2014 Tiki Gift Guide for the Holidays

Get a head start on your holiday shopping with this year’s round-up of some of the best tiki-related goodies from 2014, including books, bitters and more.

SanTiki Moai Masks by Bamboo Ben

1. SanTiki Moai Masks by Bamboo Ben

Bamboo Ben has created the escapist settings for many tiki bars, such as Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas and Tiki No in North Hollywood, to name a few. For Christmas, he’s gotten into the festive spirit by making SanTiki Moai masks ($25, plus shipping) and also some Shrunken Grinch Heads. I hear there will be some for sale at his booth at the International Tiki Market Place at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach on December 6th, but you can also contact him via Facebook about ordering.

Krampus mugs by Munktiki

2. Krampus Mug by Munktiki

Now this is some Black Friday shopping I’m on board with! On November 28th, Munktiki will release the fourth and final glaze of this year’s Krampus mug. (Pictured is the red and black style sold earlier.) This terrifying creature from Bavarian folklore punishes naughty children during the Yuletide season. There are 25 of these super limited editions ($80) and they’ll be available for purchase on Munktiki’s web site at 6 p.m. PST.

Tiki Pop book by Sven Kirsten

3. Tiki Pop book by Sven Kirsten

As mentioned previously, this year author Sven Kirsten (The Book of Tiki/Tiki Modern) and Taschen published a new tome, Tiki Pop: America Imagines its own Polynesian Paradise ($40). It’s the companion book from the recent exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. Make sure you have a sturdy coffee table to support this hefty edition filled with incredible images and fascinating history. Also of interest to tiki fans will be the book Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus ($16) by David Meyers, Elise Meyers Walker, Jeff Chenault and Doug Motz. Many of us never got the chance to visit that Ohio oasis before it was bulldozed in 2000, so this is as close as we’ll get, alas.

Horror in Clay bitters

4. Horror Infused Better With Bitters Gift Set

Horror in Clay — who you may know from the Cthulhu mug Kickstarter success story — has followed up with a few neat new products this year, including the Innsmouth Fogcutter Tiki Mug ($40) and Horror Infused: Fiendishly Tropical Bitters ($13.13). Made in partnership with Bittercube Bitters (the gentlemen also responsible for the Torpedo Room in Minneapolis), these are small-batch cocktail bitters “tentacle-crafted with care” featuring flavors of molasses, grapefruit, allspice, cinnamon and vanilla. They even come in a gift set ($20) with stickers, swizzles and coins.

Gene Rains - Far Away Lands

5. Far Away Lands: The Exotic Music of Gene Rains CD

When you need a respite from carols, mix things up with some Gene Rains, the vibraphonist considered one of the “Big Three” of exotica music in the 1950s-60s along with Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. His music had never been available on CD until this past July when Real Gone Music released “Far Away Lands: The Exotic Music of Gene Rains” ($15), which includes songs from his three albums. (Check out episode 68 of DigiTiki’s Quiet Village Podcast to hear some of the interesting stories behind the making of this compilation.) Featured on the cover art is the lovely MeduSirena the Fire-Eating Mermaid (in her human form) from the Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale.

Related Posts:
2013 Tiki Gift Guide (Beachbum Berry’s Book, Kon-Tiki DVD & More)
2012 Tiki Gift Guide (Enchanted Tiki Room Ornaments, DVD of Tiki & More)

Frosty the Cheeseball Man by Charles Phoenix

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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)

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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.

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

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

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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 CharlesPhoenix.com)

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

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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)

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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 www.dvdoftiki.com — shipping is available all over the world.

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

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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

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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)

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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