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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Mai Tai @ Bali Hai
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Mai Tai @ Bali Hai
arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1288
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2007-04-17 1:59 pm   Permalink

A friend of mine and I stopped by Bali Hai (San Diego) late on Friday night. The bar/restaurant was closed, but a wedding reception was in full swing downstairs. So we crashed it.

Booze wasn't free, but I decided to order us each a mai tai anyway. Now, I've been to BH a few times, but for whatever reason I've always ordered something other than a mai tai (Mr. Bali Hai, Navy Grog, etc.). Anyway, we get the mai tais and we each take a sip and give each other alarmed looks. Even though it had the color of your typical mai tai, it tasted pretty much like rum on the rocks. I couldn't taste anything else and it actually caused me eyes to burn a little. While I appreciated not getting swindled in the rum department, Ron Rico alone on ice is not a pleasant drink.

Has anyone else had this experience with Bali Hai mai tais? Was this the usual drink, or did I get the result of a too busy bartender?


 
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PremEx
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Joined: Aug 23, 2006
Posts: 290
From: Houston, Texas
Posted: 2007-04-17 2:09 pm   Permalink

Quote:
On 2007-04-17 13:59, arriano wrote:Has anyone else had this experience with Bali Hai mai tais? Was this the usual drink, or did I get the result of a too busy bartender?



I can't say. But it is true that private banquet bars and tenders are quite often much different than the regular ones.


 
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Moki
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Joined: Jun 08, 2004
Posts: 357
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-04-17 2:18 pm   Permalink

You pretty much got the standard Bali Hai mai tai. Nearly undrinkable in my opinion.

Try the Goof punch, Mr Bali Hai or Missionary's downfall next time. They are better.


 
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DemeraraDrinker
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 28, 2007
Posts: 92
From: Kansas City
Posted: 2007-04-18 08:41 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-17 14:09, PremEx wrote:
I can't say. But it is true that private banquet bars and tenders are quite often much different than the regular ones.



I can attest to this. There is a black tie function that I go to where different restaurants display their wares (food). Well, there are some drinking "stations" like the vodka martini luge ice sculpture, and the fabulous you have to try Bacardi mojito station. The martinis are no big deal (and don't have vermouth), and the mojitos are made with a slimy green, crack your teeth sweet premix mixed with flavored (and hence more sweet) rum.

And the people making them are not bartenders...they're temp vending help.

If you go to the restaurants, the drinks are fine. They get out to an event and they're horrible.
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GentleHangman
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Jun 23, 2006
Posts: 464
From: Stuart, Florida
Posted: 2007-04-18 08:57 am   Permalink

I wonder . . . If you get a Mai Tai like the one mentioned at the Bali Hai and it isn't even remotely close to what a Mai Tai should be . . . does one complain? Does it go back? I've sent drinks back with the comment "I don't know what this is, but it's NOT a Mai Tai . . . I'll just order something else."

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PremEx
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Joined: Aug 23, 2006
Posts: 290
From: Houston, Texas
Posted: 2007-04-18 10:23 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-18 08:57, GentleHangman wrote:
I wonder . . . If you get a Mai Tai like the one mentioned at the Bali Hai and it isn't even remotely close to what a Mai Tai should be . . . does one complain? Does it go back? I've sent drinks back with the comment "I don't know what this is, but it's NOT a Mai Tai . . . I'll just order something else."



If it's not even remotely close...yeah...I think I'd send it back. However, with a Mai Tai, which is normally highly suggestive to interpretation and individual artistry (or lack thereof)...personally it would have to be WAY off before I'd send it back. If they made it with Vodka or something...yes, I would complain. But if it were in the ballpark, I don't think I would unless it was just plain undrinkable.

Personally with Mai-Tais, I tend to make a distinction between an undrinkable drink...and one that's really just mis-named. I've ordered many Mai Tais that were noting like I expect from a Mai Tai...and yet they were a pleasant beverage on their own. And if they hadn't been named "Mai Tai" and it was called a "Palm Tree Punch" instead...I might have no complaint at all. But there are also those drinks that are undrinkable no matter what their name is. And in those cases I might use the mis-naming of the drink as a "Mai Tai" as additional ammo for justifying its return.

But really...for anything...if you're not satisfied, it never hurts to complain and let the business know why you're not happy with your purchase. IMHO.

For standard drinks however...I'll send 'em back in an instant if they're not right. My favorite non-tropical cocktail is a Black Russian. A few weeks ago I was at the San Pedro Brewing Company having dinner and my Black Russian tasted disgusting, so I sent it back with a request to know how the bartender was making it. The waitress returned saying he made it the "standard" way: Kahlua and Vanilla flavored Vodka! Yeech! So I had to give specific instructions on how I wanted it. Later talking with the bartender face to face, he insisted everyone makes Black Russians with Vanilla Vodka. Ugh.
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bb moondog
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 18, 2006
Posts: 492
From: Gilbert AZ
Posted: 2007-04-18 10:32 am   Permalink

Roys Hawaiian Fusion has a Mai Tai that they seem 'proud' of--its in their featured drinks from their bar and while being pretty good, was NOWHERE like the Mai Tais I've made at home using the 'standard' recipe (lime juice, orgeat, curacao-maybe Cointreau, dark & light rums). Don't really know HOW any of these restaurants cook up their recipes but grenadine is a SURE sign of wrongness

 
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Digitiki
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Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2007-04-18 1:36 pm   Permalink

This discussion brings up a rather good point, that the Mai-Tai is certainly not a standard drink. They vary widely from bar to bar. Very interesting!

