Sip Trips #114: All the Hits

Well, another busy week is in the books (I’m starting to sound like a broken record), with Mrs. Sip and I finding time to have as much fun as possible, while getting things as ready as possible for the arrival of our daughter, sometime in the next few weeks. Here’s what we got up to:

The week began with the Sip Alliance’s long-awaited return to Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row. Before arriving there, though, we had to first travel to Coquitlam’s Mariner Brewing, which had only opened days before and is the first of its kind in the city. With four beers on tap, I tried their Northeast IPA, which I found to be pretty tasty. The brewery promises much more to come in the future and their space and constellation theming are really good starts.

Brewery Water

Next up was Brewer’s Row, with stops at Yellow Dog, Twin Sails and Parkside breweries, where I had pints of their High Five Hazy IPA, Street Legal IPA and Motel Five-Hop Pale Ale, respectively. Sadly, we didn’t manage to get to Moody Ales before closing time, so we owe them a visit in the future. I love this area of four breweries packed within a five-minute walk of each other and the new Evergreen SkyTrain line makes heading out that way so much easier. We will be back again soon.

On Friday, we finally got around to hitting one of our favourite annual summer traditions: the Twilight Drive-In Theatre in Aldergrove. While no drinking was involved, it was a great start to the Labour Day long weekend, as the lineup included Cars 3, followed by Despicable Me 3. We only stayed for those first two movies, but in celebration of the drive-in’s 12th anniversary, they were playing four movies on both Friday and Saturday night. While we love our trips out there for movies outdoors and you can’t beat the price of $12.50 per person for the entire evening, this was the first line-up this summer that actually appealed to us. Perhaps bad movies in general are to blame.

The next day, we started with some relaxing pool time at Ma and Pa Sip’s place before returning to Vancouver to move some furniture. Following the move, we treated Ma and Pa Sip to dinner at The Parlour in Yaletown, which had come highly recommended to me. We were not disappointed, as the place has a good happy hour to go along with great service. Our pizzas (The Dirty and Roasted varieties) were very good and were enough for a group of four to be happily fed.

Fitness Whole Pizza

After dinner, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Rio Theatre for their presentation of Dysfunctional Disney Cabaret. The goal here, according to our host, was to completely f*ck up our childhood memories with Disney-themed burlesque acts. It was quite the entertaining show and I have to commend the Rio for having a jug of water available to patrons on this hot, hot day. One server even steered me away from buying bottled water, in favour of the cooler, which I did not know about.

Sunday began with another round of furniture buying and baby laundry loads, but the reward came with hitting Jimmy’s Taphouse for happy hour. This has always been one of my favourite happy hours in the city with a number of half priced menu items and cheap drink options. We enjoyed their poutine with chipotle drizzle and an order of hot wings, which really hit the spot. The spicy combo was washed down with the Phillips Solaris White Peach Ale and a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey.

Why was I getting my shot game on? Because we had received complimentary ticket to the Lionel Richie-Mariah Carey All the Hits concert, as part of Mrs. Sip’s recent anniversary gift to me of Vancouver Canucks half-season tickets. This was the first time either of us had ever sat in the exclusive 500-level Club seats, which provided a bar and bathrooms to about 50 people. As for the show, Mariah Carey didn’t do Fantasy or Honey, which if I know them, must have been hits. That’s okay, though, as Lionel Richie was extremely entertaining. His Dancing on the Ceiling with all the lights and video effects was the highlight of the night.

Lionel Richie Hello

We wrapped the long weekend by celebrating Pa Sip’s birthday at The Keg. Sitting atop the restaurant’s rooftop patio was very relaxing and the service was top notch. I ordered their Keg Burger, which pales in comparison to their former Prime Rib Burger, which I mourn the loss of to this day. As for beverages, I imbibed with a Keg Size Watermelon Mojito and Keg Caesar, perfect accompaniments to my still decent entree. A slice of Billy Miner Pie to finish the meal was the perfect bow on an incredible weekend!

But the family celebrations weren’t done there. On Tuesday, after Pa Sip helped me move some more furniture, we had another dinner in his honour at the Old Spaghetti Factory in New West. I tried their Pot-Pourri Spaghetti with meat, mushroom and clam sauce options. Best of all, the meals come with bread, salad or soup and ice cream for dessert, so we left quite stuffed. My beverage of choice was the Cobblestone Lager, developed for the restaurant by Granville Island Brewing.

