Snack Time #42 – Oreo Thins Salted Caramel Cookies

On our recent trip across the border, Mrs. Sip found this Oreo Cookies release. I can confirm, the Oreo Thins Salted Caramel Cookies did not last long in our snack cupboard, as they we very tasty and you didn’t feel so guilty about eating them.

Mrs. Sip and I were discussing Oreo Thins the other day and we thought it was funny that when you’re a kid, Oreos are all about the filling. When you get older, you are looking to snack without doing too much damage to the body, so the Thins are a perfect option.

Oreo Thins Salted Caramel Cookies.jpg

We found the Salted Caramel Cookies at Target, but I assume they are available at a number of grocery chains. Other Thins flavours include Chocolate, Mint, Lemon, and the one Mrs. Sip was hoping to get her hands on, but they were sold out, Coconut.

No company comes out with more intriguing flavours than Oreo. Every time Ma Sip is in the U.S., she finds a new variation or holiday limited edition to bring home. Recent discoveries have included Jelly Donut, Apple Pie and even Mystery.

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Snack Time #14 – Hershey’s Cookie+ Bars

When Ma Sip first told me she had picked up these Hershey’s Chocolate new releases, I got a little excited. Unfortunately, while still pretty good, they didn’t live up to my hopeful expectations.

Part of this is because I’ve never been enthralled with Hershey’s chocolate. Also, I was hoping the bars would be more similar to the Cookies & line released by Mars Inc. when the Sip Advisor was a teenager.

Hershey's Cookie+ Bars.jpg

The bars come in Vanilla Crème and Caramel varieties. Each pouch contains seven snack-sized bars, which was a little disappointing given the price Ma Sip paid, but not surprising given the ways of the world.

For whatever reason, I can only find information on the company’s similar Cookie Layer Crunch Bars, which also offers a Mint-flavoured option. Not sure where the Cookie+ bars have been lost to?

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Flavour Revolution – Maraschino Cherry

Spit Take

Maraschino Cherries lack a pit, which is a bit of a shame. As a youngster, I loved spitting cherry pits out the car window on road trips and that thrill would simply be missing with the Maraschino variety. While my spitting was pure pleasure, these incidents led to much harm for all involved:

Roberto Alomar – Baltimore Orioles

When Alomar was up for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the only real knock against him was the spitting incident that had long-tarnished his reputation. At the end of the 1996 season, Alomar was arguing with umpire John Hirschbeck, when he spit in the official’s face. Alomar claimed Hirschbeck had used a racial slur against him and went so far as to say the umpire was bitter over the death of one of his kids. The two eventually made peace, with Alomar doing charity work for ALD research, the illness that claimed Hirschbeck’s child and Hirschbeck fully endorsing Alomar’s Hall of Fame appointment.

Invisible Spitters

Keith Hernandez – Seinfeld

In one of the greatest scenes ever from the popular “show about nothing,” Kramer and Newman take the audience through their experience after a Mets baseball game, where they claim they were spit on by star player Keith Hernandez. Using visuals that resemble the famous Zapruder footage from the JFK assassination, it is deduced by Jerry that there must have been a second spitter, a la the second shooter conspiracy theory, which is part of the JFK murder folklore. Interestingly, actor Wayne Knight, who played Newman, appeared in a similar scene in the 1991 movie JFK.

Roger Waters – Pink Floyd

During a concert in Montreal (us Canadians cause all the world’s problems!) on July 6, 1977, in front of about 80,000 fans, Waters spit in the face of one audience member. What spurned the Pink Floyd frontman to do this, you ask? Well, concert goers were lighting firecrackers, throughout the band’s performance, particularly during quiet sections of the show. It has long been thought that the events of this concert inspired Waters to create his concept for The Wall, which brought the band a whole new level of fame. So, at least they turned a negative into a positive!

Llama-Selfie

Bret Hart – World Wrestling Entertainment

When Hart’s more than a decade long relationship with the then World Wrestling Federation and its owner Vince McMahon went sour in 1997, one of the lasting images from the acrimonious split – in which McMahon and other officials changed the planned ending of Hart’s championship title defense against challenger Shawn Michaels – was Hart launching a loogie at the face of McMahon and scoring a direct hit. The entire incident was dubbed the Montreal Screw Job (wow, a lot of spitting happens in Montreal) and it took many years before fences were mended between both sides.

