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  • OHANA Luau on the Lake, This Weekend on Lake George, New York

    Posted on September 18th, 2009 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    ohanalakegeorgeposterLake George is a beautiful, picturesque freshwater lake sitting in the valley of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Its a nature-lover’s paradise, full of history, and is the last place on the planet you’d expect to find a swingin’ Tiki Bar. Yet situated on the banks of the Lake in Lake George Village is The Tiki Motor Inn Resort, one of the last great Tiki resorts from the golden era of thatched bars and Mai Tais. Built in the ’60s, the resort somehow managed to survive the anti-tiki movement of the ’80s and wave of plasticy new renovations that swept the ’90s.

    This weekend The Tiki Resort is hosting OHANA, Luau on the Lake. Unfortunately yours truly won’t be able to make it this year…it’s about 1600 miles away and with the way things are, it’s not easy to get 16 miles away these days! But next year it’s a definite.

    When I lived up in the North East I’d vacation on Lake George, but never got to go to the Tiki Resort. Don’t ask why, it’s a long boring story. The short answer is not everyone appreciates such fine establishments as much as I (and you!). Anyone heading up to the OHANA should also try to check out a few other things in Lake George Village…the village is sort of a retro-lover’s playground, with the Around the World mini golf course, the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum, the world’s oldest mini golf course, and of course Fort William Henry (18th c. wood fort that was re-built in the 50s. The gift shop looks like somewhere Opie would have a ball in). tikiresortlakegeorge

    And of course there’s the lake itself, beautiful and large, surrounded my mid-sized mountains covered in evergreens. The area is about 95% nature and 5% tacky, wonderful touristy stuff. I find that a nice balance.

    A WORD OF ADVICE for those attending OHANA this weekend: Pack for summer and winter. You can get all four seasons in one day on Lake George this time of year. I know. houseofwaxlakegeorgeOh, and bring bug spray. You’ll need it!

    Anyone with great pix from the event please email me, I’d like to post them next week!

  • ZOMBIES EVERYWHERE!!!!

    Posted on September 15th, 2009 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments

    zombies-at-the-tiki-bar1

    It’s getting near that time of year again…the leaves are changing color, the air is getting crisp*. And the Zombies are starting to come out of the woodwork. And the mall.

    ZOMBIES: THE WALKING DEAD:zombie

    There are different kinds of Zombies, ya know. In Haiti they are walking corpses, cursed to do the bidding of evil Voo-Doo queens. In the South Pacific they’re the soulless cadavers of wicked head hunters, looking for a last meal of brains and coconuts. In New Jersey they run the DMV. In South Florida, they work at Wendy’s and Winn-Dixie.

    Then there’s Rob Zombie, the Rocker-turned-Movie Maker who disturbed many nights of sleep with House of 1000 Corpses and the retro-fitting of Halloween. But I don’t think he’s a real Zombie. At least I don’t think so. Then again…

    Basically anyone who died and is now walking around is a Zombie. This raises some interesting questions, about accident victims, heart attack survivors, and some famous religious icons. Next time you have dinner with Uncle Harry who made it through his second heart attack, better keep an eye on your brains.

    Basic symptoms to tell if someone is a Zombie:
    1. Slow, limping walk
    2. Aloofness
    3. Rotting smell
    4. Irritability

    Note: Most employees of Atlantic City area newspapers are Zombies.

    zombieland_movie_poster_99ZOMBIES: THE MOVIES:

    If you’ve gotten this far you probably are already the type who love horrible horror movies. I never saw a Zombie movie I didn’t like. Even the cheesey bad ones are great. Hell, they’re about kats that come back to life after being dead for hours, days & years. The mechanics of it is silly enough…rotted corpses with no muscle left on their little bones would have a hell of a time getting around. Then there’s the whole eating people..especially brains, apparently…thing. Why go after living people who can fight back when there’s plenty of slow-assed Zombies around they can eat?

