Sip Trips #75: Celebrations Abound

After a relatively quiet midweek for the Sip Advisor, the weekend picked up in pace, as it usually does. With a friend’s birthday on Saturday, we started at the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown, which has a neat concept in that you order three meats/cheeses and three condiments to create your own charcuterie plate. This platter can be paired with wines selected by the staff, if you choose, but a couple cocktails and beer from 33 Acres Brewing is also available. This was my first time ever entering the area’s infamous Blood Alley and I’d like to return for more exploration.

After conquering our SmartyPantz escape room, our evening wrapped up with a trip to the TAPshack in Coal Harbour. Coincidentally, Mrs. Sip and I passed this place the week before, while out for a walk and wanted to return to check it out. While there, we enjoyed a couple beers from their menu of 20 taps (one beer each from 20 different breweries), while I tried their Maui Wowie Hawaiian pizza and Mrs. Sip ordered a serving of their duck fat popcorn and avocado toast with poached egg for a main course.

hawaiian-pizza-funny

The next day was Cousin Sip’s 12-year wedding anniversary, which she was celebrating solo, as her husband is currently working out-of-town. Therefore, Mrs. Sip and I joined her for a dinner at The Keg in Yaletown, sitting on their rooftop patio and enjoying what’s left of gorgeous summer weather.

While we had a nice meal, it’s time for a little Sip Advisor rant: To this day, I’m still saddened by the restaurant’s decision to nix their prime rib burger from the menu, in favour of their current offering. The prime rib burger provided a near orgasmic experience, while this rendition is just a run-of-the-mill product. To boot, when I first starting ordering the prime rib burger, it could be had for about $12, which was an amazing deal. Even before it was phased out, the price had only risen to about $14. This new, lackluster burger sets you back $18. I’ve even talked to servers at the chain, who have recognized the new burger just doesn’t measure up to the old one. The prime rib burger is still sold in grocery stores, so why not bring it back to the restaurant!?

rant-logic-reason

Okay, rant over. This weekend, we will be enjoying a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver to celebrate Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday. So long as it ends better than our last overnight cruise, where members of the Sip Alliance had to be quarantined, I think it will be a good way to spend the occasion… but the tale may not reach the same heights of infamy!

Sip Trips #4 – Wild Weekend

As we continued the celebration of Mrs. Sip’s birthday, the weekend got off on the right note with a fantastic meal at The Keg in Yaletown. We got a table on their beautiful rooftop patio, which even in January is the place to be for a fun night out.

As per usual, I ordered the Prime Rib Burger, which is routinely one of the finest meals I’ve ever enjoyed. It will forever perplex me that it’s also one of the cheapest items (only $12) on the restaurant’s menu, but let’s keep that our little secret!

Well-Rounded Diet

With the meal, I enjoyed a Kentucky Buck cocktail (Keg-Sized, of course!), which combines bourbon, muddled strawberries, lemon juice and ginger beer, followed by a Manhattan, complete with three ounces of booze! Both drinks were very good and I’d recommend them to anyone, but particularly fans of bourbon.

The next night, we hit one of Vancouver’s newest craft breweries, Steel Toad. The facility is one of the nicest in town, with a top-notch staff of bartenders and servers. While I haven’t found a beer on their menu that blows my mind, they have a growing repertoire of solid choices. The beers I did try this time around, included the Saison Sauvignon, Double Hop Pale Ale, and Berliner Weisse.

While the beer is coming along, I can say without any doubt that they’ve got their food menu nailed down. I really enjoyed the Hawaiian pizza I ordered, while Mrs. Sip swears by the cauliflower beignet, complete with curry mayonnaise that I swiped for my pizza! The hot sauce chicken wings were also pretty good, with the burn subdued by shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey, shaken with ice. One member of the Sip Syndicate is a major proponent of drinking Jameson shots this way and I think he might be onto something.

Whiskey Doctor

Mrs. Sip was working hard last week to provide content for the Out and About articles. She picked up the Steel & Oak/Four Winds collaboration brew, which I’m really looking forward to trying and I’m surprised it has survived this long in our fridge. I’ll have more on the Gratzer, when we finally crack it open.

She also booked us on the Vancouver Brewery Tours Beer, Chocolate and Spirits Tour for Valentine’s Day. With stops at a few places we’ve been meaning to visit, such as Strange Fellowes Brewing, Odd Society Spirits, and Storm Brewing, this excursion will provide a wonderful way to spend the big day with the one I love… oh, and Mrs. Sip will be there too!

In pseudo-alcohol news, it was recently reported that a high speed rail line connecting Vancouver and Portland may be in the works, proposed by Cascadia High Speed Rail company. The train would connect the two cities in under two hours and would be a craft beer lovers dream. It would cost billions of dollars to construct and is many years away from ever being realized, but we can hope, right!

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.