We have a tiki bar in our house. And once a year, it transforms our home into a magical gathering spot in the middle of winter.
We invite friends over, hire a bartender and attempt to recreate a tropical paradise with fruity drinks served in tiki mugs, tacky floral decorations, 20 pounds of pork sliders and a smoking lava cake.
In the run up to the party in winter’s darkest days, we make egg rolls, test out new drink recipes and listen to Rich’s artfully curated Polynesian playlist as we go treasure hunting for cool new tiki finds. It gives us something to do.
Our love of tiki traces back to vacations both our families took to Disney World. The Polynesian, one of just two resorts back then, was a wonderland for kids from the midwest, a theme park within a theme park, with exotic flowers, lava pools and flaming torch-lit paths. The closest to Hawaii you could get. Fantasy Island come to life.
Fast forward to 2014. We bought a house that happened to have a built-in bar and decided to tiki-fy it.
Last year’s party was scheduled the first weekend in March, just before the country shut down for COVID-19. We had no way of knowing, as we set the date months in advance. When the day arrived, I remember pulling 120 egg rolls out of the freezer thinking “I wonder if anyone will come?”
But come they did, for the last hurrah.
We haven’t been to party since, tiki or otherwise.
The egg rolls were soggy last year, and I am still figuring out how to use the air fryer I got for Christmas for the purpose of upping our egg roll game.
I have plenty of time, as there will be no tiki party this year.
Aloha, friends. Hello and goodbye.