Entries in the 'New York' Category
December 6, 2010
Filed under: My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:15 pm
A familiar scene, made alien
Our last tiki stop in New York was also our most highly anticipated: Painkiller, the new tiki bar on the Lower East Side. It’s only been open for a few months, and started racking up accolades right from the get-go.
The space is odd: the dimensions are essentially that of a long hallway. It’s more charming in person than in the pictures I’d seen… there was something about the overall feel that reminded me Bobby Green’s Bigfoot Lodge. The owners, Giuseppe Gonzales and Richard Boccato, wanted the place to reflect the Lower East Side neighborhood it’s in. The result is undeniably unique—graffiti murals spell out “mahalo” and “ohana”, and traditional black velvet and beachcomber imagery are recreated in bright-colored airbrushing.
The less-wacky seating
A piña colada in a frozen pineapple
The literal bar is, frankly, a bit uncomfortable. It’s a few inches too high, the fixed-to-the-floor stools are a few inches too tall and too close to the bar, and the upholstered tops are so soft it feels like trying to balance on a mushroom. But it didn’t feel like a minus, because the figurative bar is completely comfortable. We had fun joking about our stool balancing act with the fellow patrons, and the bar staff was doing so much to make us feel at home that it felt more like having a good-natured laugh about your uncle’s goofy armchairs. (The seating further back in the bar is quirk-free.)
We were already very happily settled in and enjoying our delicious cocktails when we got to meet Giuseppe Gonzales. He is one swell chap. Definitely the warmest (professional) hospitality we had in all of New York. He’s so excited about his bar, and about tiki drinks, and the enthusiasm would be infectious if I wasn’t already sick with the same disease myself. Recommended!
Many mahalos to all who made our visit to New York special: the folks who served us, the folks who cheered us on from afar, the locals who couldn’t make it but helped with lots of pointers, and mostly to our treasured companions: Elaine Trott; Margo, Bert, Hugo and Max Mukkulainen; Georgette Moger; Garo Yellin; Jack Fetterman and Gina Haase. I can’t wait to return the favor here in San Francisco!
See more pictures of Painkiller in Critiki.
December 5, 2010
Filed under: Music,My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:08 pm
Otto’s Shrunken Head in New York
As you may have heard, Otto’s Shrunken Head in New York was hit by a fire a short time ago. The fire did some pretty serious damage to the back room, where live acts play. Great news! The back room has been cleaned up and is back to its old, gritty, wonderful, Otto-riffic self.
Otto’s was the scene of one of my personal favorite tiki moments. Way back in January 2003, I was visiting NY on business during an unusual cold snap—so cold that Broadway even shut down. But the tiki must go on! Tiki hospitality being what it is, a complete stranger offered to have me over to her home tiki bar. Her name was Inky Louise, and she was amazing, and remains one of my favorite people to this day. We were met by another local named Leni, who had taken very good care of me a couple of nights before. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: tiki people are just the best.
Back to Otto’s… after enjoying a tasty beverage at Inky’s, we set out for Waikiki Wally’s, poked our heads into Lucky Chang’s, and eventually made our way to Otto’s Shrunken Head. Otto’s was still pretty new then, and Fisherman Trio had just started playing Exotica there on Monday nights.
Now, Mondays are slow nights anyway, but a newish bar, with a newish standing gig, on a night so freezing that Broadway has given up… Otto’s was dead. D-E-A-D dead. As we arrived, Fisherman was midway through their first set, played to an utterly empty back room. The only person in the entire place was the bartender up front. It must have been disheartening.
But then! Out of the cold come three strange women (that’s Inky, Leni and myself, if you’re slow on the uptake). These three women appeared out of nowhere, made a beeline for the back room, and didn’t turn around, they stayed! And they danced! And they KNEW THE WORDS! And they MADE REQUESTS!
Fisherman and his two bandmates played out the rest of their set, looking back and forth at each other with a definite “what the…??” look on their faces. At the break, we all shared our glee at spending such a cold, wintry night together, dancing and singing and reveling in tiki together. It was simply a magic night, and I hope they all remember it as fondly as I do.
