Sip Trips #177: Feast Fantastic

Another Sip Trips cycle is in the books and I can’t believe how fast the year is flying by. We’re already into November and much like every store out there, Christmas is coming on in a hurry. Here’s what we’ve been up to over the last couple weeks:

Fresh off a visit to Boston Pizza just the week before, we decided to dine at the restaurant again, this time at the Queensborough Landing location. For this meal, I tried the Mad Mac Pizza, which features McDonald’s Big Mac ingredients (think the famous jingle) in pizza form. The pizza was good, but I think I preferred my Royal Hawaiian from the previous meal. Toddler Sip had a kid’s meal, which included a main, side, drink and dessert for a very reasonable price. The generous serving of ice cream sundae was also enjoyed by mommy and daddy.

Sundae School

On Saturday, Mrs. Sip and I finally used the Cirque du Soleil: Luzia tickets I bought for Mrs. Sip for Mother’s Day. Turning the evening into a full-on date night, we began with dinner at Coast, part of the Glowbal network of restaurants. We split quite the meal, taking advantage of happy hour. Along with my pair of East Van IPAs, we ordered dishes of Lobster Poutine, Crispy Calamari, Fish & Chip Cone, as well as a three-course dinner, comprised of New England Chowder, Atlantic Lobster and Crème Brûlée for dessert. I even added a single oyster to the feast, in order to keep my aphrodisiac level high.

As for the show itself, it was very good. The first half included some acts that even seasoned Cirque veterans such as Mrs. Sip and myself have never seen before and we left quite entertained. We noticed a new feature they were trying out at the event was an all-inclusive lounge to enjoy drinks and snacks before the show and at intermission for $50 per person. Given a single can of beer is $12, we hope this option will be available the next time the big top comes to town.

Cirque Tryouts

Earlier this week, Pa Sip and I took in the Vancouver Canucks game versus the Florida Panthers. The 7-2 victory was a great end to the night, with our meal at Brown’s Social House (at Queen Elizabeth Theatre) providing a fantastic start. Again, capitalizing on happy hour, or in this case, social hour, I enjoyed a pair of Social IPAs with orders of Howlin Hot Fried Chicken & Pickles and Parmesan Garlic Fries. There were other items on the menu that stood out to me, so I hope to return soon for another feast.

This weekend, the Sip Family leaves for Honolulu, Hawaii for a week. I can’t wait to try some breweries there, as well as eat and drink to my heart’s content. You’ll hear all about it in the next installment of Sip Trips!

Sip Trips #168: Alphabet Games

The past couple weeks have been filled with events and adventures, so let’s get right to the thick of things. Here’s what the Sip Family has been up to, of late:

To celebrate a friend’s birthday, we gathered for dinner at Bauhaus Restaurant in Downtown Vancouver. My order of Weiner Schnitzel was very good and the massive serving (with cucumber potato salad) justified the $36 price tag. The Schnitzel was accompanied by cranberry sauce, which I never thought of using on veal, but complimented the dish very well. Over the course of the evening, I enjoyed a trio of Brassneck Passive Aggressive Pale Ale servings to accompany my meal.

To celebrate my second Father’s Day, Mrs. Sip and I visited the newly-opened Another Beer Company (ABC Brewing), where we are original patron members. We were away on vacation while they hosted their special opening for members only, so it was great to finally get there and pick up my original patron package, which included a gift card and hoodie.

greatest dad

With plans to pick up a few beers to go when we were ready to leave, we concentrated on the options that were only available on tap for our time at the brewery. We ordered the Bright Temperament Belgian Saison, Salted Kviek Farmhouse Ale and Keep Your Pants On Indian Pale Kolsch, a style I have never seen before. The tall cans we bought prior to heading home included the Engine Head American Rye Ale, Poolside Hefe Bavarian Hefeweizen, You’ve Changed Pale Ale, Livin’ By The River Hazy IPA, and Young Wild & Hazy Hazy IPA.

We actually returned a few days later with Cousin Sip and her husband and picked the couple items (Good Alternative Altbier and Eli’s Stash Belgian Tripel) we had yet to try or purchase. I haven’t had a bad beer yet from the upstart brewery and I look forward to many more visits in the future. We like the loft seating area there, as well as the bucket of toys they had available for young children who are brought to the venue. With Father’s Day in mind, you may be asking how awesome of a father I am? Well, with our visit to ABC, Baby Sip has now been to 69 breweries across a handful of countries in her 20 months of existence. Father of the Year honours are surely on the way!

