California – Cable Car

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. The Golden State is going to be a tough stop, as there’s so much to choose from for each category. California is home to film, TV and music production, as well as a hub for technological developments. Its population rivals the entire country of Canada, so suffice to say, there’s a lot going on:

Motto: “Eureka” (“I have found it”) – Are you sure you don’t want to hide it again!?

Food: You could have an entire buffet – or at least a multi-course meal – stocked only with food items invented in California. For an appetizer, there’s the California Roll or a Cobb Salad, followed by a main course of either a Cheeseburger, French Dip Sandwich, or California-Style Pizza. For dessert, you could enjoy a Popsicle, Hot Fudge Sundae or Rocky Road Ice Cream. And why not finish the meal with a Fortune Cookie.

Drink: California is known for inventing its fair share of popular cocktails, including the Martini. Both San Francisco and nearby Martinez claim to be the birthplace of the drink, which has been called “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet” and “the elixir of quietude”.

Martini

Site to See: As someone who has spent quite a bit of time and money travelling to California for the sole purpose of going to Disneyland, I have to pick the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ as my choice here. Of course, the state seems to have something to offer for everyone, ranging from wine regions and beaches to tourist landmarks and other theme parks.

Street: San Francisco hasn’t seen much love in this piece yet, so I will choose Lombard Street for this category. The infamous winding route, featuring eight hairpin turns, has been used for car chases in the movies What’s Up, Doc?, Magnum Force and Ant-Man and the Wasp. Apparently, during peak times, driving the road can be preceded by a 20-minute wait and a reservation system may be used in the future.

TV Show: So many TV shows are set in California, with every genre getting some coverage: family sitcoms The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saved by the Bell and Full House; teen dramas Beverly Hills, 90210 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as well as spinoff Angel); mysteries Perry Mason and Columbo; adult sitcoms Arrested Development, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and Two and a Half Men; adult dramas Sons of Anarchy, Entourage and Weeds; and even horror shows Fear the Walking Dead and a couple seasons of American Horror Story.

Movie: Same goes for movies, with some of my all-time favourites being California-based. This includes Die Hard, Anchorman and Reservoir Dogs, among too many to name and many more I still need to watch.

Disneyland

Book/Author: John Steinbeck, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath, was born in Salinas. Much of the writer’s work was set in California, including popular titles East of Eden and Of Mice and Men.

Fictional Character: I have to go with the eccentric Bluth family from Arrested Development. Teenagers Zack Morris (Saved by the Bell) and Marty McFly (Back to the Future) almost land in the top spot. Mass murderers Chucky (Child’s Play) and Ghostface (Scream) also call California home, so be careful.

Fictional City: Parts of real-life California seem fictional, but if I don’t pick Sunnydale from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, Mrs. Sip may never forgive me. The show’s entire seven season run takes place largely within the community, where Sunnydale High School is located directly above the ‘Hellmouth’. Spoiler alert: to close that dimensional portal, the city of Sunnydale is destroyed and the Sip Advisor doesn’t have to watch the show anymore!

Actor/Actress: Most folks who want to become actors end up in California. Those born in the state comprise a who’s who list of Hollywood royalty. This includes: Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck, Dwayne Johnson, Will Ferrell, Nicholas Cage, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Drew Barrymore, Jodie Foster, and Marilyn Monroe, among many others.

Sunnydale

Song: With apologies to runners up Hotel California (The Eagles) and California Dreamin’ (The Mamas and the Papas), every time I’m about to land at LAX, I have to play California Love by 2Pac and Dr. Dre. It just gets me in the right spirit and ready for all the fun at my fingertips.

Band/Musician: Another tough choice, but given this band’s history – and playlist – I have to go with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The group was formed in Los Angeles and so many of their songs are California-based or inspired. Honourable mentions go to NWA, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, The Beach Boys, and The Doors.

