Entries in the 'San Francisco' Category
October 31, 2006
Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:22 am
Voodoo Priestess at Forbidden Island,
photo by Liz Hafalia for SF Chronicle
Tuesday night, Forbidden Island is hosting a Halloween party, complete with costume contest, in Alameda (just east of San Francisco). The Jab will be DJing — he’s sure to bring out some obscure and danceable records. We’ll be there — I put the finishing touches on my costume on Saturday, it’s the first time I’ve put effort into a Halloween costume in years, and it feels good. I guess I’ve had so many opportunities to wear costumes over the past few years that Halloween has felt skippable, but I’m really happy to be throwing myself into it again.
The current drink specials at Forbidden Island are Halloween-themed, with each drink special being the concoction of a different member of the FI staff. This month’s standout has to be Thayer’s Voodoo Priestess — the drink calls for spiced Voodoo Rum, and “voodoo spices” (hint: in a pinch, pumpkin pie spice mix does the trick). In an ingenious touch, the drink is rimmed with red brick powder (or, sugar), to keep out uninvited spirits. Thayer put a lot of effort into creating this drink and it shows — and even the San Francisco Chronicle has noticed. They wrote up the Voodoo Priestess in today’s issue. Congratulations, Thayer!
September 26, 2006
Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:35 pm
The Bad Liver mug, by Munktiki
On Sunday, October 1, at 3pm, a limited edition version of Munktiki’s new Bad Liver mug will go on sale at Forbidden Island. This unusual mug, designed by Stuckie, is shaped like a rotten liver. Some of the Bad Liver mugs will be sold on eBay, but this special batch of Forbidden Island Bad Liver mugs have an elaborate multi-color glaze, and won’t be available anywhere else. (The mug pictured does not have the exclusive Forbidden Island glaze.) Each Bad Liver mug sold at Forbidden Island on October 1 will come with a coupon good for one Bad Liver cocktail, an award-winning drink by Forbidden Island co-owner Martin Cate. Only 25 of these mugs will be available, at $60 each. There will be a strict one-per-person limit, and the sales will be in-person only, on a first-come, first-served basis.
September 25, 2006
Filed under: Art,Events,My Travels,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:36 pm
Tiki bar by Nacho
Yesterday was Forbidden Island’s parking lot sale, and boy howdy was it crazy — in a good way. I spent the day working the booth of leftovers from the Forbidden Island build-out (all the FI employees were very busy doing what they do best — taking care of scores of guests). The weather couldn’t have been better (unusual, for Alameda), and I hear that there were about a hundred people lined up around the block to get in when the sale opened at 3pm. Everyone seemed to be having a very good day indeed — from the folks who snagged great tikis, art and vintage clothing, to the vendors who across the board seemed to be having a banner day.
Towering over the proceedings was this tiki bar, created by Nacho. Nacho had a similar massive Moai bar that he brought to Viva Las Vegas three years in a row until it was sold. He created this massive Ku bar to bring to Viva Las Vegas this past year, and it got use again yesterday, when Forbidden Island bartender Jim worked behind it making Mai Tais for the crowd. Pictures really don’t do it justice, it’s hard to get a sense of the scale of the thing — it’s about 18 feet tall, eight feet wide, and 10 feet deep. The inside is nicely decked out, too, thanks to Nacho’s friend Kahaka (the fellow who does those great lamps). There’s a thread on Tiki Central detailing the progress of the construction of this beauteous beast.
I was behind the booth all day, so I didn’t have an opportunity to chat much with folks (though I did a lot of waving and smiling). Hanford was free to roam, and he bought a snazzy lamp and an end table that perfectly matches my half-pretzel rattan living room set. I’ve put my pictures up on Humuhumu’s Life in Photos, and there are more from other folks in a thread on Tiki Central. It went so well, I’m betting there will be more sales like this one at Forbidden Island in the future.
