Sip Trips #118: Pucks and Parties

This week has been a busy one as the Christmas season ramps up and Mrs. Sip and I have three Vancouver Canucks games on the schedule to attend. Thank god for our grandparent babysitters! Let’s get right to the action:

Late last week, with Ma and Pa Sip over, we grabbed dinner at the new Johnny Rockets location in Downtown Vancouver. I had their Original burger, which was pretty good. What I liked best was their half fries/half rings, allowing eaters to enjoy both side dishes. More restaurants need to adopt this concept. While we didn’t order them, the chain also offers a number of tasty milkshake options. It’s always good to have a reason to go back.

Close Enough Cat.jpg

On Friday, Mrs. Sip and I had our first Christmas party of the season, through her office. The meal took place at Piva Modern Italian Restaurant, where we tried a number of great menu items. For appies, I particularly liked the Polenta Fries, while my main course of Duck & Fig Pizza was terrific. The meal provided a perfect balance of sweet and savoury and while Mrs. Sip’s Prosciutto Pizza was good, we were both raving about my selection.  For beverages, I enjoyed the Terra Saison and Red Pilsner, both from Steel & Oak Brewing, and for dessert, I tried the Bagpipes in my Ferrari (Glenmorangie, Disaronno, smoke and oak bitters), which was a solid nightcap.

The next day, we had our first Canucks game of the week and this is one we’ve had circled for some time. With the dastardly Toronto Maple Leafs in town, I swapped some of our other half-season tickets in order to attend this game. With a 2-1 victory for the home side, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed servings of Shock Top Wheat Ale and Goose Island Honkers Ale throughout the game, which helped with the intensity and anxiety of the matchup.

The weekend wrapped with our annual family visit to the Bright Nights in Stanley Park and Christmas Train. This was Baby Sip’s first time riding the Christmas Train, although we did take her on the Halloween Train when she was only just over a month old. As is tradition, we followed the park visit with dinner at the nearby White Spot location. Here, Cousin Sip, her husband, Sis-in-Law Sip and I split a couple pitchers of Granville Island Winter Ale, while I ordered my usual Legendary Burger. The two pair quite nicely with each other and made for a delicious meal.

Man Sized Mug

Lastly, on Tuesday, we celebrate Ma Sip’s birthday at The Keg. I, once again, selected the Prime Rib Sliders with side of fries for my meal, which was very good. Unfortunately, Mrs. Sip and I had to eat fast to get to another Canucks game, as food took a while to be served thanks to the kitchen being backed up by a private party. My Sliders were only $13 during happy hour, down from their usual $18 price tag. For dessert, Ma Sip saved her slice of wonderful Billy Miner Pie for Mrs. Sip and I, which we consumed in quick order following yet another Canucks triumph.

The weekend is full of scheduled activities and doesn’t let up at all. ‘Tis the season, after all!

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Sip Trips #87: Holiday Wrap

I’m not going to lie, my little sippers. The Sip Advisor is a little down in the dumps with the holiday season coming to a close. I know there are some amazing things on the horizon and these feelings will pass. Let’s take a look at how the Sip Alliance finished 2016.

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On Friday, Mrs. Sip and I visited Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar for a little date night and to celebrate the last working day of the year. When we had tried to eat there, following our trip to the Vancouver Christmas Market, they were hosting a private event, but we were given two drink coupons to entice us to return. While we split a meal of their Short Rib Beef Dip and Chicken Tenders, Mrs. Sip ordered the Elderflower Radler, while I enjoyed a pint of R&B Brewing’s Shake Yo Fruity Milkshake IPA (featured in the original Beer of the Week post). We also sampled the Central City Brewing Southern Cross Kiwi Sour, which I had heard was a very popular beer from the company’s Seasons Greetings advent calendar.