People: Between Apple and Pixar, Steve Jobs brought a lot to the world around him. From personal computers to the iPod, iPad and iPhone, many people use the devices Jobs helped to create on a daily basis. Sadly, Jobs died in October 2011, aged 56. What he would have developed in the later years of his life, we’ll never know, but most wish he had the chance.

Animal: California is an animal actor’s haven. Many furry stars were trained in the state, including Mr. Ed, Lassie, Old Yeller, Buck from Married with Children and even the Taco Bell Chihuahua. SeaWorld San Diego was also home to infamous orca Shamu.

Chilli Peppers

Invention: Barbie dolls were invented by Ruth Handler in Los Angeles, and named after her daughter, Barbara. Ken dolls came later, named after her son. Debuting at the American International Toy Fair in 1959 (used as Barbie’s birthday), the dolls have been a hit since, launching the Mattel toy company, and becoming a global phenomenon and feminist icon.

Crime: While there are many crimes California is known for, I have to go with one that captured the attention of the entire nation and much of the world. In 1994, former NFL star O.J. Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. O.J.’s surrender to police turned into a two-hour low-speed chase across Southern California, with 95 million people watching on TV. The trial that followed was a media sensation, dubbed the Trial of the Century, resulting in O.J.’s acquittal.

Law: In California, “sunshine is guaranteed to the masses”. So, when that rare day of inclement weather comes, who pays the price for such a disturbance!?

Sports Team: California has five baseball teams, three football teams (with the Raiders leaving to play in Las Vegas for 2020), four basketball teams, and three hockey teams. Most popular among those squads is likely the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the NBA’s most important franchises. The Lakers have won 16 NBA championships in 31 finals appearances.

Barbie Real

Athlete: Amongst some all-time greats, I have to go with athletes who changed their sports. There, you have Billie Jean King, who brought women’s tennis to the forefront with her Battle of the Sexes matches. There’s also skateboarder Tony Hawk and snowboarder Shaun White, who made their extreme sports mainstream viewing. Finally, we have Tiger Woods, who despite his personal problems, made golf more popular than it’s even been.

Famous Home: There are so many notable abodes in California, there’s even tours of these manors and other dwellings. The Playboy Mansion, though, may take the cake for world recognition, as a place of lavish parties and debauchery. Hugh Hefner’s pad is located in Los Angeles, where the 29-room estate has been “permanently protected” by the city, basically deeming it a historical landmark.

Urban Legend: Used as inspiration for American Horror Story: Hotel, the Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles has had a long history of violent incidents and guest suicides. Rumoured guests have included Elizabeth Short (aka the Black Dahlia), shortly before her murder; serial killer Richard Ramirez (aka the Night Stalker), perhaps during his spree of terror; and fellow serial killer Jack Unterweger, said to possibly be copying Ramirez while visiting L.A. from Australia.

Museum: Winchester Mystery House, in San Jose, was the former home of Sarah Winchester, widow of gun maker William Winchester. Following the death of her young daughter and William’s passing, Sarah was advised by a psychic to move west and never stop building her home there, or she would be haunted by the spirits of those who died at the hands of the guns her husband had made his wealth from. Until Sarah’s death in 1922, construction continued, resulting in staircases that lead to dead ends, as well as trap doors and secret passages.

Mansion

Firsts: Given my affinity for McDonald’s, I have to salute the fact the first ever restaurant for what would become the chain, was opened in San Bernardino, in 1940. Decades later, McDonald’s became the world’s largest restaurant chain and today serves millions of customer each day, across the globe.

Company: I think here, you have to go with film and broadcasting companies, which provide us all with so much entertainment. The Walt Disney Company, Universal Pictures, MGM, Netflix and Warner Bros., among them. There are also tech companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Google, who do the same.

Events: California has endured gold rushes, earthquakes and much more. What truly gave the state its identity, though, was the film industry coming to settle in Hollywood. With Thomas Edison owning a number of patents regarding movie development, many filmmakers came to California to dodge the fees that came with that. Studios sprouted up soon after and the rest is movie history.

