Monthly Archives: March 2012

Winemaker’s Luau

Today was a crummy day.  It rained nonstop, I was stuck at the post office for half an hour, my burger had mayonnaise on it, and Andrew and I spent most of the day on spring cleaning.  But it’s okay, because last night I went here.

Living in the East Bay, I’m not far from the Trader Vic’s flagship restaurant in Emeryville, California, which opened in 1972 and contains much of the surviving decor from the chain’s original 1934 location.  I’ve been itching to go, but Trader Vic’s food is a little pricier than I can usually swing.  This weekend, however, I decided to save up and indulge in a trip to the Judd’s Hill Winemaker’s Luau at Trader Vic’s, because it combined two of my favorite things: tiki and getting plastered.

It was totally worth it.

I mean, look at this place!  This is how you do tiki.  And before you ask, yes, the restrooms are acceptably tiki-themed as well.  This is important.

Despite the overcast weather, Andrew and I started out with mai tais on the deck, the way you kind of have to.  After all, Trader Vic’s is where the mai tai may or may not have been invented, depending on whom you ask.

As you can see, the turnout was a mix of retirees who like Hawaii and thirtysomething hipsters enjoying it ironically.  Although I’m in my thirties, I must stress that I did not enjoy this ironically.  What I do with tiki is straight-up enjoyment.

Then it was time for dinner, and I have to say, Trader Vic’s made it worth it.

Judd Finkelstein of Judd’s Hill Winery has a tiki band, the Maikai Gents, who played classic Hawaiian music throughout the evening.

Between courses, Judd talked about the wine being paired with the dish.  The wines were all very nice; I especially liked the light, mineral sauvignon blanc and the very rich cabernet port with dessert.  Because I live in Northern California, I’m able to act knowledgeable about wines and pretend I’m not just as happy with the vino produced by my other favorite trader, Joe.

And look at the wonderful tiki food!

In conclusion, this was the greatest thing that has ever happened and it can rain for the rest of the weekend for all I care.  Tiki solves everything.



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Mystery Men

All the way from Portland, Oregon, my friend Drave sent me these Incan-ish fellows  to join my army of exotica.

Look at their sweet little faces!

Drave found them at an antique store in Portland.  I love them dearly, but the question remains: what are they?  Candle holders?  Shot glasses?  Tiny vases?  Ewers for exotic incense and unguents?  Egg cups?

What they are, undeniably, is awesome.  But if you have your own theories, post away.

Also, look what Drave sent with these tiny men!  TIKI PACKING TAPE!

Who knew that was a thing?  Thanks, Drave!


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Because the “actually building a tiki office” portion of my plan to build a tiki office is progressing slowly, I have yet to invest in any large pieces of furniture, most notably a tiki bar.  The acquisition of a tiki bar is not to be undertaken lightly.  Plus, they’re freaking expensive.

But I’m part of the way there!  I may not have a tiki bar, but I already have the barstools!

I got these cheap from an antique store that was going out of business.  Swanky!  But oh so practical!

As you can see, the barstools are currently positioned around the lemniscatal, marigold-yellow kitchen protrusion we’ve named “Mr. Peanut.”  The kitchen was last renovated in 1982.  People laugh at Mr. Peanut until they’ve spent some time in our kitchen, sitting on the tiki barstools, and then even the most cynical, design-conscious guest is forced to admit that Mr. Peanut is a valuable addition to the home.  I bet you’re wishing right now that Mr. Peanut was part of your kitchen.  Yeah.

The tiki barstools also provide the perfect vantage points from which to plan the movements of the tiki army.

Here, the newly-named Huitlacoche and Martha hold a conference of vital tiki importance.

Fight on, tiki army!  As God is my witness, someday I will get you that bar!

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Meet the Tiki Army











And the newest recruit, a gift from my friend Shane…


Thank you.  That is all.


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