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.