Daily Archives: March 25, 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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