Frank Rijkaard – Holland

There seems to be a lot of spitting in the football world. So much so, in fact, that there are Top 10 lists on the subject. The most infamous, likely due to happening at the 1990 World Cup (the sport’s biggest tournament and event) involved Frank Rijkaard of Holland spitting in the hair of Rudi Voller of West Germany, not once, but twice. Rijkaard also twisted the ear of Voller and stomped on his foot. That is one pissed off Dutch dude. Somehow, the result was both men getting ejected from the game. Rijkaard later apologized, but the German press had already given him the nickname ‘Llama’!

Flavour Revolution: Vida Verde

Vida Verde

  • Muddle Cucumber and Mint
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

Maraschino Cherries are the perfect topping on cocktails to ice cream sundaes and everything in between (even baked hams). In fact, these fruits are so good as the final touch, that if you have a few good things happen to you, a smaller, nicer occurrence, might be called the “cherry on top”! Just like when you’re having a decent day and you wrap things up by reading The Sip Advisor…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
There’s a lot going on with this cocktail and it’s all good! The drink is very refreshing thanks to the Cucumber-Mint combo and there’s both sweet and sour to be had. A very enjoyable sipping experience!

Flavour Revolution – Strawberry

Decreased Desires

Nothing beats a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries to celebrate a romantic occasion. There’s also a tradition in France of giving strawberries and cream to newly married couples, as an aphrodisiac. Normally, in this case, we’d take a look at aphrodisiacs out there, but I’ve already written an article on that subject. Therefore, we’re going to flip the script and look at the aphrodisiac’s lesser known (and lesser liked) sibling, the anaphrodisiac… translation: things that will kill your mojo!

Graham Crackers – I’ve mentioned in a previous article how Graham crackers were invented by Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, who believed that the crackers would suppress sexual urges. Then, some genius got the great idea to throw marshmallows and chocolate on top, funkifying them into smores and the rest of campfire loving is history!

Teddy Grahams

Hops – Bad news for IPA beer fans… although I have my doubts about this one, as I know a lot of beer drinkers that don’t really lose their sexual charge after drinking all night. That said, all alcohol can decrease one’s desires, just based on the drug being a depressant. Why hops, in particular, gets such a bad rap is beyond me.

Corn Flakes – If I was to choose a cereal to get down with, it would probably be something along the lines of Cookie Crisp or Count Chocula. Corn Flakes were invented by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg to suppress libido. The good doctor believed that flavourful food led to flamed loins and so he created an incredibly boring product. They should try using this in their advertising material today. That would work real well.

Soy – Used by monks to suppress their naughty feelings – probably a good thing, given their surrounded by only other monks – soy, in large quantities, is said to kill one’s sex drive. I do like using soy in cooking stirfrys and as a sauce for various dishes, but I may have to be cautious with it now. I mean, who wants a sushi outing to not eventually lead to carnal pleasures!

soy-milk

Mint – What’s funny here, is that mints are meant to lead to sexual attraction (or so the ads tell us), as fresh breath is the starting point to any close encounter. Menthol, however, has actually been proven to lower testosterone. Bad breath, it is!

Cilantro – I’ve never been a huge fan of cilantro – if it’s in a dish, fine, but I’m not going to necessarily search it out – and apparently that’s a good thing. It’s ironic that cilantro is used in many exotic dishes and those are the ones the likes of Dr. Kellogg and Minister Graham believed led to unsavoury desires.

Black Licorice – I don’t want to sound like a candy racist, but why do all the worst candies come in the colour black? I’m talking jujubes, jelly beans, licorice, etc. I’ve never been a fan of black licorice, but do like the red variety. I’m just going to pretend that red licorice is a completely separate strain of the plant and is therefore not exempt from the Sip Advisor’s snack drawer.

blacklicorice

Granola – Today’s modern day granola bars, with their phallic shape (don’t forget the optional chocolate covering!), should be changing the way we view granola, but their original intention was much like Corn Flakes and Graham Crackers, meant to keep thoughts pure and wholesome. Then they started adding all the different flavours to the bars and even the cereal and all hell broke loose!

