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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Trader Vics in Emeryville, Emeryville, CA (restaurant)
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Trader Vics in Emeryville, Emeryville, CA (restaurant)
TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 270
Posted: 2013-03-15 10:19 am   Permalink

Glad you like them Bigbro. Did you notice that, unlike the 70's era picture earlier in this thread, the Marquesan tikis now unabashedly display their "members"? It helps keep the venue a child free zone!

For anyone planning a trip to the bay area, a tikiphile weekend here should include dinner at Trader Vic's Emeryville, drinks at Smuggler's Cove and the Forbidden Island, dinner at the Tonga Room, and a visit to the spectacular De Young Museum Oceanic Art wing (http://deyoung.famsf.org/deyoung/collections/oceanic-art ).


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11003
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-03-15 11:42 am   Permalink

Yes, the DeYoung! Home of the Trader Vic's logo Tiki and the Covarrubias Flora & Fauna mural!



 
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WooHooWahine
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Mar 04, 2005
Posts: 3039
From: Mission (Impossible) Viejo, Ca
Posted: 2013-03-24 10:13 am   Permalink

WooHoo! Trader Vic's Emeryville is Still a True Tiki Temple.........













































 
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tikilongbeach
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1184
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-07-29 10:21 am   Permalink

Has anyone ever seen the Mai Tai Drum ordered?

www.thrillist.com/bars/financial-district/aggressively-sized-drinking-vessels

Trader Vic's Mai Tai Drum
9 Anchor Drive, at Powell; Emeryville; 510.653.3400
Proving there ain't no party like an Emeryville party, this recently remodeled, chain-erific tiki bar offers up a for-private-parties-only Mai Tai Drum, which stores 75 Original Trader Vic's Mai Tais in an old rum holder, heretofore referred to as "whoever stands next to Rip Torn, and hands him his Admiral Nelson".





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djmont
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 260
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2013-08-03 6:49 pm   Permalink

My wife and I went to Trader Vic's for the first time the other night. We ate our way through several of the small plates and drank our way through several of the cocktails.

We had:

1944 Mai Tai
Maui Mai Tai
Scorpion Bowl
Zombie
Menehune Juice
Potted Parrot
Trader Vic's Grog
Tutu Rum Punch

Overall, the experience was fun and I would do it again. It didn't quite meet up to my expectations.... But things seldom do, right?

The drinks were good, not great. The overall low quality of the booze really hurts their cocktails. Trader Vic's Rum just doesn't cut it. I'd prefer them to charge a little more and use some decent stuff.

Two of the drinks were made incorrectly. The trainee bartender messed up a Maui Mai Tai, and I had the main guy remake it. (Which he did, although only after tasting it and saying it was correct. It clearly was not, and I was disappointed that he tried to pull that on me.) The main guy botched the TV Grog, but I didn't bother complaining that time.

A fun evening, but I imagine the experience was quite a bit different back in Vic's day.
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Professor Cocktail
Professor Cocktail's Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World's Most Lethal Drink


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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 270
Posted: 2013-08-04 01:16 am   Permalink

I have to ask, how could you know if the Maui Mai Tai was made incorrectly? The Maui Mai Tai recipe has never been published! The Maui and Guava Mai Tais were created at the end of 2010 for the "unwashed masses" who for instance, have come to expect to be able to choose among several flavors of margarita.

How was the TV Grog botched? What recipe were you expecting and where did he go wrong?

Finally, did you catch the name of the "trainee" bartender? I know all the bartenders by name and am sure they will welcome a few tips from someone with your professional bartending experience.


 
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djmont
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 260
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2013-08-04 11:11 am   Permalink

A fair question! And I'll freely admit upfront that I might be completely full of shit.

Are the Maui and Guava Mai Tais supposed to be secret? The former is a Mai Tai with Dole pineapple juice and the latter has Kern's guava nectar. Since they're happy hour specials, we saw many of them being made. The guava seemed to be the more popular one.

I didn't watch my wife's Maui Mai Tai being made, so I don't know where it went wrong. But the reason I know it went wrong is that the first drink tasted completely different from the second drink -- and the first one was gross and the second was good (although sweet, as expected). I think the bartender (who was only on his second day) just grabbed the wrong bottle. No big deal. It could -- and does! -- happen to everyone.

As for the TV Grog -- you're absolutely right, and what they served me might have been exactly what they intended to serve me. But according to the menu description, it's supposed to have dark rum, pineapple and passion fruit in it. Jeff Berry's recipe concurs. So I have a pretty good idea, I think, of what that should taste like.

What I got, though, tasted much more like what I would expect of a Navy Grog. But the flavors were out of balance and funky, and not in a good way. Here's a picture:



Like I said, though, I could be wrong. I've never ordered one before and maybe I was mistaken.

