Sip Trips #214: Disney Days

The highlight of September, aside from our latest VCBW Beer Box arriving, was our long-awaited vacation to Disneyland. Seriously, we began planning this trip in late 2019, with the pandemic wiping out the journey for two straight years. Let’s see how it all finally went down:

To get to Southern California, we boarded a Princess Cruises ship from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Mrs. Sip finally reached Elite status on this voyage; therefore, she was given a complimentary mini bar set-up, among other perks. Only problem, she was given two gin and six blended whiskey bottles. Now, I understand this is a freebie, but a little more variety would have been preferred. We did call to make some changes, but availability was so limited, we were forced to go with six gin and two whiskey bottles. Another liquor issue we had was Ma and Pa Sip gifted me a bottle of Crown Royal for the cruise, but it was also unavailable. Not loving the substitution options, I elected to take a credit on the bottle, which allowed me to spend that on cocktails around the ship. I am now an Elite member as well, so hopefully our next cruise provides a better mini bar set-up.

Cruise

As for that ship credit, I quickly went to work on it, ordering a Mayan Mule at the Elite Lounge. We also bought a bottle of Pinot Grigio for dinner, which we spread over three of our four meals. My night cap that evening was the Captain’s Bounty (Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, Malibu Coconut Rum, Bacardi Limon Rum, Kraken Rum, sweet and sour, pineapple juice, Coca-Cola), which was my favourite cocktail of the cruise.

Our one port stop was in Victoria, where we met some family members for breakfast at the Breakwater Bistro. Before taking Boy Sip on a walk along Ogden Point, I quickly enjoyed a Hazy IPA and Breakfast Sandwich.

Our next two days at sea were spent celebrating my and Girl Sip’s birthdays. Drinks enjoyed over the festivities included: Alaska White and Amber Ales, Ultimate Cooler, Mango Margarita with added chili flakes, Long Island Iced Tea, Lynchburg Lemonade, and Strawberry Fields (Mezcal, Strawberry Puree, Ginger, Lime).

cruise work

Some thoughts to sum up the cruise, I still really miss the Explorer’s Lounge and Skywalker’s Lounge, which are both missing from these newer ships. Also, I feel there should be some sort of arcade available on the ship for kids and adults alike. Amongst some other good (not great) food eaten, my favourite meal was the quick serve Bahn Mi Sandwich from the International Café. I felt the food was better in Disneyland than on the cruise.

Speaking of Disneyland, we had finally arrived, in the middle of a SoCo heatwave and massive crowds in the park. The best way to handle it all was frequent visits to beer vendors. Our first servings of the stay were the Battlesnakes Pilsner for me and delicious Golden Road Hefeweizen for Mrs. Sip. I later also added the Karl Strauss Boat Shoes Hazy IPA.

Each day, we retreated to either our or Ma and Pa Sip’s hotel for a break from the heat and recharge. On one of these occasions, I was tasked with getting Girl Sip a Quesadilla at Calaca Mamas. When asked to wait for my order at the bar, I took advantage of the situation and had a pint of the restaurant’s Mexican Lager.

Disneyland Fun

One of the best lunches of our trip was at the Pym Test Kitchen, where all food comes in enormous servings. Our meal included the Not so Little Chicken Sandwich and massive Quantum Pretzel, finished with the decadent Choco Smash Candy Bar. To drink, Mrs. Sip put in mobile orders at the Pym Tasting Lab. Our beverages were The Regulator (Tequila, Golden Road Mango Cart Wheat Ale, Mango and Habanero Syrups, Mango flavor-filled Boba) and Honey Buzz (Gin, Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, Honey Straw). As we left the kids with Ma and Pa Sip for a Disneyland date night, we also enjoyed a pair of fantastic BarrelHouse Strawberry Daze Blonde Ales from the bar.

Continuing with our kid-free evening, we landed a spot at the Carthay Circle Lounge. Here, we sat back and enjoyed fancy cocktails, such as a Dill Gin & Tonic (Gin, Tonic, Dill Pickle Brine, Dill, Lemon Peel) for me and Tequila Daisy (Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, Crème Yvette Violet Liqueur, Lime Juice, Agave Nectar, Egg Whites) for Mrs. Sip. We also split an order of Bao Buns of Soy-Ginger Braised Pork Belly with Cucumber Kimchi, which were incredibly tasty.