    Anyway, Zombieland, the latest installment of blood & guts galore is opening in a few weeks. You can be I’ll be there. Here’s the site with the trailer and some goodies. A couple of other great bad Zombie movies are Slither, Shaun of the Dead, and the old classics Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. Oh, and of course the king of all Zombies, Frankenstein. (Does he count? yeah, I think so) If you want more, just go to http://www.geocities.com/shape_of_infinity. This guys had put together a complete list of every Zombie movie ever made.

    ZOMBIES: THE COCKTAIL:zombie-drink

    And then of course there’s my FAVORITE kind of Zombie, the one they serve at the Tiki Bar. This concoction of every rum on the shelf plus about 30 other ingredients will certainly make you feel like the walking dead after the first two. Don the Beachcomber invented this one back in the ’30s, and people have been carried out of Tiki Bars on a stretcher ever since. I had one at the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale the other night. They’re one of the last places on the planet that still make it right. Their recipe is a secret, but I lay it down for you like this: It’s like drinking Chinese hot mustard with a 151 kick. Some of it spilled on the table and seared a hole right through. But damn, it’s good.

    As with most Tiki Cocktails, a lot of people either don’t know how to make it or they cheat by throwing together a couple of things and sticking a pineapple in it. Well, here’s one of the best recipes I could find, from “The Great Tiki Drink Book” By Jennifer Trainer Thompson:

    1 1/2 oz Golden Rum
    1 oz Dark Rum
    1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
    1 1/2 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
    2 tspn fine sugar (or sugar syrup)
    1 tblspn Lime Juice
    1/2 tspn Grenadine
    3 tspns Passionfruit Syrup
    1 tspn 151 Rum (Somehow I think most bartenders use more than a teaspoon)
    Pineapple, Orange, Cherry & Fresh Mint for Garnish

    Pour all ingredients except the 151 into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake Shake Shake! and strain into a very kool looking Tiki mug over the rocks. Float the 151 on top, garnish with the fruit on a little pirate sword, and add an umbrella. It’s not a Zombie without and umbrella. Extra credit if you have old-fashioned paper straws.

    Well, that’s about all I have to say about the subject of Zombies. Remember to check your friends and co-workers for the signs of Zombism.If they show any signs, pour them a Zombie.

    ghouls-in-window*Technically, no leaves are changing color where I live in South Florida, and the crispest the air gets here in the fall is around 75°. In fact the only way to realize it’s fall is that the traffic gets heavier. Oh, and about the Voo-Doo Queens and Head Hunters…you realize I have no idea what I’m talking about, right? Good. Now go have a Zombie!

  • September 12 Was My Birthday!

    Posted on September 13th, 2009 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    chrisp41birthdayYesterday your Tiki Lounge Host with the Most turned another year older. My wife Colleen surprised me with a steak dinner at a nice restaurant, drinks at the Mai Kai, and concert of Tchaikovsky works by an excellent string quartet and string sextet.

    I’d like to thank all my friends and readers who sent Happy Birthday wishes my way. Now that my Birthday Weekend is over, I can start on some new swingin’ posts for Tiki Talk, and also get full throttle into Halloween!

    Upcoming Posts will include: A pictorial on Downtown Hollywood, Florida, an old-time Main Street that’s full of mid-century mod fun; What “Fall” Means in Florida; and “13 Days of Halloween” showcasing events, party and costume ideas, decorating ideas and fun Halloween sites.

    So keep tuning in kids! Oh, and feel free to leave comments!

    And NOW: You can subscribe to new posts by email! Check it out!—>

  • 9/11 Remembrance

    Posted on September 11th, 2009 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    long-may-it-wave-flagWhen you live in paradise among the palms and sun, it’s easy to forget the people who keep us free, who protect us, and who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice.

    Today at the Tiki Lounge we remember the people who died needlessly in the 9/11 attacks, just because a handful of wacked-out, bottom-feeding low-life morons think their god is better than ours. To the families of the victims, may God smile on you. To the terrorists, may Allah spit on you.

    We remember the men and women of the armed forces who gave their lives to make the world a safer place, safer from tyrants such as Hitler, Stalin and Hussein. And we thank those in the military who are working hard every day to ensure my freedom.

