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S

Howdy Folks,
I just wanted to fill you in on what a great time we had visting NorCal and some of the famous Tiki Temples I have always wanted to experience.

We were staying in Sacramento w/ family, and even though there isn't much Tiki, we dropped by the Eastern Empire for dinner and drinks(in Tiki mugs!)and The Back Door for cocktails- bothplaces were highly recommended by TCers. Eastern Empire has some of the best Chinese food I've ever sampled and prices that can't be beat, The Back Door was everything I was told- an old red velvet Rat Pack style hangout, with one major exception- we were there midweek so instead of the infamous piano bar entertainment, we were subjected to yet another bar gone Karaoke. On one of the many triple digit dog days we took the kids to one of those big water parks. There was a kid area with a Polynesian flair, complete w/ a couple of Tiki masks. It was pretty cool. My daughter loved it.

We left the kid w/ her cousins for one night and headed for San Francisco. After the traditional fish and chips on Fishermans Warf we hit The Tonga Room. Upon the advice of the "Tiki Road Tour" we abstained from eating and decided to share a Scorpian Bowl. We had no complaints about the staff or service. Infact, they actually seemed friendly. The place is really beautiful. So dark and mysterious. The lagoon and the thunder/rainstorm really made the place feel exotic. We headed across the Bay Bridge to meet a fellow TCer at Trader Vics in Emeryville for a little parking lot Tiki trading(saved a bundle on shipping!!). We weren't sure if we were gonna stay for dinner as we were warned Vics is a litle pricey, but one sip of the MaiTai(old way)and a peek in that glorious dining room and there was no way I was walking out of there without the full on Trader Vics experience! It was awesome. The highlight of my trip. The place had me in this tipsy tiki euphoria all night. The Tikis, art, artifacts, memorabilia, decor, service, food, and especially the MaiTais were truly amazing. We spent some doe$$ , but it was worth every penny.
After that we tried to stop in the Bamboo Hut, but it was a Sat night and there was a line of hipsters down the block, so we hopped over to Hawaii West for yet another MaiTai. The place is a bit run down and you have to look hard for the Tikis, but the bartender was very nice and the drink wasn't bad. The next day on the way outa town we stopped at the Goodwill and my wife snagged me a great Outrigger mug to top off the trip.

A couple days later I traveled south to Modesto to meet up a good friend. We stayed at The Tropics Motel, which I do not recommend unless you enjoy paying money to be kept up all night by crackheads. But it was next door to the Tiki Lounge and just down the Street from Minnies and it has some great Tikis in the Parking lot AND a very cool custom tile in the showerstall that states this is a Ken Kimes built motor hotel. I already posted a bit of a review on Modesto in the Events forum under Modesto mini crawl, so I'll spare you and just say it was well worth it. Especially Minnies and hooking up with Jungletrader and doing some more parking lot trading.

We went home thru Reno. We had to stay in another run down motel because none of the casinos would let our angelic little Chihuahua, Sparky stay in their rooms. Reno was very cool, very old and tacky. Some of the motels and signs were sooo googie. It was great to see. We hit Trader Dicks that evening. I was expecting Dicks to be a little bit old and tacky, but it was very nice, sorta uppity, and pretty spendy-especially for Reno(Sparks). We got the drinks that came with the mugs you get to keep, which seemed to be the best deal going, soaked up some of the atmosphere- which is very nice, and headed back for the strip. There are some very nice Tikis in Trader Dicks. I would recommend hitting it at lunch when it's a bit more affordable and a little brighter so as to see more of the decor.

Our final stop on the way home was Summer Lake Hot Springs (Hwy 31 near Paisely Oregon). My inlaws manage this place. If you are ever in the Oregon outback looking for a place to relax in a low key old world kinda way, be sure to stop in and tell 'em I sent you! There are some great carvings and totems around the place, and even a few of my Tikis. They have transformed their back patio into a Mexican cantina complete with fountain, beach, thatch roof bamboo bar,and small stage. I have witnessed some fantastic parties out here in the middle of nowhere.The Hot Springs are great too. Mark this spot on your map !

It was good to get home and feel the cool sea air once again. It was a bit too hot for my liking out in that dreadful Sacramento Valley, but all in all we had a fantastic time. Thanks to everyone at TC for the tips on places to go. It definitely helped make the trip a good one. I look forward to my next trip and hope to meet some more TCers out there along the way.
Cheers!!
Seamus

T

Glad you had a good time and thanks for the review. You sure did alot in a short time! You managed to see all the tiki spots in Northern Cal/Reno in one trip. I was happy to hear you decided to splurge at Trader Vic's. It's such a great all around experience. If the Tonga Room could only bring their drinks, service, and food up to Trader Vic's level I would want to visit it more often. Sorry to hear about the Tropics motel experience - I didn't like the looks of the clientele when I was there a couple of years ago so I was hoping things had improved since then.

Hey Seamus, once again sorry about The Tropics. Some day maybe they'll clean it up. It's possible all they have to do is raise their prices.
Minnie's is definitely the place to see when coming to the Valley.
Glad your trip was a good one.
Can't wait to get up to The Great Northwest and get a guided tour.

On 2003-08-01 12:14, seamus wrote:
. . . . We were staying in Sacramento w/ family, and even though there isn't much Tiki, we dropped by the Eastern Empire for dinner and drinks(in Tiki mugs!)and The Back Door for cocktails- bothplaces were highly recommended by TCers. Eastern Empire has some of the best Chinese food I've ever sampled and prices that can't be beat . . .

Is Eastern Empire worthwhile for a tiki experience? Does it have any other tiki attributes other than the tiki mugs? Lastly, is it a nice place (going with my mom, etc.)

Thanks.

[ Edited by: christiki295 on 2004-05-30 23:31 ]

M

On 2004-05-30 23:11, christiki295 wrote:

On 2003-08-01 12:14, seamus wrote:
. . . . We were staying in Sacramento w/ family, and even though there isn't much Tiki, we dropped by the Eastern Empire for dinner and drinks(in Tiki mugs!)and The Back Door for cocktails- bothplaces were highly recommended by TCers. Eastern Empire has some of the best Chinese food I've ever sampled and prices that can't be beat . . .

Is Eastern Empire worthwhile for a tiki experience? Does it have any other tiki attributes other than the tiki mugs? Lastly, is it a nice place (going with my mom, etc.)

Thanks.

[ Edited by: christiki295 on 2004-05-30 23:31 ]

It's a perfectly nice chinese restaurant. Not fancy, but tasteful, understated decor. One of the guys there can make good tiki drinks, otherwise it's not really a tiki experience at all. Perfectly decent place to take mom!

Mahalo Martiki, for your response.

I neglected to check the Tiki Road Trip, which lists Hukilau Island Grill / Aloha Lounge.

Hopefully, next week I will have good comments on one of these places.

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