Cheese – I include this one only as a way to shame Mrs. Sip and all her cheese-loving friends. Yes, the Sip Advisor has begun to dabble in some cheese arts, but nowhere near to the degree as my peers. And that’s why the Sip Advisor is the world’s greatest lover… voted this for many consecutive years in popular surveys. It’s all because of the anti-cheese movement, my little sippers.

Flavour Revolution: Thigh High

Thigh High Martini

There’s even a program out there, looking to help folks reduce their sex drive. These monsters believe that they will help users have deeper relationships and a clearer mind. Where’s the joy in all of that!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
There are Strawberry Liqueur recipes called Chocolate-Covered Strawberry and Aphrodisiac, but those seemed too easy to use in this post. Therefore, I chose a drink that gets the Sip Advisor’s mojo rising! This martini was a little sweeter than either Mrs. Sip or me would prefer, but it was very tasty and would be perfect as a dessert cocktail and for those in your life that enjoy the sweeter things in life!

Belgium – Belgian Mojito

Full Meal Deal

Belgium is a pretty creative place. After all, they are responsible for the saxophone, the Body Mass Index, Club Med, Jean-Claude Van Damme (the Muscles from Brussels) and these culinary treats!

Beer

Let’s start with the fact that there are over 800 brands of Belgian beer. When Mrs. Sip and I were in Belgium many moons ago, we decided to try a bunch of different types of brew (not a hard choice, really) and were handed a menu that read like a phonebook. Each beer comes with its own specialized glass, said to improve the overall experience. It’s estimated that Belgians drink 84 liters of beer per person, per year. Those are numbers to be quite proud of!

Belgian Beer

French Fries

According to lore, it wasn’t the French who invented one of the greatest side dishes ever known to man, but the Belgians. In fact, the Belgians have an entire culture devoted to the French fry, including most citizens owning a deep fryer so they can make their own at all hours of the day. As a sauce man, myself, I’m happy to note that the fine folks of Belgium will use an array of different toppings on their fries, including mayonnaise (the big one over there), tartar sauce, and many others.

Chocolate

The sweet stuff is a big deal in Belgium, with chocolatier and confectionary outlets on many street corners. Point being, they are not hard to find. Some of the most popular chocolate brands in Belgium, include Guylian (makers of the sea shell chocolates) and Neuhaus (inventor of pralines and even the method of gift wrapping chocolate purchases). The world’s greatest chocolate sales occur at the Brussels International Airport, as travelers stock up on the goodies before exiting the country.

Belgium Waffles

I’m not sure what exactly takes a waffle and makes it Belgian (apparently this is a North American term to describe larger, but lighter battered waffles), but if they want to lay claim to this breakfast fixture, I say let them have it. In Belgium, it’s more common to see the term Brussels waffle, but it seems to all mean the same thing. In Belgium, waffles are even sold on the street as a snack on the go and sometimes from ice cream trucks.

Belgian Waffles

Brussels Sprouts

One of the most child-despised food items to ever exist, parents of fussy eaters can thank the Belgians for this culinary gem. The sprout has been grown in Brussels for over 400 years and while it could have originated anywhere, Belgium has jumped aboard the edible bud train. Mrs. Sip has recently got into Brussels sprouts, providing they’re roasted and smothered in cheese. I’m still not onboard with the leafy green, but we have a ceasefire with one another.

Mussels

Or as they know it, moules-frites (mussels and fries), has often been given the title of Belgium’s national dish. I like mussels from time to time, particularly if done in a Cajun-esque style and in one of those big pots with other seafood, potatoes, and corn on the cob. Back to Belgium’s take on the dish, the shellfish is typically cooked or steamed with vegetables such as onions, celery, and leeks, although other, more savoury techniques can be utilized.

Jenever

This ancestor of gin has been the national spirit of Belgium for hundreds of years. In fact, Jenever is a protected product of origin and can only be manufactured in Belgium, the Netherlands (where we will sample it in a few weeks), and parts of France and Germany. The traditional serving method includes a shot glass fresh from the freezer and filled to the brim. The first sip should be taken without the use of hands, before you can return to normal sipping procedures!