Miscellaneous: Video games haven’t received much coverage in these posts yet, but it should be noted, California has one of the largest industries for gaming. Activision Blizzard, Atari and Electronic Arts have all set up shop in the state where arcade games were invented. Heck, one of my favourite childhood cartridges, California Games for the NES, was basically an electronic ad for west coast life.

Cable Car

Cable Car

  • Rim glass with Cinnamon and Sugar
  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum
  • 0.75 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

This drink was created in 1996 by Tony Abou-Ganim to celebrate the Starlight Room in San Francisco’s Drake Hotel. The Sidecar variation intrigued me because of the use of Spiced Rum. My cocktail was a little too heavy on the lemon juice, but I enjoyed the Cinnamon/Sugar rim and would try the concoction again.

April 25 – Gravity Wave

Sit Down, Shut Up

Last week, we looked at the Sip Advisor’s pet peeves on the field of play, committed by athletes. This week, we examine the fouls perpetrated by the fans on the sidelines… your fellow enthusiasts. Heck, one may be sitting next to you as you read this. Let’s get on with the list:

#5: TV Appearance

You know the people that work too hard to get on TV, usually yapping into their cell phone to make sure they’re getting the exposure they want… yeah, these people should be immediately ejected from the stadium and banned for an indeterminate amount of time. For one, they’re not paying attention to the action on the field of play and are more concerned with a brief game cameo. Second, they’re usually obscuring the view of other fans in that seating area. Is that really worth the price of admission?  People holding large signs can be lumped in with this group.

Fans with Signs

#4: Beer Run

I love a beer with my sports (albeit I’m not fond of the price, but whateves), but I certainly refuse to spend more time in concession line-ups than I do watching the contest. Even worse are those people who are constantly getting up and down throughout the game and blocking your view of the action. There must be some sort of cosmic law out there in the universe that says those who will be up and down throughout a game will be seated in the center of an aisle, while those who will be mostly seated will have spots on the aisle, repeatedly disturbed.

#3: Bandwagon Jumpers

If you’re not going to bother following the squad when they need the support the most, then you’re not a true fan. Sure, anyone can get behind a franchise that is loaded with stars and expanding its trophy case, but the true die-hards will be there through thick and thin. You only hope that when someone jumps off the bandwagon, they hurt themselves so seriously that they never get back on. Sadly, the world of fandom doesn’t work this way and the long-time fan suffers most, as ticket prices rise, which can be covered by those who only offer part-time backing.

bandwagon fan

#2: Yelling “Get in the Hole” for Every Shot

The obnoxious fan who started this trend should be drawn and quartered, all the while being pelted by golf balls. All you ever see today is fans shouting “get in the hole” for every single shot of a golf round. It’s particularly absurd on long par-5 tee shots, that have absolutely no chance of being sunk. I guess having some passion on the part of khaki-wearing, sweater vest-adorned golf fans is welcome, but not this way. Unfortunately, Tiger Woods followed this annoying phrase a little too closely and wound up losing his wife, kids, picture perfect image, sponsorship deals, credibility, and so much more.

#1: Leaving a Game Early

This is something I simply refuse to do. I paid good money for my seats and until the final buzzer, my ass will be stuck in said seat. Mrs. Sip and I recently attended a hockey game in Anaheim and were flabbergasted when the arena began emptying out before the shootout was even conducted. While I would NEVER leave a game early, I could at least understand if it was a blowout score, but taking off when things are all knotted up… that’s insanity! Incredulously, fans left the stadium before the Seattle Seahawks miraculous comeback over the Green Bay Packers, to punch their ticket to a second consecutive Super Bowl. Some missed out on the greatest rally the team will ever have.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Gravity Wave

Gravity Wave Shot

  • Rim glass with Caramel Sauce
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.5 oz Root Beer Schnapps

I’m also greatly opposed to the wave, which is why I selected the shooter above. What’s worse is when some jackass has a few too many bevvies and tries throughout the entire game to get this crap going. What fan behaviour earns your ire? I’m curious to hear!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I gave this shot to Mrs. Sip (who is a pickier drinker than myself) prior to going out one night and she enjoyed it. I also liked it, but then again, I’m an easier to please audience. My greatest concern in constructing the shooter was how to garnish it. None of the ingredients have an obvious garnish partner, so I went with a Caramel Sauce rim, which pulled the whole thing together!