Filed under: My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:35 pm
Hm. The Hurricane Club. Well, it’s pretty. I had a good sandwich there. They’re serving drinks in some nice mugs.
The Rum and Shine station
But man, is it trying hard. To do what, I don’t know. This place feels so schizophrenic. As soon as you walk in the door, you’re pounded over the head with an ISN’T THIS ELEGANT? mallet. Everything is gold, everything looks expensive; the place just looks like old money (or like it wants old money). There are champagne stands throughout the restaurant, clearly asking to be put to use. It all felt pretentious. Sending the pretension right over the top: they offer shoeshines when you buy straight rum, which is served from an old-timey drinking fountain downstairs. Isn’t that precious?
Merv in his gilded cage
And then you’re seated next to a Merv tiki decanter, which if you aren’t familiar with it, is about as unrefined as a tiki mug has ever gotten. Merv’s creator, Sam Gambino, is an excellent lowbrow tiki artist, and the whole point of this guy is that he’s a cheesy, kitschy ball of retro. Huh? What the hell is Merv doing here?
The drinks at Hurricane Club are fine—they tasted good. But they weren’t particularly tiki, aside from being served in tiki mugs. The menu was trying to talk a tiki game, but the drinks on offer just weren’t tiki flavors or combinations or ingredients. All the fun had been squeezed out: there were no fantastic names to transport you, the drinks only have numbers. It seemed as if a perhaps-talented bar manager was hired at the last minute, given a five-minute introduction to tiki (but not given any of Jeff Berry’s books), and then wasn’t invited to any meetings with anyone else involved in the project.
Not helping: the stiff, white-vested bartender who served us was gruff. It wasn’t just us, he was gruff and unpleasant to everyone I saw: other customers, his coworkers, a distributor who came calling. I suspect he would very much like to throw Merv out.
Eh, oh well. It wasn’t a terrible time or anything, it just felt like it wanted so very much to be… I don’t know. And it just wasn’t. I don’t think I’d bother going back again, there are too many wonderful places to get a great tiki drink with knowledgeable, affable service.
Filed under: My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:49 pm
The upstairs bar at Lani Kai
The next stop on our New York adventure brought us to Lani Kai, in SoHo. Lani Kai is a new bar from Julie Reiner, the woman behind Clover Club, Flatiron Lounge and Pegu Club. She was raised in Hawaii, so the fake kind of Hawaii that we love isn’t really her thing. She’s been very clear with folks that her new bar is not a tiki bar—not at all because she doesn’t want to be associated with tiki bars, but rather because she wants people to walk in her door with the right expectations.
She and her staff are passionate about cocktails of any stripe, but particularly traditional tropical cocktails. The menu is full of outstanding originals that fit right in with the classics, and they’re also ready and able to go off-menu for the historic drinks you know and love.
One drink I got to have at Lani Kai was the cocktail highlight of my whole trip: Joe Swifka of Elettaria’s Tiki Mondays fame made us a [REDACTED]. It was amazing. It tasted just like a real [REDACTED] from [REDACTED]. Many have attempted to recreate the [REDACTED], but I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a [REDACTED] that came as close as this one. Thanks, Joe!
We’d already eaten, so I missed out on trying the food menu, but I imagine it’s pretty terrific. If you’re not a drinker and you’re looking for Polynesian Pop awesomeness, Lani Kai isn’t what you’re looking for… but if you want to take a trip to the glorious tiki past with your tastebuds, head on over.
See more pictures of Lani Kai in Critiki.
Filed under: My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:03 pm
After our visit to the American Museum of Natural History, the whole family went above and beyond in their love and support of my tiki obsession: they schlepped with me through rush hour Manhattan traffic to go to… a strip mall in Staten Island.