The coming week doesn’t have much on the schedule, so I may grasp the opportunity for some rest and relaxation. Following that, the Sip Advisor has a bachelor party, Vancouver Canucks pre-season opener, Sis-In-Law Sip’s birthday and much more on the docket… not to mention who knows when the baby will decide to arrive!

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Finland – Asterix

Metal Militia

Heavy metal music is huge in Scandinavia, particularly in Finland. Apparently there is even a bunch of sub-genres (death, black, folk, power, cello and symphonic)… who knew!? Let’s put on our leather and black make-up (is that even a metal thing?) and take a closer look at some of the country’s biggest metal acts:

Apocalyptica

This band is made up of three classically trained cellists (Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilaakso) and drummer Mikko Sirén. The quartet originally began as a Metallica tribute group – yes, using nothing but cellos – before evolving into other styles of music. Apocalyptica has even worked with Mr. Gwen Stefani (aka Gavin Rossdale of Bush fame). Their 8th studio album should be out sometime this year for Finnish metal fanatics everywhere.

Stratovarius

Around since 1984 (although no original members have been with the band since 1995), Stratovarius is one of power metal’s most influential groups, releasing 18 albums over the last 30 years. Over that time, the ensemble has cycled through 15 different members, but has managed to remain critically and commercially successful. Some of their best singles include: Black Diamond, Speed of Light, and the 10-minute Destiny.

Sonata Arctica

Originally a hard rock band under the names Tricky Beans and later Tricky Means, the group finally settled on Sonata Arctica when moving to the power metal genre, although they prefer to call their style melodic metal. The unit cites Queen as a primary influence, as well as fellow Finnish metal band Stratovarius. A RPG-style (role playing) video game was even supposed to feature the band and their music, but was cancelled for unknown reasons.

Hevisaurus

First of all, great name (providing it means what I think it does: a massive kick-ass, metal wailing dinosaur) and second, they’re a children’s power metal band! Where else do you ever see the term “children’s power metal”!? I looked into it a little more and the band actually dresses up in dinosaur costumes for their performances and has a detailed backstory including being hatched from metal eggs that were dormant for 65 million years before lightning and witches’ spells cracked them open.

Children of Bodom

One of Finland’s best-selling musical acts of all-time, Children of Bodom’s style has been described by fans as melodic death metal, power metal, thrash metal, early symphonic black metal, and neoclassical metal (how can there be so many ways to describe one act!?). These guys aren’t making easy listening tunes, with album titles that include Hatebreeder, Hate Crew Deathroll, Are You Dead Yet?, Blooddrunk, and Halo of Blood. I hope they find peace in what they’re looking for!

Nightwish

The most successful Finnish band outside the country’s borders (and third best-selling within Finland), Nightwish has numerous chart-topping albums and singles around the world. For the group’s debut album, songs were written and performed in both Finnish and English, but the band has largely dropped their native tongue, with lead vocalist and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen stating that “Finnish [could] quickly sound really cheesy.”

Lordi

This group (known for their concert theatrics, such as wearing masks, costumes, using pyrotechnics, and horror elements) won the 2006 Eurovision song contest with their “Hard Rock Hallelujah”. With the victory, they became the first rock act and Finnish band to place first in the competition. After their big win, Lordi hosted a free concert in Helsinki’s Market Square. The ensemble even have a soft drink named after them. Lordi Cola features artwork of the band and apparently tastes like death.

HIM

With their album Dark Light, HIM (His Infernal Majesty from The Satanic Bible) became the first Finnish group to have an album certified gold in the United States. The band has earned a reputation as a ‘love metal’ group and how could you not come to the same conclusion with album titles like Razorblade Romance and the use of a altered pentagram logo turned into a ‘heartagram.’ HIM has also been described by themselves and critics as ‘Goth N’ Roll’ and ‘Scandinavian Blues.’

Finland: Asterix

Asterix Cocktail

  • 0.75 oz Finlandia Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Pisang Ambon
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Cherry

While I lean more towards classic rock in my music preference, I have to say that many of these Finnish groups have great names and that’s a good start in the performance industry. Add in monster masks and dinosaur costumes and I might be sold on the whole genre!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Wow, Finlandia Vodka is 2-for-2 when it comes to great cocktails. I just love the flavour of banana that comes through in the aftertaste thanks to the Pisang Ambon… and I’m not even a banana fan. Everything works well together here and I urge all you little sippers to give the drink a chance. It also looks so cool!