The Best Things I’ve Eaten at Tiki Bars – Part 1

Pupu platters of crab Rangoon and spare ribs are staples on menus at tiki bars, but some places offer more unexpected fare like pizza, burgers and more.

I wanted to spotlight some of the best food I’ve encountered at tiki bars. My made-up rules are that the tiki bar still has to be open (alas, no Bahooka stuffed shrimp then). Also, it has to be a legit tiki bar, so I can’t include any of the awesome grub from A-Frame. Here’s the first installment of what I imagine will be an ongoing series. (Later I plan on doing an all-California edition.)

1. Biscayne Biscuits – Psycho Suzi’s, Minneapolis

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The gut-busting Biscayne Biscuits are my go-to brunch order at Psycho Suzi’s in Minneapolis. I describe them as the unholy (but amazing) offspring of eggs Benedict and biscuits and gravy. Two biscuits were topped with a sausage patty and poached egg, then covered with creamy housemade sausage gravy.

Psycho Suzi’s Review

2. Pulled Pork Nachos – Tambu Lounge, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Orlando

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The pulled pork nachos at Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are famous among parkgoers — and for good reason. House-made potato chips and seasoned fried wontons are heaped with coffee-rubbed pork plus cheese, tomatoes, onions, spicy mayo and pineapple salsa. (Technically I tried these at neighboring restaurant Capt. Cook’s where they’re also served.)

Tambu Lounge Review

3. Pizza – Tahiti Nui, Kauai

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Pizza in paradise is what’s in store at Tahiti Nui on Kauai. The toppings are flavorful, and the buttery crust puts it over the top. We loved the #3 Huli Huli Chicken with red onions and cilantro as well as #5 Da Hui with pineapple and kalua pork.

Tahiti Nui Review

4. Truffle Arancini – Mahiki, London

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Although the attitude at London’s posh tiki lounge Mahiki wasn’t to my taste, the truffle and wild mushroom arancini certainly were. Sadly, these delicious risotto balls don’t appear to be on the menu anymore.

Mahiki Review

5. Thai Fried Chicken – Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago

Pupus at Three Dots and a Dash

Three Dots and a Dash in Chciago offers several small plates, including crab Rangoon and egg rolls. However, I think the best thing on the menu is the Thai fried chicken in garlic-chili sauce (upper right).

Three Dots and a Dash Review

What are your favorite foods from tiki bars?

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Top 5 Spooky Tiki Mugs

Frankie's Tiki Room Las Vegas Halloween Thurston Howl Mug

Tiki mugs have gone way beyond ersatz portrayals of Polynesian gods. Thanks to creative companies like Tiki Farm and Munktiki there are now ceramics in all sorts of shapes and styles. In the spirit of Halloween, I present this round-up of a few of my favorite spooktacular spirits vessels.

The mugs that Tiki Farm produces for Frankie’s Tiki Room are some of my all-time favorites, especially the ones with Las Vegas details like the dice eyes on the Thurston Howl mug designed by Mark T. Zeilman. The regular version of this mug is green and red but for Halloween 2010 there was a limited run of 100 “Halloween Howl” mugs made in orange and black. (This photo is from an eBay auction since I missed out on this one…)

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Trader Sam’s tiki bar at the Disneyland Hotel contains many references to Adventureland attractions like The Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise and Indiana Jones, but this creepy collectible bears a resemblance to the Hatbox Ghost/tall Hitchhiking Ghost from the Haunted Mansion. Manufactured by Tiki Farm, it made its debut in 2012 but is still available as a souvenir when you order the Shrunken Zombie Head cocktail.

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One of the first mugs I ever ordered from Tiki Farm was The Gravekeeper (center), which was sculpted by Baron Shivers of the spooky surf band The Ghastly Ones. (Their song “Ghastly Stomp” is an infectious ode to “Grim Grinning Ghosts” from the Haunted Mansion.) This ghoulish guy was so popular that it was later released in another color: “Perilous Purple.”

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Another eerie locale-exclusive mug I like is the shrunken head mug from Psycho Suzi’s in Minneapolis. They commissioned it from Tiki Farm in 2011 for The Shrunken Head bar, one of the sections of the Shangri-La Cocktail Lounge upstairs. (Read more about this mug in my Psycho Suzi’s gift shop post.)

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The Southern California event Tiki Oasis has a signature mug every year, and Munktiki drew inspiration from 2008’s theme “Voodoo Vacation on Zombie Island” for this clever creation. (Here again, photo is from an eBay auction.) It’s a zombie-fied take on the Don the Beachcomber head mug — fitting since Don the Beachcomber invented the Zombie cocktail. Speaking of Zombies, if you’re in the mood to mix one up on Halloween (or any other night of the year), you should check out Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink by David J. Montgomery. (Stay tuned for a full review of that e-book.)

Do you have a favorite tiki mug you’ll be imbibing from this All Hallows’ Eve?

Related Posts:
Tiki Halloween Decorations: Shrunken Head Pumpkin
Halloween Art Show at the Tonga Hut
Aunt Tiki’s Halloween-Themed Bar in New Orleans

Tiki at Lake George…Minnesota

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Please pardon the recent radio (interweb) silence, but I just returned from another trip to the land of 10,000 lakes (and a few tikis). For years we used to have family reunions at Lake George in Minnesota — a four hour drive north of Minneapolis — until the owner sold the resort.

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Now we rent cabins at another nearby lake, but we still take the occasional sentimental drive along the shores of Lake George and that’s when I spotted this tiki out on the sand. Sort of funny since there’s a whole tiki resort, naturally called The Tiki Resort, at Lake George in New York. (In fact they’re hosting the annual Ohana – Luau at the Lake event this weekend.)

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In actual Minnesota tiki news, Psycho Suzi’s in Minneapolis just released a new signature mug — this one is tied to the Ports of Pleasure bar in the Shangri-La Cocktail Lounge upstairs. Designed by local artist Carolyn Kopecky and manufactured by One Hundred 80 Degrees in St. Paul, it features a mysterious mermaid on the bow of half a sunken ship (and is available in the online gift shop for $20). I was very impressed by its unique shape — it’s already front-and-center in my collection.

Related Posts:
Psycho Suzi’s Ports of Pleasure Bar
Shrunken Head Tiki Mug at Psycho Suzi’s
More Tiki Bars in Minneapolis