Torpedo Room at Eat Street Social – Minneapolis

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With its vintage vibe and old-fashioned soda fountain drinks, Eat Street Social in Minneapolis seemed like a place I would have liked even if they hadn’t installed a pop-up tiki bar last September. Our annual Minnesota visit coincided with one of the last June weekends before the Torpedo Room went on “summer vacation” (aka hiatus).

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The Torpedo Room was hidden behind a curtain off to the right of the main bar and was only open Friday and Saturday nights. The set-up reminded us of Tiki Tolteca in New Orleans, as they’re both tiki annexes operating on certain nights in the private party areas of restaurants. Each also presented its own unique take on tiki drinks (but more on that soon.)

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The narrow room had a small bar on one side with a thatched roof and a “tiki bar” sign — just in case you weren’t sure what kind of bar you’re in. ;) Up on the top shelves above the liquor were a few tiki mugs, including Cthulhu (a smashing kickstarter success) and vessels from Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago.

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The rest of the space had clusters of wicker chairs and nautical-esque barrel tables, chairs and sofas, plus fake palm trees strung with colorful lights and wall decorations of netting, cork floats and a large marlin.

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We arrived right around 7 p.m. when they opened the Torpedo Room and had the place to ourselves for the most part. The impression I got was that most of the Minnesotan patrons wanted to savor the summer weather on the patio, which was where the tiki bar was originally intended to go.

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Twin Cities cocktail guru Nick Kosevich and fellow Bittercube Bitters founder Ira Koplowitz, along with Marco Zappia and the Eat Street Social team, designed the Torpedo Room’s cocktail menu with a “Minnesota exotic” theme. This meant there were a few nods to the Midwest (like Wisconsin’s Modest Vodka and Gamle Ode aquavit) brought to the table in addition to housemade syrups (orgeat, falernum) and interesting ingredients (Red Boat fish sauce and Thai basil). To top it all off, there were even several sno cones — available with alcohol (“makua” i.e. for adults) or without (“keiki” i.e. for kids). These featured sophisticated flavors like “Nectar” (Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, almond-vanilla syrup, cream and orange blossom water).

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One of their most talked-about tipples was the Corn Tiki ($13), which was inspired by the Painkiller but substituted sweet corn cream for coconut cream and mulled apple cider instead of pineapple and orange juice. (So, it’s really nothing like a Painkiller at all.) I appreciated the unique concept though it was a touch viscous for my taste. I preferred the Royal Hawaiian #Pine ($13), which was accidentally created when Marco misinterpreted the recipe notes and mixed the drink with pine liqueur instead of pineapple juice. The team liked it so much that they kept it, and I can see why. (I told him he missed the opportunity to call it Marco’s Mistake.)

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Served in Atomic Tony Tiki’s Mana Mana mug from Tiki Farm, Zappia’s Zombie ($15) gave a good wallop with Plantation 3 Stars & 5 Yr. Rum, Lemon Hart 151, lime, orange, housemade falernum, cinnamon syrup, passionfruit cordial, pineapple, hibiscus grenadine and Bittercube Bolivar bitters. A few of the other drinks dabbled with more unusual spirits. Case in point was the Sri Lankan Sling ($11), a spin on the Singapore Sling made with White Lion Arrack (a Sri Lankan alcohol made from coconut flower nectar), housemade tart orange and cherry liqueurs, Benedictine, hibiscus grenadine, pineapple, lemon and Mahalo Bitters.

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Meanwhile, the kitchen offered several “Island Bar Food” dishes, including island jerk spice chicken wings ($7), “butcher’s cut” steak ($18) and, my favorite, the house-made Spam and cream cheese wontons ($5).

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I love that they went the extra mile to make their own version of Spam, which was also featured in the steamed bun sandwiches with kimchee and pineapple-cilantro-jalapeno jelly. (They’d ran out of Chinese bao so ours were served on mini brioche buns.)

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Eat Street Social’s web site promises that the Torpedo Room will return in the fall. Perhaps a little tropical escapism will be more appreciated then. As much as I adore the veritable tiki theme park that is Psycho Suzi’s, the artisanal tiki cocktails at Eat Street Social were on another level, so I’m definitely rooting for a comeback.

Torpedo Room Tiki Bar at Eat Street Social
18 W 26th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
612-767-6850

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New “Adventureland” Tiki Merchandise at Disneyland

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Disneyland recently released a boatload of new Adventureland-themed merchandise that includes tons of tiki items. I found this trove of glasses, mugs, pillows and plates at the World of Disney store at Disneyland but all of these items (and still more that I haven’t shown here!) are available to purchase online at the Disney Store. Search for “Adventureland” and you should be able to find it all.

