Frosty the Cheeseball Man by Charles Phoenix


If you’re feeling extra festive this holiday season, you may want to try one of the wacky and wonderful Test Kitchen ideas from Charles Phoenix, the “Ambassador of Americana” who promotes fantastic vintage kitsch through books, tours and slideshows. (He also had the honor of riding on the City of Downey’s tiki float in last year’s Rose Parade.) His “food-crafting” projects include the Astro Weenie Christmas Tree (as seen on Conan O’Brien) and the Cherpumple (a cherry, pumpkin and apple pie takeoff on the turducken).

(Photo from Charles Phoenix on Facebook)


Last year I vowed that we would attempt to make Frosty the Cheeseball Man. This “jolly, happy soul” is made of Velveeta cheese with a layer of cream cheese “snow,” plus olive and bell pepper accoutrements. I named him Tiny Tim because he couldn’t stand up without being propped up by a pretzel stick crutch.


…Frosty the Snowman
Knew the [electric skillet] was hot that day


So he said let’s run
And we’ll have some fun
Now before I melt away
[Into processed cheese dip]


Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
Look at Frosty go…

Tiki Turkey Dinner by Charles Phoenix

For a Thanksgiving-themed Test Kitchen project a few years back, Charles Phoenix made a Tiki Turkey Dinner complete with a Moai meatloaf centerpiece, Hawaiian bread stuffing, and coconut curry green bean casserole. Maybe next year we should throw a holiday luau!

(Photo from

Related posts:
City of Downey’s Rose Parade Tiki Float
Tiki Holiday Gift Guide 2012
Tiki Wonderland at the Tonga Hut 2010

Tiki Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Need a little help with your holiday shopping? Here’s some gift ideas for the tiki lover on your list…

1. The Martiki mug ($20) from Psycho Suzi’s


A tiki mug is an obvious choice, but which one? One of my favorites to debut this year was the latest signature mug from Psycho Suzi’s, The Martiki, which was designed by Tiki tOny and produced by Tiki Farm. As a rule, Tiki Farm doesn’t sell these locale-specific mugs on their web site, but lucky for you Psycho Suzi’s has an online gift shop! This was gifted to me by Mr. Baseball’s family and I must say it’s even better in person.

Also worth mentioning is the Tiki Temptress Classic Cocktails Set from Fluff designer Claudette Barjoud and Tiki Farm. If you’re looking for something more festive, the Tiki-Ti has just recently made their Santa-themed Kahuna Kalikimaka mug available for shipping (ordering details can be found on their Facebook page).

2. The DVD of Tiki: Volume 1 – Paradise Lost ($29)


I had the pleasure of seeing (and purchasing) “The DVD of Tiki: Volume 1” when it screened at the Egyptian Theatre this summer. This 95-minute documentary by Jochen Hirschfeld chronicles how and why tiki bars became popular and then passé. As I said before, it’s really is a must-buy for anyone that’s into tiki. Order it at — shipping is available all over the world.

3. Classic Dining: Discovering America’s Finest Mid-Century Restaurants by Peter Moruzzi ($20)


Last month, Peter Moruzzi (Palm Springs Holiday, Havana Before Castro) released his latest book Mid-Century Dining: Discovering America’s Finest Mid-Century Restaurants. His tribute to white-tablecloth, Continental restaurants and classic steakhouses spotlights several restaurants in particular, including the Mai-Kai which also happens to be featured on the cover. (At the book signing party at La Luz de Jesus gallery, Moruzzi told me it’s a never-before-published illustration that had been framed in one of the back rooms of the Mai-Kai.) Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki and Tiki Modern, contributed many photographs to the book as well as the profile of the Mai-Kai and a chapter on “The Rise and Fall of the American Tiki Temple.”

James Teitelbaum (Tiki Road Trip) also has a new book this year entitled Destination Cocktails: The Traveler’s Guide to Superior Libations, compiling the world’s best bars including tiki spots like Smuggler’s Cove, PKNY, Mai-Kai and Tiki-Ti.

4. Don Tiki’s Hot Lava Holiday Shows


December is your chance for merry-making with Don Tiki, the Honolulu-based exotica music group. They will have three performances of their Hot Lava Holiday Show: December 15 at the Doris Duke Theatre in Honolulu, December 17 at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and December 20 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. For the geographically challenged, Don Tiki has a Hot Lava Holiday Show EP just recently posted on iTunes. It includes such tongue-in-cheek tunes as “Havana Gila” (yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking) and carol-infused “Silent Village” — especially appropriate as the band includes percussionist Lopaka Colón, whose father, Augie Colon, contributed jungle and bird calls on Martin Denny’s 1956 hit “Quiet Village.”

5. Holiday Tiki Ornaments by Polynesiac ($12-$25)


Our Christmas tree is being gradually tiki-fied as I’ve been collecting Polynesiac’s holiday tiki ornaments, which are hand casted and painted to look like carved wood. For 2012, he has a new design based on the “tiki babies” that fall from the flowers of the Tangaroa tree at the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. There are other awesome ornaments ranging in price from $12-$25, depending on the amount of hand-painting. Bonus: shipping is only $2 for the entire order. His Etsy shop has limited quantities, so act fast!

Related Posts:
Tiki Night at the Egyptian Theatre: The DVD of Tiki
Tiki-Ti’s “Kahuna Kalikimaka” Tiki Mug
Tiki Nutcracker at Target

Holiday Drinks & Decor at Trader Sam’s – Disneyland Hotel


Trader Sam’s might be more appropriately called Trader Santa’s this month. The new-ish tiki bar at the Disneyland Hotel has gotten in the Christmas spirit with Santa caps placed on the Enchanted Tiki Room drummers, poinsettias mixed among the tropical foliage, and stockings hung from the bamboo (with care).


The “family tree” of shrunken heads was decked with silver tinsel, lights and snowman and snowbird ornaments. The Disney Parks Blog has far better pictures, and a close-up of Trader Sam’s Naughty and Nice list. (Apparently the bartenders have all been rather mischievous this year — no surprise there.)


Draped over the mug display behind the bar were what appeared to be gift-wrapped coconut bras with tags from Trader Sam. I enquired about them to Skipper Jennifer, as one was addressed to her, and she insisted that surely they must be yarmulkes because they were far too small for any other use…


Tucked into the first page of the menu was a sheet highlighting the two holiday drinks that are being served through the end of December (or so, no specific end date was mentioned). We’d skipped dessert at our dinner at Blue Bayou, so the Mele Kaliki-Mocha was an ideal after-dinner drink. It was like a coconut-infused Frappuccino with a kick.


The Red-Nosed Zebra, a sweet and tart blend of rum, strawberry purée, lemon and lime juice, is whimsically garnished with minty antlers and cranberries for its eyes and nose. This one also elicits some theatrical touches — a skipper shouts about winter weather warnings and a snowstorm erupts from the volcano in the “window.” Also watch out for impromptu “hail” in the form of crushed ice thrown from behind the bar. (And I do mean “watch out” because I got hit in the face!)


The good folks at the Disney Parks Blog also posted recipes for both cocktails. This Christmas Eve I’ll be whipping up some Mele Kaliki-Mochas for the family, and I’m looking forward to trying it with B.G. Reynold’s hazelnut orgeat for a bit of a twist.

Not sure if this is working (Flickr is being sort of fickle), but I also shot a short video of the snowflakes serenely falling on the tropical peaks. This effect was my favorite holiday touch at Trader Sam’s. Gotta love those Imagineers.