One final note about ABC, is they are operating with a different business plan than I’ve seen from other breweries. They aren’t offering growler fills, opting to sell tall cans which are packaged on a weekly basis and restocked daily. The cans are meant to be drank within two weeks of the packaging date. It will be interesting to see if this scheme evolves over time or not.

growler

Prior to our second visit to ABC, we had been attending the Vancouver Canucks Summer Summit with the Sedins. Upon entering, we were presented with vouchers for one entrée and two drinks, similar to the Summer Showcase prospects game last year. I used my food ticket on a Triple Os Bacon & Cheddar Burger, while my drink coupons once again went towards Budweisers (it always hurts to write that, but you can’t complain when they’re free!). There were many more drink stands available to attendees this year, so perhaps they listened to my suggestions following the previous event.

This past weekend, Mrs. Sip and I joined friends for a crawl along Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row. We began the day with Twin Sails Brewing, which was hosting a First Day of Summer Party. I enjoyed my El Cacto Tequila Farmhouse Ale with Lime Zest, as well as Mrs. Sip’s Two Straws Milkshake IPA with Blackberry.

Next up was Yellow Dog Brewing, where we snagged a seat in their backyard area, one of my favourite drinking spots amongst the Lower Mainland craft beer scene. I went with their Squirrel Chaser Hazy Pale Ale, as I had never tried the beer before, while I order the Hi Ten Double Hazy IPA for Mrs. Sip, as she has been getting into that style more and more recently.

spritual quest

Moody Ales was stop number three. I was able to try a taste of Bakery Brewing’s Dark Rye Saison (on guest tap), before getting a pint of the Moody Ales/Gibsons Collab Rauchbock, which was deliciously smoky. Mrs. Sip went with the Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Stout, another fine choice.

Backtracking, our last stop of the day was Parkside Brewing, where we decided to pick up some road beers, rather than fight for a seat and table at the very busy place (all the Row was hopping throughout the day). I grabbed a tall can four-pack of their Motel Pale Ale, which were enjoyed as we walked the nearby trails to a playground for Baby Sip to finally get some playtime.

Upcoming is the Canada Day long weekend, which always presents some fantastic drinking opportunities. All we need is for the weather to turn around, so we can relax poolside and fireside with beverages in hand!

Sip Trips #160: Weezer & Wagyu

It’s been a steady few weeks for the Sip Family, full of celebrations and events to attend. Here’s what the crew has been up to since I was last able to put fingers to keyboard:

Mrs. Sip and I celebrated the 17th anniversary of our first date a couple weeks back and boy how times have changed. With Baby Sip now in tow, we like to spend the first portion of the day doing a family activity, leaving our evening to just the two of us. Our day started with checking out the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove. Baby Sip loved seeing all the animals and running around the park. I liked that you could bring your own bike or rollerblades or even rent one of those two-seater carriage bikes to get around the attraction. My only complaint for the place, is unlike our experience at the San Diego Zoo, you couldn’t explore with a beer or other adult libation in hand.

lions-at-zoo

Following the zoo, while Baby Sip napped, we took care of the beverage absence by visiting Old Abbey Ales. Last time we tried to go here, the door was locked following a change in ownership. This time went a lot smoother. We were very impressed by the brewery’s eclectic beer board, deciding we each needed a flight to cover off all the brews we were interested in trying. We sampled the Beets by Steve, Sippy Chai Aye, Call of Ktulu Squid Ink Stout, Gose Cuervo, Jolly Brewer Watermelon Light Lager, Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Quila Grapefruit, and Fizzical Contradiction Brut IPA.

To finish off the busy day, we had a Vancouver Canucks game to attend. To use up the last of our season ticket membership gift cards, I bought a tall serving of Hoyne Dark Matter, which was a nice sipper through the first period. We also tried to go to Devil’s Elbow after the contest, but wouldn’t be able to be seated for about 25 minutes, so elected to return home and relieve our babysitters. We remedied this with a quick stop there a few nights later prior to our last game of the season, each enjoying a serving of the Howe Sound Wee Beastie Scotch Ale.