December 30 – Iron Man Cocktail

We’re Going Streaking

As tomorrow marks the conclusion of the 365-day cocktail project, my efforts will be included with some of the greatest streaks known the world over. In fact, it’s probably the greatest compilation ever put together in human existence… and you little sippers were all a part of history. Here are some other notable runs.

Cal Ripken, Jr. – 2,632 Consecutive MLB games

While baseball lacks so many of the physical demands of other sports (hell, players spend more than half the game simply standing around and do so little that they can sometimes play two contests in one day), Cal Ripken, Jr.’s 2,632 straight games is still an amazing achievement. The streak started on May 30, 1982 and ended on Sept. 20, 1998, as the shortstop wanted to wrap it up on his own terms and avoid any controversy that may follow in the twilight of his career.

Cal-Ripken

Doug Jarvis – 964 Consecutive NHL games

To play that many successive games in one of the most physical sports on the planet is quite the impressive feat. When that streak spans your entire professional career (from 1975 to 1987), while winning four Stanley Cups, as well as the Selke Trophy (NHL’s top defensive forward) and Bill Masterton Trophy (awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) that makes the record that much sweeter.

Brett Favre – 297 Consecutive NFL Quarterback Starts

Given how rough and tumble professional football can be, it’s astonishing that Brett Favre was able to start 297 games in a row, all while sending pictures of his junk via cell phone to select female members of team staff. Okay, so some of Favre’s shine rubbed off (perhaps bad word choice) near the end of his career, but you can’t take away the guy’s grit and passion.

Joe Dimaggio – 56-Game Hit Streak

It has been written before that the hardest thing to do in professional sports is hit a fastball. While I vehemently disagree with that assertion, I do agree that there are unique skills required to be a pro ball player and Joe Dimaggio’s streak is pretty impressive because of this. Perhaps more notable, the dude married Marilyn Monroe… not too shabby!

Joe Dimaggio

Lance Armstrong – 7-Consecutive Tour de France Victories

While Lance Armstrong’s streak of victories has since been tainted by his steroid scandal, the man competed in a world rife with cheating and he still managed to win seven straight Tour de France titles. Armstrong’s celebrity also boosted funding for cancer treatments, so regardless of his name being sullied, he still did some great things for the world.

Wayne Gretzky – 51 Consecutive Game Point Streak

Wayne Gretzky is the most prolific scorer in NHL history, putting up so many records that will never be touched. Among those, is his 51-game point scoring streak in 1983-84. The Great One averaged 3 points per game during that run and had he sat out the rest of the season after the stretch was ended, he would have still won the scoring title by 27 points!

Byron Nelson – 11 Consecutive PGA Tour Wins

Today, you’re likely to see a different leader atop the PGA Tour each week. To win 11 straight in today’s golfing world is totally unfathomable. Not ever Tiger Woods in his prime came anywhere near touching that mark. Nelson won 18 of 30 tournaments in 1945 and 52 throughout his PGA career. He also added 12 wins on other professional circuits.

A.C. Green – 1,192 Consecutive NBA Games

I think I’m more impressed with the fact the deeply religious man waited until the age of 38 to finally lose his virginity. Now THAT’S an iron man streak! Green’s foundation promotes abstinence before marriage and he was finally wed in 2002, following his playing career, which lasted from 1985-2001, including three NBA Championships.

