host Alan Smart in his impeccably-detailed Echo Park tiki bar
As a lover of both cocktails and outlandish home decor, I couldn't pass up the 1st Annual L.A. Home Tiki Bar Tour, organized by one of Tiki Central's members Kevin Murphy. I'm sort of a tiki tourist -- although I'm not a regular at Tiki Oasis or anything, I've harbored a fondness for the aesthetic ever since The Third Eye club re-launched the exotica craze...ack, that was 20 years ago! Saturday afternoon, about 40 people all dressed in their finest aloha wear boarded a large tour bus which drove us to our first stop, Mark and Jem Noland's mint Living Conditioned home in Porter Ranch. Mid century modern flirted with tasteful tiki in their lovely home, where their daughter (left) welcomed us at the door in a pint-sized Hawaiian hostess gown. Gem, who bakes organic goodies under the name Little Brownie Bakeshop, supplied us with treats throughout the evening, starting with coconut cupcakes, while hubby Mark mixed up a different tropical cocktail at each stop, using all fresh-squeezed juices. When the Nolands bought their house (right) just a few months ago, it already had original tiki art on the walls and all the original appliances and bath fixtures. Mark's mai tai (most of the recipes were from Beachbum Berry's books) was super-refreshing, not at all cloying like some tropical cocktails. We moved on to Fog Cutters and sushi at Darrell's beautiful 1930s-style tiki room in Silver Lake. Then it was Mark's original Bamboozle cocktail, whose coconut flavor paired well with spicy beef from Northridge's excellent Lum-Ka-Naad Thai restaurant, at Peter and Lauren's lavish tiki lounge in their 1949 moderne Silver Lake home, complete with red-lit wooden tiki in the backyard. Next up was Planter's Punch and Jem's brownies at Alan and Michael's amazing Halekahiki bar in their Echo Park basement, a womb-like Tiki wonderland where nearly every inch, including the ceiling and beams, was covered in exotic detailing and vintage surf and Hawaiiana items. The evening ended woozily with crudites and something combining champagne and rum back at the Waikiki Womb at Kevin's staggering Glendale backyard, which includes several fountains, a bamboo bridge, a sandy beach overlooking the pool, and indoor and outdoor tiki bars. Those tiki people really know how to mix up some good cocktails...who knew rum could be so versatile? But most of all, they really know how to decorate a bar!
(a vintage tiki tableau, above)
Here's the recipe for the Bamboozle:
1 jigger Barbancourt rum
1 jigger Lemon Hart rum
1 jigger maraschino liqueur
1 jigger cognac
1 jigger coconut cream
2 oz. guava juice
4 oz. pineapple juice
Blend well, serve over ice...relax.
(This should make at least two cocktails, maybe more)