The entry of Jade Island in Staten Island
Staten Island has one of the better examples of old-school tiki in the northeast, at Jade Island, which opened in 1972. Jade Island recently made an appearance on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, when he dined there with David Johansen of New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter fame. Bourdain describes it as “untouched by time, unsullied by irony,” which is almost true. The tikis have been painted in horrible, bright primary colors that make the Marquesan-style carvings look like frogs. The lighting at Jade Island is magnificent: there are pufferfish lamps, plenty of old Orchids of Hawaii lamps in a variety of styles, and the room is ringed with wonderful, large, back-lit photographic tropical scenes. Sadly, the effect is countered by some unnecessary bright halogen spot lighting from the ceiling. If the room was just a bit darker, the whole room could feel downright magical. But the quibbles are small, really, and Jade Island’s hut-like booths, bamboo and rattan, numerous waterfall fountains, and scads of tikis make this spot pretty darned special.
A flaming pupu platter
My husband and I have been jonesing for some Jersey-quality Chinese food (here in San Francisco, we miss that inauthentic touch). The food at Jade Island fit the bill perfectly. The drinks were sort of middling: not stellar, but not at all terrible, and authentic in a fading-tiki-bar kind of a way. Best of all, they’re served in tiki mugs, so the boys and I all got to add one to our collections. The servers were all jovial Chinese men, who made us feel very welcome. If we lived anywhere near Jade Island, we would definitely be regulars.
Best of all, Jade Island knows the way to my heart: they hand out moist towelettes. They don’t have their logo on them, unfortunately, but they did have logo’ed breath mints with the check. Aw, Jade Island… I love you, too.
An after-dinner mint from Jade Island
See the full gallery of Jade Island pictures in Critiki.
Filed under: Massive Moai,My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:13 pm
I have recently returned from a brief visit to New York City, where I got to play a little catch-up with the growing tiki scene. I have lots of pictures and impressions to share, and I’ll spread it out across a few posts.
Marquesan war clubs
I was in town to spend time with my husband’s family, including our tiki-crazed nephews. We spent a full day at the American Museum of Natural History, but I felt like we barely made a dent in all there was to see—I would gladly spend a week solid there, poring over all the exhibits. I am completely nutsy for dioramas, and they must have the world’s best collection of them. (My diorama pictures are available to everyone on Facebook.) The stunning Northwest Native American exhibit is alone worth the price of admission, and if it had been Polynesian carvings, I might have wet myself.
But there is a Polynesian exhibit! The Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples. The presentation—lime green walls and lit with harsh fluorescents—feels a bit lackluster compared to the rest of the museum, but the pieces within it are great. It houses one of the museum’s most famous residents, a replica moai that made a memorable appearance in the film Night at the Museum. Thanks largely to the film, the moai brings a steady stream of people into the hall.
The bulk of the exhibit space is representing cultures closer to Asia, while items of a stronger midcentury tiki interest are tucked into the back. There are some wee dioramas of village scenes, and case after case of carved and constructed pieces, with heavy representation by Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Marquesas and New Zealand.
My time in the hall was painfully brief. I wish I’d had more time to scrutinize each item, and read all of the information plaques. I was able to grab a few photographs, though, and you can see them all on the page for the American Museum of Natural History in Critiki.
August 25, 2010
Filed under: Continental Europe,Drinks,Houston,London,Los Angeles,New York,Perfect Tiki Bar,Portland,Seattle,Tiki,Washington, D.C. — Humuhumu @ 2:23 pm
Bartender Michael Bertrand tends to his fire at Vessel in Seattle,
photo by Rocky Yeh
First, let’s get this out of the way: the outstanding bars on this list are not ordinary by any measure, but one… they are not tiki bars. These establishments are part of a new class of cocktailing, where constructing a beverage is paid the same attention as that given to preparing a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
But they are not tiki bars.
You won’t find them in Critiki, and they may very well be off your radar. They may not even be able to make tiki drinks any time, any day, as the ingredients required are notoriously numerous and fussy. But each location on this list has at least one bartender on staff who shares your passion, and wants to make your Nui Nui dreams come true. Some have regular or periodic tiki nights, some even have dedicated tiki sections of their menu. When it comes to tiki drinks, frankly these places are going to deliver better than most any tiki bar out there. Encourage them, won’t you?
Drink – 348 Congress St., Boston, MA
Drink keeps a number of flavored syrups around just for making tiki drinks–prepared for them with love and care by none other than Randy Wong of Waitiki!