At any rate, the bartenders were nice guys, and we had fun. My complaints may sound petty, and maybe they are.

(I want to make sure you know I wasn't an asshole about it or anything. I would never be rude to bar staff, and I tipped my customary 20%.)

By the way, the burger was excellent. But is that celery salt on the fries? The crab dip was really good, too.
_________________
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Professor Cocktail
Professor Cocktail's Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World's Most Lethal Drink


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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 270
Posted: 2013-08-12 12:44 am   Permalink

I don't know if the Maui and Guava Mai Tai recipes are secret. I've never bothered to ask because the concept of a Maui or Guava Mai Tai is an abomination to me. There are so many bastardized Mai Tai's in the world that when I go to Trader Vic's I'll be damned if I order a Mai Tai that is anything but the original Trader Vic style! I'm willing to give them a pass on those two drinks because I realize they have to do whatever it takes to appeal to John Q. Public and the last few years have been very tough ones, especially for the restaurant business.

And that brings up an area where I think Tikiphiles misunderstand Trader Vic's. As much as I admire Trader Vic's for their drinks, honest strong drinks unlike the watered down crap served at most restaurants, they have always been even more appreciated for their cuisine. Victor Bergeron wrote at least six cook books compared to the two versions of his Bartender's Guide. When you go to Trader Vic's you can indulge to whatever degree that suits you. One can go just for drinks during happy hour, drinks and reasonably priced and interesting food in the lounge, or for an upscale dining experience with entrees prepared in their Chinese ovens, exotic cocktails and first rate service in an exotic South Seas environment. Boutique cocktail bars have their place but without food or with only crappy greasy food and sky high drink prices their appeal is limited.

I agree that Trader Vic’s Food Products doesn’t do the restaurant any favors by selling Trader Vic Dark Rum at retail. At liquor stores around here it is the least expensive rum on the shelf and could easily be improved but in their bars they use at least five Trader Vic rums that are not available at retail. I've sampled them and they are suitable for their purpose. I just took inventory of my rum collection and I have 41 different high quality rums at this time and all variety of liquors and modifiers. I've given up trying to keep track of everything long ago. I frequently make the same drinks at home that I've been served in their bar/restaurant and I often conclude that their version tastes better. In my opinion they're doing a very good job.

Many of the drinks you ordered are decent drinks but not what I consider the best on the menu. Their Zombie is a relatively weak fruit punch and bears no resemblance to any of the Donn Beach Zombies. The Menehune Juice and Potted Parrot are great for the souvenirs and suitable for someone unaccustomed to complex flavor profiles and strong drinks. The Trader Vic's Grog is also a sweet approachable drink for the casual drinker.

When I go to Trader Vic's I frequently order all variations of their traditional Mai Tai, including the off menu "Old Way" with a float of 151 and the Honi Honi. Additional favorites are the Tiki Puka Puka, Navy Grog, E'ville Awa (Emeryville's special drink), Queens Park Swizzle, Raffles Bar Gin Sling, Tortuga, Siboney, Port Light, Eastern Sour, Moku Nani, Samoan Fog Cutter, Maui Fizz and yes, Trader Vic's Grog. Several of these are currently off-menu in Emeryville but they can be had by special request if it isn't too busy. Finally while the Trader created the concept of communal Tiki drinks and the Scorpion Bowl is his most famous communal drink I prefer the Tiki Bowl.

Next time I hope you can try a few of their more interesting drinks, an entree with before and after dinner cocktails, and enjoy more of what Trader Vic's has to offer.

[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-08-12 00:48 ]


 
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djmont
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 260
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2013-08-15 12:25 pm   Permalink

I appreciate the fact that you have a powerful emotional and/or nostalgic attachment to the restaurant. That's a joyful thing to have.

I bet you can make a better Mai Tai than theirs, though. Mix one up with some Appleton 12 and Clement VSOP or El Dorado 12, along with a good quality orgeat, and you'll be in for a treat. Naturally, however, tastes differ.
_________________
David J. Montgomery
Professor Cocktail
Professor Cocktail's Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World's Most Lethal Drink


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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 270
Posted: 2013-08-15 3:11 pm   Permalink

Been there, done that hundred's of times. I've posted my premium Mai Tai recipe previously on Tiki Central using all top shelf spirits and syrups and Emeryville's tastes VERY similar. My cost to make one is more than what they're charging and that doesn't include the 1/2 hour I spend preparing and cleaning-up. Regarding flavor, better or not is individual preference.

It's true that they just hired two new bartenders who are just learning the recipes. Sorry you evidently picked an "off-night" for your one visit!


[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-08-15 15:56 ]


 
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djmont
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 260
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2013-08-15 4:27 pm   Permalink

The TV Royal Amber rum is available at retail, although few places stock it. But then you could use the same stuff they do.

 
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