Tuesday, November 13, 2007

California Road Trip: Tiki-Ti

I’m back from an incredible adventure along the California coast. Arriving on Halloween, I started in LA, dipped down to San Diego for Tiki Magazine’s “Tiki Island at the Bali Hai” art show and then cruised up to the Bay Area for the Tiki Central Tiki Crawl with all sorts of memorable pit stops along the way. Most of the time, compatriots Tiki Racer and Chongolio (who’d flown in from Kauai) were by my side. In retrospect, the whole trip seems very Wizard of Oz, with fascinating characters, new and old friends making appearances and plenty of lessons learned. However, when it came time to fly back, I was clicking my heels wishing I could stay just a little bit longer.

I spent two nights in Hollywood at the beginning of my trip with both nights ending up at the half century old landmark cocktail bar, Tiki-Ti. And with good reason! I sampled some of the best cocktails I'd ever had, including the Tiki-Ti's signature drink, Ray's Mistake. Concocted in 1968, Ray's Mistake (named after original Tiki-Ti owner Ray Buhen) is a mix of "our own super secret flavor, botanic liqueurs, passion fruit ... floated with Dark Corub rum." Some mistake. This liquid masterpiece tasted unlike any drink I'd ever had and is one I highly recommend.

Interestingly, the Tiki-Ti is one of the few watering holes in California where people can legally smoke. Because the bar is solely owned by father/son duo Mike and Mike (Junior) Buhen, smokers at the Tiki-Ti are thus able to blow smoke through a legal loophole and ignore the Los Angeles County smoking ban. The two nights I was there, this fact seemed to be a big selling point for a number of patrons.

My first night at the Ti (Halloween) was particularly nice as my travel partner Tiki Racer and I were greeted at the bar by Tiki Magazine photo editor Jonpaul Balak and his super sweet lady friend Marie. I hadn't seen those kids since Hukilau and was pleased to discover they had waited (quite some time) for the Racer and me.

Photography by Chris Osburn © 2007


Simon W said...

Woah, they do a daily cocktail menu?

Tiki Chris said...

Nah. The menu posted was from October 27. We were there on the 31st. As far as I could tell the drinks list on that menu is constant. I think they just printed a new for some Halloween graphics.

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