Posted on December 28th, 2011 No comments
Wednesday, December 28: Swing on down to Fort Lauderdale’s historic Mai Kai Polynesian Restaurant and Tiki Bar for their
CUSTOMER CELEBRATION PARTY IN RECOGNITION OF
MAI-KAI’S 55TH ANNIVERSARY, 5pm-9pm
With platters spun by Mr. Jet Setter himself, D.J. MIKE JONES this promises to be a really fun party. There will be an extended Happy Hour and Complimentary buffet in the Molokai Bar from 5 – 9 pm. And the Mai Kai will bring out old scrap books for those that are interested in old Mai-Kai memorabilia! (I’ve seen these books, they are a rare treasure from the past)
If all goes well yours truly will be there, probably around 7 or 8. I’ll tweet when I’m there so if you make it to the shindig we can get together for a cocktail!
Hmmm…at the Mai Kai I’ve had the Mai Tai, Jet Pilot, Zombie, Barrel ‘o Rum and Pina Passion. What should I try next…
-Tiki Chris, reporting from US 1 & Oakland Park Blvd in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Posted on September 19th, 2011 1 comment
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know how kookie I am for Halloween. Every year I abandon sanity and turn my humble, tropical-themed home into a house of horrors, complete with animatronic monsters, creepy crawlies, and a facade over my front entrance that creates the perfect atmosphere for a hauntingly good time.
I’ve already started building props and organizing decor for this year’s shindig, and have in fact begun putting up decor in lesser-used rooms of Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar (my abode). The goal this year, as it is every year, is to have everything done a few weeks before Halloween so I can actually enjoy the season…including going to haunted-house walk-throughs, and being able for OPP – other people’s parties.
This year’s theme is VAMPIRES. A cliché, I know, but vamps are so hot this year that I couldn’t resist. The real trick is decorating a goth Vampire’s lair with Tiki undertones…hmmm…
This will be the official 25th anniversary of my kooky Monster Mash Bash, a party I started on a crisp October day in 1986 when a hot chick I knew came to me and said she wanted to have a Halloween party at her spooky house in the woods.
Turned out the chick was nutz, so my friends and I had the party at my place. I was only 18, and funds were low so we did the whole party on a budge of 12 bucks. Cheap, market-brand soda, no-frills chips, homemade onion dip and popcorn served as the fare while we watched old black and white horror movies made fun of each others’ costumes. I was Dracula for that first party…and I suppose I will be again this year.
Of course, every party is done with a retro style theme. I mean, what holiday is more “retro-ee” than Halloween? (and don’t say Christmas. Nobody does old-fashioned Christmases anymore. Not when there’s an iPad under the tree). The whole point of Halloween is to celebrate a centuries-old tradition, with witches and goblins and vampires and zombies and all those groovy monsters that all go way back. We watch classic horror films, bob for apples and eat candy just like your grandparents did. Even the decor…at least anything store-bought…still looks like it did 30, 50, 80 years ago.
25 years ago the paper cut-out skeletons and pumpkins looked the same as they do now, the same as they did when I was a little kid. Hmmm 25 years. 25 years is a long stretch to do anything, especially a party. A third of the kittens showing up at the party won’t even be 25 years old! So I’m going to have to do something extra special for this year’s soiree. I dunno…maybe I’ll get some real monsters this year!
-Tiki “Drac” Chris, reporting from the dungeon at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar
Posted on May 29th, 2011 4 comments
I wanted to post “How to have a great Retro BBQ” this weekend but I got into some other projects…so here’s at least one recipe you can still have for tomorrow! Promise to have the BBQ post up soon!
When I was a kid, every time we had a BBQ my mother made the macaroni salad and my grandmother made the potato salad. My father and my uncle cooked the burgers and dogs on the grill, my aunt usually helped by making something that you could boil in a plastic bag (her specialty was Nibblits in butter sauce) and my grandfather would play with me while everyone else worked.