We then moved to the Magic Kingdom park and managed to get into Oga’s Cantina, the only place you can get alcoholic beverages in this part of the resort. We were allowed to stay for a maximum of 45 minutes and two drinks, so we made quick work ordering the Tarkenian Night Flower (Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, Ginger, Huckleberry), The Outer Rim (Tequila, Pomegranate Liqueur, Lime Juice, Cane Sugar, Exotic Fruit Purée, Black Salt rim), Jet Juice (Bourbon, Piment d’Espelette, Pomegranate Liqueur, White Grape Juice, Lemon Juice) and Fondor Fizz (Chardonnay, Vodka, White Tea, Lemongrass, Pea Flower Citrus). The bar is neat, but it does make me wonder why liquor can’t be purchased at other parts of the park.

Star Wars Disneyland

In the middle of our California stay, we decided to head out to Legoland for the very first time. Our day here was a stark contrast to Disneyland crowd-wise, as we were able to walk onto almost every ride and sometimes do back-to-back runs of an attraction. We had lunch at the Knights’ Smokehouse BBQ, sharing the Taste of Texas Platter (Pulled Pork, Brisket and Hot Link) with Fries, Mac & Cheese and Jalapeno Cornbread as side dishes. To drink, we got servings of Societe The Harlot Blonde Ale and Stone Hazy IPA. The only downside of our Legoland day was the park was only open from 10am-5pm and we would have loved to have had more time to explore and play.

Back to Disneyland for a day, we cooled off with another visit to the Sonoma Terrace beer garden, where I enjoyed glasses of the Unsung Carina Hazy Double IPA and Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale.

With another day off on the schedule, we took the kids to Dave & Busters. Over our lunch of the Chicken Avocado Club and Pretzel Dogs, Mrs. Sip had a Strawberry Watermelon Margarita, while I sipped on a Jameson and Ginger Ale. Then, we played a host of arcade games, some of which were worth their cost and others not so much.

Dave & Busters

Following an afternoon of swimming, we returned to our hotel, which had a Denny’s next door. We decided to have dinner there, where I paired a Shock Top Belgian White with a yummy Nashville Hot Chicken Melt with Seasoned Fries.

For our final day at Disneyland, we had lunch at the Pacific Wharf area. I ordered from the Lucky Fortune Cookery, having the Teriyaki Chicken with a Four Sons Lucky Dragon IPA (exclusive to the Cookery). We also grabbed beers again at the Pym Tasting Lab, this time having the SLO Brew Cali Squeeze Blood Orange Hefeweizen, suggested by a friend who visited Disneyland in the summer.

My final thoughts on this Disneyland trip were that the resort has become shockingly unreliable, with rides being down and constantly having issues. The new Genie+ system ($20 per day, per person) has its perks, such as being able to get passes to rides from anywhere around the resort, but I refuse to pay extra for a ride on top of the exorbitant entry price. We used to be the type of people that would buy a Disneyland year pass and make the trek two to three times a year. That’s not feasible anymore with park ticket, food and drink and hotel prices all going up dramatically. I can’t see us coming back for at least a couple years and, more likely, a few years.

Disneyland Wishes

As we waited at LAX to fly home, we had a meal at the Point the Way Café by Golden Road Brewing. My Ride On Tropical IPA worked really well with the Grilled Chicken Nachos Mrs. Sip and I shared. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and we were back home with two tuckered out Sipplings.

October is already shaping up to be busy, albeit fun. This weekend we’re on the road again, taking advantage of the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, with a trip to the Okanagan. Halloween festivities will also provide ample opportunity for shenanigans!

Sip Trips #211: Tap Travels

June (or more accurately, Jun-uary) was a busy month, with a fair bit of travel on the schedule. We covered a lot of track, so let’s get right to it and see what the Sip Family got up to in the first month of summer:

We began June with a week-long all-inclusive vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There, we stayed at the Riu Jalisco resort, which impressed me from the start with a liquor dispenser in every room. I’ve never experienced this perk before, but apparently, that’s a standard feature of the Riu chain. It’s all the more appreciated to have rum, vodka, gin and tequila at the ready, when you have young kids and can’t always escape the room to hit a bar for your beverage.

Mexico

My one liquor purchase of the trip was a bottle of Azul Mango Chamoy Tequila, which I still haven’t had a chance to experiment with yet. I can see the booze going good in Margaritas, Palomas and other tequila-based beverages.

Our one day leaving the resort and going into the town of Puerto Vallarta, was highlighted by stops at two craft breweries. We started with Monzon Brewing, where I enjoyed a serving of their Paloma Doble IPA (with grapefruit and serrano peppers). They didn’t have the Coconut Lime DIPA I wanted to try, but I really enjoyed the beer I settled for. We also shared an order of the Birria Fries, which was a delicious dish, especially with all the different salsas and chipotle sauce you could add.