As an anniversary gift, Mrs. Sip signed us up to be ‘original patrons’ of Another Beer Company (ABC), which should be opening soon in the Sapperton area. Our $250 investment in the brewery is returned to us with a gift card in that amount, as well as other perks such as merchandise and invites to special events. I was already excited for another brewery (no pun intended) to open so close to our home, but now I’m super amped to see this operation take off.

anniversary flaws

This previous weekend, we joined friends to attend the Weezer/Pixies concert at Rogers Arena. Prior to the show, we had dinner at Wildebeest, enjoying their Omakase (Japanese for “trust the chef” or “let us order for you”) menu, which lets diners set a menu price per person and then sit back and enjoy whatever concoctions the kitchen can come up with. Our meal was orgasmic, highlighted by their delicious Bone Marrow (we even did luge shots of sherry out of the used bone), Wagyu Tartare and main event of more Wagyu beef, this time in strip form. As for drinks, I imbibed with their Uppercut cocktail (Calvados, vermouth, Maraschino, orange bitters, peated Scotch), and a pair of Parkside Pale Ales at $5 happy hour pricing.

As for the concert, we had a fantastic time, although we missed the opening act as we wrapped up our meal. The Pixies and Weezer both put on a great show. At the arena, I had a couple Millstreet Tankhouse Ales and when we were invited to join a friend in his private box, a couple more bevvies were enjoyed. All in all, a spectacular way to spend a Sunday night!

Upcoming for the Sip Family is the Iron Assassin’s Demolition Derby in Abbotsford on Saturday and the long-awaited return of Game of Thrones the following day. We are also gearing up for the Easter long weekend, where we’ll be travelling with Ma and Pa Sip to Seattle for what should be a gluttonous holiday!

Sip Trips #158: Chicken Tender Tenacity

Since returning from our Puerto Vallarta vacation, things haven’t been quiet, but they also haven’t been crazy. I’ll enjoy the relative lull, knowing things always pick up for the Sip Family, especially as the weather improves. Here’s what we’ve got up to recently:

Last week, I was graced with a midday visit from Mrs. Sip at work, so we decided to do lunch at the nearby The Taphouse: Guildford. While we didn’t indulge in any beverages, we very much enjoyed our food selections, with me ordering the Chicken Tenders (with FOUR dipping sauces) and Mrs. Sip going with the Avocado Toast. We liked the look and feel of the place, and look forward to returning to try some other menu items.

dipping sauce

This weekend, I was joining a couple friends for the Vancouver Whitecaps season opener and we decided to start the day with drinks at the Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smokehouse. At the Howe Sound Brewing-affiliated tasting room, I enjoyed pints of the Wee Beastie Scotch Ale and Hazy Daze NE IPA. These were a good setup for the football match ahead, where I also picked up a serving of Stanley Park Trail Hopper IPA, once the stadium’s credit/debit payment system came back online at half-time.

The next day, we were back in Downtown Vancouver for our Vancouver Canucks Road Game Viewing Party. We selected this perk among five options given to season ticket members and had a great time, despite the game itself not being very good. Hosted at Rogers Arena’s SportsBar Live, we were each treated to one free entrée (options including Burger, Chicken Tenders, Half Nachos, Thai Coconut Chicken Curry, and Rigatoni Bolognese) and drink (beer, white wine, red wine, pop). For food, Mrs. Sip picked the Half Nachos, while I went with yet another serving of Chicken Tenders. Both were selected with sharing with Baby Sip, in mind. After our original drinks, we also ordered pints of 33 Acres of Sunshine and Steamworks Flagship IPA.

healthy food.gif

Up next was the Canucks game we’ve been waiting all season for, versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. We had planned to use much (if not all) of our membership gift cards at this contest. The night began with beers, with Mrs. Sip selecting a large serving of Hoegaarden and yours truly picking Postmark Juicy Pale Ale. As we lined up for Mrs. Sip to grab a hotdog, we noticed the stall also had Hoyne Dark Matter on tap, which confirmed what our next beverages would be. Best of all, the Canucks came from behind to win the game 3-2 in overtime!

Mrs. Sip is off to Vegas with the girls this weekend, so I’ll be left to my own devices with Baby Sip. I don’t anticipate a ton of activity in the coming days, but once Mrs. Sip returns, the calendar is loaded with four hockey games and two concerts over the next month, among other events.