August 28, 2006
Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:26 pm
Sidewinder’s Fang, photo by Craig Lee
for San Francisco Chronicle
On Sunday, September 24 from 3-7 p.m., Forbidden Island will be holding a sale of tiki flotsam & jetsam in their parking lot, and they’re also opening their lot to other vendors who would like to sell their wares to a collection of ideally tiki-crazed and booze-hazed patrons. The impetus for the sale is an overflow of great tiki items collected during the planning and build-out of Forbidden Island that didn’t find a final home there — including lots of bamboo. Forbidden Island co-owner Martin Cate is also adding in lots of items from his overflow of stuff at his home bar (the Novato Grotto, a.k.a. the Forbidden Island Test Lab). Vendors there will be selling tiki items, Hawaiiana, vintage clothing, vinyl, and other sundry items. Martin promises “Drink Specials!” and “Surprises!” but also, “Rodeo Clowns!,” which may be more appropriately classified as a threat. Sunday the 24th is the day before my birthday, and seein’ as how Forbidden Island will be closed on Monday, I’m unlikely to say no to any birthday drinks that come my way. Forbidden Island is located at 1304 Lincoln Ave (at Sherman) on the lovely isle of Alameda.
Speaking of Forbidden Island, they’ve had two fantastic write-ups lately. The first is actually a write-up of our Tiki Crawl that happened last month, on the Kaiser Penguin blog. It’s a great article, and Forbidden Island appropriately gets heavy mention, including the recipe of their very-tasty China Clipper (one of the great drinks to come out of Martin’s lab). The other is an article in the San Francisco Chronicle looking at summer drinks around the Bay Area; again, Forbidden Island gets the meat of the article, and several more recipes are included there. Congrats to Forbidden Island!
Oh! Also! The Jab, DJ extraordinaire, and dapperest chap that ever dapped, has a special night at Forbidden Island, the third Tuesday of every month. And, every Wednesday, there’s a whole mess o’ tikiphiles there, including Hanford & me.
August 4, 2006
Filed under: Events,History,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:48 pm
Tiki exhibit at San Francisco Airport
San Francisco International Airport is currently showing a truly fantastic exhibit about Polynesian Pop, titled “Reflections of Paradise: Tiki Culture on the Mainland”:
Several periods of Pacific Island influence on mainland American pop-culture are documented through record albums, sheet music, restaurant menus, bar decor, and of course, Tiki mugs. From the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco that introduced many visitors to Hawaiian music and art, to the regular revival of tropical-themed bars and restaurants, this exhibition charts the ebbs and flows of a cultural influence that continues to offer fantasy and escapism to mainlanders everywhere. The show focuses on the Bay Area with an emphasis on Northern California King of Tiki Trader Vic including over thirty artifacts from the Trader Vic’s Restaurant collection.
The display is full of some beautiful pieces and images, much of them very rare. It’s a good sized display and very striking, downright gorgeous. I wish that it was a travelling exhibit — it so effectively communicates why Polynesian Pop is such an interesting and rich area of American history. Even if you’ve seen the pieces in photographs before, there’s nothing like seeing them in person.
Tomorrow at noon, there will be a free tour of the exhibit followed by a Q & A session with the exhibit’s curator, Jeff Stevens, and Otto von Stroheim. The exhibit is located in the main lobby area of the International Terminal, and is well before the security checkpoint (i.e., easily accessible to the non-ticket-holding public). Short term parking is easy and not too terribly expensive. The exhibit runs through September 2006.
July 26, 2006
Filed under: Central California,History,Research,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:25 pm
Large tiki at Bamboo Hut
When creating the souvenir passport for this year’s Tiki Crawl, I paid a rare visit to the Bamboo Hut’s website, and noticed a mention that the large tiki near the entrance is from “1948.” It doesn’t say anything else about it — where it came from, how they got it, or whether perhaps it’s supposed to look like a tiki that could be from 1948. 1948 — that’s pretty darned old, and I thought perhaps it could be a typo. In the course of conversation this weekend, I learned from someone (Will the Thrill, I think) that they’d heard when Bamboo Hut opened in 1999 that the tiki had come from some old Chinese restaurant up in Sacramento that had closed. We couldn’t figure out which place it was, no names we could come up with jogged his memory.
