The Beachcomber Cafe – Malibu Pier, CA

It takes a lengthy, winding drive from The Valley to get to The Beachcomber in Malibu, but the trek is definitely worth it for me. It’s from the same owners as the nostalgic (but sorta cheesy) Ruby’s Diner chain—in fact there’s a branch at the opposite end of the Malibu Pier—but the food and atmosphere here is several notches better.

With the wooden interior, peaked ceiling and green and copper details back by the kitchen, the dining room has a similar old-school feel to its sister restaurant in Orange County, but on a much larger scale.

The Tonga Lei for two ($16) is the best cocktail I’ve tried on their menu so far. It’s apparently made with three kinds of rum, mango, orange and pineapple juices, but it’s the bit of bubbles from the champagne that makes it for me. This drink is normally served in a Tiki Farm-made bowl customized for these locations (you can spot them in my Bootlegger Bar photos).

The Beachcomber has a bit of a hedonistic history, which is underscored by the fun presentation of the lobster, tomato and mango martini ($14). I love the olive garnish! (And the kicky guacamole at the bottom of the glass.)

The wild mushroom and truffle macaroni and cheese ($17) and the baked blue cheese and tomato soup are my favorite things to order here. It’s a big bowlful of creamy, ‘shroomy goodness!

On one of our last visits we mixed it up and got the grilled chicken with “pineapple carpaccio” (fancy way of saying thinly sliced pineapple), yuzu sauce, rice and veggies ($18). Not bad but I’ll be sticking with my mac!

Mr. Hockey (I forgot that Mr. Baseball requested a name change after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup) usually has the filet mignon ($29) with grilled veggies and potatoes.

The “Gimme S’mores”(Some more of what?…You’re killing me, Smalls!) dessert ($8) is yet another martini glass filled with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, toasted marshmallow and graham crackers. But even better is the…

Donut hole bread pudding! It’s topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce and it’s a study in decadence. If you’re one of those people that criticizes desserts for being too sweet then this is not for you. (All the more for me!)

Yep, the food is good and the view is great (especially from their swank outdoor patio), but the best (and truly tiki) part about The Beachcomber is The Tonga Lei room!

The Beachcomber at Malibu Pier
23000 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
310-456-9800

The Beachcomber Cafe on Urbanspoon

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately the Beachcomber Cafe in Malibu, and therefore the Tonga Lei Room, closed at the end of 2011. The Beachcomber Cafe in Crystal Cove (Orange County) remains open.

Polynesia Greetings Dress at Anthropologie

I have to say that Anthropologie, while one of my favorite places to spend my dough, is probably the last place I expected to find anything related to tiki.

Their stores are impeccably styled and look like the most elegant and bohemian pied-à-terre in Paris one could imagine. I would like to just pack a bag and move in one day.

They offer overpriced vintage-esque fashions and furniture…and I shamelessly love it all. Mostly I scour the sale section where there are usually some great bargains to be found.

Last week I was at The Grove on the hunt for this lovely little number, when I took a quick look through the discount racks and discovered the Polynesia Greetings dress.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed it had a really interesting print of compasses, coral, sea turtles, fish, palm trees, mandolins and even the Kon-Tiki raft and the iconic image from its sail. (Thor Heyerdahl’s books about his voyages, along with “South Pacific,” contributed to the mid-century tiki trend.)

I dig it because it’s tiki, but not in your typical hibiscus-patterned Aloha wear way.

Wacko – Los Angeles, CA

Wacko is a kitschy wonderland of a retail space that also encompasses La Luz de Jesus gallery, which I featured in my previous post.

The store is stocked with pop-culture paraphernalia like retro toys, posters, stickers, and Fluff stuff, not to mention tons of art books and other interesting tomes. Prepare to take your time browsing!

There’s sure to be something to suit everyone’s twisted tastes, but of course I made a beeline for the tiki-themed enclave.

There were dashboard hula dancers, tiki figurines and mugs galore, including some of Tiki Farm‘s most recent designs.

And then there were these tiki candles in the incense section against the wall.

Owner Billy Shire is big in the low-brow art scene, so it wasn’t too surprising to stumble upon a stash of Shag prints, including some rarities.

Wacko/Soap Plant
4633 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323-663-0122