Kokomo’s at Mall of America – Minneapolis, MN

In Minneapolis we had the experience of witnessing the highs and lows of modern tiki culture in one day. After an excellent lunch at Psycho Suzi’s, we still had a few hours until our flight left so we headed over to the Mall of America. (It’s very close to the airport; coincidence? I think not.)

James A. Teitelbaum’s Tiki Road Trip had mentioned there was a tiki restaurant here, so we set out to find it. But I was unprepared for the Margaritaville-esque nightmare that awaited us.

Granted, I actually kind of like the giant hibiscus flowers over the thatched bar, but all those pastel chairs hurt my eyes. Just wait, though, it gets worse, much worse…

Check out these huge hideous tikis out and about. And I thought the ones at Boutiki in Disney’s Polynesian Resort were bad.

There’s just something about the expression on this one that gives me the heebie-jeebies. (I guess it’s appropriate that I’m finally posting this around Halloween, this should be enough to give you the creeps.)

In fact I was so put off by this place that we didn’t even stay to try any of their drinks. We went to Dairy Queen for chocolate dipped cones instead.

EDITOR’S NOTE: KOKOMO’S ISLAND CAFE HAS SINCE CLOSED

A Face Only a Mother (or Imagineer) Could Love

A recurring feature on the Disney Parks blog is a sort of eye spy challenge called “Where at Disney Parks can you find…” where you try to figure out the location of their close-up shot. This was Monday’s picture, and it took me a few seconds before I remembered where I’d seen that ugly mug before…

Answer after the jump!
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Tiki & Sea Lions on Pier 39, San Francisco

In keeping with our tiki/baseball vacation theme, day two of our San Francisco trip included going to see the Cubs beat the Giants at AT&T Park. As you can see, the view was just gorgeous on that uncharacteristically sunny day. As an LA native, I’m supposed to despise the Giants, but I do have a soft spot for their former team mascot the Crazy Crab. (Rehab the Crab!)

Afterward we headed down to Pier 39 to check out those famous sea lions. It seems our timing was impeccable as just a few months later the animals made a mass exodus and only a few dozen have since returned, so says USA Today.

Along the pier there were the usual tourist trap restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe and Bubba Gump, plus this thatched hut outpost of Maui Wowi Hawaiian Smoothies. These coffee purveyors have been popping up at malls and farmers markets along the California coast (and in a few other states), but I’ve yet to try any of their wares.

Guarding the entrance was this garish tiki that kind of looks like a monkey. With all the expansion that Maui Wowi seems to be doing, I think they also need to invest in getting some better carvings—this dude is just not doing it for me.