Entries from February 2006

February 22, 2006

Seattle Times Article on Bellevue Trader Vic’s

Filed under: News,Seattle,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:44 pm
Greg Jones and Theresa Dowell, photo by Greg Gilbert of the Seattle Times
Greg Jones and Theresa Dowell, photo by Greg Gilbert of the Seattle Times

The Seattle Times’ Food & Wine section has an excellent article today on the impending arrival of Trader Vic’s in Bellevue, directly across Lake Washington from Seattle. Seattle once boasted Trader Vic’s second location, which started out named The Outrigger. The location was a Seattle institution, located at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel, which later became the Westin Hotel, from 1948 until its closure in 1992. The article does a great job of describing the important place that Trader Vic’s had on the Seattle culinary scene, and also gives a great view of what the hospitality was like. In particular, great tribute is paid to the restaurant’s long-time manager, Harry Wong:

“Harry Wong would do anything for his customers,” says Tom Robinson, whose wife, Barb, got him hooked on Trader Vic’s in 1959. Harry was known for his hospitality and his sense of humor. He always recognized us and saved our favorite table.” Once, when the Robinson’s were dining with Barb’s dad — “a real meat and potatoes guy” — Harry sent out a basket of warm dinner rolls, not something you’d normally find at Trader Vic’s. “Later, I asked him where he came up with the rolls,” says Robinson. “He’d sent someone up to the Golden Lion in the Olympic Hotel to get them.”

It’s five long, rainy downtown blocks from the old Trader Vic’s location to the Olympic Hotel — that’s some very dedicated and creative service. Harry Wong must have been a truly spectacular fellow.

The article talks to several local Trader Vic’s devotees (including Greg Jones and Theresa Dowell, pictured above), all folks who loved the Seattle Trader Vic’s and have lamented the loss. There is a lot of excitement about this new Bellevue location. Recapturing the magic of the old Seattle location would take a small miracle, but if nothing else the Trader Vic’s lovers in tiki-blighted Seattle should finally be able to get a fantastic Mai Tai.

The Bellevue location opens on March 6 in Lincoln Square.

February 21, 2006

HGTV Seeking Home Tiki Bar Creators

Filed under: News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:59 pm

A representative from a production company affiliated with HGTV has been trying to enlist creators of home tiki bars for profile on a do-it-yourself program for the channel. The initial post was confusing and misleading — the representative said they were looking for “tikis” when they meant tiki rooms, a rather puzzling thing to get confused. Repeat requests don’t seem to have generated a whole lot of interest. There is no lack of these fantastic at-home getaways out there in the tiki community (I did a mental tally the other day and realized that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit literally dozens of them), so I’m not sure why they’re having trouble.

Personally, I’m a bit turned off by the pitch’s seeming attitude of “designers & contractors — who needs ‘em? We’re looking for real people!” It’s a blurry line in the tiki community, and the pros and the amateurs co-mingle so much that folks don’t really seem to make a distinction between them. The many, many DIY-type tiki folks are considered designers even if they’ve only done their own tiki room; those in our community who are able to transition to doing interior design and contracting for tiki for a living are strongly encouraged and supported, not knocked as no longer being “real people.” That, combined with the representative’s weird initial mix-up about what a tiki even is, and the many horror stories I’ve heard about how these production companies will run rough-shod through your home… I’d certainly have some reservations before signing up with them. But those are just my guesses, it’s hard to say why they don’t seem to have sparked much interest.

February 19, 2006

San Diego: Tiki Oasis 6

Filed under: Events,News,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:37 pm
Tiki Oasis 6
Tiki Oasis 6

Tickets for the sixth annual Tiki Oasis are now available for sale. This year’s event is taking place at the Hanalei Hotel in San Diego, May 4-7. Here’s the current schedule of events:

Thursday, May 4: Tiki Oasis Pre-Party
8 pm – 10pm

Thursday night will kick off with a live performance by the Maikai Gents in the bar of the Islands restaurant at the Hanalei Hotel. Meet friends, make new friends, be the first one in the jacuzzi before the weekend starts.

Friday, May 5: Bali Hai party by the Bay
Doors 6:30 pm til last call
$18 (those 17 and under are free if accompanied by an adult)

Carpool or ride the double decker bus to Shelter Island for a post-dinner party by the bay. King Kukulele, DJ Phast Phreddie (Brooklyn), The Sand Devils, Ape, and a special surprise guest.

Saturday, May 6: The Magic of Tiki
Doors 6 pm, LIVE entertainment 6:30pm – 10pm, stay for after the show movie til midnight
$25 (those 17 and under are free if accompanied by an adult)

Experience the Magic of Tiki under the big tent at the Hanalei Hotel. Expect the finest in musical sets from Maikai Gents, King Kukulele, Ape, Shag with a Twist mini show, burlesque entertianment and across the desert sands of Nevada, live from Las Vegas, the only Tiki magician – James Dimmare. Stay for the late night movie after the show.

Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7: Tiki Shopping Bazaar
From 10 – 5 pm (open to the public)
Wander the Tiki bazaar in search of treasures. Kids can join King Kukulele’s Tiki tour of the Hanalei or adults can grab a drink and enjoy Otto’s “Sventiki Tour of Hanalei’s Tiki Atrium” (Times T.B.A.)

Sunday, May 7
Shop while listening to DJed tunes, check out the annual Uke Jam led by Uncle Judd of The Maikai Gents at noon and join Tiki Oasis attendees for a secret Sunday happy hour at 5:30 all FREE of charge and open to the public

I’m very excited about the Hanalei as the new venue — this hotel houses many tikis that came from the legendary Luau in Beverly Hills when it closed, and it has the very tiki Islands Restaurant on-site. Friday’s trip to Shelter Island and the Bali Hai is sure to be a crowd-pleasing highlight as well. This year, I’m honored to be lending a hand as the vendor coordinator — if the early vendor signups for the Tiki Shopping Bazaar are any indication, there’s going to be a knockout selection of great tiki stuff to drool over. The hotel and ticket purchases are happening all together on the Tiki Oasis website, so don’t try to book through the hotel.

Man, I’ve gotta start figuring out what I’m going to wear. See you in San Diego!

Chongolio Wins Tiki Central Mug Contest

Filed under: Art,News,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:51 pm
Chongolio's Winning Tiki Central Mug design
Chongolio’s Winning Tiki Central Mug design

The winner of Tiki Central’s mug design contest has been annouced, and the winning design is the Tiki Central ‘Ohana Hut from Santa Cruz-based artist Chongolio. The mug is actually more of a bowl, taking the shape of a hut with a roof and four straw holes. The design is a new twist on bowl design and very unique, but at the same looks like the sort of thing that a vintage mug creator would have come up with. It also is a great representation of what Tiki Central is all about — a fantastic place where lots of diverse folks with common interests can come together and share — in this case, a tasty beverage. Hanford Lemoore says it was the clear winner, despite some very stiff competition; the array of talent shown in the entries was truly impressive. The contest was judged by a panel of 26 Tiki Centralites, selected by Hanford Lemoore to be a cross-section of TCers from different areas, with different reasons for loving tiki, and both old-timers and newcomers. I was not a judge for the contest, but this was the design I was rooting for, and I’m so glad it won.

Now that the design has been selected, the hard part comes — making it a reality. Stuckie from Munktiki has been kind enough to take on the task, and he and Hanford are currently working out the details of the design and the production. Due to the large size and relative complexity of the piece (which is also exactly what makes the design so fantastic), it’s probably going to take a bit of time, but the end product is certain to be worth it.

Congratulations to Chongolio!

February 17, 2006

Trader Vic’s Tiki Party Signing Tonight in Emeryville

Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 11:53 am
Trader Vic's Tiki Party
Trader Vic’s Tiki Party

Tonight there’s gonna be a swinging time at the Emeryville Trader Vic’s — the author of Trader Vic’s Tiki Party, Steve Siegelman, will be there signing books, and there’s going to be half-price appetizers and drinks. Basically, it’s just a swell excuse for everybody to get together. Trader Vic’s says:

Trader Vic’s Emeryville, the legendary purveyor of Polynesian food, drinks and fun invite you to celebrate a new book titled Trader Vic’s Tiki Party. It has over 100 best-loved tropical cocktails like the Samoan Fog Cutter, Potted Parrot and of course The Original Mai Tai created by Trader Vic himself 62 years ago. The book also includes 35 crowd pleasing pan-Asian pu-pu’s like Crab Rangoon, Crispy Prawns and Bongo bongo Soup.

I’ve heard good things about the book, though I must admit I haven’t cracked the spine myself (we’ve probably got a copy packed in one of our still-to-be-unpacked boxes). We’ll be there from 6ish ’til probably at least 10, after that a bunch of folks are heading over to the Kona Club. If you see a crowd of people wearing aloha shirts (though I’ll be wearing my Song of the South shirt), come on over and say hi!

February 16, 2006

Jasmine Tree Falling Victim to Urban Redevelopment

Filed under: News,Portland,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:45 pm
Jimmy Chan, Jasmine Tree bartender
Jimmy Chan, Jasmine Tree bartender
photo from the PSU Daily Vanguard

The Jasmine Tree restaurant in Portland will have to either relocate or close under current plans by the Portland Development Commission, the PSU Daily Vanguard reports. The PDC is looking to bring affordable middle-income houseing to the area, for those employed by the nearby Portland State University. The plan also calls for a light-rail line, which would run through the space currently occupied by the Jasmine Tree.

The Jasmine Tree has plenty of history — besides having been in operation for 30 years, they also house many tikis from the legendary Portland Steve Crane-owned Kon-Tiki restaurant, including the three large cannibal tikis as seen in the Kon-Tiki & Luau logo.

The Jasmine Tree’s current lease is up at the end of April, and it is unknown what the fate of the location is beyond that.