Drink #364: Iron Man Cocktail

Iron Man Cocktail Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 1 Shot of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine

So, what’s next for The Sip Advisor? You’ll have to stay tuned for a big announcement on New Year’s Day. The excitement is palpable, isn’t it!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes courtesy of The Drunken Moogle site and while it is meant for the comic and movie character Iron Man, I think it applies here, as well. Simply place the shot of Orange Juice into the Amaretto/Grenadine Mix and slam the whole concoction back. The drink is sweet, so if you have a tooth for that, you’re in luck. Most will want to have a more tart taste mixed in, so this cocktail doesn’t work for all.

June 5 – Asian Mist

Spit Roast

I’m not sure if this is where the drink gets its name, but it’s a common gimmick in wrestling for a Japanese grappler – Great Kabuki, Great Muta, Killer Khan, Yoshihiro Tajiri, Kwang, and the list of foreign baddies goes on and on – to spit “Asian Mist” in their opponent’s eyes. The act is so common that the different-coloured mists even have diverse “effects”. Green blinds temporarily, red burns, black blinds for prolonged periods, blue puts rival’s to sleep, yellow paralyzes, and purple causes memory loss… only in the crazy world of wrestling! Here are some other well-known spitters:

Acid Reflux

In the Mortal Kombat game franchise, the character of Reptile can spit poisonous venom at his opponent – “forward, forward, A”– was the move combo, I believe. Reptile was one of my favourite characters to use in the game because of his bad ass ways. Over the years, his fatalities (a hallmark of the MK series) have included biting off the head of an opponent and regurgitating deadly acid upon a prone foe.

Bloody Hell

In a somewhat similar vein to the Asian Mist, gothic wrestler Gangrel was known to drink “blood” from a goblet and then spit it into the air, or into the face of a foe, blinding them in the process. Those crazy vampires… what will they think of next? If only us humans could harness a way to spit daylight in their faces and eradicate your Edwards and Bellas from the world.

Dilophosaurus Venomous

In Jurassic Park, these little bastards are known to spit blinding venom at their human creators and captors… you think the little monsters would have some sense of gratitude! On the theme park attraction based off the movie franchise, the first sign of danger occurs when some Dilophosaurs pop up and promptly spit at the passing vehicles and passengers. They’ve caught me a time or two and I have to say that I must be immune to their toxins because I reacted to it similarly to everyday tap water.

Dis-Service Industry

There has always been a fear amongst restaurant complainers that their food will be returned to them with a loogie special sauce added to their meal, courtesy of a disgruntled cook or cashier. I’m not a natural complainer (don’t you hate those people!), but this fear provides an additional reason not to do so in fast food joints or any other eatery. I like my burger sans spit, thank you very much.

food spit

Sports Salivation

There have been a number of spitting incidents in the realm of professional sports, each more disgusting than the last. It doesn’t seem to matter which sport is being played, as even golfer Tiger Woods had to deal with an incident after spitting on a green during a tournament in Dubai. Possibly the most famous spit scandal belongs to Roberto Alomar, who loogied on an umpire. He still managed to gain entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite the controversy.

I’m Hit: The Keith Hernandez Story

This may be one of my favourite Seinfeld moments, as Kramer and Newman tell the story of baseball star Keith Hernandez spitting on them following a game. The entire scene mimics the movie JFK, and the recounting of the story is filmed in a similar fashion to the Zapruder videos of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jerry takes the role of conspiracy theorist and proves that there had to be a second spitter to explain the outlandish tale.

Spit-Take

Comedian and actor Danny Thomas is often credited with inventing the spit-take. I wonder if he would have come up with the gag if he knew that many years later, wrestlers would be blinding their opponents and causing memory loss using the same tactic he used to get laughs!?

Drink #156: Asian Mist

Asian Mist Martini

  • 1.5 oz Malibu Rum
  • 0.75 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz White Rum
  • Top with half Lemon-Lime Soda and half Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink was a little on the sweet side, but it’s relatively strong and, like always, that’s a good thing. The coconut and lemon flavours work well together, but sometimes I just can’t get my head around pineapple juice. I mean, I love Hawaiian-style pizza, but drinking the stuff has been known to throw me off.