Tiki Bar Visits - Updated

Here’s the latest from my Critiki profile. I’ve been fortunate this year to visit to some more local tiki places, and filled in some visits from previous years. I also visited tiki bars in Portland and Vancouver on our recent vacation.

tiki-updated

The great thing about Critiki is that you can rate the bars on various categories including drink quality, drink variety, decor, music, and more. Here are my top 10 rated tiki bars, with my personal rating on scale of 10.

  1. Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco) 9.6
  2. Trader Vic’s (Emeryville) 9.5
  3. Hale Pele (Portland) 9.4
  4. Forbidden Island (Alameda) 9.3
  5. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar (Disneyland) 9.3
  6. La Mariana Sailing Club (Honolulu) 8.9
  7. False Idol (San Diego) 8.8
  8. Tiki-Ti (Los Angeles) 8.8
  9. Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room (Santa Cruz) 8.5
  10. Tonga Room (San Francisco) 8.5

New Favorite Mai Tai Recipe

Have been experimenting a lot this year with new Mai Tai recipes and rum blends. Any of the rums I’ve included here would be great on their own, in fact the Appleton+El Dorado combo was what Smuggler’s Cove was using before they recently changed over to the Denizen’s. My blend includes the dark Koloa that I think adds even more flavor.

½ oz Appleton Reserve
½ oz Koloa Dark
½ oz El Dorado 12 year
½ oz Denizen’s Merchant Reserve
¾ oz Orange Curaçao
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Simple Syrup
Juice from 1 lime

Mai Tai

Fearless Baseball Predictions

We do this every year and one of these days we’ll get them all right. So, to kick of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, here are this season’s MLB playoff picks

American League

  • East: Blue Jays
  • Central: Indians
  • West: Astros
  • Wild Card: Red Sox and Mariners

National League

  • East: Nationals
  • Central: Cubs
  • West: Dodgers
  • Wild Card: Giants and Mets

World Series: Giants vs. Indians and … guess who wins?

Tiki Bar Visits

The world’s best website for Tiki Bars is Criktiki and they’ve added a new feature that shows you all the tiki places you’ve visited (which includes tiki-themed hotels, retail establishments, and museums). This is my map, from visits in last ten years. This has grown a lot in the past year or so, as I’ve had the pleasure of visiting some great establishments outside of the SF Bay Area.

tiki

My Personal Top 10 Tiki Bars and Ratings

Smuggler’s Cove
San Francisco, CA 9.6

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
Anaheim, CA 9.3

Trader Vic’s
Emeryville, CA 9.3

Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge
Alameda, CA 9.2

La Mariana Sailing Club
Honolulu, HI 8.9

Tiki-Ti
Los Angeles, CA 8.8

Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room
Santa Cruz, CA 8.5

Tonga Room
San Francisco, CA 8.5

Don the Beachcomber
Huntington Beach, CA 8.4

Damon’s
Glendale, CA 8.3

Fearless Oscar Picks 2017

Update: only got 14 right this year (correct pick in bold) - my worst year ever. Though, considering that I saw the guys from La La Land accept Best Picture can I at least get partial credit?

It’s a sweep mostly for La La Land, which I thought was amazing (better than Lion and Hidden Figures, the two other Best Picture nominees I’ve actually seen). Picking Denzel Washington over Casey Affleck in what is surely a close race.

Best Picture
La La Land

Directing
Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Actor in a Leading Role
Denzel Washington, Fences

Actress in a Leading Role
Emma Stone, La La Land

Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis, Fences

Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Adapted Screenplay
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney

Original Screenplay
La La Land, Damien Chazelle

Animated Feature Film
Zootopia

Foreign Language Film
A Man Called Ove (Sweden)

Documentary Feature
O.J.: Made in America

Cinematography
La La Land, Linus Sandgren

Film Editing
La La Land, Tom Cross

Production Design
La La Land, Davis Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

Costume Design
Jackie, Madeline Fontaine

Makeup and Hairstyling
Star Trek Beyond, Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo

Original Score
La La Land, Justin Hurwitz

Original Song
“City of Stars,” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Sound Editing
Hacksaw Ridge, Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright

Sound Mixing
La La Land, Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow

Visual Effects
The Jungle Book, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon

Animated Short Film
Piper

Live Action Short Film
Ennemis Interieurs

Documentary Short Subject
The White Helmets

Top Albums of 2016

1- Call of the Islands - Ixtahuele

Call of the Islands by Ixtahuele

Call of the Islands by Ixtahuele

An easy call in what was generally a weak year.  Two years ago I rated Ixtahuele’s Mareld EP as number 4 on my top albums list (2014 was a very strong year), saying it might have ranked higher if it wasn’t just an EP. Well, the three tracks from Mareld returned this year as part of Ixtahuele’s second full-length album. Though maybe a step down from their incredible debut Pagan Rights, this is by no means a let down. These are thirteen original exotica tracks that rank up there with the best of the genre (extremely rare for any exotica group to have an album entirely of original compositions) . Such a fine mix of vibes+piano that would make Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny proud.

2- Honoka & Azita EP - Honoka & Azita

Hawaii’s ukulele sensations finally put out music for purchase after a couple years of YouTube videos. Their surf covers of “Miserlou” and “Wipeout” featured additional musicians but their original tune “Drop In” shows promise beyond novelty.

3- The Exotic Sounds of Tikiyaki 5-0 EP - Tikiyaki 5-0

This is the surf-oriented quartet variant of the Tikiyaki Orchestra, and their EP was a lot of fun. Check out the very good surf version of the exotica classic “Taboo.” I was looking for a modern surf group and this EP didn’t disappoint.

4- Super - Pet Shop Boys

Hard to follow 2013’s Electric album, but the template was largely similar with a focus on dance tracks rather than orchestral or acoustic experimentation. Some very strong tracks, including the single “The Pop Kids.”

5- This is what the truth feels like - Gwen Stefani

All the songs sound the same is sort of a plus and a minus. A big comeback for Stefani who’s last album was the largely forgettable Push and Shove with No Doubt. Though not as varied and dance oriented as Stefani’s first two solo albums, this one does have a great sound and some strong tracks such as “Rare” and “Make Me Like You.”

6- Hardwired… to Self Destruct - Metallica

A solid but unspectacular album from Metallica.

7- Strange Little Birds - Garbage

Ranked last, because it was my least favorite this year and among all the albums from Garbage. Which is not to say it’s awful, just “less awesome.”  Overall, this album had fewer outstanding songs than are typical for the average Garbage album, and the tempo was down too (evidence: the album’s best song “Even Though Our Love is Doomed“).

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