February 14, 2006

Tiki Boyd’s Is On the Move

Filed under: Denver,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:48 pm

Just a few months after opening, Tiki Boyd’s in Denver has had a bit of a shakeup. A dispute between the management and some of the key players behind Tiki Boyd’s, including Boyd Rice, has led to Tiki Boyd’s pulling up stakes and looking for a new location. Particularly at issue were the firings and/or perceived mistreatment of head mixologist Lorin Partridge, who designed most of the tiki drinks for Tiki Boyd’s, and Brian Clark, who had created the website, printed menus and provided much of the vinyl.

Boyd Rice had suggested and supplied the tiki decor, and having done so gratis, decided to take the name and decor back when relations went sour. Per Modern Drunkard Editor Frank Rich:

At that point Boyd decided to pull his décor. He’d never been paid for any of the labor or materials, so he certainly had the right. He enlisted the help of six members of the Denver Gentleman’s Pipe Smoking League (including myself) and during an extraordinary daytime raid the intrepid (and rather smartly dressed) cadre managed to strip the place bare in less than forty minutes.

Man, I wish I could have been there to see that! The former Tiki Boyd’s is now operating under an unknown new name, and having been stripped of the tikiness, is more of a retro/rockabilly place with posters for decor. The Tiki Boyd’s team is intent on doing it right now that they’re starting over; they now have larger financial backing, and are looking to go “more authentic.” They’re scouting locations, and hope to have one selected soon.

2006 Northwest Tiki Crawl Announced

Filed under: Events,News,Portland,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:38 pm
Northwest Tiki Crawl
Northwest Tiki Crawl

The annual Northwest Tiki Crawl is gearing up again — this is the fourth year (if you include the first year, which was a combo tiki & polka extravaganza). Portland is home to the Alibi, one of my favorite tiki bars, and also some fantastic home bars. Details about this year’s event have not yet been announced, but in the past there have been live bands, a home bar tour, and commemorative mugs. Like last year, the official hotel is the Jupiter; we had a great time there last year, in particular at the Doug Fir restaurant in the Jupiter. (Roughly one half of my 100+ photos from last year’s event are of a chrome moose head. I had a fair bit to drink.) The Jupiter is accepting reservations for the Northwest Tiki Crawl weekend, and is extending a special rate. The website for the Northwest Tiki Crawl has not yet been updated for this year, but you can see details from last year’s event.

Mai Tai Online Has a New Website

Filed under: Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:59 pm
Mai Tai Online
Mai Tai Online

Since 1998, John Trivisonno and the Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society have been publishing Mai Tai, a ‘zine dedicated to tiki, with a particular emphasis on Montreal and surrounding areas. There have been 14 issues of Mai Tai thus far, and the latest issues have branched out a bit (#14 has an article covering the Havana Trader Vic’s/El Polinesio). I love this little ‘zine. Copies can be ordered online for $2.50 or at Quimby’s in Chicago, and a limited quantity of free copies are available at Motel Coconut in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles and the Tiki Room in Stockholm, Sweden. The new website for Mai Tai will include a selection of articles from past issues of Mai Tai, and has a new blog, called Bamboo Blog.

Amazing Tiki Guest Bedroom by Bamboo Ben

Filed under: People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:32 pm
Tiki guest bedroom by Bamboo Ben
Tiki guest bedroom by Bamboo Ben

This past summer, northern Californian Tiki Lee contracted Bamboo Ben to create a tiki paradise in his guest bedroom. The space is well-suited, with a tall, vaulted ceiling just screaming out for bamboo. Armed with supplies from Whittier’s venerable Oceanic Arts, Ben transformed the space completely. The result is fantastic, with so many impressive and creative little details and touches… right down to the inside of the closet and the private bathroom. It’s hard to believe this has been created especially for guests, and not for Tiki Lee’s own use! That’s hospitality.

This year Bamboo Ben been kept very busy with custom jobs like Tiki Lee’s, and much of his work has been for new and old tiki bars (his work on Oakland’s Kona Club has been highlighted previously on Humu Kon Tiki). If you’d like a bit of Ben for your own home, swing by his storefront in Huntington Beach, where you can buy tiki bars of all sizes, signs, and furniture, or chat about custom work. We’ve got two Bamboo Ben bars here at home, and they are very solid and gorgeous showpieces.

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About Humuhumu
Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

- Website Design and Programming

- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Arkiva Tropika
Mimi Payne’s massive Polynesian Pop collection

Barefoot Bloggin’
A surfin’, ukein’, freewheelin’ monkey boy

Beachbum Berry
Author of Grog Log and Intoxica!, and one of my dearest drinkin’ buddies

Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Dumb Angel
A look at the 1960s Los Angeles mod, pop, surf, and music scene

Eye of the Goof
Pop culture with a tiki tinge

Forbidden Island
My Wednesday hangout, the Bay Area’s best tiki bar

Humuhumu’s Life in Photos
Pictures of my adventures

I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

Kevin Kidney
Kevin loves tiki, I love Kevin, you will too

Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Tiki Mug Collection Organizer

The Jab
Follow the way of the jab

Tiki Bar TV
Public Access meets Modern Drunkard

Tiki Central
Community forums

Tiki Magazine
Periodical publication covering the wide world of Tiki

Tiki Talk
Hot Lava’s Tiki Blog