Friday, July 10, 2015

Tiki tacky

Trader Vic's, the quintessential Tiki Bar, has outposts all over the world. I remember going to the one at the Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills. But I never knew that the chain originated in Oakland, California.  The original restaurant closed in 1972, but the closest thing to it is the flagship location in Emeryville, California, where we sat on a grey and cloudy July evening, looking out across the Bay to San Francisco.

We sipped mai-tais, the original 1944 recipe, according to the menu. Sweet and tart, with lots of crushed ice and sprigs of mint, they were refreshing and super-charged strong. With them, we ordered a Pupu platter - because why not?

It came on a little pedestal holding a warming candle. Coconut shrimp, barbecue ribs, cha-siu pork and crab rangoon were predictably fried and delicious. We got a little dish of meatballs in a too-sweet gingery sauce, and dunked them into hot spicy mustard.

Menu cover
The decor was also predictable - masks and carvings, exotic bark cloth, bamboo and posters of sarong-clad Polynesian beauties. The wait-staff wore Hawaiian shirts.

At a table across from us, two ladies sizzled skewers of something over a sputtering blue flame.  For our second round of drinks, I got a coconut-cream and pineapple concoction in a glass almost a foot tall!

According to our son, the Bay area is rife with tiki bars, though he's not sure why. Perhaps we'll go on a tiki adventure this weekend!


David Duff said...

"we ordered a Pupu platter - because why not?" Why not?! Because of the name, you silly girl!

All the rest of it looks quite disgusting although I'm glad you stuck to those 'milk-shake'-type drinks to go with your food, one shudders to imagine what a decent claret would taste like with that lot!

Honestly, 'Aunty', I worry about you sometimes!

Unknown said...

YUM! It looks delicious to me! : ) I don't drink, but I think I would try that second concoction! YUM!

Ellen Bloom said...

The tiki movement has been going strong AGAIN, since the mid-1990s, especially in California. Check the Tiki Central boards for updates on happenings around the world!
I think you're cool!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I left a link to a homemade orgeat recipe on the "Elvis cocktail" thread. I have to mix up a batch for summer, but my apartment is being taken over by gallon jars of booze infusions.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Wasn't there a Trader Vic's in Seattle many years ago?