Sip Trips #144: Time to Celebrate

Mrs. Sip and I have been so busy recently that it took a couple weeks to get around to sitting at the computer to record our latest adventures. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

A couple weeks ago, we attended the Vancouver Canucks Summer Showdown, a game contested between the team’s prospects. With our season ticket membership, we were entitled to four free tickets, so we quickly selected seats, which were disappearing rapidly. What we learned later, was that the game also included a free entree and beverage, which later became two drinks with alcohol options including wine and beer (albeit Budweiser). For our entrée, both Mrs. Sip and I went with the Prime Rib Sandwich from Carve, after being teased by in-game promotions for the food stall all season long. Other options included: Chicago Dogs from Steamers, Chicken Lover’s or Cheese Pizza from Pizza Hut, Poke Salmon from Catch, Bacon Cheddar or Veggie Burger Platter from Triple O’s, and Smoked Meat Poutine from Crisp. As if that wasn’t enough, free ice cream and popcorn could be found throughout the evening. The event was a lot of fun, with my only suggestion being to have beers available at unused beer stations to alleviate the food lineups, which grew long with many just wanting to use a drink ticket.

Free Food

Two nights later, we were at BC Place Stadium to watch the Vancouver Whitecaps defeat the Chicago Fire. While at the game, I had a large serving of Stanley Park Trail Hopper IPA, which cost a whopping $16. I know event pricing can be wacky, but I feel things are way out of hand when you can get an entire six-pack and more for the same price as one beer at a game.

Onto some reasonably priced fare, last week we attended Disney Trivia at Pat’s Pub (presented by Tipsy Trivia Vancouver). While we had to buy tickets (costing $10, plus tax each) to this trivia, we had a good time and Mrs. Sip even won one of the raffle prizes, taking home a Corona cooler bag that was filled with two t-shirts and a hat. The food at Pat’s Pub was very decently priced, with us each ordering $10 Chicken Strips and Fries that really hit the spot. The bar is also home to Hastings Mill Brewing, so we ordered very tasty pints of their Highland Scottish Ale and Strawberry Honey Hefeweizen, throughout the night.

disney-princess

The next night, I celebrated a friend’s stag party at one of the Playland 19+ Nights. We decided to go with the $81 VIP ticket (compared to $31 for general admission), which provided us with front of the line access to 10 rides, as well as a private bar. Drinks available included Parallel 49 beers, well drinks, and amusement park-inspired specialty cocktails, such as Sno-Cone and Candy Floss martinis. It had been a number of years since I had attended Playland and we had a great time riding the old wooden coaster and watching the burlesque show.

While the above doesn’t look like much activity over the last two weeks, my liver and weary eyes can attest that we’ve been busy. I’ll wrap with some recent purchases, which include the Parallel 49 Fanny Pack, and Fernie/Four Winds Sirocco Rauchbier, which have kept me quite happy in recent times.

Sip Trips #132: Celebrations Galore

The Sip Family has been super busy the last couple weeks. So busy, that I’m just now getting a chance to document our recent adventures. Here’s what we’ve been up to since I was last able to write:

A couple weekends’ ago, we celebrated Father-in-Law Sip’s birthday, taking our revelry to Backyard Winery, followed by Township 7 Winery, in Langley. While at Backyard, where we enjoyed a couple bottles of Pinot Gris and charcuterie platters, Mrs. Sip rejoined their wine club now that she’s no longer pregnant and breastfeeding. At Township 7, our group did a wine tasting, while I toured the grounds with Baby Sip, who was visiting the fifth winery of her young life.

Later that week, we enjoyed a meal at EXP Restaurant + Bar. There has been some concern the place will be forced out of business, due to Vancouver’s ridiculous rent prices, so we wanted to visit before anything tragic occured. We ordered a round of Harry Potter-themed cocktails that were all pretty tasty. My favourite was the Gryffindor’s Liquid Courage, thanks to the Jack Daniels Whiskey base. To eat, I ordered the Triforce Burger, which is comprised of a crispy chicken breast, beef burger and bacon. It’s quite the meal, but oh so delicious.

Triforce

Heading into Easter weekend, I picked Mrs. Sip up from work and we enjoyed a drink at Steel & Oak Brewing. The brewery has recently completed renovations to allow for more patrons and the space is much-needed, as the place is often packed. We ordered the Encore collaboration with Yellow Dog Brewing and really enjoyed the beer. That’s really no surprise, as the two breweries are among my favourite in the province.

