5 Things You May Have Missed: This Week in Tiki

Original Disneyland Enchanted Tiki Room Bird from Van Eaton Galleries auction

I’ve been prepping for a trip to Walt Disney World in a week — too early to check out Trader Sam’s at the Poly, but oh well — and my weekly blogging schedule has suffered as a result. However, I’ve still been active over in the social media realm (Facebook, Twitter and fledgling Instagram account) so if you’d like to get a daily dose of tiki you can like/follow accordingly.

In case you missed it, here are some of the notable goings-on in tiki I’ve been posting about:


Lots of vintage Disneyland memorabilia — including an original bird from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room — are going up for auction this month. You can go see the items in person at the Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks from February 7-27. I’ll be checking it out this weekend and hope to blog about it soon thereafter.


Cafe Rustica and its upstairs tiki bar, Conga Lounge, announced it is closing this month. The last day of service will be February 21. The Bay Area has a wealth of great tiki bars, but it’s still sad to see a good one go.


Danny a.k.a. Tiki Diablo has designed a new mug for the Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles. They posted some preview photos over on the bar’s Facebook page. Look for it in March. He also created a unique tribute mug for the Royal Hawaiian Estates in Palm Springs. (Local pick up only at the moment.)


Which cocktail at Trader Vic’s Chicago was served with a floating gardenia? This “Ask Geoffrey” segment on Chicago Tonight answered that question — and happened to include one of my photos of the ill-fated Trader Vic’s Chicago reboot.


Eater highlighted a few tiki bars during its Classics Week: Tonga Room in San Francisco, Bali Hai in San Diego and The Alibi in Portland. El Segundo’s Purple Orchid was also just named Best Tiki Dive on Thrillist’s list of the 24 Essential LA Dive Bars.


Be Cool to Your School! Poly Hai – Tiki Yearbook

Poly Hai yearbook

In the movie “The Breakfast Club” the high school archetypes were “a brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse,” but in the tiki community it’s more like an artist, a musician, a collector, an imbiber and a mermaid. (And many other niches, too.) In fact, there’s even a yearbook. We’re all honorary students at Poly Hai, an imaginary institution for tiki education complete with its own school crest and alma mater.

Poly Hai 2013-2014

Co-principals Kari Hendler and Matthew Rios published the first edition of the Poly Hai yearbook last year and it’s chock full of photos from tiki events like Tiki Oasis, The Hukilau and Tiki Caliente.

Ask a Jungle Cruise Skipper from Poly Hai

There are also several articles including a behind-the-scenes look at Sven Kirsten’s Tiki Pop museum exhibit in Paris, a little tribute to Bahooka, and “Ask a Jungle Cruise Skipper.” I also love the sections for “Shop Class” (how to build a tiki menorah) and “Chemistry Class” (drink recipes!).


And it wouldn’t be a yearbook without class photos, of course. I had the alphabetical good fortune to be next to Leroy Schmaltz, the legendary carver and co-founder of Oceanic Arts. (Fun fact: One of his carvings is on the cover of the yearbook).

The next edition of Poly Hai’s yearbook will be released in August, but there are still some copies available for $40 plus shipping. (E-mail polyhaischool@outlook.com for details.) Poly Hai will also have a booth at the upcoming International Tiki Market Place on January 24th at Don the Beachcomber. You can also keep up with all the campus goings-on at the Poly Hai Facebook page. I hear there are some extracurricular activities in the works.

(Photos 1-3 from Poly Hai Facebook)

Tikis on Dole’s 2015 Rose Parade Float: Rhythm of Hawaii


For the past five years, Dole Packaged Foods has presented tropical and exotic themed floats in Pasadena’s annual Rose Parade. Naturally, I was pleased to see some tikis on their 2015 entry, “Rhythm of Hawaii.”


The design also featured two towering volcanoes with “lava” made with thousands of orange roses. To top it all off, it even erupted with real fire and mist. I was lucky enough to be able to see the effect in person as this was one of the few floats chosen to showcase their animation during the post-parade viewing.


For the fifth consecutive year, Dole’s float won the Sweepstakes Trophy, awarded to the “Most Beautiful Entry with Outstanding Floral Presentation and Design.” All the floats in the parade must covered with natural materials like flowers, grasses, seeds, bark or even fruits and vegetables. And since this was a Dole float, the company provided their own pineapples, bananas, mangoes and papayas.


Towards the front of the float was a double-hulled canoe wrapped in mahogany ti leaves and strung with leis of tuberose, globe amaranth, crown flowers (said to have been a favorite of Queen Lili’uokalani), dendrobium orchids and clover blossoms — all flowers native to Hawaii.


Swimming alongside it were dolphins and sea turtles. The latter were covered with individually placed mung beans and split pea beans.


I love spotting unexpected produce, like these onions placed among the blue irises, agapanthus, white roses and carnations simulating water. The parade volunteers were very amused to point out that these were Maui onions.


Of course, I also had to ask what was put on those two tikis. The answer: flax seed and pinto beans. Hopefully there will be more tikis on Dole floats in the future — it’s only fitting considering they sponsor Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

Related Post:
The City of Downey’s 2012 tiki float “Enchanted Paradise”