Next up, was Granero Brewing, which is associated with Los Muertos Brewing. I ended up having the same beer I had when we visited Los Muertos’ original location back in 2019, the Anillo de Fuego (Chili Ale).

Salsa

Upon returning home, Mrs. Sip and I received our second VCBW Beer Boxes. This offered another cool assortment of beers with one regular bottle, one 500ml bottle, two regular cans and 20 tall cans, curated from brewery’s around the province. The second box improves on the first one, which was quite good in its own right.

Out on a date night, Mrs. Sip and I began our evening with happy hour at The Hub. I had pours of the Russell Peach Apricot Hefeweizen and Papaya Milkshake IPA, while we also split a Blueberry Lemon Mojito. For food, I went with a pair of tacos, including the Beef Brisket and Spicy BBQ Chicken options.

Our main event of the evening was trying out the Neverland Peter Pan-inspired pop-up bar at the Vancouver Alpen Club. Tickets were $45 each, plus fees, and included a welcome drink, plus two cocktails. The 90-minute immersive experience was fun, with an amazingly decorated setting, games to play to “earn” your drinks and fine work from the actors. The drinks were just okay in my books, but they tried to do something different with each, using a fizzy stick for one and butterfly pea colouring for the other. We ended up helping another couple finish the fishbowl they ordered and this led to us all heading to karaoke at Georgie’s Local Kitchen & Bar.

Peter Pan

To end the month, we travelled up to Kelowna for a few days. Our first meal was at Boston Pizza, as we had to use our last two free kid’s meals before the June 30th expiry date. The deal of getting five kid’s meals for $5 is a fantastic offer and one we will do again next year, if the chain offers it. My meal consisted of items from the new summer menu, including the Carnitas Pizza (BBQ sauce, mozzarella cheese, BBQ pulled pork, pineapple, red onions, feta cheese), paired with a Spicy Blue Margarita (tequila, blue curacao, lime, mango, jalapeño). The pizza was fantastic… the drink, not so much.

The next day, we visited Off the Grid Winery, where Mrs. Sip did a tasting and bought a couple bottles, while the kids and I checked out the animals and other sights the place offers. It was a nice stop, with the perfect temperature and a relaxing vibe.

On our way back into town, we stopped at Copper Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I shared orders of the Darla’s Red Ale, Peaches N’ Cream Wheat Ale, Raspberry Lemonade Pils and Nut Brown Ale. The brewery offers guests the chance to play video games on their Classic NES and SNES systems, which were enjoyed by the Sipplings, even if they had no clue what was going on. We also played the Guess Who board game with Girl Sip, as Boy Sip enjoyed his afternoon nap.

NES

For dinner that night, we walked over to Bin 4 Burger Lounge. Hitting the tail end of their happy hour, I ordered a pint of Phillips Citrus Lager, along with a Blackberry Vanilla Lemonade (vodka, blackberry simple syrup, vanilla syrup, basil, lemon juice). Mrs. Sip had a tasty Pineapple Strawberry Mojito. To eat, I selected the Big Spenny Burger with Curry Aioli for my scrumptious fries. Other sauces we enjoyed, as each dish comes with one free cup, included Bacon Aioli and Truffle Aioli.

Our final Kelowna destination was Barn Owl Brewing, where I had the Passionfruit Paradise IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with a flight consisting of the Genesis Raspberry Wheat Ale, A Whittle Orange Witbier, Headturner Hazy IPA and Escape – The Pina Colada Sour. The brewery had a really neat upstairs area and visitors can bring food in from outside, particularly from the bakery next door. Prior to leaving, Mrs. Sip also ordered a Night Owl Porter Float, while the kids played shuffleboard.

As the calendar turned over from June to July, we were relocating from Kelowna to Penticton, to continue our Okanagan getaway. That portion of the vacation and much more will be documented in the next Sip Trips.

Sip Trips #207: Rinks and Drinks

Well, March was interesting, full of outings and even some travel. In fact, the month was so busy, I’ve split our experiences into two entries, something I haven’t had to do for a very long time when it comes to Sip Trips diaries. Let’s see how the majority of March played out:

The month began with the Sip Advisor meeting a friend to watch the All Elite Wrestling Revolution pay-per-view. Prior to arriving for the show, we had a couple beers at Roxy Burger, a former frequent haunt for the Sip Family. There, I had two James Brown Ales, at the Sunday special price of $4.50 each.