Death & Company – 433 East 6th St., Manhattan, New York, NY
Though Brian Miller, a driving force behind Death & Co.’s tiki drinks, has moved on, his imprint lingers. Tiki drinks, and tiki-leaning beverages, can still be found on the menu.
Please Don’t Tell (PDT) – 113 Saint Marks Pl., Manhattan, New York, NY
There are reports that you may be able to snag a high-quality tiki drink at the world’s worst-kept-secret bar.
Flatiron Lounge – 37 W 19th St., Manhattan, New York, NY
Joe Swifka: ask for him by name. He’s gotten to have a bit of a reputation as the go-to bartender for tiki drinks in New York. Tiki drinks make frequent appearances on Flatiron’s rotating menu.
Clover Club – 210 Smith St., Brooklyn, New York, NY
Clover Club has the same owner as Flatiron Lounge, Julie Reiner. Reiner grew up in Hawaii and plans to open a tropical (but not tiki) restaurant in Manhattan later this year. Clover Club is Victorian in style, but if you ask nicely, they may be able to hook you up with the good stuff.
Dram – 177 S 4th St, Brooklyn, New York, NY
Dram’s rotating menu often has tiki items on offer—at this writing, it’s a Jet Pilot.
Dutch Kills – 27-24 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY
Dutch Kills is from the same team that opened New York’s latest tiki savior, Painkiller.
Rum Bar – 2005 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA
Rum Bar is, well, all about rum. Most of the cocktail list is Caribbean-focused, but a few traditional tiki cocktails are also on offer.
Embury – 2216 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA
Embury has a Tiki Tuesday event, and they’re game for tackling the complicated drinks.
Farmers & Fishers – 3000 K Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Zombies, Fog Cutters, Grogs… all part of their regular menu!
Anvil – Houston, TX
Anvil is perhaps most notable for their “100 drinks everyone should try at least once.” Naturally, tiki is part of the prescription, and Jeff Berry’s Grog Log is a heavily-thumbed reference behind their bar.
Vessel – 1312 5th Ave., Seattle, WA
Spur – 113 Blanchard St., Seattle, WA
Tavern Law – 1406 12th Ave., Seattle, WA
My hometown may be lacking in the tiki bar department, but I’m proud to say that when it comes to the drinks, it’s “ya sure, ya betcha.” All three of these establishments have the materials on-hand to whip up traditional tiki drinks, and each has periodic tiki nights. Vessel even serves some drinks out of tiki mugs.
Teardrop Cocktail Lounge – 1015 NW Everett St., Portland, OR
Teardrop hosts periodic Tiki Nights, typically with the involvement of local tikiphiles and cocktail obsessives Blair “Trader Tiki” Reynolds and Craig “Colonel Tiki” Hermann. The next one is on September 12.
Caña – 714 W Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Caña is dedicated to all things rum, so of course this means some tiki representation on the menu.
Lewers Lounge – Halekulani Hotel, Waikiki, HI
It’s tragically difficult to find a decent drink in Hawaii. You may have heard good things about the House Without a Key in the Halekulani Hotel, but the better bet is actually the Lewer’s Lounge in the same hotel.
Paparazzi – Laurinská 133/1, Bratislava, Slovakia
Paparazzi’s Stanislav Vadrna knows his way around a tiki drink… he’s even hosted a tiki drink seminar at his bar.
Cotton’s Rhum Shack – 55 Chalk Farm Rd, London, UK
Cotton’s Rhum Shack in Camden has a very long rum list, and a smattering of tiki cocktails to match. There is a sister location, Rhum Jungle in Islington, that may be worth trying, too.
The Merchant Hotel Bar – 16 Skipper Street, Belfast, Ireland
Crowned as the Best Bar In the World, the Merchant Hotel Bar’s menu is more of a book. The menu is exhaustively thorough, and tiki drinks do not get short shrift. On the contrary: Bar Manager Sean Muldoon takes tiki drinks so very seriously that he has the last remaining bottle of the true original Mai Tai rum: vintage 17 year Wray & Nephew. This is the only place in the world you can have a truly old-style Mai Tai—though it’ll cost you about $1,000.
