Monthly Archives: July 2012



Last week I posted about making it to Bali Hai over the San Diego Comic-Con weekend.  But that was not the end of the Comic-Con tiki experience!  The next night, Andrew and I had a much cheaper, but also tiki-themed, dinner at the Comic-Con meeting of the National Cartoonists Society.

I tried to add to the atmosphere by contributing a hula-girl Narbonic sketch to the group sign-in sheet:

And that’s not all!  In an unexpected twist, the tables at the Eisner Awards were also tiki-themed!  I missed the entire awards ceremony because I was at yet another dinner and this year’s Eisners were shockingly quick, but I showed up in time to congratulate the winners and take a coconut monkey centerpiece.

He’s happier with me.

I spent most of the rest of Comic-Con at Trickster, drinking and drawing at the bar.  Trickster was not tiki, but they had an awesome cocktail called the Rabbit, and that was worth at least two coconut monkeys.


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Bali Hai

The San Diego Comic-Con exhausts me with pure sensory overload.  It’s like A Clockwork Orange, except that they peel back Alex’s eyelids and make him watch Lego-themed video games and Doctor Who.  Andrew usually gets me to go by bribing me with promises of a trip to the zoo.  This year, he also took me out to dinner at Bali Hai.


Established in the 1950s, Bali Hai was once part of an entire cluster of Polynesian-themed restaurants, hotels, motels, and other establishments on Shelter Island, “San Diego’s Hawaiian isle” (according to the website for the Half Moon Inn, which includes live parrots and a bar with Mai Tais among its amenities).  A lot of Shelter Island’s tiki architecture is still standing, although only some businesses remain tiki on the inside.







As for Bali Hai, it’s transitioned over the years from Polynesian camp to a swanky seafood restaurant with waterfront prices, the tiki theming kept to a disappointingly tasteful level. However, the food is fantastic enough to justify the prices, and I certainly can’t resist a view like this.


Yeah, that’s right.  Andrew is part of the experience.  For me only.

The drinks at Bali Hai are not spectacularly fresh or tasty, but they are about 90% booze.  And if you’re a collector of tiki mugs, at some point you will need to acquire one of their unique, famous, and racially questionable Headhunter mugs.  Which I did.


For someone on my limited budget, I can only recommend Bali Hai for very special occasions, such as when you need to bribe someone to attend Comic-Con and you also want to get her drunk on a single cocktail.  But Andrew and I had a wonderful evening, and it gave me more than enough strength to face the con the next day.

But more on that next week.

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Tiki Usagi

I don’t want to minimize the greatness of all the other tiki art in my collection, but this may very well be the greatest tiki thing in the history of all tiki things.  Look at what Stan Sakai, legendary creator of Usagi Yojimbo, drew for me.

Look at it!


That is all.


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