Belgium: Belgian Mojito

Belgian Mojito Cocktail

As a beer and French fry connoisseur, I give great praise to the people of Belgium and that’s without even taking into consideration the Sip Advisor’s sweet tooth. I won’t even deduct points for their addition of Brussels sprouts to the international potluck!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’ve never put together what is basically a Beer Mojito, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity. My drink turned into its own ecosystem with all the greenery in there. It tasted pretty good, though, helping me further my claim to being the ‘King of Mojitos!’

Estonia – Hammer & Sickle

Free as a Bird

Freedom… it’s something most of us take for granted. We wouldn’t do that, however, if we had been occupied by one empire after another for hundreds of years. Estonia (our next stop as we tour the liquor universe) has been listed as one of the freest countries in the world, following centuries of control by other countries. It’s a long and winding road, so buckle up and enjoy the ride to liberty.

meanwhile-in-estonia

If this doesn’t say freedom, I don’t know what does!

While Estonia was a long holdout in converting to Christianity during the Middle Ages, Pope Celestine III made sure that came to an end, calling for a crusade against the pagans of Northern Europe. In 1208, present-day Estonia was raided and despite resistance and fighting for many years, the country was finally conquered by Denmark in the north and Germany in the south. Around the same time, some Swedish people – including descendants of the legendary Swedish Chef – also settled into Estonian coastal land. The Germans became the ruling elite of Estonia by the end of the Middle Ages.

Fighting over Estonian land persisted for hundreds of years with Northern Estonia falling under Swedish control, while Southern Estonia briefly found itself under rule by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (ah, the PLC… not a group to meddle with). In 1625 the Swedes captured much of mainland Estonia and absorbed it into their growing empire. Estonia accepted this occupation, in exchange for protection against Russia and Poland. Kind of like a smart, but small kid recruiting a tougher, cool kid (although Sweden’s cool factor can be debated for hours on end) for protection against bullies.

When Russia defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War of the early 1700’s, they gained control of Estonia, although the legal system, governments, and education was mostly German up until the late 1800’s and in some cases, the first World War. The Russian Revolution of 1905 changed the landscape of Estonian life, but also opened the door for the country to gain autonomy.

Bread Freedom

Following World War I and the fall of the Russian Empire, Estonia declared its independence on February 23, 1918. It wasn’t long before they were back fighting, however, as the Red Army invaded just days after a provisional Estonian government was in place and the Estonian War of Independence lasted the next couple years. On June 15, 1920, Estonia adopted their first constitution and even joined the League of Nations in 1921, but we all know how that ended!

There was more trouble brewing for Estonia, however, as en route to a presidential election in 1934, Konstantin Päts, the head of state, became the country’s authoritarian ruler. The next period of life in Estonia was known as the Era of Silence. I’m praying this term also one day describes the death of reality TV. Political parties were banned and the parliament did not hold session from 1934 to 1938. Instead, Päts ruled by decree, much like the Sip Advisor does around the company headquarters!

As if things couldn’t get any worse, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23, 1939. The deal saw the two countries split up the nations the lay between them (Estonia, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia). Estonia went to the Soviet Union in the fantasy draft and it wasn’t long before the regime moved into its new territory.

Estonia Girls

The USSR occupied Estonia from 1940 to 1941 and during that time arrested over 8,000 citizens, executing more than a quarter of them. Next up, the German Nazi regime invaded. While originally welcomed, with hopes that Estonia could return to being an independent state, those wishes were quickly dashed by goose-stepping and swastikas.

World War II was not kind to Estonia and its people. The population decreased by about 200,000 people, with 80,000 fleeing West and 30,000 soldiers killed in action. Much of the land was destroyed, including ports, railways, and industrial and residential areas. As the Germans withdrew from the country, the USSR swooped in and put Soviet rule in place, arresting and executing those who opposed the takeover. Poor Estonia couldn’t buy a break.

Hidden behind the ‘red curtain,’ a movement known as the ‘Forest Brothers’ grew – similar to Robin Hood and his Merry Men, but minus the awesome songs of the Disney and Men in Tights offerings. They opposed the Soviet occupation and grew to approximately 30,000 members. Their resistance was ultimately unsuccessful and it wasn’t until the late 1980’s that the tide began to change and Estonia reached for sovereignty again. The 1990’s brought free elections, a new congress, and a referendum on independence.

