Friday, May 12, 2017

Forbidden Island - Alameda

4/5 stars

Continuing our Bay Area tiki crawl!

Got here around 3:30 on a Sunday and scored the last two seats at the bar! YAS! We sat right next to the TV so we got to watch a lot of Dick Van Dyke. Awesome.

I think this place would be fun with a group. There are booths and an outdoor area to enjoy the weather when it's nice. They have a mini food menu of fried snacks, like cream cheese wontons and coconut shrimp.

Like other tiki joints, the drinks menu is HUGE and fun to read. I hug and kiss tiki menus.

We started with the Shrunken Skull because it was served with fire and a side of DANGER. Hubby thinks this one is a keeper.

Since it was our first time at Forbidden Island, we had to get their signature cocktail. It was a grog. It was good, but not as good as Smuggler's Cove's signature drink (their barrel) IMO.

Last drink of the day was pretty much dessert. The Painkiller comes in different strengths: 2, 3, or 4 skulls. It's made with Pusser's Navy rum, pineapple, orange, coconut & spice. I like Painkillers a lot!

Forbidden Island felt more like a casual, divey, neighborhood bar than Smuggler's. It was chill and a great place to hang out. Smuggler's felt more like a place to escape...

Next up: Pagan Idol!

Trader Vic's - Emeryville

3/5 stars

Trader Vic's hosted a Hawaiian Bazaar. I've been wanting to cross Trader Vic's off my list so this was perfect.

Everyone at Trader Vic's was really nice. We LOVED the live, Hawaiian music and waterfront view. They forgot my brunch order (patty melt w/ pineapple and an egg), but they comped it, so it was totally fine. Food was not special, but we were happyhappy because we had a huge drinks menu to work our way through!

We started with the mai tais. Trader Vic's has two that you should order at the same time, just so you can compare them. The Trader Vic's mai tai was more like a juicy punch while the '44 (the original) was more deconstructed.

My FAVORITE was the Pinky Gonzalez which is a tequila-based mai tai. Who knew a tequila mai tai would work? It was really tasty and the risqué glasses were hilarious! I really, really wish I could've bought the glasses home.

We also got the Suffering Bastard, which was kinda freaky (rums, lime & Egyptian things), and the Seyhorse (rum, melon liquor, and passion fruit). Get the Bastard if you want something stronger. Get the Seyhorse if you want something fruiter and in a really cute drinking vessel.

It was our first tiki gathering, but certainly not our last! Hubby and I had a blast mingling with fellow tiki-aficionados. Everyone was dressed to the nines! I even bought a vintage dress and a hair accessory! We also went home with a bunch of Trader Vic's mugs. Success!

Smuggler's Cove - San Francisco

5/5 stars

My obsession with Smuggler's Cove started last 4th of July weekend when my hubby surprised me with their book. Even if you don't drink tiki, it's a wonderful read. That weekend, we went on a scavenger hunt. We had to go to 5 different liquor stores to acquire the ingredients for the Jet Pilot (a tweaked Zombie).

We didn't make it to the tiki bar itself until the end of July. We got there at 5:30 PM and there wasn't a line, but the place was already absolutely packed. We had to wait for a seat at the bar, but it wasn't too bad.

Stepping into Smuggler's Cove is like stepping into another dimension. It's a tiny, tiny dark place that is just... magical. You forget the rest of the world here and I think that's okay. The drinks were incredible - dare I say THE BEST COCKTAILS I've ever had. Steve was the bartender that night and his hands were just flying. It was really impressive watching Steve work. I don't think I've ever seen a bartender make drinks as fast as him. Smuggler's Cove has a huge menu too so that made it even more impressive. I love sitting at the bar.

We ordered:

+ Smuggler's Rum Barrel (rums, fresh juices, Caribbean spices). It was the favorite of the night! Of course we had to take home the barrel! This moment is pretty much when I started collecting tiki mugs...
+ Hinky Dinks Fizzy (rum, pineapple, lime, passion fruit, apricot liqueur, gin, sparkling wine). I mean, rum AND sparkling wine? Be still my heart.
+ The Expedition (rum, bourbon, coffee liqueur, lime, cinnamon, vanilla, honey). Really complex and different. A must-try.
+ Puka Punch (rums, lime, orange, pineapple, honey, passion fruit, falernum, bitters). Beware buccaneers, it's really strong ;-)

We can't wait to go back, but it'll be hard not to order the rum barrel again. It's delicious!