As for the Bali Hai Mai Tai, I've dowened quite a few of them, they are super strong but I like them.
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GentleHangman
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Jun 23, 2006
Posts: 464
From: Stuart, Florida
Posted: 2007-04-18 2:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:
Anyway, we get the mai tais and we each take a sip and give each other alarmed looks. Even though it had the color of your typical mai tai, it tasted pretty much like rum on the rocks. I couldn't taste anything else and it actually caused me eyes to burn a little.



Quote:
You pretty much got the standard Bali Hai mai tai. Nearly undrinkable in my opinion.



Sure sounds WAY off to me and I'd have sent it back!



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Al-ii
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 249
From: Oceanside Ca
Posted: 2007-04-18 10:45 pm   Permalink

That is the Bali Hai Mai Tai. In my opinion-too strong, but, I think it is one of the best tiki drinks in SD.
Mahalo,
Al


[ This Message was edited by: Al-ii 2007-04-18 23:04 ]


 
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Cammo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1952
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-04-19 03:59 am   Permalink

This all brings up the point - why not just tell the bartender what you want?

When the bartender says "What do you want?", tell him. He's asking. If you want a classic Mai Tai with what you think are classic ingredients, just tell him. Call it a 'Hawaiian' Mai Tai, but tell him. Don't be shy. This ain't a guessing game.

I always order my 'Pirate Juice' when in doubt of the local customs; pineapple juice, ice, with a big float of dark rum. Squeeze that lime. I just tell the bartender how to make it, comes out perfect every time.

Why complain? The guy can't read your mind.

By the way, I saw a party of four zap two Bali Hai Mai Tai's, each, in about ten minutes once. They said they were weak. No kidding.


 
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hawaiiansnowball
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 02, 2007
Posts: 40
From: Sin City, Nevada
Posted: 2007-04-20 11:22 am   Permalink

At last year's Tiki Oasis we went to the BH and my buddy ordered the Mai Tai while we waited for dinner. Holy camole, when I had a sip it tasted and felt like liquid fire if there ever was one! Needless to say, my buddy was totally trashed after two of those before we ate dinner! But I did score myself a nice mug on his bill!

 
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Tiki Pop
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 29, 2005
Posts: 56
From: So Orange County, CA
Posted: 2007-04-20 8:06 pm   Permalink

I was wondering...did the bartender layer in the ingrediants over the ice while floating the rum on top? maybe thats what you first sipped? or did they make it in a shaker and shake and pour it into the glass. maybe they left it up to you to stir it around before drinking. not sure if thats the case. Ive made them at home and have had them at the Bali hai... both were quite tasty and strong...aloha

 
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tikipedia
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 25, 2004
Posts: 490
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-04-20 9:44 pm   Permalink

As we all know, there is a lot of variations in a Mai Tai. This is both in consistency as well as ingredients. Even the venerable Trader Vics has considerable variation in taste. I once hit the Palo Alto and Emeryville location on the same night, and the Palo Alto cocktails paled in comparison to Emeryville.

Personally, I love Bali Hai mai tais. Are they potent? Hell yes. Are they too potent? Well, that depends on what you want from a drink. I prefer a potent drink over a watery and sugary version any day. Trader Vics is probably the best overall, but I rank Bali Hai's version second.

If you every do buy another Bali Hai mai tai and don't want it, you can always give it to me. *hic*


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Registered Astronaut
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 05, 2006
Posts: 66
Posted: 2007-04-21 01:15 am   Permalink

Maybe, seriously, you should consider going back to the Bali Hai and trying the Mai Tai again. I fully endorse most of the "strong" drinks on the menu, even their butchered version of the Missionary's downfall which is nothing like an actual, but tasty none the less. I live in LA and the Tiki Ti is a stones throw away. Obviously, you can't beat the Ti, but I like Bali Hai's drinks over Trader Vic 90210 for second place. I mean, c'mon, they use Lemon Hart! And to further endorse the B.H. Mai Tai, there's so much RUM in that thing its almost like a Navy grog with orgeat, if they even use it (I can't taste any)...and while I agree nobody likes Ron Rico on the rocks, those Mai Tai's also utilize everyones favorite Jamaican rum CORUBA, which i'll take over Appleton any day of the month. Plus, as far as atmosphere is concerned, staring at Downtown San Diego over a large channel of water on a clear night with a good buzz in your tummy is one of life's sweetest pleasures. Tiki, Raiders and good surf for life.
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