Mahalo nui loa to the following for their assistance in compiling this list: Peter Andrijeski, Alice Berry, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Dan Budiac, Robert A. Burr, Nicole Desmond, Boris Hamilton, Liz Lang, Kiki Lenoue, Georgette Moger, Ben Wagner, Doug Winship
November 6, 2006
Filed under: History,New York,Portland,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 9:42 am
Robert Volz with tikis from New York Trader Vic’s
A wild, almost too-good-to-be-true story came to me from Robert Volz yesterday. Robert is the owner of the new Thatch bar in Portland (development is well underway, and the bar will be opening soon, hopefully). Robert has already had some fantastic scores of items for use in his new bar, including original Armet & Davis booths from a local Denny’s that was one of the last midcentury Denny’s in the nation to be remodeled, and all of the decor from the local Jasmine Tree restaurant that recently closed.
Robert, who was once editor of a magazine for scooter enthusiasts, recently took part in a coast-to-coast scooter race. (Yep — from Pacific City, Oregon to Orange, New Jersey in ten days, on a scooter.) Once he was in New Jersey, it was clear that he wasn’t going to be one of the top finishers, so when he saw a sign saying “Restaurant Auction Today,” he decided to take a breather. In between the kitchen equipment and other typical restaurant fixtures were eight tikis. Not just any tikis, really honkin’ big tikis. And they were reported to be from the New York City Trader Vic’s. Robert said:
The funny thing, is that no one bid on the eight large statues that used to be in the NYC Trader Vic’s in the Plaza Hotel.
After no takers on several, I wrote a note to the auctioneer who passed it onto the the manager. The note was a ridiculously low offer for all of them.
To my surprise, I got them all.
Back of one of Robert Volz’s
Trader Vic’s tikis
Now, as I said at the top of the story — too good to be true. But I think in this case that it could very well be true. For one, two of the tikis are the same design as the Trader Vic’s salt & pepper shakers, and have “TRADER VIC’S” carved in the back of them — which anyone can do, but the carving doesn’t look fresh. For another, the tikis look somewhat consistent with (though larger than) some tikis Trader Vic’s still has in their possession, as seen when they loaned them out for the San Francisco Airport tiki exhibit.
If these tikis did indeed come from Trader Vic’s, it’s likely they date to 1965, when the Trader Vic’s moved from the Savoy Hotel to the Plaza Hotel; when Donald Trump bought the building in 1989, he closed the Trader Vic’s. These tikis have been somehwere — probably a warehouse — ever since.
Shipping these fellas back across the country was no small feat — shipping was quoted to Robert at $3,200, so he rented a van and drove all the way to New Jersey and back to get them himself. He says these guys are all going into Thatch, where they will get to hang out with the three massive cannibal tikis from the Portland Kon-Tiki he scored from the Jasmine Tree. To learn more about Thatch, check out this thread on Tiki Central, and this one where Robert asks a bit about one of the tikis.
UPDATE — Perhaps a bit too good to be true, after all. Sven Kirsten and Tim “Swanky” Glazner have weighed in on Tiki Central, and they’re of the opinion that these are more recent carvings (Sven speculates that perhaps these were rounded up for a proposed re-opening of Trader Vic’s in New York that didn’t happen).
November 4, 2006
Filed under: Arkiva Tropika,Daytona Beach,History,Las Vegas,Midwest U.S.,New York,Portland,San Francisco,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 3:52 pm
Mimi Payne keeps adding great items from her collection to Arkiva Tropika — she adds cool things too frequently for me to post about it every time, and I can’t not post about the wonderful things she’s sharing, so there’s only one thing for it: a weekly roundup. This is just a small fraction of the items she’s posted this week; if you like these, make sure to check out Arkiva Tropika yourself, and you’ll be over the moon.
1954 Waikiki Room menu, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika
This is a 1954 drink menu from the Waikiki Room at the Hotel Nicolette in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There was another Waikiki Room across town, in the Hotel Leamington. I love the woodgrain backdrop of the menu, and the tiki is simple, but beautifullly illustrated. Inside, the menu has full-color photos of the drinks, rather than the more commonly seen drawings. Very cool!