I did, however, remember a great thread on Tiki Central that Sabu the Coconut Boy had started about a number of similar-looking tiki signs (I posted about it here on Humu Kon Tiki in February). While we were at Bamboo Hut on Friday I made sure to get some good pictures of the tiki, and just now I finally caught a moment to dig up that old thread and compare.
Coral Reef napkin
Sure enough, not only does this tiki echo the look of the tikis in those other signs, one of the places that seemed to have a logo that matched is the Coral Reef, a Cantonese restaurant in Sacramento. Pictured here is a napkin that shows the logo tiki, which looks to be a near-perfect match for this old tiki.
I must admit — I’m not a big fan of the design of the tiki — I honestly thought it was something they’d hacked together with plaster. But knowing it might have an interesting history, while it may not make it more attractive, does make it (and Bamboo Hut) a ton more cool, and the simpleness of the design makes a lot more sense when you understand that it was intended to be viewed from many, many yards away.
Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:28 pm
On Sunday, we got to sleep in a bit, the pressure was off, and we finally got to just kick back with our friends over drinks and Play-Doh. Once again, here’s the thread on Tiki Central where you can see pictures, and here’s my rundown:
Hubert is a lush
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe
It wasn’t on the official schedule, but a few of us had time to kill between waking up and Forbidden Island, so we met up for breakfast and mimosas at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe in Emeryville. The food was delicious, the mimosas were much appreciated, and the patio was deluxe, and the conversation was silly. Compared to the rest of the punk-flavored clientele, with their chain necklaces and mohawks, our bright aloha attire made us look not unlike a troop of clowns. Pictured is Hubert, our Swiss ski instructor monkey friend, getting hopped up on sake screwdrivers. Here are my pictures from Rudy’s.
Forbidden Island Play-Doh Throwdown
Moving the Crawl from early spring to summer made a huge difference; it’s a lot easier to play with Play-Doh when your hands aren’t freezing. Another big plus this year was moving it to the patio at Forbidden Island. I think the turnout was about three times what it’s been in the past for Sunday. Inky Louise was the clear queen of the Play-Doh, but everyone had at least one masterpiece. Here is my link to more pictures, and here are a few selections:
Inky Louise’s Blue Plate Special
Inky Louise created this fab chicken dinner blue plate special, complete with mashed potatoes & gravy (I mixed up the brown Play-Doh for her!), carrots, and some very wee, time consuming peas. Mr. Wong made a blue ribbon, so pleased he was with her efforts.
Mr. Wong’s Green Eggs and Ham
Mr. Wong made this lovely plate of green eggs & ham.
Mai Tai & Hanford share a Mystery Bowl
Time for a volcano bowl break! Here are Mai Tai and Hanford sharing a Mystery Bowl, and below is a volcano bowl made by Coco Loco.
Coco Loco’s Volcano Bowl
Mr. Wong, Phil & Buster’s Undersea Garden
Mr. Wong, Phil & Buster made this keen undersea garden — I especially love the pearl oyster.
Coco Loco’s Crab Rangoon
Coco Loco made this fab basket of Crab Rangoon, served with french fries & a spring roll — all tasty food items you can get at Forbidden Island.
I made this Twinkie, which has to be turned upside down to really be appreciated.
Korn-Tiki lives again! At left is the original Korn-Tiki, created by Hanford Lemoore a year or so ago at Bahooka in Rosemead, at right is the Korn-Tiki resurrection. Inky Louise made the corn, and Hanford carved him up.
Hanford’s impression of a Forbidden Island mug
Hanford wrapped some Play-Doh around the front of a Forbidden Island mug to get this relief impression of it, and then stuck it in a see-through cup to hold the shape.
Inky Louise’s sushi
Inky made this delish sushi trio, I made the pickled ginger.
