January 24 – Pigskin Shot

Game within a Game

With the 2015 NFL Super Bowl just over a week away, I thought I’d help out all my little sippers out there, that might not be a fan of the sport, and perhaps find themselves invited to a big game party. Here’s some ways you can enjoy the game, while not exactly enjoying the game!

#5: Half-Time Show

The choice of entertainment for each year’s big game opens up great debate. Usually, in the end, whichever act has been invited to perform puts on a good show and everyone walks away happy. This year, viewers will be treated to the musical stylings of Katy Perry, who had a massive year in 2014 with hits like “Roar” and “Dark Horse”. Perry will be joined by Lenny Kravitz, which will at least add a rock element to the show. Let’s hope we get a repeat of 2004 and if you’re lucky, you might even get to see some boobies!

Barely Watch Super Bowl

#4: Betting

Whether you’ve got money on the line in Vegas, between friends, or in some kind of office pool, it seems that betting on the big game is as essential as which beer you’re going to bring to the affair. Prop bets have also become really big with each passing Super Bowl. These include wagers on everything surrounding the game, from the national anthem, to what coaches will wear, to what colour Gatorade will be dumped on the winning bench boss. If you play your cards right, you might bring home enough cash to cover your food and drink losses!

#3: Food

Speaking of edibles, the Super Bowl offers a myriad of snacking choices and it’s certainly a day you don’t want to be inhibited by any diets or cleanses. The dip options alone, are enough to make your head spin. And what goes best with most dips? Well, chips, naturally. We all know that the Sip Advisor is a chippy fiend and I’ll use any excuse to stock up on as many bags as I can fit into our cupboards. Hell, most years I don’t even watch the game, but make it a point to do a little shopping spree prior, and then I just let it ride until the stock has been depleted!

Super Bowl Food

#2: Drink

Food and drink go hand-in-hand, but the Sip Advisor has always leaned towards liquid nourishment. When hosting or attending a party, it’s tough choosing what to stock your or your buddy’s fridge with. While beer is a natural choice for watching sports, there are a number of other options available and the cocktail revolution has allowed for something to be available to everyone. As for brew options, treat yourself. Don’t settle for the easy choices, like Budweiser (or Canadian for us fans north of the border) and instead, grab a case of craft brew and be a true beer snob!

#1: Commercials

For some people, the only reason they tune into the game, is to watch the enormously expensive commercials that break the program up. Each year, there is a set of memorable ads that become an extension of the game. Did you know that the Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” campaign started with a Super Bowl spot? Then there’s also perennial top contender Budweiser. The company has used both the Clydesdales and Wassup guys for a number of outstanding adverts, regardless of how you feel about the actual product or company.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pigskin Shot

Pigskin Shot

  • 0.5 oz Midori
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

What other tactics can we share together to help anti-football fans make it through the Super Bowl? If it’s any consolation, at least it only occurs once each year, not like all these stupid awards shows that often have invites flying the other (female to male) direction. A dude may have to deal with the Oscar’s, Grammy’s, Golden Globes, Emmy’s, and others. One football game seems fair in comparison!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I was originally going to do a shot called Blitz, which combined Irish Crème, Kahlua and Pineapple Juice. I was curious about how that would all go together, but the result was mass curdling, which looked disgusting. Therefore, I found this recipe instead, which was much nicer. I even used my recently acquired Grey Goose Le Melon in the vodka slot and it worked perfectly with the Midori!

Canada – Unsuspecting Victim

Legend of Poutine

As we continue our trek across Canada’s often frozen tundra, we discover another of the country’s greatest products: poutine. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it basically means fries with gravy and cheese curds, but it can also be so much more. Let’s take a look at Canada’s cultural cuisine.

Poutine Heart Attacks

As with most things that earn a cult status and become famous, there are many that claim to have created the dish. A number of French Canadian cities also assert that they are the home of poutine’s invention. Drummondville, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Victoriaville, and Warwick each have ponies in this race.

It is commonly believed that poutine earned its name (which is French slang for “a mess”) when a trucker asked cook Fernand Lachance to add cheese curds to his fries in the 1950’s.

You can really make anything with the poutine base of fries and curds. Butter chicken, ribs, ground beef, pulled pork, and most other meats can be used in recipes. There are also Greek and Italian poutines which include Greek salad and gyro meat and Bolognese sauce and Italian sausage, respectively.

Chef Chuck Hughes even won an episode of Iron Chef America with an offering of lobster poutine, which sounds so amazingly fantastic. Not so fantastic (to the Sip Advisor, at least) are recipes which include foie gras, caviar, and truffles. I’d still give them a shot, though and probably end up eating crow.

Despite its wonderful taste, one major downside of poutine is its high-caloric value. Servings can range from 750-1,500 calories depending on how many ingredients are thrown on top of the base.

calories-poutine

A number of fast food joints have also jumped aboard the literal gravy train. New York Fries, KFC, Burger King, Dairy Queen, A&W, Wendy’s, and even McDonald’s, known for their world famous skinny fries, have got in on the poutine act. A number of poutine specific restaurants have also began popping up across Canada. In a small area of downtown Vancouver, you can find La Belle Patate, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Mean Poutine, and others.

My favourite rendition of the meal is available at my local watering hole, Jimmy’s Taphouse. It’s not an elaborate serving of the delicacy, but what pushes it over the edge is the chipotle drizzle they put over the fries, giving it a bit of spice. The menu item is also on the bar’s half price happy hour menu, which makes it all the more amazing.

Jones Soda released a poutine-flavoured beverage for a limited time in 2013, which was met with mostly harsh reviews. Still, I wish I could track it down and use it in a drink recipe. If you have a bottle lying around, donations to The Sip Advisor are always accepted and like a church offering plate are strongly encouraged!

Some close family members of poutine include Disco Fries (using mozza cheese and served in New Jersey and New York since the 1970’s), Chili Cheese Fries, and In-N-Out Burger’s Animal Fries (with cheese, onions, and secret sauce).

All this talk of poutine has worked up quite an appetite for me, so we’ll close with a note on perhaps the most famous moment for the popular dish. For Rick Mercer’s satirical ‘Talking to Americans’ segment on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, during the 2000 U.S. election, Mercer told George W. Bush that Prime Minister Jean Poutine had endorsed him. The actual Canadian PM at the time was Jean Chretien, but not a single interviewee picked up on the discrepancy. When President Bush made his first trip to Canada, he joked that he wanted to thank Mr. Poutine for the endorsement, finally clued in to the gag.

Canada: Unsuspecting Victim

Unsuspecting Victim Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Amaretto
  • Top with Pineapple Juice and Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Lemon and Lime Wheels

This is one of the few things we can thank the French for… that and an endless number of liquor options. Please share your favourite poutine recipe, fact, or story. Then go get yourself some of Canada’s finest gastronomic delight!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Well, my little sippers, it happened again. I ended up with some Pineapple Juice that had gone bad and came out as clumpy as some poutine gravies. Luckily, I had some Pineapple Soda still lying around and it added a very nice touch to the drink. The always reliable (aren’t all Canadian items!) Crown Royal Whiskey tasted really good combined with the Chambord and Amaretto and everything mixed together made for an excellent cocktail.