Next up was the pay-per-view, hosted at Red Card Sports Bar. Throughout the amazing, but lengthy show, I consumed two Red Card Pale Ales, two Howe Sound Sky Pilot NW Pale Ales and one Howe Sound Hazy Daze IPA. To keep from over liquefying, I enjoyed a serving of the bar’s Hotiyaki Wings at happy hour pricing, as well as a Classic Burger later in the evening. The wings were delicious and I really liked the blend of hot sauce and teriyaki. The burger was also very good and we hope to return for future events.

Wrestling

Later that week, Mrs. Sip and I both signed up for Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Boxes at the Founding Membership level. This means, four times per year (spring, early summer, late summer and winter), we will receive 24 curated craft beers from a variety of breweries, for only $69 each delivery. We felt this was an amazing deal and can’t wait to see what our first Beer Box holds.

Offered a mid-week date night, Mrs. Sip and I finally visited Gotham Steakhouse, something we had always intended to, but never got around to, while living downtown. We picked Gotham from the list of places that were supposed to be doing Cinq A Sept, as part of Vancouver Cocktail Week, but nobody seemed to know what I was talking about with regards to the special happy hours. Not to be deterred, Mrs. Sip and I both had the restaurant’s Feature Cocktail of the day (Aperol, St. Germain, Gin, Lemon Juice, Absinthe Rinse). I also enjoyed pints of Backcountry Widowmaker IPA and Parkside Dusk Pale Ale, while Mrs. Sip was recommended to order a Whiskey Sour, which we both enjoyed. For eats, we shared the Steak and Prawn Skewers, Caesar Salad and Seymour Street Fried Chicken, all of which were tasty.

Following our meal, it was time for the Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens game we had tickets to. After the first period, we tried Strawberry and Passionfruit Margaritas from the Rogers Arena margarita bar, which I’d like to think spurred the Canucks on to their eventual victory that night.

Margarita

That weekend, we took the Sipplings to the Dead Frog Carnival, where the brewery was releasing two new beers with cotton candy additions. The beers, which I tried each of, were the Hippity Hop Hazy IPA and Pondside Pale Ale. Mrs. Sip had a Black Raspberry Sangria Sour. Our food consisted of the yummy Maple Jalapeno Beef Dip, a Jumbo Beer Pretzel and Smoked Salt & Pepper Wings, which ended up at our table by mistake, but the server said they couldn’t take them back, so we might as well enjoy them.

The next day, prior to another Canucks contest, Mrs. Sip and I had a pre-game meal at The Keg. I paired a Gin Basil Lemonade with an order of French Onion Soup, as I had earlier finished my Beef Dip from the day before and wasn’t super hungry by the time we sat down for dinner.

For St. Patrick’s Day, we went to the 120 Pub for dinner and drinks. It was a great stop for the entire family, as a magician/balloon animal artist was on hand to entertain the kids. My meal consisted of a pint of 120 Winter Wheat Ale (brewed by Red Truck Brewing), to go with the Cali Club sandwich.

St. Patrick's Day

Next up, was Boy Sip’s 2nd birthday. Following a day out, our extended family met for dinner at Boston Pizza. Here, I had a Kick’n Memphis Chicken Sandwich, along with a Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA. Best of all, throughout the month of March, kids meals were free, so long as adults purchased entrees.

For guests at Boy Sip’s Choo Choo Two birthday party the next day, I picked up the Mt. Begbie Bundle of Joy case, containing three each of their Nasty Habit IPA, Tall Timber Brown Ale, Attila the Honey Amber Ale and High Country Kolsch. The pack caught my eye for its unique combo of beers.

We arrived early for our last Canucks game of the month, so decided to start at the arena’s SportsBar. There, we shared the Buffalo Chicken Poutine, where the Buffalo chicken, gravy, veggies and fries all made for a good combo of flavours. To drink, I had a pint of Main Street Naked Fox IPA. We sat and watched the first period in the bar, before moving to our seats for the rest of the match.

Sports Bar

To celebrate another handful of March birthdays on Mrs. Sip’s side of the family, we again ate at The Keg. This time, I went with The Keg Burger, which was decent, but reminded me of how much I missed the original Keg Burger. My beverage choices included a Chili Mango Margarita and a Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA.

The last week of March was spent in Las Vegas, celebrating my and Mrs. Sip’s 20th dating anniversary. What did we get up to in Sin City? You’ll have to wait for the next Sip Trips to find out!