    Because of you, I have the freedom to drink a Mai Tai under a palm tree, to drive a kool car, to live the life I choose with a beautiful woman by my side.

    I have the freedom to write anything I want to say here.

    Today I am using my freedom to say Thank You, to everyone who makes my way of life possible.

    -Christopher “Mack” Pinto

  • The Tropic Cay Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Weekend in a 50’s Motel at the Beach

    Posted on September 4th, 2009 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    retro-fun-stuff

    The Tropic Cay Motel, one of the last surviving Mid-Century motels on Fort Lauderdale Beach

    The Tropic Cay Motel, one of the last surviving Mid-Century motels on Fort Lauderdale Beach

    If you want to blow your bankroll on a bed, there are plenty of big, beautiful, over-priced hotels in Fort Lauderdale. If you want to have fun, save $100 a night and still have a decent place to sleep where you can walk to the beach, your options are getting slim, but they’re still out there.

    Last weekend I surprised my wife for her birthday by taking her to the beach for the weekend. Yeah, we live 20 minutes from the beach, but for some reason don’t seem to get down there that often, so we made a weekend of it. But I didn’t see any point in staying at a “luxury” hotel…I wanted to stay someplace that reminded me of the old days, when I was a kid and we’d pack seven people into a cheap room, and spend 70% of the day out of it. I found it at the Tropic Cay.

    Built in the early 50’s (according to the manager), this motel has gone through decades of renovations, remodeling, and innovation, yet still maintains its early Art Deco/Mid-Century Modern feel. (Not sure if it started as deco or modern, but it sort of melds both styles now, along with some current styles. Down here in he land of palm trees we call it “Florida Modern” or “Miami Deco”).

    Original stone wall of the office, still looks like it did 50 years ago

    Original stone wall of the office, still looks like it did 50 years ago

    The stone wall at night, with their green mood lighting

    The stone wall at night, with their green mood lighting

    The rooms had been renovated (probably many times over the years) but still retained some of the old flavor. The furnishings weren’t Mid-Century Modern, which would have been the koolest, but had that sort of retro feel. The original jalousie windows were still intact. And although the floors,

    Original Terrazo in the door jamb

    Original Terrazo in the door jamb

    doors and card-reader locks were fairly new, a sliver of the original terrazzo flooring remained in the door jamb!

    We certainly had a good time staying at the Tropic Cay. They had a very old-fashioned bar next to the pool, with a green neon sign that just said “BAR”. Drinks were cheap, and you could sit out by the pool all night long. We were literally across A-1-A from the beach, so it was easy to go back and forth between the room and the surf. The weather stayed decent for us most the time we were there!

    The Tropic Cay's old-fashioned Bar

    The Tropic Cay's old-fashioned Bar

    Days are numbered for motels like the Tropic Cay. At under $100 a night for a room that can easily hold 10 people, these old-fashioned motor-inns just aren’t lucrative enough for owners to keep them going. On each side of the motel are multi-million dollar high-rise luxury hotels commanding $400 a night and up. And although they are mostly vacant now due to the crummy recession, it’s only a matter of time before people will be willing to shell out tons of lettuce to get a room with an ocean view…they’ll have to, because there won’t be any old motels left to crash at for cheap. The Tropic Cay owners have plans to raise the building and build a new luxury hotel on the spot. Sure, it will be a nice hotel. It will have swank rooms and a trendy new dance club with $15 drinks. It will probably have a pool on the roof and a palm-treed terrace on the fifth floor. But you won’t be able to walk into the lobby in your wet trunks and flip-flops kids. Once all the motels like the Tropic Cay are gone, that part of 20th century Americana will be gone for good.

    The view from our room. Beautiful beach!

    The view from our room. Beautiful beach!

    Hallway, 2nd floor. I made it BW because it still looks like it did 40 years ago.

    Hallway, 2nd floor. I made it BW because it still looks like it did 40 years ago.

    Vintage light fixtures still hang outside each room. Green bulbs give the place a kool 50's aire at night.

    Vintage light fixtures still hang outside each room. Green bulbs give the place a kool 50's aire at night.