Great day on the patio in Alameda for the annual Parking Lot Sale at Forbidden Island. There were some really great vendors on Sunday for our visit, and I came away with a lantern from Relic Vintage and a Disney aloha shirt and a fish float from Tiki Tacky Tu. Mrs. Mai Tai bought a necklace from Match Accessories. We look forward to this event every year. DJ Tanoa Stewart provided some great garage rock-leaning vintage tunes.
My lantern worked out really great. Besides looking nice on our patio, it matched the cocktail I’d already ordered: the Port Light. Serendipity! Forbidden Island’s Port Light cocktail is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of bourbon. We also enjoyed the Spam Musubi.
Great afternoon in Sacramento as invited guests for the @sac_ohana Tiki Crawl stop at @birdsofparadiselounge. We thank consummate hosts Correy and Mariela for the invite. Fantastic decor throughout the home and backyard. So many treasures and fine art.
The rum sponsor for this stop was Santa Teresa 1796, a Solera aged column still rum from Venezuela. This isn’t my favorite style but @mrs_bravo did a fantastic job incorporating this into the cocktails. I enjoyed the 1796 Old Fashioned that included a Birds of Paradise logo on the ice cube. The spicy Chicha Cooler featured Peruvian purple corn, spices, and ginger beer. My favorite was the Tropical Kingbird featuring banana and cinnamon, with a nice Santa Teresa rum accent.
Nice to see the Sacramento Ohana folks too. Their ticketed three day tiki crawl seems to be extraordinary well organized and lots of fun with DJs, food, and vendors at the various stops.
The Kon-Tiki Room at Palmetto has been developing its own identity as a tiki bar with a pop culture orientation, thanks in part to its locale across the street from the Fox Theater concert venue. And then with Star Trek nights on Thursdays, complete with special cocktails and episodes playing on a fairly tucked away TV screen. More recently, Fridays are devoted to X-Files and Sundays feature craft projects.
Last Thursday was the first bar trivia version of Star Trek Thursdays and so I thought I’d see how this worked and maybe see how much TOS and Voyager trivia I’d be able to recall. Trivia was hosted well by Allie and Andre with prizes from Soytrek.
There weren’t high stakes but I found myself on a great team with Chris, Emily, and Ramona and between the four of us we were leading after two rounds. The third round veered from Star Trek and was Batman trivia, resulting in us falling behind another team. We tied that team on the fourth round so we fell one question short of winning (Holy Cliffhangers, Batman!). Quite fun if you have any appreciation of Star Trek – even if, like me, you haven’t watched some of the series.
Jeni and Tori did a great job keeping up with orders between rounds, and I quite enjoyed the Kon-Tiki Room’s premium Stargazer cocktail. This complex grog has a swirl of flavors and also includes Kon-Tiki’s amazing private barrel rum from Worthy Park. Kon-Tiki Room continues to buck purist expectations musically, since they were playing 80’s modern rock. Regular readers know I’d prefer something more vintage, but at least the songs being played were lesser hits you don’t hear every day (e.g. “Be Good, Johnny” by Men at Work, “Love Comes Quickly” by Pet Shop Boys). The Frozen Disco Banana is still being served, which assures a great time, every time at the Kon-Tiki Room.
Mrs. Mai Tai and ventured to Oakland to check out the new cocktail menu at The Kon-Tiki. This is a major overhaul and we wanted to try some of the new cocktails. We also saw that the interior of Kon-Tiki is receiving a “space” themed overhaul to coincide with the new menu’s theme. This is not really to our taste, especially when accompanied by some sleepy 60s jazz songs. Things felt a lot better once a selection of 70’s-80s deep cut space-rock songs were being played (Alan Parsons, Neu!, Japan), which at least had a bit of pep and reminded us of the Kon-Tiki’s heyday as a Yacht Rock place.
We tried four of the new cocktails.
Pale Blue Dot This Blue Hawaiian riff features St. Lucian and Jamaica Rums, Blue Curacao, Coconut, Pineapple, Lime, Orange, and Peychauds Bitters. We both felt this needed more coconut. Just so-so.
Heyerdahl Maneuver Better was this cocktail with Aquavit as a base, along with Pisco, Charanda, Lavender, Banana, Honey, Grapefruit, and Lemon. Tastes lighter than the blend of ingredients might indicate and features a really interesting and unique taste. Totally worth trying – it might be your favorite.
Event Horizon This was an absolutely fabulous cocktail. Using aged Charanda, Coffee Liqueur, Vanilla, Angostura and Cacao Bitters, this has a wonderful taste and a perfect blend of bitter and sweet along with a very approachable Mexican rum base. We both thought this was truly excellent.
Lunar Camel Far and away my personal favorite and Mrs. Mai Tai thought it was great as well. The Lunar Camel has Barbados Rum, Apple Brandy, Tamarind, Lemon, Amaro, and Angostura Bitters. This felt like an alien version of a rum barrel and features a truly satisfying blend of ingredients. Perfect mouthfeel. I can’t wait to try this again, it’s that good.
I found this recipe in the 1980 book from Michael Walker called simply The Cocktail Book. The entry says “There are several different versions of the Mai Tai, but this seems to be the most popular with bartenders and patrons alike.” Walker also says “this drink will taste deliciously innocuous, but beware! It has a habit of creeping up on you.”
(World’s Worst) Mai Tai by Michael Walker ½ measure Dark Rum 1 measure Light Rum ½ measure Tequila ½ measure Triple Sec 1 measure Apricot Brandy 1 measure Orange Juice 1 dash Orgeat 1 dash Angostura Bitters 2 dashes Grenadine Blend with ice until smooth. Decorate with slices of orange, lime, lemon, pineapple, and a maraschino cherry.
With all those ingredients and the elaborate garnish, I’m not sure which bartender would prefer to make this compared to a traditional five ingredient Mai Tai.
We shared this monstrosity with Derek from Make & Drink and he invited me over to the bar to try it! You can watch to the video to see our reactions but suffice to say while this might be an okay generic tropical drink it by no means should be called a Mai Tai. Not with tequila and apricot brandy.
Here’s a welcome return to the food menu at Oakland’s venerable Kon-Tiki.
The Crab Rangoon dip features crab and bay shrimp, melted cheese, and sweet chili sauce. Served with savory wonton chips that stand up to the dip. It’s pretty good and probably best if you’re able to share with others.
The crew from the Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand Vatos Who Tikiwere up in the Bay Area last weekend and did a takeover at Oakland’s Kon-Tiki after Rum Fest. Having the Kon-Tiki’s legendary cheeseburger after drinking rum all day seemed like a no-brainer. The takeover included some great tunes from DJ Oran and El Nova and a special cocktail menu.
I very much enjoyed the Oaxacan in Jamaica, the Vatos’ Mai Tai blend that includes Oaxacan and Jamican rums. I’ve loved all the Oaxacan rums I’ve tried so this one was a great combo especially when paired with my cheeseburger.
Very nice to talk to El Nova in person after years of online discussions. The Vatos Who Tiki merch lineup for this event was full of great items including glasses and stickers – and you can buy shirts in their online Etsy store. Check it out.
We great to see Doc Parks in the house and to visit with Christ from Kon-Tiki.