The next day, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our 16th dating anniversary. We began the occasion by using the Groupon I had purchased for Big City Hunt, which offers scavenger hunts in a number of big cities. Even though we’re locals, we learned some neat things about downtown Vancouver, as we embarked on the two-hour tour, featuring trivia and photo challenges.

The main event of our anniversary was dining at the Top of Vancouver rotating restaurant. We split a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, along with a starter of Baked French Brie and mains of Duck Duo for me and Baked Whole Lobster for Mrs. Sip. The dinner was not cheap, but you’re partly paying for the view, which we enjoyed for over two hours and three full rotations of the restaurant.

Lobster Immortal.jpg

We wrapped our evening out by stopping at Nero Belgian Waffle Bar, where the alluring smell of fresh waffles forced us to investigate further. We split their set of seven Mini Liège Waffles, which provided the perfect dessert to our earlier feast.

The following day, we journeyed back to Langley to celebrate Mrs. Sip’s grandpa’s 93rd birthday at one of his favourite restaurants, Andreas. This place has an amazing menu and I can’t remember not liking any item that I have ordered. On this visit, I combined their French Onion Soup (which may have been the best serving I’ve ever had of the delicacy) with Chicken Fingers and Fries. The meal was decadent and the prices were all very reasonable.

On Easter Sunday, we met with friends at Big Ridge Brewing in Surrey. Having eaten recently, Mrs. Sip and I split an order of their Beer Battered Garlic Fries. These paired nicely with our beer selections of Viking Funeral Norwegian Ale for me and Vanilla Bean Porter for Mrs. Sip. Next time we’re out that way, I’d like to try something from their Asian Kitchen menu.

Chows Mane

Afterwards, we were off to Baby Sip’s first drive-in movie experience at Twilight Theatre in Aldergrove. Our films included Ready Player One and Game Night, both of which were enjoyable, despite some inclement weather, including a touch of hail during the shows.

Last, but not least, we also attended three Vancouver Canucks games in the last week, including the emotional final home game for the Sedin twins. This magical night will live long in my memory and Daniel and Henrik deserve every bit of praise they have received since announcing their impending retirements. Thank you to both of them for their 18 years of service, both on and off the ice.

The coming week remains loaded with commitments and activities, which you can read all about in next week’s Sip Trips!

Baby Beverages #3: Future Fan

Last week, Mrs. Sip and I took Baby Sip to her first Vancouver Canucks NHL game. I went into the occasion with some apprehension, worried she would get fussy and cause a disturbance to the fans seated around us – and by she, I mean Mrs. Sip! *rimshot*

My biggest concern going in was that the goal horn would blast (unfortunately, a relative rarity during this Canucks season) and the little one would freak out and force an early end to the evening. I had seen this play out earlier in the team’s campaign, as a family sat in front of me. Before I could ask how old their baby was, a goal was scored; mom, dad and baby left their seats… and never returned.

Hockey Fans

We arrived a little late to the contest, thanks to a last minute poopy diaper and issues with our baby carrier, so as we checked in our stroller with guest services, the Canucks already tallied a goal. This was a good first test to see how Baby Sip would react and while she definitely noticed the horn and accompanying cheers, her little headphones helped in blocking out enough noise that she didn’t react much at all.

As we waited for a break in action to take our seats, the Canucks scored again. This time we were closer to the action and still, Baby Sip seemed mostly unfazed. Six minutes into the game, the team added yet another tally and this was the true test, as fans celebrated all around us. Well, Baby Sip is a cool cucumber and while her eyes lit up, she never fussed once over the volume. In fact, she seemed to be taking in the whole experience, dazzled by the lights and probably wondering why sounds were muffled.

Of course, we always had a bottle at the ready if she started to squirm. Mrs. Sip finished the bottle we brought with us during the first period and I took over with a new bottle in the second frame. Then, Baby Sip fell asleep and stayed that way on me for the final half of the game, including through the Canucks sixth goal and eventual victory. All in all, a pretty uneventful first visit to Rogers Arena, from a baby perspective.

Life Bottles.jpg

For others thinking of taking their baby to a Canucks game, there are a couple things you need to do: At any guest services kiosk, you can pick up a first game pin and certificate as keepsakes. I’m sure other teams have similar programs, so make sure you pick up whatever is available. It should also be noted that every staff member we encountered was very helpful and happy to see a baby attending their first event.

We have no concerns anymore with taking Baby Sip to future games. Of course, she could act completely different for round two, but as with the Canucks this season, we’ll take the wins when they come!