1950s postcard from Portland Trader Vic’s, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika
This is a lovely postcard view of the Portland Trader Vic’s, which was in the Hotel Benson. I have no idea what that carved thing in the foreground with the white thingy on top could be.
1950s menu from Zombie Village in Oakland, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika
Without a doubt, hands down, no contest, this is my favorite bit of Polynesian Pop imagery anywhere. That woman is just gorgeous. I want her tattoed on me. I want to be her. She even makes the menacing dark cloudy figure seem like something you can’t be bothered to be concerned about. Who could possibly be distracted by a 50-foot angry genie when you’ve got that woman mezmerizing you? Oh yeah, there’s a neat building in the back, too. Seriously, aside from the beautiful woman, it’s a nice, simple composition that conveys a mood without having to try too hard. Beautiful. This image can also be seen at the beginning of the Book of Tiki.
Fan from Aku Aku at the Stardust in Las Vegas, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika
This fan is an unusual item, although Mimi has a few fans in her collection. It comes from the Aku Aku at the Stardust in Las Vegas. The Aku Aku closed long ago, but the Stardust closed just this past Wednesday. I like the rendering of the Aku Aku moai as an Asian brush painting, and I like the muted colors.
Back of a 1964 menu from the Hawaiian Room in New York City, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika
And straight from muted colors, we have color overload, with food, no less. Look at this — this is every classic ’60s food cliche in one spread. I’ll just let it speak for itself, since I wouldn’t be heard over its screaming, anyhow.
1950s menu from the WikiWiki Coffee Shop at the Hawaiian Inn in Daytona Beach, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika
This menu is interesting to me not so much because of the design, but because this is from a place I’ve been to, that’s still operating today. The Hawaiian Inn in Daytona Beach still has a Polynesian floor show and restaurant, but this menu comes from the small coffee shop just off the hotel’s lobby. Today, the coffee shop is run by the same family that performs the floor show at night; it’s kind of fun to be served your hangover-healing coffee by the same woman who was hulaing for you the night before. Gives it a sort of end-of-Wizard-of-Oz feeling. Another interesting thing about this menu is that while it’s from the coffee shop, and has “Good Morning” printed in the decorative border, the paper insert is a dinner menu, which seems a little odd.
Check out Arkiva Tropika for more — much, much more — stuff just like this!
- cocktail menu from Waikiki Room, Hotel Nicollet- Minneapolis, MN [Arkiva Tropika]
- Waikiki Room, Minneapolis [Critiki]
- postcard from Trader Vic’s, Hotel Benson – Portland, OR [Arkiva Tropika]
- Trader Vic’s, Portland [Critiki]
- dinner menu from Zombie Village – Oakland, CA [Arkiva Tropika]
- Zombie Village, Oakland [Critiki]
- souvenir fan from Aku Aku, Stardust Hotel – Las Vegas, NV [Arkiva Tropika]
- Aku Aku, Las Vegas [Critiki]
- dinner menu from Hawaiian Room, Hotel Lexington- New York City [Arkiva Tropika]
- Hawaiian Room, New York [Critiki]
- Wiki Wiki Coffee Shop menu from Hawaiian Inn – Daytona Beach, Florida [Arkiva Tropika]
- Hawaiian Inn, Daytona Beach [Critiki]
April 28, 2006
Filed under: History,New York,Seattle,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:57 pm
Detail of program from 1962 Seattle World’s Fair,
from the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy
Sabu the Coconut Boy, freddiefreelance and puamana have all posted some amazing images and info about the Hawaii Pavilions at both the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Sabu’s Seattle collection includes several artists’ renderings of the pavilion, like the one above on the official program, and also photographs of its construction. The building was near where the Experience Music Project building is today, and in its final days housed a video game arcade. The New York World’s Fair collections include items from the 5 Volcanos restaurant, Moultray’s Polynesian restaurant, and promotional brochures for the “Road ot Polynesia,” complete with “Pearl Lagoon” where real pearls could be purchased.