We enjoyed a pleasant drive from Anaheim to Huntington Beach and Pacific Coast Highway. Near Huntington Harbor, we found our destination, Don the Beachcomber. The atmosphere of this place is fantastic. This is the real tiki. And we love tiki.
We had a bit of a wait for the hostess, but soon were seated in a comfy booth. It was pretty quiet in the restaurant, although it seemed like a lot of people were heading into the bar.
We didn’t have to think about what to order to drink — we both had the signature Mai Tai.
I don’t think there’s a tropical cocktail we haven’t liked, but it was special having the original Mai Tai. Don’s Mai Tai has a unique flavor, probably because of the falernum syrup that contains flavors of almond, ginger, cloves, lime, vanilla, and allspice. Needless to say, we enjoyed every sip.
There’s some discussion of who invented the Mai Tai, Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron or Donn “Don the Beachcomber” Beach. This site discusses the controversy: Where Did the Mai Tai Come From?
And here’s the recipe for Don’s original Mai Tai:
Don the Beachcomber’s Mai Tai (circa 1933)
1 1/2 oz. Myers’s Rum
1 oz. Cuban Rum
3/4 oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz. Falernum Syrup
1/2 oz. Cointreau
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Dash of Pernod Absinthe
Shake all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a tall highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with fruits and serve with a straw.
We’ve been wanting to visit a tiki restaurant for sometime now. And, finally, on this beautiful SoCal day, we found ourselves tucked away in another world, outrigger and all.
And the food matched the delightful atmosphere. The kalua pork was incredibly tender and tasty. It seemed like it came to the table straight from the imu. And the rib sandwich was scrumptuous with a ginger BBQ sauce that was out of this world. And the sandwich kept my fingers from getting too messy, although I did need the wet-nap at the end of the meal.
The entrees were very satisfying, but we couldn’t pass up sharing a piece of the Original Pineapple Upside Down cake. And, boy, are we glad we did. It was one of the best of its kind anywhere, nicely matched with the rum caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Wow, what an incredible experience: the beach, tiki, Mai Tais, and my Soul Mate! Life can’t get much better than this.
And when we’re missing the tiki life in Las Vegas, we’ll have to drop by Frankie’s Tiki Room to get reacquainted with it, especially on Aloha Friday when the first drink is half price for anyone wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Huli pau!