Inky Louise’s miso
Inky also made this lovely bowl of miso, with toothpick chopsticks.
Tiki Vixen’s sushi
Tiki Vixen made this sushi roll, with tobiko by her, Inky & me.
Inky tries the kabobs
Hanford made these tasty-looking kabobs that Inky is pictured giving a try, and an eerily-accurate Play-Doh tortilla chip.
Hanford’s tortilla chip
Thayer made this Play-Doh representation of the oft-ordered Forbidden Island drink, the Fugu for Two, served in a Munktiki Fugu bowl.
So, there you go — that was our crawl weekend. If you were there, thanks for coming and making it all so much fun, and if you weren’t there, I hope you’ve had fun hearing all about it, and maybe you’ll come join us next year.
July 25, 2006
Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:53 pm
The third day of the Tiki Crawl came on Saturday, when we visited the East Bay. This day was the biggie, with a bus full of about 50 crawlers, and about that many more on their own transportation. Unfortunately, California has been hit by a crazy heat wave, making the temperature about 10 degrees higher than would have been really comfortable — but at least it wasn’t raining! The bus and all the crawl stops had air conditioning that tried its darnedest to keep up with so many happy bodies in one spot, and we handed out tons of water — overall, we all held up pretty darned well, and there were a lot of very happy faces all around.
Here’s the Tiki Central thread for the Saturday events, and here’s the thread where you can see a whole slew of pictures. Here’s my short summary of the long day:
Mingling at Trader Vic’s Emeryville
Trader Vic’s Emeryville
We started off the day at the oldest and nicest of the three Bay Area Trader Vic’s, the Emeryville location. This is not the original location — that would have been the long-gone Oakland location — but it’s chock-full of great tikiness. We had the back room of the restaurant, which includes a very nice patio and outdoor bar. We’ve had that back patio for previous crawls, but it’s always been miserably cold, and the beautiful sunshine was a nice contrast. Here are my pictures from the crawl, and here is the Critiki entry.
Happy crawlers at Forbidden Island
This was the most highly anticipated stop of the crawl, and thus we spent more time here than anywhere else — three whole hours. Forbidden Island proved yet again why it’s the best danged tiki bar out there — despite having more people at this stop than any other, and despite the drinks served here being more complex and crafted more carefully than at any other, drinks got into people’s hands pretty darned fast. It got pretty roasty-toasty inside with so many people, so the outdoor patio was jumping. Stuckie brought another ‘Ohana Hut prototype for us to drink out of, and Bamboo Ben and Crazy Al made a surprise appearance, sending the whole place into a flurry of flashbulbs. Forbidden Island co-owner Martin Cate, who before opening the bar had been the primary organizer of the Crawl, was beaming with joy to see the Crawl come to his own bar — he loves playing host. Here are my crawl pictures from Forbidden Island, and here is its top-rated entry in Critiki.
Limbo at Conga Lounge
Our fantastic bus driver executed the most impressive U-turn right on College Ave. (which resulted in much cheering on the bus) to get us to Conga Lounge, which despite its petite size, handled us pretty darned well. A few folks (us included) took the opportunity to get a bite to eat at Pizza Rustica directly below Conga Lounge (the extra clever ones placed a phone order on the drive over), and the rest of the merry group enjoyed the prepared punches upstairs. Iuka Grogg from the Maikai Gents led the group in a rousing Spanish version of Tiny Bubbles, and then there was a limbo contest, and a perfectly-timed conga line back to the bus. Here are my pictures, and here’s the entry in Critiki.
Crawlers fill the Kona Club
The last stop of the night was the newly-opened and Bamboo Ben-designed Kona Club. We all settled into the tables in the back room, where we held the much-anticipated prize drawing — each stop on the crawl from Tuesday through Saturday entered a crawler into a free prize drawing, with many wonderful prizes donated by Tiki Centralites. Rather than doing a money-raising raffle, this year Hanford wanted to pay for the crawl out of his own pocket, and do a free drawing as a thank you for supporting Tiki Central, the Tiki Crawl, and Bay Area tiki. To tell the truth, multiple nights of very little sleep, the heat, and the effort of the crawl had taken its toll on me, and I was pooped! But happily so. Here are my pictures, and here’s Kona Club’s entry in Critiki.