Here’s the recipe for my mother’s (Sabina) macaroni salad. I’ve never had it like this anywhere else, have no idea where she came up with the recipe, but it’s my favorite…it’s easy to make, and is a hell of a lot better than the stuff you get a Publix. This recipe goes way back to at least the 1960’s…and since she probably got it from my grandmother, it likely goes back to the 50’s or earlier. So for a little taste of the past, here’s
Sabina’s South Philly Macaroni Salad
1 Medium Red Pepper, diced
1 Medium Green Pepper, diced
1 Medium (3” Diameter) Sweet Onion, diced
1/2 Large Red Onion, diced (Dice the other half to add to taste)
2 Large Carrots, diced
2-3 Large Celery Stalks, diced
About 1/4 cup Bacos (not real bacon bits)
Mayo (Hellman’s only)
Salt & Pepper
2 Lbs. Good Quality Elbo Macaroni
• Boil the Macaroni as usual, until al dente…not too soft. Drain and let cool. Don’t rinse.
• Meanwhile, dice all the vegetables into a large bowl and add the bacon bits. When the macaroni is cool, mix it into the vegetables.
• Mix in mayo one heaping tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. You want it to just coat the macaroni. Too much will ruin the salad. I use about 4-5 heaping tablespoons.
• Add about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper and mix in. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The macaroni will absorb the mayo so you ‘mayo’ need to add more. (Get it?) Add more salt and pepper to taste. You can also add more of the red chopped onion to taste. Just be careful, if the onions are too strong they will overpower the whole thing.
That’s it! Happy Memorial Day!
Posted on September 10th, 2010 6 comments
I thought I’d follow up the Blue Hawaiian with something I found on PerfectCocktail.net,
The Blue Devil
It’s sort of like a blue version of a Singapore Sling, sort of, at least you’ll agree with me after your third. Interesting that the ingredients are in milliliters on this site. For you kats who run screaming at the very sight of anything metric, 35ml is about 2 oz, 10ml is about 1/3oz.
10ml Blue Curaso
25ml fresh lime juice
10ml Creme de Cacao
10ml Cherry Brandy
Pour everything into a shaker with ice, the Shake it up baby, twist and shout, strain into a cocktail glass, and slide it across the Tiki Bar to the hot blond in the coconut bikini.
Not sure how they got it to light up like that, but I’m sure diggin’ it.
Side Note: It’s my Birthday this weekend so with any luck I’ll be waste-deep in Mai Tais and hula girls. So if you don’t hear from me for a few days, you’ll know why, kids!
Aloha from Tiki Chris, reporting from his favorite bar stoll at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar in South Florida.
Posted on December 30th, 2009 11 comments
This is a repost from a long time ago…it just works so well for New Year’s Eve, I had to repost it. Notice how a lot of New Year’s decor is reminiscent of the 1930s, 40s & 50s? With Art Deco styling and visions of cocktails? No holiday conjures up images of the good old days of Champagne Cocktails like the party to end all parties, New Year’s Eve.
Ah, the ’50s, a time of diverse cultures, Rock ’n Roll and Jazz living side by side, greasers and swingers intermingled in the same cities. While the rock ‘n rollers were drinking Pabst and dancing to Bill Haley and the Comets, the cool crowd…the jetsetters…the swingers…were sipping Manhattans, dressed in evening gowns and sharp tailored suits, dancing cheek to cheek to Ole Blue Eyes and Nat King Cole, or just conversing with Stan Getz or Martin Denny in the background. Here’s how to throw a cocktail party, hi-ball style…
The cocktail party. Suave, continental, the utmost.
Today’s cocktail parties are but a remnant of the original, sophisticated gatherings that grew up in the ’20s and ’30s and reached mature perfection in the ’50s. The music is different, the dress code is much less formal, and even the drinks are…just not the same.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, does it? With a little imagination and a few bucks, anyone can reach back to 50 years ago and pull the elegance and glamour of a real cocktail party into the present.
