Monday, December 5, 2011


Full disclosure:  I've never been to Hawaii or any of the other Polynesian/South Pacific Islands.  So.. for the sake of this conversation let's just say that Tiki Culture is more a state of mind rather than evocative of a particular place and time.  That being said...let's get some historical reference.
In the United States, tiki generally refers to themed restaurants, bars and lounges...the theme usually being that of exotic tropical island life of mid century Polynesia.  Tiki became truly popular after WWII, when the returning G.I.'s brought souvenirs home from their time in Hawaii or after visiting other South Pacific Islands.
With the rise of the middle class in America post WWII, and the relative affordability of air travel, the U.S. became enamored with all things Polynesian, and Hawaii was the vacation destination of choice. 
A painting by Paul Gauguin

The first tiki themed restaurant in the States was Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood California.  Trader Vics opened soon after and is the only tiki chain restaurant still in operation.  Both Don and Vic claim to have invented the Mai Tai which is considered the quintessential tiki cocktail.
 Let's talk about Lounge Music this week, or mood music meant to evoke a jungle or island paradise.  We'll meet up with a few of my favorite Lounge Singers....Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis,Jr., also know as the Rat Pack.
Early Tiki themed painting by California artist Jon Hellend as seen on

Trader Vic's
I'm generally not one for sweet cocktails, but I love the idea of a bar cart with gorgeous bottles, mixers and tropical fruits.   Anyone care to share a favorite rum based tiki cocktail recipe?

 To really get us in the mood, Braxton and I are seeing the movie South Pacific this week...I'll have a review later in the week.
 Let's discuss Polynesian inspired fashion and decor...of the mid century as well as today.
We'll include the art of Paul Gauguin, known for his lovely paintings of exotic island women. 
Please join in the conversation this week, as we travel to the exotic Polynesian Islands and explore Tiki.
I promise you drinks with little umbrellas, grass skirts, lounge music and lots of fun!

Have a beautiful day.

1 comment:

Braxton and Yancey said...

Fun! My grandfather had a xylephone mallet with Tom Tom Club written on it as a souvenir - always imagined what that club might have looked like. I bet that xylepone was On Fire, Daddy O! :)Brax

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...