Monthly Archives: January 2012

Bodega Bay vs. Walnut Creek: Que Es Mas Tiki?

Again, I apologize for the lack of post last week.  I was off with my cartooning group, the Couscous Collective, at our annual brainstorming/drinking retreat, held this year in lovely Bodega Bay.  I had a wonderful time, but, continuing with my promise to rate the tiki level of every place I visit, I am sorry to report that Bodega Bay is severely lacking in tiki.  The most tiki thing I could find over the weekend was this awesome lamp in the cabin we rented.

You folks know how I feel about the merits of putting a bird on it.  But although I enthusiastically recommend Bodega Bay for beach hikes, wine tastings, and saltwater taffy shopping sprees, it is virtually tiki-free.


Fortunately, when I got back to the Bay Area, my friend Laura sensed my need for tiki and invited me to lunch at Tiki Tom’s, a tiki-themed restaurant in Walnut Creek.

Here’s our table post-lunch and post-drinks, with the dollar store tiki accessories Laura gave me for Christmas.

I especially like the happy lantern at right.

Tiki Tom’s is somewhat half-hearted in its tiki, but it’s fighting the good fight out there in suburbia, and the mahi-mahi sandwich is tasty as heck.  So its presence bumps Walnut Creek from tiki-free to Having Some Damn Tiki.  But stock up on rum drinks for my next visit, guys.




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Bookshelves, Birds and Pepper

Recently I’ve started to get serious about accumulating furniture for my future tiki bar/office.  Bookshelves are of paramount importance.  Which is why I was so happy to find this bamboo baby at the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it Urban Ore Ecopark.

Fellow Bay Area tikiphiles, when I was there last week, Urban Ore also had an actual tiki bar with barstools.  Sadly, I was forced to admit that I could not afford it, had no room for it at home, and, as a non-car-owner, did not have any way to get it from Urban Ore to my house.  Andrew carried the bookshelf on his back.  He is a patient man with wiry strength.

The top-shelf decor is, of course, all from my increasingly excessive and unwieldy collection.

Most of the tiki guys have made cameos in previous posts.  The awesome bottle came from the legendary Oceanic Arts in L.A., which was part of the tiki tour with Tom Gammill I mentioned last week.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying my Christmas gifts and have nothing but thanks to everyone who gifted me with tiki stuff.  You remember how much I like birds, right?  Well, look what my mom gave me!

This lovely 1978 Avon perfume bottle came from a flea market in Ohio.  According to the label on the bottom, it used to contain a scent called “Island Parakeet.”  My mom warned me never to open it, because the Island Parakeet residue has not aged well.

As an admirer of tropical bird kitsch and the owner of the prettiest and smartest feral parakeet in the whole wide world, I love this guy.  When I opened the package at Christmas, I was so excited by my Island Parakeet that I kissed it over and over.  Of course, we’d all been drinking a lot by that time.

And check this out!

The Balinese mask and volcano bowl (from the Tiki Lounge in Pittsburgh) are gifts from my brother Conor, and are awesome.  Conor surprised me by paying the deposit on the volcano bowl so we could keep it at the end of the evening, along with about a billion smaller tiki mugs.

As for the item at left, if you were just looking at the photo and thinking, “Wow!  An electric pepper grinder shaped like an Easter Island moai!” you are correct and have excellent taste.  Honestly, I can no longer remember how I managed to cook without a big tiki head that shoots pepper when you squeeze its nose.

Mmm!  Thank you, Aunt Kerry!

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Tiki Christmas

Did generous friends and family give me many tiki gifts this Christmas?  Yes.  Yes they did.

Many thanks to my cousins Kim and Tom for my very own tiki bar sign!  And to my Aunt Karen for Tiki Quest, which is basically hardcore tiki collector Duke Carter showing off the massive collection of mugs, statuettes, and related paraphernalia he and his wife Amy have accumulated.

Tiki Road Trip, a gift from my Aunt Kerry (who also joined the party at the Tiki Lounge in last week’s post, is an essential reference work.  I was first introduced to it by my fellow cartoonist and tiki enthusiast Tom Gammill, who used it in a tiki tour of L.A. I should share on this blog sometime.  James Teitelbaum appears to have gone to every major city in the U.S. and Canada, cracked open the phone book, and visited every address that looked like it could be a tiki bar.  This is not a wise course of action.  Sample entry (for Tiki Steak and Sub in Baltimore):

One doesn’t head out to a place with a name like Tiki Steak and Sub prepared to discover the next Hala Kahiki.  At the very worst, however, it might be a sandwich shop with some Tikis nailed up on the walls.

If only it was that…

Put succinctly, Tiki Steak and Sub is in a scary building in a scary neighborhood.

Don’t go there.


We have no evidence of any Tiki, past or present, in Delaware.

Elsewhere, however, Teitelbaum finds tiki aplenty, with loving, detailed reviews of tiki bars, restaurants and other attractions past and present.

But enjoyment of tiki doesn’t require life-threatening cross-country road trips.  It can come from something as simple as a three-dollar purchase from the flea market in Lorain Country, Ohio.  Behold my husband Andrew’s Christmas gift to me:

This is a great Christmas guy!  Look at his round onion head!  He has joined my tiki army and is serving admirably.

Meanwhile, my friends Pancha and Elena gave me these amazing hula glasses!

Thank you so much, everyone!  Happy, happy holidays!

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