Free Turtle

Estonia’s confirmation of independence occurred on August 20, 1991. The day has become a national holiday as a result and features Will Smith battling aliens to save the world. On June 28, 1992, Estonians approved a draft constitution and on September 20, 1992, Lennart Meri was elected president, choosing Mart Laar as prime minister.

Things continued to roll along for Estonia as the new millennium approached. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the Euro currency in 2011. In recent years, Estonia has found itself ranked first in Internet Freedom (so much porn!) and World Liberty. Congrats to everyone who made it all happen!

Estonia: Hammer & Sickle

Hammer & Sickle Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Mint and Lime Wedges
  • 1.5 oz Vana Tallinn
  • Dash of Brown Sugar
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with Mint Sprig

What’s next for the Baltic nation is unknown, but I sincerely hope things continue on an upswing. It’s a beautiful country and one I consider to be a hidden gem when touring Northern Europe.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Being the King of Mojitos comes with great responsibility… it means that you always have to be on the lookout for new variations to master. I wanted to try this recipe because the Vana Tallinn and Brown Sugar change things up from your usual Mojito Recipe and this cocktail is a keeper. The Vana Tallinn, which carries a vanilla flavour, makes for a delicious Mojito ingredient, getting along very well with the Brown Sugar and even the Mint and Lime Wedges. I took the drink name from Vana Tallinn’s Wikipedia page and although it was meant for another concoction, because citation was needed, I decided to steal the moniker for myself!

July 7 – Watermelon Mojito

Summer in the City

With summer upon us, it’s time to throw out some ideas for things you can do with the missus or the little ones. Here are some treasured Sip Advisor summer activities!

Drive-In Movie

The whole experience might as well be called, “How to Gorge Yourself on Snacks in a Few Hours,” but that’s all part of the fun. Our local drive-in presents two or three movies each night for the low price of $12.50! Because you’re in your own car, you can chat with your car mates without being shushed by other moviegoers and can even get a little naughty with your best gal, should the inspiration arise.

That's one hell of a line-up!

That’s one hell of a line-up!

Swimming

I’ve been lucky enough to grow up my entire life with a pool in the backyard, first an above-ground tank and later an in-ground swimming hole. It’s hard to see my life without easy access to water and a place to hang out with drinks, sun, and fun. Over the years, the pool has been home to some crazy behavior, such as backyard wrestling, balcony jumps and skinny dipping!

Fire Pit

After a day in the cement pond, we’ll often light up the fire pit at the Sip Advisor headquarters, where roasting marshmallows and building smores are the first order of business. Talk around the campfire is always entertaining, especially when one member of the Sip Alliance can’t control an Irish accent he’s never exhibited before and it only comes out when he’s tanked!

Camping

Ah, the great outdoors… where people stupidly risk the elements for the sake of “getting back to nature”. I’m just thankful that I’m a dude and I can pee wherever I want, while the ladies always have to have good facilities within walking distance. Food while camping is certainly a highlight of the entire experience, with so much junk that it would make any healthy person question the entire practice.

camping

Baseball Game

While I prefer other sports more, the ‘boys of summer’ experience is one not to be missed. It’s a great night out to hit the diamond and support your local team, whether professional, amateur, or beer league. The snacks and beer at a baseball game often overtake the actual sport itself in attention spent, but sometimes you get that special experience where your team ties the game late and wins in extra innings prior to a fireworks show (true story!).

Picnic in the Park

Very few things are as relaxing and peaceful as a picnic in the park. Just throw your blanket down wherever you’re comfortable and lay out, enjoying a spread of sandwiches, salads, chips, cookies, and wine or beer if you can sneak your sips in. You can even combine your meal with a rollerblade, bike ride, or top it all off with some playground activity!

Drink #188: Watermelon Mojito

Watermelon Mojito

  • Muddled Watermelon, Lime and Mint
  • 1.5 oz Appleton Rum
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Watermelon Cube, Lime Wedge and Sugar Cane Stir Stick

While those are my favourite activities, there are a number of things I’d like to try again from the days of summer past, like busting out the ol’ slip and slide and getting soap in my eyes or a concussion from smacking noggins with another slider. Good… no, scratch that… GREAT times!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I love Watermelon and I love Mojitos, so put the two together and you have a winning combination. I subbed Appleton Rum in for White Rum and it was a perfect choice given Watermelon’s light taste.