Tiki at the LA County Fair: Part Three

It’s that time of year again: The Fair! (Actually, it’s the end of that time of year because it’s done on Sunday.) This marks the third installment (see part one & part two) of my annual ode to the LA County Fair.

Where else will us city folks get to see an adorable pile of piggies?

And get our daily servings of fruits and vegetables (in fried form?) That’s deep-fried zucchini strings, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and avocados here.

Or watch strapping young lumberjacks compete head to head? Maybe I need to start tuning in to timber sports on ESPN…

And then there’s always the tiki sightings! Like this snazzy fellow propped up to help sell (what else?) jacuzzis and barbecues.

New for this year was an “official” tiki lounge behind the Longboard Bar at the racetrack. However it was only for concert ticketholders so I wasn’t able to verify if there were any actual tikis in there.

And just like last year, we actually stumbled upon yet another tiki cake in the arts & crafts building. I love the sugar sand! Good times all around.

Tiki Cocktail Menu at 1886 Bar – Pasadena, CA

Before embarking on our recent European fortnight, we had the pleasure of meeting up for drinks with the Gastronomer, G-ma’s Bakery and their respective others. We had already chosen 1886 at The Raymond in Pasadena as our destination, but I was even more psyched when I found out they had launched a tiki-influenced summer cocktail menu at the end of July.

The Los Angeles area was in the midst of a heat wave, so we snagged a table out on the patio of the Craftsman cottage. With all the tree branches tangled overhead like a roof, it felt like our own little hobbit hideout.

Each of the drinks on the menu is introduced with a brief background, such as this preface for the Zombie ($14): “This drink’s first version was created at Don the Beachcomber of Hollywood in 1934 by Donn Beach, creator of the ‘Tiki’ movement. Limit 2 per customer.” (I don’t know if that’s actually enforced or just a reference to Donn’s infamous edict, but it made me smile either way.) Their version, made with a blend of three rums, passion fruit, Demerara syrup, and lemon, lime & pineapple juice, was my favorite of the several libations we sampled that night.

I was also tempted by the Thai Iced Tea ($12), a house original dreamed up by Garrett McKechnie and made with Thai tea-infused cachaca, Demerara syrup and hand-whipped cream. With the Piña Colada ($12, white rum, Coco Lopez, bitters, pineapple & lime) I had expected a sophisticated interpretation of this quintessential boat drink, but the flavors turned out to be quite different.

Also featured is another Don the Beachcomber creation, the QB Cooler ($14), described thusly: “QB stands for Quiet Birdmen, a drinking fraternity of aviators founded by seven WWI pilots in 1921. However, this particular little drink was created by Donn Beach at his Hollywood bar in 1937, and was rumored to be the inspiration for a famous drink created by Tiki legend Trader Vic.” 1886 makes it with a three rum blend, falernum, honey & ginger syrups, lime & orange juice. However, for me the ginger was a bit too overpowering to notice much of a resemblance to the Mai Tai in this case.

These were just a few of their many intriguing cocktails. For more on 1886, check out ThirstyinLA’s recap of more of their summer tipples, plus the Gastronomer’s past post about this craft cocktail bar.

1886 Bar at The Raymond Restaurant
1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105
626-441-3136

Tiki on TV: Family Feud Edition

Mr. Baseball and I have a fondness for “Family Feud,” mostly because we think we’d be awesome at it. We’ve spent many a commercial break discussing who from our close kin would make the ideal team. (Sidenote: I love when GSN follows an episode up with “The $25,000 Pyramid”—that theme song makes me dancey!)

This game show was one of the last places I would expect to find anything tiki, but there they were decorating the set in a few Tournament of Champions reruns from when Richard Karn was hosting.

The grand prize was a trip to Hawaii, so they dressed everybody up in Aloha wear and put up some fake palm trees, tikis and surfboards.

There is one thing that always perplexes us about the contestants on “The Feud.” Why would anyone ever pass on a category? Always play! If you ever find yourself on the show, you’ll thank me. Actually, I don’t even know if they’re still filming new episodes…