To ring in the New Year, the Sip Alliance made our way to Craft Beer Market for their Best of 2016 Brewmaster’s Dinner. The event featured a four-course meal with beer pairings, with the menu, as follows: Mushroom, Bacon and Bean Ragout with Delirium Tremens; Salmon Crudo with Steamworks & Craft Collaboration Kitchen Gose Mad; Braised Chuck Flat with Four Winds IPA; and Dark Chocolate Terrine with Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter. The main course of braised chuck flat was delicious and paired nicely with the IPA, while the dessert and porter were also very good. I felt so-so about the two opening dishes, but the beers were both nice. As for pricing, early bird tickets were $65 and I thought the price was worth it… we certainly had a lot of fun throughout the evening.

new-years-eve-pro

Finally, last night, I got to enjoy one of my Christmas gifts, going to the Vancouver Canucks-Arizona Coyotes game with a friend who snagged me a ticket for a Secret Santa present. Prior to the contest, we met for drinks at the Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House, which has a number of culinary items I wish to try in the coming months. On this visit, the Sip Advisor paired a couple pints of Howe Sound Brewing’s Father John Winter Ale with their Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich, which was incredibly good.

As for the game, the Canucks won 3-0, with one of those goals coming on a penalty shot, which was quite exciting. Drinking wise, craft beer is hard to come by at Rogers Arena. While the stadium has been required to have 10% of their beer sales be of the craft variety, they do have a contract with macro-brewer Molson and that’s why a majority of the products available fall under that banner. Oh well, like my beloved Canucks, you can’t win ‘em all!

Sip Trips #60: Tapped Out

It seemed the theme of the last week for the Sip Alliance was being told a beer we wanted was out. A sadder set of circumstances, I have not come across yet in this life!

Looking for a place to eat last Thursday before our Urban Rec sports and with a couple gift cards to shed, we ended up at The Shark Club in Richmond. Already not thrilled with the beers on tap, my first two orders – Granville Island Winter Ale and Red Truck Amber Ale – were both unavailable. This left me with only one remaining option, Driftwood Fat Tug IPA. I’m sure this will all resurface one day as a PTSD scenario… the time I almost had to settle for Budweiser!

Budweiser Sucks

I will say, that my chicken tenders and fries were very good and I think Mrs. Sip and the rest of our party enjoyed their nachos, but even with that order, they were asked to substitute their original choice of spicy ground beef with chicken. We were never really informed why, but with little options, they just rolled with it. While our server was very friendly and you can’t blame her for the beers being out, service was incredibly slow and the place seemed understaffed.

Our next outing was to EXP Restaurant + Bar in downtown Vancouver. Here, they did have both of the beers I wanted to order, which was quite refreshing. Deciding on what to eat was much more difficult, as the menu here has so many intriguing dishes, each themed around video games. Rather than try something new, I went with a favourite, the Classic Cheese Burger of Experience and was not left disappointed. Other items ordered at our table, included the Attack On Taco, Assassin’s Cheese Fries and Traditional Poutine, all of which looked and tasted great.

The following day, we decided to check out The Social Corner, which recently opened right across the street from my and Mrs. Sip’s building. I ordered their mushroom burger (which I was lucky to see a server bring out to another table, as it wasn’t even on their menu), while the ladies at our table shared a couple of the restaurant’s pizzas. The Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale I paired with my meal really hit the spot and they must get that burger onto their menu.

Weekend Restaurant

Prior to Monday’s Vancouver Canucks game versus the Winnipeg Jets (which we had tickets to), we ended up at Central City’s Brew Pub, close to Rogers Arena. Here, we were continually denied the beer of our choice. I get it that kegs run out and need to be changed over, but when you have to choose another beer a half dozen times, it becomes a little tiring. The beers we did end up having were pretty good, highlighted for myself by Central City’s Scotch Ale, which I was pleasantly surprised had a smoky finish to it.

Speaking of the Canucks game, I was hoping for a better collection of craft beers at the stadium than we were able to locate. The adjacent BC Place (home of the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions and the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer) has worked hard to up their craft beer content and I figured – or at least hoped – Rogers Arena would do the same. Alas, it was not meant to be and the night was spent sipping on expensive Shocktop, while watching our beloved ‘Nucks put up a stinker.

Here’s hoping future Sip Trips aren’t as marred with unavailable menu items!