Sip Trips #150: Return to Work

Now that Mrs. Sip and I (along with Baby Sip) are getting settled into our new home in New West, the exploring has begun again. This week’s wrap-up, features a number of new eateries we’ve enjoyed over recent times:

A couple weeks back, I joined Mrs. Sip following one of her theatre shows for a meal at Bin 4 Burger Lounge in Vancouver. I had heard great things about this restaurant and they did not disappoint. I had trouble choosing from their extensive lineup of burgers, finally settling on the Dirty Bourbon Burger, which was absolutely delicious. I love most places that offer potato chips as a side, but what made Bin 4 special was you also get one free dipping sauce to go with your meal. They also have some neat cocktails, which Mrs. Sip indulged in with the Harvey Specter. I had a quick sip and enjoyed the drink, as well.

Burger Salad

Back at home, I’ve had a huge craving for ginger beer drinks lately, so grabbed a two-litre bottle and decided to put together a Buck/Mule Family Tasting Experience, comprised of the Gin Buck, Moscow Mule, Dark N’ Stormy and Mayan Mule. Each drink is similar (ginger beer and lime juice), with only the spirit being different: gin, vodka, dark rum and tequila, respectively. While I liked each of the family members, my favourite was certainly the Dark N’ Stormy. Mrs. Sip picked the Moscow Mule as her top choice.

My last week of parental leave was quite fun, as Mrs. Sip joined me for it. Among taking Baby Sip to Queen’s Park and other walks, we travelled to our nearest pub, the Royal Crown Castle. This place is very recognizable as you drive down Columbia Street, as it looks like a castle, but is actually the former gatehouse for the BC Penitentiary, which used to be on the site. To go with a pair of Radeberger Pilsner pints, which were on special, I had the Classic Beef Burger, while Mrs. Sip went with one of their daily specials, a Grilled Ham & Cheese with Turkey Chowder Soup. Our meal was very good and we will certainly be back, traversing the city’s many hills to get there.

Later in the week, we attended Harvest Glow in Langley. This is a fantastic place to bring young children, complete with a train ride, mini golf, playgrounds, pony rides, a corn maze, pumpkin patch, live music, and so much more. We marvelled at how much fun Baby Sip was having at only one-year-old. Best of all, you can enjoy your kid’s enjoyment with a drink in hand, as they offer beer, wine, and even cocktails. The set-up was different than last year’s Christmas Glow and I hope they are taking notes for this year’s yuletide version. We enjoyed the experience so much, we returned for another evening of entertainment.

Skittles Harvest

My final week on leave ended with a big bang, as we hosted a wine and cheese open house at our new place. With 40 guests expected, we stocked up on a dozen bottles of wine for guests to sample, along with copious amounts of cheese, meats and crackers. The event was a lot of fun and the culmination of all our hard work getting the home ready and liveable.

Now that I’m back to the daily grind of work, we’re still trying to mix in some fun here and there. On Tuesday, we picked up food from Big Star Sandwich in New West for the first time. It will certainly not be the last time, though, as we both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. As much as I like Subway sandwiches, this was like Subway on steroids! My favourite part of their menu is that you can put hickory sticks on any sandwich, adding a nice crunch to your hoagie.

The coming weekend is loaded with events, as the Halloween season picks up. Check back soon for another Sip Trips update on all our adventures!

Advertisements

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!

December 26 – Santa’s Last Job

Boxing Day Blowout

There are jokes out there that Boxing Day got its name from people packing up the gifts they got for Christmas, in order to return them to stores for refund or exchange. Same goes for people hastily packing up their holiday ornaments mere hours after their family celebrations. While both are completely untrue, here are some things you could be doing on Dec. 26!

boxing-day

Shopping

Malls and stores are madhouses on this day and I prefer to not have to deal with either. I don’t really think great deals are achieved and the headache of waking up early and dealing with crowds isn’t worth it. The couple times I have previously gone Boxing Day shopping were more hassle than anything else, like the year I bought a new laptop, with very little savings, and in the outlet’s haste, they didn’t even load it up properly and I had to return to the outlet numerous times to drop off and pick up my new computer.

Open House

This year, like last Boxing Day, I have been given the task of playing barkeep for my family and in-laws, as they enjoy the Christmas afterglow with food, treats, and being incredibly lazy. Thankfully, this year, I’ve taken Dec. 27th off from work and can join in the celebrations, instead of having to drive home later in the evening and get ready to return to work the next day. It will be a rocking open house, indeed!

Watch Sports

As I outlined in an earlier post, there’s a lot of sports to be consumed during the holidays. Boxing Day features the kickoff of both the World Junior Hockey Championship and Spengler Cup, as well as test cricket matches and a yacht race in Australia. In the UK, each football league holds a full slate of matches and throughout Africa, prize fights are held, given true meaning to the name ‘Boxing Day’! Apparently, Boxing Day is also a popular day for horse racing in different parts of the world.

polar bear plunge

Polar Bear Swim… yeah, that could be worth watching, too!

Playtime

If you’re not cozied up watching sports, you could pop outside into the fresh air and enjoy some physical activity. There used to be an annual fox hunt in England, but while that has been outlawed, the powers that be can’t ban us from playing sports like hockey, soccer, and football, or participate in winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. Make sure to include the young ones and give them an idea of what it’s like to be outdoors for a change.

Be Charitable

Boxing Day could provide the perfect opportunity to pitch in somewhere in your community and help those less fortunate. My donations to this world are this wonderful website and all of its free content, which until I’m paid to operate, will serve as my community service. There are so many other ways for you normal folks to lend a hand, but I’ll leave that decision to you… or you could just send money my way and turn this non-profit into a fully functioning industry!

Drink #360: Santa’s Last Job

Santa's Last Job Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Devil’s Food)
  • 1 oz Chambord
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Jellybeans

What do you prefer to do with your extra day off for Boxing Day? If it’s enjoying your new gifts while getting drunk off your ass, join the club!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail is perfect for dessert or a nightcap, with Chambord kicking in a bit of berry flavour amongst the Devil’s Food Vodka chocolate taste. Sometimes something as simple as a couple Jellybeans can make a really nice garnish. Simplicity can be a beautiful thing!