“The best way to wreck a party is to turn on the lights”. Atmosphere is everything, and before you buy your first bottle of Cointreau or open your first pack of swizzle sticks, you’ve got to get the mood right. Dig this: Mood = Lighting. Simple as that.
To create the proper atmosphere, you need the proper setting, and the most important part of that setting is the lighting. Experiment a few evenings before the party with different light combinations. Keep the lights low. A good rule is people, after their eyes adjust, should be able to read their watches, but have to get close to see the color of the eyes of the person in front of them. This makes for a much more intimate, social mood. Avoid direct overhead lights, unless you have a dimmer. A small light at the bar to see the bottles is good, as long as it doesn’t stream out and glare into the room. Colored bulbs can do wonders; blues and greens are very nice, and create a mysterious, vintage feel. Reds tend to make everything look like a bordello, so unless that’s the look you going for, shy away from red. Candles can create a nice effect, but remember two things: First, too many candles can create too much light, actually spoiling the mood, and second, in the Atomic Age, candles were considered quaint (or antiquated)…A true Atom Age party would use the keenest and most up-to-date electronics, even for lighting (which also means if you have special effect lighting, such as ultraviolet or image projection lights, using them sparingly can help create a retro atmosphere). A very cool effect is to have colored bulbs low to the floor, behind furniture shining up, to give it a sort of “glow” in the background. And of course, a lava lamp can’t hurt…http://www.spencersonline.com/decor_lighting_lava-lamps/. Oh, and by the way, the perfect time to start a cocktail party is 8:30pm. Not 8, not 9. Expect many of your guests to arrive at exactly 10:10.
The Decor & Party Favors
In the old days the decor was pretty simple…black and white streamers, balloons, and table cloths with pictures of the baby New Year. These days you can get a couple a zillion different gimmicks and ideas from the party stores. Silver mylar balloons add a nice touch, as do silver and black fringe. Plastic party fedoras and tiaras are inexpensive, and make great hand-outs. Black and silver noisemakers will pull it all together. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough for everyone…they’ll figure out a way to make noise.
The Dress Code
An essential part of the perfect cocktail party is what your guests look like. Let’s face it, jeans and sweatshirts just won’t cut it. You can be as formal or informal as you like, but whatever you decide, insist your guests dress the part. It will probably be difficult and annoying to your guests to have the wear evening clothes, ties, etc. But they should at the very least dress as well as they would for a wedding. Dresses for the ladies, sport coats for the men. If you’d like, get them excited about dressing the part by having a ‘best dressed’ contest with the winner getting a bottle of champagne.
Let’s be Frank…this is a ’50s cocktail party. Stick to the right kind of music. Since you have a couple of decades and several styles to choose from, it would be incredibly cool and mix a few together…Sinatra, Nat Cole and Billy Holiday, Lester Young, Stan Getz and Miles Davis, Martin Denny, Esquivel and Charlie Parker. The “Ultra Lounge Series” of CDs covers a lot of the tiki-inspired music of the era, real bachelor pad stuff. The Peter Gunn soundtrack has a lot of great cuts too. Don’t play anything corny like Percy Faith or Lawrence Welk, and stay away from Rock ‘n Roll, even the old stuff. The music is for background only, or slow dancing, and if anyone complains, call them an uptight square and hand them another drink. http://www.ultralounge.com/
Turn off the Tube, unless it’s to watch the Ball drop in Times Square
Remember, TV was not the center of attention in the Atom Age. The TV would never be on at a cocktail party. If you absolutely must have the tube on, consider playing DVDs of old movies or TV shows, such as The Malteze Falcon, The Peter Gunn series, Bell, Book & Candle, etc…or of course, Ocean’s 11.