One more crawl post is on its way!
Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:29 pm
On Day Two, Friday, we visited tiki locations in San Francisco — in years past, Saturday has been the day for the city, but with the opening of Forbidden Island and Kona Club in the East Bay in the past year, it was clear that switching the days would be the way to go. Sure enough, we were rewarded with unusually pleasant conditions, both in terms of the bar visits and the lovely weather.
Again, here’s the Tiki Central thread for the Friday events, and here’s the thread to check out tons of photos. Here’s my quick recap of Friday:
Sweetpea and Suzanne dancing
at Trad’r Sam
This longtime San Francisco institution wasn’t always a dive bar — it started life as one of the many elegant bamboo bars that dotted the country in the pre-tiki 1930s. Today, it’s a great place to go people watching, as a broad assortment of folks pass through its doors looking for a drink. We met up there in the late afternoon, before most people were off from work, which meant that we got a rare look at a quiet Trad’r Sam’s, allowing a clear view of the gorgeous rattan & bamboo bar and booth framings, and letting Sweetpea load up the jukebox with only the good stuff. Here are my pictures from the crawl, and the entry in Critiki.
Crawlers take pictures at the Tonga Room
From there, we made our way to the historic Tonga Room, in the Fairmont hotel. Ah, the Tonga Room. As ever, the service was bizarrely bad — as I mentioned in a post on Tiki Central, they have taken poor service to the level of performance art, and it has become part of the fun of a Tonga Room visit. They do everything they can to make sure you know that they really would rather if nobody came into the restaurant at all. Despite this, it’s completely worth every visit to the Tonga Room, because the decor so so jaw-droppingly well-done, and it’s so fun to see the faces of those who are seeing it for the first time. My pictures from the crawl can be seen here, and here is the entry in Critiki.
Before crawlers arrive at the Bamboo Hut
This was the most wonderful surprise of this year’s crawl. In previous years, the Crawl has made its Bamboo Hut stop mid- or late-night on Saturday, and it’s been jam-packed and loud, in full danceclub mode. This year, we visited at 8 p.m. on a Friday, and it turns out this is the perfect time to see it — its an actual bar at that time! And it’s far more lovely than I realized, too — with massive pufferfish, an outrigger canoe hanging from the ceiling, and that famous massive tiki by the entrance. Many were saying that it was the best visit they’d ever paid to the Bamboo Hut, and if I’d realized it could be so nice, I’d have visited more often. Here are my pictures from the crawl, and here’s the Critiki entry.
Enjoying a Rum Barrel at Trader Vic’s S.F.
Trader Vic’s San Francisco
Our final stop of the evening was the elegant San Francisco Trader Vic’s, where the management had kindly prepared a spread of appetizers for us, and reserved the back room and bar for us. Our ranks really swelled at this stop — everybody was done with work, and after all, this was the best place on the tour that day to get drinks. Thanks to bartender Lars and his crew, we were all well taken care of on that front. My crawl pictures are here, and here’s the entry in Critiki.
Stay tuned for more posts about the crawl!
Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:39 pm
Hanford & I (mostly Hanford) just finished throwing a massive, four-day party — the sixth annual Tiki Central Tiki Crawl. This year, 12 different tiki locations were visited by a roaming horde of modern-day savages. It was incredibly fun, both to put together, and to actually do.
Here’s a thread on Tiki Central that focuses on the Thursday events, and here’s a photos thread that has tons of pictures from every night of the crawl, including this one. Here’s a short run-down of day one, Thursday, when we visited locations in Silicon Valley:
Carving on slit drum at the Papua New
Guinea Sculpture Garden
Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden, Palo Alto
This was the perfect place to kick off the festivities. Most people were seeing this spot for the first time — it’s a cluster of tikis carved by Papua New Guinea artists in 1994 at the invitation of the Cantor Arts Center. It is situated in a shady stand of trees on the northish side of the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto. You can see my crawl pictures here, here is its entry in Critiki and I also profiled it earlier in this Humu Kon Tiki post and this thread on Tiki Central.
