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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Don the Beachcomber's problems????
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Don the Beachcomber's problems????
CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 355
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-02-28 11:04 pm   Permalink

Quick question,

I'm planning a trip to LA for this fall and I had wanted to hit DtB's in Huntington Beach again (I haven't been there in over a year), however I've been hearing some disturbing reports from friends who've been to DtB's recently that the food, drinks & service there have been really bad of late. I would like to know what kind of experiences that fellow TCer's have had at Don's recently. Any personal reports would be greatly appreciated.


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2012-02-28 11:28 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-02-22 22:08, JOHN-O wrote:
Quote:

On 2012-02-21 16:50, bigbrotiki wrote:
The Mai Kai is not as much about a "foodie" experience as it is about soaking in the atmosphere....

Getting plastered on some yummy rum concoctions helps, of course. But leave any "home-made Falernum" attitude at your home bar . The tradition of this Polynesian pop haven is singular and unassailable.


OK, I want everyone to contemplate the Bigbro's Tiki words of wisdom above. Just replace the word "Mai Kai" with "Hong Kong Inn". And keep in mind Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Tommy are reading this thread. They've been keeping it real for almost half a century just for you. Don't piss them off !!!


In this case replace the word "Mai Kai" with "Don the Beachcomber".


 
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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5792
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:04 am   Permalink

Didn't there use to be a Don's in Cincinnati?

 
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Chuck Tatum is Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2011
Posts: 1674
From: Southern Cailifornia
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:06 am   Permalink

There is no place like Don's around here anymore, It is the only place that makes me think I have gone back in time to the Tiki Palaces
of my youth, But they did hire alot of new bartenders, who may not make the best cocktails, Yet the place still has all the magic
that is Don's, So don't let that sway you from visiting.


 
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CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 355
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:15 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-02-29 00:04, Unga Bunga wrote:
Didn't there use to be a Don's in Cincinnati?



Nah. There was a Kon-Tiki here in Cincinnati. My parents used to go there before I was born (we're talking 1966 here). There was also the famous Kahiki up in Columbus, Ohio. That's about it for the great Tiki palaces in Ohio. There's butkus here in Ohio now.


 
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tiki1963
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 12, 2003
Posts: 207
From: los angeles
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:15 am   Permalink

I'm not sure what other experiences have been of late, but I was there last week and was blown away with the quality level of the food and drink.

Drinks were amazing and super subtle. The food was fantastic! They added a tea-smoked Chinese duck to the menu that was unbelievably great.

Of course, the setting is top-notch vintage tiki and must be experienced.

The band playing that nite (a Friday) was sorta bland country-rock and had more to do with local OC crowds than tiki, but I guess you can't have it all.

I really hope everyone who can supports the place with frequent visits. I truly believe the Don's takeover has been a great solution for a legendary tiki spot that was on the brink of destruction.

Just imagine how much it would suck if the place closed forever...

Keep up the good work Don's!!!

[ This Message was edited by: tiki1963 2012-02-29 00:17 ]

[ This Message was edited by: tiki1963 2012-02-29 21:12 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:17 am   Permalink

Nice "Quick question"! We have discussed this here repeatedly, and yes, we all agree: In order for Tiki temples to survive, they need to have good service and food, and yes, we all deserve a bang for our buck. Yet I still maintain that if this is what you are looking for in a Tiki restaurant, you are into Tiki for the wrong reasons. In a perfect world, all Tiki places would look like the Mai Kai, play only Martin Denny and Exotica, mix cocktails like Jeff Berry, and serve food like Anthony Bourdain would croon over. Well, keep on looking.



 
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CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 355
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:28 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-02-28 23:28, JOHN-O wrote:
Quote:

On 2012-02-22 22:08, JOHN-O wrote:
Quote:

On 2012-02-21 16:50, bigbrotiki wrote:
The Mai Kai is not as much about a "foodie" experience as it is about soaking in the atmosphere....

Getting plastered on some yummy rum concoctions helps, of course. But leave any "home-made Falernum" attitude at your home bar . The tradition of this Polynesian pop haven is singular and unassailable.


OK, I want everyone to contemplate the Bigbro's Tiki words of wisdom above. Just replace the word "Mai Kai" with "Hong Kong Inn". And keep in mind Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Tommy are reading this thread. They've been keeping it real for almost half a century just for you. Don't piss them off !!!


In this case replace the word "Mai Kai" with "Don the Beachcomber".



FWIW, I was at the Mai Kai less than a year ago and I had a wonderful experience there; great food, wonderful service and top of the line, world class drinks. I had such a great time at the Mai Kai that my Wife & I are making a pilgrimage back there this June while we're in Florida. I've read accounts from people who have been to DtB's as recently as this past weekend who have had really bad experiences there. I've also read even worse reports of experiences at TV's LA, but that's not surprising coming from a TV's location at this point.


 
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CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 355
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:34 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-02-29 00:15, tiki1963 wrote:
I'm not sure what other experiences have been of late, but I was there last week and was blown away with the quality level of the food and drink.

Drinks were amazing and super subtle. The food was fantastic! They added a tea-smoked Chinese duck to the menu that was unbelievably great.

Of course, the setting is top-notch vintage tiki and must be experienced.

The band playing that nite (a Friday) was sorta bland country-rock and had more to due with local OC crowds than tiki, but I guess you can't have it all.

I really hope everyone who can supports the place with frequent visits. I truly believe the Don's takeover has been a great solution for a legendary tiki spot that was on the brink of destruction.

Just imagine how much it would suck if the place closed forever...

