a must, or else you’ll be stuck putting a mortgage on your home to get a freakin’ drink (in a size that will burst your bladder and make you miss the climax of the film) and bag of popcorn.

Drinks on the Town

I’ve never been one to advocate drinking on a date…said the Sip Advisor never. I’ve had dates with drinks! The Cosmo and I once had a beautiful night out together, enjoying each other’s elixir. When it came time to seal the deal, though, I found out Cosmo saw me as more of a friend. We’re still close, but I’ll never forget how close I came to spending a night with sweet lady Cosmo.

Drinks Out

Do Something Crazy!

As fun as bowling, mini-golf and ice skating (for us Canadians) can be, there’s nothing like giving your heart to each other while it’s jumping out of your chest. Great advancements have been made in tandem daredevil activities and even if you only go on one date together, he or she will never forget you or their near-death experience (I personally recommend Zorbing… what says love more than be stuck in a giant plastic ball and being pushed down a hill with that special someone?). Then again, the way I bowl, that may be as near-death as most people are willing to go.

Staying In

Lock the door, throw away the key and stay home. Better clear it with your date first, or else she’ll think you’ve taken her prisoner… although some ladies and gents might like that. Whether it’s to relax and watch Hockey Night in Canada (or, fine, a movie) together; have a romantic, candlelit dinner; or push the twin beds together for a night of wild passion; sometimes staying in is the best course of action.

The most important thing to plan for when staying home, is every night in together should start with a couple of these!

Drink #46: Banana Split Martini

Banana Split Martini

  • 1.5 oz Chocolate Whipped Vodka
  • 1 oz Crème de Bananes (I used Bols)
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Whip Cream
  • Garnish with chocolate sprinkles, banana slice and raspberry

If any of these tricks of the trade work for you, you can pay homage to me by giving your future child the middle name “Sip Advisor”… kind of has a nice ring to it, don’t ya think!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This might have been my favourite of the Chocolate Week cocktails. It tasted very similar to the dessert of the same name and was just as fun to drink as it is to eat.