The Bay Area is having a heatwave but that didn’t stop dozens of tikiphiles from braving 100° heat to pack the Forbidden Island outdoor patio on Sunday. Straight from opening at 2 pm every table was filled with cool drinks being the desired antidote. I tasted a few rums in the form of a Mai Tai (these were all rums that I’ve had before). You can definitely taste the difference between Pyrat XO and Clement Premiére Canne in a Mai Tai.
The Forbidden Island crew has really got this patio process working smoothly now, with attentive servers and fast service for cocktails, rum samples, and the requisite food component of your order. The Yelp-based reservation system is important and crucial these days.
We had the pleasure of seeing two local luminaries complete the Kill Devil Club 2.0 rum list. Congrats to Cathie Wartelle and Lon Cook for drinking all the rums from this list of “hard to find, allocated, rare and rums aged 10 years and older.” The tiki mug you get is pretty cool too.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Alameda’s Forbidden Island twice in the last few days. Their patio is open and is expanded to fill the parking lot.
The crew has done a good job filling the space with socially distant tables and two-seat barrels, with some nice decor, a shade netting, and a fine selection of diverse but appropriately retro/exotic music. The crew works hard to accommodate groups in whichever seating they are most comfortable, and upon entering everyone has use some hand sanitizer and to read the rules (my favorite: No “Freedom Rights” Outbursts). Masks are supposed to be worn when away from the table, and encouraged to be worn except when you are actively eating/drinking.
Food is still a required part of your experience, if you want cocktails. This is basically an extension of the same rules allowing to-go cocktails but only when accompanied by food.
The new setup means that Forbidden Island is now able to have a much larger set of cocktails to order from, and they’re presented in all their regular garnished glory. The crew is also able to have a brief bit of conversation and camaraderie that Forbidden Island is famous for. The set up is a big draw for patrons working on their Kill Devil rum lists order rums from the list. Rums can be sampled neat, on rocks, or in a Daiquiri, Ti Punch, or Mai Tai.
To-go cocktails have been great, but there’s nothing like getting a freshly made Chamborlada or another expertly prepared cocktail. I ordered a Mai Tai and John Peterson somehow after all these months remembered that I like it a little bit heavy on the orgeat. Man, that is customer service at it’s finest.
It was a great couple visits, and I got to see some tiki friends in the flesh, too. Mahalo to Forbidden Island, let’s keep this going.
Pleased provide another report from our to-go experience at Forbidden Island.
For takeout food we did the coconut shrimp with fries that were crispy and delicious – and Mrs. Mai Tai had the corn dogs that she loves so much. Check.
For the drinks we had an assortment. The coconut forward Monkey Pod was favored by Mrs. Mai Tai once again and she said it was really good as always.
For my drinks I went home with a Hurricane, a 1950 Zombie, and a classic Mai Tai. Of these three, the Hurricane was the standout – but a warning that it is very boozy. The sweet Fassionola in this cocktail is really great. For the Zombie and Mai Tai, these were both less sweet than is my preference. This is the downside of to-go cocktails in that you can’t tell your bartender to make it a little sweeter because that’s the way you like it. But, a little extra Demerara syrup or Orgeat is all it took to set these both to the path of delightful.
This was good timing, too. I’m working on a house Zombie recipe and wanted to try the 1950 Zombie to compare to the 1934 version.
The Best Value for Bay Area To-Go Tiki is: Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island opened up on Thursday for take-out bites and cocktails, so we sampled this on Sunday. The portions were quite good and even after a 30 minute trip home everything stayed in good shape (waffle fries travel better than thin tiny ones). The coconut shrimp in particular were quite good at home.
And the cocktails. Delicious and plenty boozy. Mrs. Mai Tai had the coconut-forward Monkey Pod, whereas I went with the Demerara Dry Float. That cocktail even came with a tiny bottle of rum to float on top! Definitely two servings worth per cocktail.
I was real happy with the ordering experience with Forbidden Island. It’s done on the website, and you do have to get your order in before 2 pm on the day of. But other than that, it was a dream and everything came out perfect – nothing missing or wrong with the order. Go out there and give these guys your support.