Hanford chats at Trader Vic’s Palo Alto
Trader Vic’s Palo Alto
Surprisingly, this is a place that very few of the local tikiphiles have visited, at least recently, and many were surprised at how much they liked it. That said, it’s important to have realistic expectations about this Trader Vic’s — it was the first of the new wave of Trader Vic’s to open, and it’s the least like the beloved older Trader Vic’s, with cleaner lines and brighter lighting. What it does have, however, is a great collection of Papua New Guinea art, from the personal collection of the owner of both this Trader Vic’s and the neighborhing Dinah’s hotel. We all gathered on the barside front patio, where the weather was lovely, and we got to take some time to catch up over Mai Tais. What more can you ask for? By coincidence, Trader Vic execs Hans Richter, Sven Koch and Eve Bergeron (that’s Vic’s granddaughter) were there, and Eve showed us around the restaurant. The crawl pictures from this stop are here, here’s the Critiki entry, and here’s a Locating Tiki thread on Tiki Central.
Martini Monkey at the San Jose Airport
Martini Monkey, San Jose
Our third stop was probably the biggest hit of the day, and perhaps the surprise find of the whole crawl for many — Martini Monkey. Martini Monkey is off most people’s tiki radar, largely because it is located at the San Jose Airport, which conjures up all sort of off-limits thoughts. In reality, it’s very simple to visit (parking is cheap and directly across from its location in Terminal C), and well worth the trip. The place feels more lounge-y than tiki, but the entire back of the bar is one of Mark Ryden’s popular tiki paintings, giving it a definite Polynesian Pop vibe. The number one reason to come to Martini Monkey is simple: the drinks, crafted expertly by bartender Jay. The cocktails here are simply stellar. I could go on and on about Martini Monkey, and I will in another, dedicated post in the near future. For now, the crawl pictures are here, the Critiki entry is here, and here’s a post on Tiki Central about Martini Monkey.
Crawlers at Smoke Tiki
Smoke Tiki, San Jose
Well, every crawl has to have a stinker location, and this was our not-unexpected dud. Smoke Tiki is simply targeting the younguns, and is a thumping nightclub. It might be a better place to visit earlier in the day, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the Sculpture Garden or Trader Vic’s — whaddya gonna do? At any rate, we still had a great time, we just carved out a corner for ourselves on the back patio and chatted with each other ’til the wee hours. Here are my crawl pictures, the Critiki entry, a Tiki Central thread, and an earlier Humu Kon Tiki post detailing our previous Smoke Tiki experience.
Posts detailing the other three days of the crawl are on the way!
- Tiki Crawl 6: South Bay THURSDAY Roll Call [Tiki Central]
- Photos from the 2006 Tiki Central Tiki Crawl [Tiki Central]
- Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden [Humuhumu's Life in Photos]
- Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden, Palo Alto [Critiki]
- Tikis at Stanford U. (image heavy) [Tiki Central]
- Papua New Guinea Tikis at Stanford University [Humu Kon Tiki]
- Trader Vic’s Palo Alto [Humuhumu's Life in Photos]
- Trader Vic’s, Palo Alto [Critiki]
- Trader Vic’s, Palo Alto, CA (restaurant) [Tiki Central]
- Martini Monkey [Humuhumu's Life in Photos]
- Martini Monkey, San Jose [Critiki]
- Martini Monkey, San Jose, CA (bar) [Tiki Central]
- Smoke Tiki [ Humuhumu's Life in Photos]
- Smoke Tiki, San Jose [Critiki]
- Game Developers Conference & Smoke Tiki, San Jose
- Smoke Tiki, San Jose, CA, (bar) [Tiki Central]