Keep up the good work Don's!!!

[ This Message was edited by: tiki1963 2012-02-29 00:17 ]



Thanks for the reply Tiki1963! It's really good to read about great experiences at DtB's. Tea smoked duck is a difficult to make Cantonese specialty, it's highly encouraging to learn that DtB's is putting an old-school dish like this on their menu.

[ This Message was edited by: CincyTikiCraig 2012-02-29 01:44 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:37 am   Permalink

It's really looking like you are mistaking Tiki for the latest food fad. Reading "Yelp" a lot? Watching the food channel daily? There are MANY other restaurant genres out there that fit into that world beautifully. And to THEIR customers, I sound like a crazy person.

 
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CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 355
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-02-29 12:45 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-02-29 00:17, bigbrotiki wrote:
Nice "Quick question"! We have discussed this here repeatedly, and yes, we all agree: In order for Tiki temples to survive, they need to have good service and food, and yes, we all deserve a bang for our buck. Yet I still maintain that if this is what you are looking for in a Tiki restaurant, you are into Tiki for the wrong reasons. In a perfect world, all Tiki places would look like the Mai Kai, play only Martin Denny and Exotica, mix cocktails like Jeff Berry, and serve food like Anthony Bourdain would croon over. Well, keep on looking.





You know, when I'm paying north of $10 per drink I don't feel that I'm being unreasonable in expecting a well crated cocktail that respects the traditions of Tiki Cocktaildom. Ditto for the food; I'm not expecting 5-Star La Grenouille cuisine, but I do expect food that's better than what I can get at the local Chinese carryout down the street from me here in Cincinnati. This is where TV's is really falling down on the job. Don't take my word for it, no less a figure than Beachbum Berry has been highly critical of TVs recently:

http://www.diffordsguide.com/class-magazine/read-online/en/2011-12-20/page-3/tiki?seen=1

"You've previously said you felt Trader Vic's legacy has been 'crapped on'. Why and by whom?"

"I said that about Trader Vic's [the restaurant group] because of the drinks. They are falling down on the job. I understand that they are expensive to make, but Vic was a quality control fanatic and God help you if you turned in anything less than a perfect drink in any of his 20 restaurants across the world. Today I don't see that quality control, they are not using the rums he would specify. I was in Atlanta recently and you don't get aged Martinique rum, or aged Jamaican rum in your Mai Tai - instead they use cheap well rums. I don't see the same attention paid to his recipes, but the hotel prices haven't dropped. I have enormous respect for Vic but being honest it does bother me when I have a Trader Vic drink and it's not what it used to be."





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CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 355
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-02-29 01:00 am   Permalink

-

[ This Message was edited by: CincyTikiCraig 2012-02-29 01:22 ]


 
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CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 355
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-02-29 01:22 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-02-29 00:37, bigbrotiki wrote:
It's really looking like you are mistaking Tiki for the latest food fad. Reading "Yelp" a lot? Watching the food channel daily? There are MANY other restaurant genres out there that fit into that world beautifully. And to THEIR customers, I sound like a crazy person.



The hell you say. And don't lecture me on Tiki 'Bro. I won't support an establishment that serves lousy food and drinks. Period. Tiki or not. If you are saying that the best that we can hope for from Tiki is half-assed bars and restaurants that serve lousy food and poor quality drinks, then Tiki should die a dignified death. I for one reject your vision of what Tiki was, is, and should be, and I know that the Angels (Donn Beach & Vic Bergeron in particular) are on my side. Crappy establishments serving half assed food & drink are what killed Tiki the last time around, let's not repeat the mistakes of the past and kill Tiki all over again by repeating the mistakes of the past.

I go to Chicago regularly, and I supported the "new" TV's there religiously, making multiple trips there each and every time that I was in Chicago over recent years. However, when that restaurant began to serve shitty drinks and worse food, and played crappy music that ruined the ambiance (or no music so that they could have televisions blaring throughout the restaurant) I stopped going. I make top notch Mai Tais, Navy Grogs, Rum Barrels, etc at home, and I refuse to pay over $12 per drink to be served bottom shelf rums filled with mixers laden with high fructose corn syrup & artificial flavorings-which is what TV's is serving up these days. Sorry, but if that's the best that a restaurant or bar can offer up then it can suck seawater down in Davy Jones' Locker.


[ This Message was edited by: CincyTikiCraig 2012-02-29 01:26 ]


 
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CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 355
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-02-29 01:43 am   Permalink

For an abject study in the heights and the depths of Tiki establishments, please read my post from a little over a year ago detailing my visit to The Mai Kai and then to The Wreck Bar:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=38010&forum=1

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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2012-02-29 03:23 am   Permalink

Well if you're going to use the Mai Kai as the yardstick to measure your Tiki experience then you're likely to be disappointed with Don's. They do indeed have some new bar staff who are still honing their craft. On my last visit, my Dr. Funk was really off, I expressed my dissatisfaction, and then they remixed a much better cocktail. It really doesn't matter that much though, I'd still make the 30 mile drive just to drink beer in Don's historic Tiki splendor.

A great Tiki experience for me isn't always about the drinks. My most sublime Tiki time machine experience was in a place with the most disappointing cocktails, the Hala Kahiki just outside of Chicago. That may have even eclipsed my most excellent visit to the Mai Kai last year.

Don't get me wrong, I love my drinky drinks, but in some ways a straight bourbon in a vintage "dump" like the Hawaiian Room in Bellflower can be more Tiki satisfying than a Smuggler's Cove Rum Barrel.

History is something that can't just be created.


 
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