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It’s a bit odd that some of the items feature the tiki mascot from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which is a Disney World hotel and not part of Adventureland at all (or even the Magic Kingdom park). However, there is a precedent, as this little interloper also snuck in via the Polynesian Luau Party Bowl (by Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily) that was part of the Enchanted Tiki Room’s 50th Anniversary merchandise.

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I liked this Enchanted Tiki Room parrot plate ($14.95), but the lightweight bamboo material and raised screen print made it feel a bit cheap to me. (Same goes for the Poly plate above, which is the same material.)

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On the flip side, the Aloha appetizer plates ($12.95, available in red, blue and green in addition to yellow) are made with sturdier ceramic. (Though they’re still not dishwasher safe — aside from the coffee mug, none of this stuff is.)

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I was also pleased with the quality of the Enchanted Tiki Room appetizer tray and bowl set ($39.95), and I loved how it highlights each of the birds by name. That’s not something I’ve seen all that often.

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The purple scorpion bowl ($24.95) showed some promise but ultimately I was disappointed with how smudged the sculpt appeared in the finished product. I looked at a few other specimens to compare and they all had the same issue. (I’m guessing these weren’t manufactured by Tiki Farm, the company that’s previously produced several mugs and bowls for the park and Trader Sam’s. Their designs have nice, sharp details that these lacked.)

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This hefty green tiki mug ($16.95) features the graphics from the four shields that hang under the A-frame of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. Still, this one was also missing the “wow factor” for me for whatever reason.

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Much more to my liking were these glass tumblers ($12.95), which come in two designs: the Enchanted Tiki Room tikis and the parrot logo (based on the 1963 art for the attraction).

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Another distinctive Adventureland design is this collage of logos, which Disney has printed on coffee mugs and afghan throws. Like I said, there’s way more tiki merchandise where this came from so I suggest you go check it out!

Related Posts:
Enchanted Tiki Room Easter Egg
Recreation of the Original 1963 Brochure for the Enchanted Tiki Room
More Disney & Tiki Connections

Not-to-Miss Tiki Events This Summer

Florida’s Hukilau just wrapped and tiki events are in full swing for the summer. Here’s a heads-up on some of the festivities coming up — admittedly with a Southern California bias.

June 26-29 – Ohana Luau at the Lake, Lake George, NY

“The Biggest Little Event in Tiki” takes place at The Tiki Resort in Lake George, NY, a Polynesian-themed motor inn from the 1950s.

King Kukulele and the Friki Tikis

June 28 – 10th Annual Tiki Night at the Egyptian Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

The gorgeous Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood will screen the excellent documentary “Plastic Paradise: A Swingin’ Trip Through America’s Polynesian Obsession” along with some bonus tiki film clips. There will also be performances from King Kukulele & The Friki Tikis and the Polynesian Paradise Dancers in the courtyard.

Brad Parker show at La Luz de Jesus in LA

July 4 – Opening Reception for Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker’s Art Show at La Luz de Jesus, Los Angeles, CA

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker‘s tiki-influenced “low brow art” will once again grace the walls of La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles from July 4-27. The Insect Surfers will rock the opening reception on Independence Day. Also: There will be rum.

July 11-13 – Tiki Kon: Mysteries of the Deep, Portland, OR

Portland’s Tiki Kon features a line-up of surf and lounge bands, burlesque, tiki vendors, panel discussions (“Home Tiki Bar Basics”) and more.

July 19 – International Tiki Marketplace at Don the Beachcomber, Sunset Beach, CA

The International Tiki Marketplace at Don the Beachcomber is your bi-monthly opportunity to go on a serious tiki shopping spree — I know from experience. Dozens of vendors offer tiki mugs, carved tikis, art, jewelry, etc.

August 14-17 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, CA

San Diego’s Tiki Oasis has a beatnik flavor for this 14th installment. The epic weekend features tons of bands, symposiums, burlesque, a vintage car show and much more.

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August 23-24 – Tiki Beach Festival, Long Beach, CA

It’s no competition for Tiki Oasis, but Long Beach’s Tiki Beach Festival has its charms, among them Polynesian dancing, Hawaiian food and canoe rides.

Tiki Pop exhibit in Paris

Now through September 29 – Tiki Pop Exhibition, Paris, France

The Book of Tiki author Sven Kirsten‘s special exhibit “Tiki Pop: America Imagines its own Polynesian Paradise” is now on display at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. The accompanying book is available for pre-order and will be released on August 1.

Check out the Events Calendar section on Tiki Central for even more postings. I also tend to post about upcoming tiki events on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Posts:
Tiki Night at the Egyptian Theatre 2012: DVD of Tiki, Vol. 1
Tiki Beach Festival in Long Beach 2012