Since this is going to be a New Year’s Eve party, you absolutely MUST have champagne on hand. Get the good stuff if your guests actually like to drink the stuff. If not, $6 a bottle toasting champagne is quite acceptable…just don’t let your guests see the bottle, that’s tacky. Also consider serving Champagne Cocktails, a very sophisticated drink from a bygone era.
You can’t force your guests to drink Side Cars and Singapore Slings, but you can try! Look up three or four old school drink recipes, and get familiar with making them. When your guests ask for the usual vodka and cranberry, offer them Vodka Collins instead. Or a Tahitian Sunset. Or maybe a Stinger. But don’t be too pushy…if they really want that Crown and Diet, let them have it. After all, they’re your guests, and you want them to have fun.
It’s a good idea to try to find out ahead of time what people will be drinking. I’ve found the best bar set up consists of a lot of vodka, one Crown, one Jack, one Captain, one tequila and a bunch of fruit juices, plus coke, diet coke, seven up and a bottle of seltzer. If people ask if they can bring something, I tell them they don’t have to but (whatever you’re lacking) would be great. And I never buy beer…someone will always bring it, and if not, someone will go get it. Just make sure you have a couple 5 lb bags of ice. Oh, and a few lemons, limes, and cherries should be enough to get you through the night, unless you’re incredibly detailed about your garnishes. Then go the whole route with cocktail onions, olives, oranges, pineapple, etc.
Someone once gave me a great book with cocktail recipes: The Great Tiki Drink Book. Found one here: http://www.amazon.com/Great-Tiki-Drink-Book/dp/1580084052
The fare served at a cocktail party can vary from simple snax to extravagant hors d’oeuvres. Just remember, once the party starts, the last thing you’re going to want to do is cook. Plan a menu ahead, taking into account the number of guests, the time of year, and the occasion itself. Stay away from anything soupy or glorpy…no chili, stew, or beef-a-roni, kids. If it needs a fork or spoon, forget it.
No matter what the occasion, you’ll want simple finger foods that can be made in advance. Cocktail wieners are a sure-fire hit. Cheeses cut into one inch cubes, arranged with crackers and pepperoni is always popular. Frozen mini quiches are quick and easy to make, too. Put several small bowls of chips, dip, and nuts around the different rooms. If you’re having an informal friend and family affair, onion dips, mini hot dogs, or a large (6’ or longer) sub cut into small pieces is acceptable, but if you’re having a sort of “singles” get-together, stay away from anything with onion, garlic, etc. Don’t serve anything that can spill easily, and never…NEVER…serve anything out of a can (Except canned fruits or fruit cocktail).
A chocolate fondue fountain is a nice modern touch that seems old fashioned, too. They’re inexpensive and easy to use. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=16035785
Don’t underestimate the power of a good old fashioned conversation piece. In the ‘50s, this could have been anything from a piece of avant-garde art, to an antique cigarette box, to a rare book. Today things aren’t too much different…art of any kind, particularly originals, will always catch people’s attention. Antiques today can also include collectibles from the late 20th century, including ‘50s bar memorabilia (I have a few goodies myself that always get a laugh, including VIP matchbooks…Very Important Places…gag advertising matchbook covers denoting various brothels, flophouses, sailor saloons and other funny establishments). And If you don’t have art or collectibles, you still don’t have to go out of your way to find interesting things. Have an old photo album with you in your younger days? Bring it out. Play a musical instrument? Put it on display. Even a few Playboy magazines placedon the coffee table, in the right company, can be a fun way to spice up the Tiki talk. Of course there are some of you who just don’t have anything “conversationally”. When all else fails, hire a stripper to jump out of a cake. Need ideas? http://ebay.com, search “retro”
The mood is set, the lights are low, a Les Baxter arrangement is lilting out of the hi-fi, a pitcher of cold Martinis sits on the Tiki Bar, and you look sharp as a tack in your white tux or black evening gown. The first guests have just rung the doorbell. The time has arrived. Sip your Martini, take a deep breath, and get ready to have gas, baby!
I’m gone…catch you cats on the flip side…